Choosing the right earphones to go running with isn’t a simple task. While there’s no shortage of headphones and earphones on the market, finding a pair that can stand up to the rigours of running, while still providing decent sound quality can be a challenge.
I recently reviewed the Sennheiser PMX 685i Sport headphones, which ticked most of the right boxes, but the relative lack of noise isolation could be a problem for some, especially if you frequent a very noise gym. So today I’m looking at the Klipsch A5i Sport earphones, which employ a more traditional in-ear noise isolating design, but with some key design tweaks to make them suitable for running duties.
The A5i Sports are available in green or pink, and Klipsch was kind enough to send me the bright pink version. Neither colour is subtle, but then considering that most running kit is pretty bright to ensure that you’re visible at night, the A5i Sports don’t really jar.
Although the A5i Sports use an in-ear configuration, Klipsch has combined an over-the-ear loop to eliminate cable tug, and ensure that everything stays in place no matter how active you are. Once you’ve got the earphones and ear-loops in place, the A5i Sports aren’t going anywhere.
The fit is extremely comfortable, even for extended periods, and another advantage to the ear-hook design is that you don’t have to worry about the earphones slipping out when you work up a sweat. The A5i Sports also seem to be reassuringly impervious to water ingress, having been suitably drenched in sweat during many workouts.
Klipsch has equipped the A5i Sports with a tangle-free cable, which does a very good job of living up to its name. Even if you roll them up into a ball and stuff them in your pocket, it shouldn’t take you more than a few seconds to get things straightened out and ready to go.
There’s an inline remote control with a microphone that’s iPhone and iPod compatible. There are buttons for volume up and down, as well as play/pause. The remote also has a sturdy clip that keeps it in place on your shirt while you’re running.
I’ve tested some very impressive earphones from Klipsch over the years, so I was fully expecting the A5i Sports to sound good, and I wasn’t disappointed. While sound quality isn’t the most important aspect when it comes to sports earphones, you still want to be able to enjoy your music while you’re running.
The sound is rich and full, aided by the silicone tips creating a tight seal in your ear canal. Bass is deep and warm, but never overpowering, ensuring that delicate detail is still discernibly rendered. The biggest compliment I can pay to the A5i Sports is that I’d happily use them to listen to music when I’m not running.
That tight ear canal seal also means that noise isolation is well taken care of, cutting out piped music in the gym as well as the sound of your feet pounding on the treadmill. If you’re running outdoors though, you will need to take extra visual care, since you’ll be aurally cut off from your surroundings. Not so much of a problem when trail or park running, but something to consider when running on the road.
Klipsch supplies a small, soft carry case for the A5i Sports, along with a variety of single and double flange silicone ear-tips, so you shouldn’t have any trouble finding a decent fit no matter what type of ear canals you have.
So, are the Klipsch A5i Sports better than the Sennheiser PMX 685i Sports? They certainly provide fuller, warmer and richer sound quality, thanks to their ear-canal design. That said, if you’re running on the road, you might prefer having more aural awareness of your surroundings.
The Sennheisers are also easier to slip on and off your ears, thanks to their neckband, but that also makes them larger and less portable. But for me, the impressive sound quality and enhanced noise isolation gives the Klipsch A5i Sports the edge.
The Klipsch A5i Sports aren’t cheap, but when it comes to sound quality, you pretty much get what you pay for. What’s impressive is that Klipsch has managed to produce a set of earphones aimed at runners and other active users without having to compromise on the sound quality.
If sound quality isn’t paramount for you when you’re pounding the trails, the Sennheiser PMX 685i Sports are definitely worth considering, and will save you some cash. But if you’re looking for a high-quality pair of sports earphones that provide good enough audio to be used anytime, the Klipsch A5i Sports are well worth investing in.
- Great sound quality
- Very comfortable fit
- No cable tug
- Impressive noise isolation
- Tangle free cable
- Compact carry case bundled
- Sweat resistant
- Stay in place no matter how active you are
- They’re not cheap
- Some may find noise isolation disconcerting
- Can be tricky to put in place initially
- Bright colours may put some buyers off