Anyone catch Captain America: Civil War over the summer? Bitchin’, right? Those big-budget action movies are pretty much the only films that I go to the cinema to see anymore, the rest of my visual content consumed at home on the iPad or iPhone. The reason is simple: the immersive aural experience, the surround sound that engulfs your ears and transports you into the heart of the action with every explosion, gunshot and stabbing musical score. And as much as I love a quaint Woody Allen comedy or gritty foreign drama, hearing faint violins over a witty yet mumbled aside or anguished plea just isn’t the same, no matter how loud it is. However, even this might change after getting my hands on a pair of Klipsch XR8is, as bringing your ears to the pictures…minus the rustling of popcorn packets.
The headphones’ packaging is worth a mention as it’s a miniature work-of-art in itself; sliding off the cardboard bottom and nimbly unwrapping the twistie-bound cords is being-a-kid-at-Christmas kind of fun. Out drops a soft leather wallet that folds over the headphones and fastens with an elastic strap, perfect to stop your ’phones becoming a tangled mess in your pocket.
The earbuds are fairly heavy and have a cold, metallic feel, but you can change to a variety of buds to suit your ear shape, Goldilocks-style. With an angled nozzle in the headphone, this directs the bud down your ear canal and towards your cochlea. The wire is a deep, twisting brown and looks very luxurious, coming with a detachable clip for a T-Shirt, running vest or tie. A three-button mic is a nice addition, with the user able to adjust the volume and pause music and movies.
And speaking of movies…I loaded up Avengers Assemble (yep, Marvel fanboi, that’s me! Come on, D.C. guys, did you really sit through the catastrophe that was Suicide Squad and not wsh that Iron Man would fly in to add some star power?) and sat back in my new cinema chair (couch) to see if I could save myself the £10 ticket fee every time that Captain America decides to pick another fight. The sound is bassy but not over the top, all controlled by the dynamic subwoofer that lends a high clarity to the overall sound, with no tinniness or crackling even at ear-splitting volumes. It really does envelop your aural senses and the noise-cancelling function means that I don’t hear the pizza guy wrapping at the door until I check my phone and see a few missed calls from an angry Italian restaurateur.
As for tunes, the bass is prominent but again it doesn’t limit you to Pendulum and the like; even gentle acoustic songs play well through these bad boys. Of course, a bit of Chase and Status goes down a treat too…
Retailing at around the £200 mark, Klipsch XR8is certainly aren’t the cheapest on the market but if you’re looking for a way to shut the world out and immerse yourself in music, film or a Skype chat with a friend, look no further. Just think: that’s just 20 cinema non-trips before you’re making money.