Creative HS-9301 vs Klipsch S4i comparison

Discussion in 'Portable Headphones & Earphones' started by Napoleon, Apr 10, 2010.

  1. Napoleon

    Napoleon Casual Listener

    Apr 10, 2010
    Creative HS-930i vs Klipsch S4i comparison

    I have been seeking a quality set of ear phones for use with my iPhone and was lucky enough to be handed these two sets for trialling. The S4is are well known, but the HS-930is are a new release and from what I have seen, not yet reviewed anywhere. Both sell for £89 or thereabouts.

    So here's a simple bullet-point plus/minus listing, and a recommendation - but I should first state that (i) I am not a professional reviewer, and (ii) my musical tastes are eclectic and I favour strong bass being a bit of a reggae and soul fan (both tested with "Valerie" by Amy Winehouse and "Breaking Up" by Alton Ellis [the ultimate bass tester, that one]).

    Klipsch S4i
    - appear well made, but plasticky even so; I would question long-term durability
    - the only visible metal is the 3.5mm jack, this gives a rather cheap overall appearance
    - not what I would call an £80+ set, at least in appearance
    - comes with a neat and useful pouch with a strong and secure snap-lock opening
    - also a set of silicon covers in varying sizes including a double flange one (good)
    - I personally find Comply Foam buds essential even so with any in-ear set
    - mic function is good with excellent call quality
    - Sound: excellent clarity across bass/mid/treble. I would describe the sound as a bit in-your-face with a tendency to harshness; Amy felt like she was practically in my brain with the instrumentation in the background. Handled Alton's bass well - the trebles were delightfully clear and crisp and tinkly without becoming painful - but if I did a long stretch (I never usually do), I rather suspect I will get earache. Overall, very good quality sound and well balanced.

    Creative HS-930i
    - well, they look great; brushed and finely machined aluminium
    - they also swivel enabling positioning of the cables in front or behind the ears
    - come with vary-sized set of silicon gels as well but no double flange this time
    - the cloth pouch has a drawstring closer which is useless unlike the Klipsch one (you will have to get a different pouch or lose stuff from this one if not)
    - they have 6mm drivers which (frustratingly) do not match any Comply Foam buds (you can just squeeze T400s on, but that is a stretch and needs delicate snipping)
    - you also get a laptop adapter; this is good and a big plus over the S4is for me
    - mic function is excellent with good sound quality
    - Sound: these rock. The differences against the S4is are fairly small, but the main differences are (i) a 5-10% reduction in the clarity you get with the S4is, (ii) they don't have that tendency to harshness and I believe would be easier on the ears over a long stretch, (iii) the bass is a big step up, it is stunning and just thumps at you.

    Summing up: for me, the Creatives are a clear winner. I must again emphasise that I like strong bass and if you don't or you prefer clarity across the sonic range, you may just favour the Klipschs, but really as an overall listening experience, I would take the HS-930is every time. Add to that the fact that they look better, stronger, more durable and actually do look like an £80+ pair, I would definitely go for these every time.

    I look forward to an expert review, but for me, Creative have come up with a real winner here.
    Last edited: Apr 11, 2010

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