The good folks at Klipsch are back with another headphone, the X12i Neckband Bluetooth – first announced way back in September. Utilizing a snazzy neckband design, the new X12i retails for a fairly hefty $399. So is it worth the cheddar, or should you sit this one out? MajorHifi investigates.
Klipsch X12i Neckband Bluetooth Review
Previously, Klipsch impressed me with the performance of the lower-end X6i neckband model. The X12i Neckband Bluetooth delivers a similarly impressive aura a first glance; packaged in a well-padded case, the headphone carries a micro-USB charging cable in tow, as well as a zippered carrying case and some replacement eartips.
While lightweight, the X12i Bluetooth clearly exudes strength. Though flashy, the headphone remains a thing of taste. Klipsch’s signature oval eartips are as comfortable as ever, and the neckband rests lightly on my collarbone.
Battery life tops out at 18 hours of continuous use (depending on playback volume, of course), and the X12i Bluetooth also sports a vibration mechanism for calls. This feature can be silenced via the use of a switch on the underside of the neckband.
Frequency Range: 5-19,000 Hz
Sound Pressure Level (SPL): NA
Total Harmonic Distortion (THD): NA
Bluetooth Version: Bluetooth 4.0
As you can garner from the specs, Klipsch avoids giving too much info about this headphone. That being said, frequency range is leans toward more low-end detail, while impedance is probably around 23 or 32 ohms. Total Harmonic Distortion seems very low – probably landing around <0.2%. Volume is decent, and SPL seems to be around 115 dB. The slightly-older Bluetooth 4.0 protocol is decent enough, though I did run into some connectivity issues during my listening sessions.
The X12i Neckband offers a decent level of detail in the low end. Overall, a general sense of accuracy pervades this part of the frequency range. Tight control prevents any bleeding, though the bass strikes me as just a tad bit under-powered.
In the midrange, the sound waxes rich and full, with plenty of detail. Devoid of distortion, this part of the frequency range still plays host to slight compression in the lower mids. Not a total dealbreaker, the blemished sound will only trouble the most die-hard critical listeners.
The high end at first seems bright, but repeated listening reveals a smoother high end that expertly balances plenty of detail with a lack of piercing notes. Handling both instrumentation and vocals with ease, this smooth high end strongly compliments the detail-heavy lows and mids.
A strong sense of depth and a cramped sense of placement combine to form a convoluted soundstage. Right away, it’s apparent that the X12i Neckband is churning out some amazing music, but the violins sit atop the piano, for some reason, as the cello dukes it out with a timpani. Needless to say, for less intricate tracks, the sound is more than fine, but I wouldn’t put it to task with my favorite classical tracks.
Connectivity issues got me down, man. I walked twelve feet away from my phone, after placing it on a garbage can, only to have my connection stutter and fail on me. I could still recommend the headphone for a daily commute, but I wouldn’t recommend it to someone who wants to listen to tunes while they bop around a studio or warehouse.
A rich and detailed sound abounds with the X12i Neckband. It handles everything, really – except a track where a ton of instruments vie for your attention. Avoid that headache.
If you’re after the perfect earphone for classical music, skip the whole Bluetooth craze and opt for the Westone UM Pro series – these earphones seem designed for classical works. Of course, if you do listen to only classical music, and you simply MUST have a bluetooth earphone, you’re still better off with the X12i than any other model out there.
With ample detail and a strong sense of accuracy, the lacking soundstage is soon forgiven, especially when you take into account the light weight and long battery life.
With a somewhat jumbled soundstage, the X12i Neckband may prove troublesome when paired with intricate musical compositions. However, its lightweight design, big battery, sleek looks, and rich sound do much to recommend this headphone as the best Bluetooth model currently available.