The first pair I bought was a few years ago and were the Bose In-Ear earbuds. The player I was using at the time was the Apple Ipod 5G video. Compared to the Skullcandy earbuds I was using before, they sounded like THE BEST sounding earbuds I had ever heard. (That I had heard, not that existed). I quickly became disillusioned with these, especially when wearing them as I worked out at the gym and they would constantly fall out of my ears as I worked out. Surprisingly, this would also happen when I wasn't working out, although far less frequently. I tried all the different size ear tips, but made no difference. I knew there were far better (more expensive) buds out there to try, so after doing some research and comparing, I next went with the Ultimate Ears Super.Fi 5 pro earbuds. These had a bendable wire built-in to allow wrapping around the ears and fits deeper into the ears, which they did. Also, the sound was MUCH better! In fact, while waiting to get the X10i's, I sold my Super.Fi 5's and reverted back to the Bose to see how they measured up and after listening to them again, I can't believe I ever thought the Bose sounded good! The bass they give is so overpowering and muddy that it drowns out some of the mids and highs, making for a poor listening experience when compared to the Super.Fi 5's. A little over a month ago, I finally upgraded from using some of the Ipod Nanos to the 64GB Touch (3rd Gen). This model has an in-line/voice control feature which I wanted to use immensely, but I didn't want to use the craptacular earbuds that came with the Touch. After doing a little research, I found that the Klipsch were the only game in town that had some in-line controls/microphone earbuds that work (mostly) with these features. I know there is the cheaper S4i model, but after reading some of the reviews, I was afraid that they would be a lot like the Bose I had (i.e. strong bass drowning out the mids and highs), so I decided to go all out and go for the brass ring and get the ACME HIFI X10i's. I was definitely weary about paying the $250 price tag these things have, what with buying them online (harder for exchange/refunds) and not knowing how well they work. For the price though, they had to be good! And luckily, the gamble paid off. The X10i's sound every bit as good, if not better than, my old UE Super.HIFi 5's! The earbuds are definitely smaller as well and fit much more comfortably in the ears due to the oval shape of the ear tips. This makes quite a lot of sense, considering how oval-like the human ear canal is shaped. It is surprising how much research Klipsch (and others like them) put into making their earbuds; the micro technology, form, design, etc. The medium size tips are what 60% of users find the most comfortable, so those are the ones that are already attached to the buds. I guess I'm one of the 60% because I just left them on when I tried the X10i's out for the first time and they fit comfortably and securely. I bought these for 2 main reasons: 1. The awesome sound. 2. The in-line/microphone controls.
Let me start off first with some background. I have a moderate 1k range ACME Home Theater Receiver with an Orb Audio speaker system in my theater room. This replaced a previous Pioneer home audio system I had for many years before. I do not consider myself an audiophile. I have damage in my left ear from when I was in the US Army and probably only have about 40% hearing in that ear. Overall, I'm unable to tolerate loud music or noises, especially musical distortion, as it causes pain in both ears. As such, clarity in music is exceptionally important to me, because I have to listen to music at lower volumes. This is my first set of "high end" buds/earphone set so I'm unable to offer comparison to anything other than the average low end buds/earphones. What I can say, with absolute certainty (now) is, there IS a difference. I'm a computer programmer with a software business and spend what seems like 12-14 hours a day behind the screen. I have a very diverse music collection, ranging from Motown, to 70s/80s rock, Country, New Age, Classical and just about anything in between. First Impression: I'm simply blown away by the ACME X10 buds. I had high expectations. After all, if I'm going to spend this kind of money, I want my money's worth and in this aspect, I believe I came out the clear winner! My wife thought I was nuts for paying this much for a set of ear buds. You know that look, guys! Then I let her try them on. Her reaction? "Wow....wow! I want a set too!" The Pros: 1) The buds fit perfectly, right out of the box. They came with an assortment of earphone cups, which I have no reason to explore. They insert, as if they were supposed to be there. Very, very comfortable. 2) They are much smaller than I anticipated. I had been using "every day" Sony headphones and sometimes used the stock buds that came with my iPhone, however, I never liked the ones that came with the iPhone. 3) The clarity. Other than fit, the clarity was the most important thing I was looking for, and the ACME X10s deliver impeccable clarity. I hear music like never before. 4) My first selections for music were: "Until the last moment," by Yanni. A truly amazing song, if you haven't heard it, check it out in Amazon's MP3 Downloads area. The piano was remarkably clear, with every note being picked up. The strings, that accompany this selection, "wave" in and out and can be heard with exceptional clarity. The next song I selected, was Fanfare for the common man, by the US Navy (again, checkout the Amazon MP3 Downloads for this amazing rendition). The deep drums in this classic selection would be a true testament for these buds, and they delivered. Deep bass, again with exceptional clarity. The trumpets and french horn are nothing short of amazing in the full, rich clarity. Up next was "We all die young" by Steelheart A classic rock ballad, by Michael Matijevic, who has the most incredible wide ranging vocals you may ever hear. The song was featured in the movie "Rock Star." The vocals were clear, crisp and easily discernible. The song is not heavy in bass, but rather mid-range drums, electric guitar and wow, just wow, the amazing vocals! Finally, the last song I reviewed was "Landslide" by Stevie Nicks of Fleetwood Mac. I listened to the Live PBS version. This was a tough song to listen to and review. Stevie's vocals are so soothing and clear in this selection, however what I really noticed was the intricate details in the picking of the guitar by Lindsey Buckingham. It was amazing to hear such detail in the electric acoustic guitar. It's as if you were there, in the concert. The Cons: If I were a selective audiophile, I could probably drum something up. As it is, I'm just the average Joe America who really likes music, appreciates clarity in a wide range of music and in this respect, I could not fault these if I tried. Fit and clarity at low volume levels were my most important criteria and in this respect, the X10s delivered beyond expectation. If that description fits you, there's no question you will be pleasantly surprised with the ACME HIFI X10s.