Klipsch R5 Wireless is the first wireless earphones from Klipsch designed for active lifestyle users. It retails for S$199 in Singapore and is distributed exclusively by TC Acoustic with local warranty. They have sent over a non-returnable unit for my review.
Not to be confused with the R5 Neckband, the R5 Wireless technically uses the same earbud drivers (hence the same model) minus the fixed-shape (albeit flexible) leather neckband. A reason for choosing the R5 Wireless is that you prefer free-form wires which you can tighten behind your neck during intense workout. For me, I would prefer neckband because they stay better on my neck when not in use. The R5 Neckband even comes with vibration when you receive incoming calls.
The difference between the Klipsch R-series and X-series is that the R-series uses dynamic drivers while the X-series uses balanced armature drivers. There is one XR-series which, you guessed right, has hybrid drivers. The R5 uses a 5mm dynamic driver.
Design and Operations
The R5 Wireless has 2 identical-sized capsules but only the right side has buttons and the micro USB connector while the left has none. This design makes the earbuds evenly weighted and so does not slide towards one side which is often the case for wireless earbuds.
The operational buttons are clearly embossed such that my fingers know exactly what buttons they are when I touch them. The middle multi-functional button is a large round protrusion that is hard to miss. This button works as power button (when held for a few seconds), play-pause button, as well as voice assistant (double tap). The other 2 buttons work as volume buttons and skip tracks (when held for a second).
The R5 Wireless feels very lightweight when worn. The cables are short which is good as there aren’t too much loose wire to hang around. The earbuds housing is small, though they are still not as slim as the X12i. They are angled slightly, and combined with the patented oval eartips, provide excellent comfort, free from ear fatigue. For added security, there are ear wings that can be attached to the earbuds so that they do not easily fall off during intensive workouts.
The level of comfort extends to the sound quality. The R5 Wireless connects via aptX which delivers clean audio tuned towards the warm spectrum, similar to many of the other Klipsch headphones I have tried, like the Reference On-Ear II. The treble details remain intact but not too penetrative in my ears.
For critical listeners, most instrumentation is perceivable within the comfortably close sound staging. The midrange details are so prominent that it sometimes overshadow the main instruments if you focus on the former. There is no lack of bass feel, with the booms filling up the sound stage floor without overpowering the other frequencies. Let your mind decide where you want to focus the sound on. That’s the fun part of listening to reference headphones like the R5.
I would prefer if the R5 is slightly brighter for a more exciting and more hi-fi listen. For some tracks, the lack of the highs presence led to a slight overemphasis on the sibilance.
I do find the R5 interrupts the audio connection more frequent than other wireless earphones I have reviewed reecently, which is a little disappointing. It occurs randomly even when the smartphone is placed on the table at line of sight. The earbuds last 8 hours on a single charge, and the IPX4 water rating keeps you worry-free as you wear them for a sweaty workout.
Klipsch retains the audio signature in the new R5 Wireless. It’s a tuning that some people might find a tad dark, but the musical details are satisfying to listen to, and an absolute comfort to use. Listeners who enjoy a tamer but detailed treble sound with extended bass will appreciate the Klipsch sound like R5 Wireless.
Retailing at S$199, the R5 Wireless is priced the same as R5 Neckband, so consumers should decide which they prefer. R5 Neckband works better for all-day wear while R5 Wireless is more compact for storage.