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Klipsch’s Reference family of headphones expands, including two wireless models

In September, Klipsch unveiled a haul of audio gear for CEDIA 2016, but none of it had anything to do with one of the company’s best-loved product categories — headphones. It seems the company was holding on to that announcement for October, as on Wednesday the company announced four new headphones, including two wired and two wireless varieties, all in its popular Reference series.

The new Reference On-Ear II and Reference Over-Ear are the wired models and while music lovers who do not want to be separated from their beloved headphone amps might prefer these, Klipsch’s announcement put much more emphasis on the two wireless models. The new Reference On-Ear Bluetooth and Reference Over-Ear Bluetooth aim to take the sound of Klipsch’s Reference series, but add the convenience of wireless connectivity. Audiophiles decry many wireless options — often with good reason — so Klipsch has taken steps to make sure the sound does not suffer.

“Klipsch worked tirelessly to deliver high performance without the wires which required the use of aptX and AAC technology. With the shift to wireless and the increase of streaming music subscribers, AAC technology delivers the highest quality sound with the least compression,” Klipsch Senior Manager of Headphone Product Development Vlad Grodzinskiy said in a statement.

“The best performance we observed was specifically in conjunction with Apple Music or when streaming movies, which natively use AAC technology and therefore don’t need to recompress and decompress sound before it gets to your ears. This means higher quality, no delay and no artifacts. For music, it means things simply sound better. For movies, it’s the difference between watching a great movie or turning it off because the moving lips don’t match what you’re hearing.”

All of the new headphones use Klipsch Balanced Dynamic driver technology, which aims to reduce the distortion sometimes found in dynamic drivers. As a result, bass frequencies are free of the mud sometimes found in headphones in this price range. The wireless models share the general design and voicing of wired models in the Reference series, so if you are already a fan of these new headphones’ wired cousins, you will likely appreciate these as well.

Both of the new wireless models offer battery life of up to 20 hours of playback time. If Bluetooth is not an option, both the Reference On-Ear Bluetooth and Reference Over-Ear Bluetooth offer the option to connect via a standard 3.5mm cable. The two wired varieties include flat cables with built-in three-button remotes. Every one of the new models is available in either a black or white color finish.

For wired models, the Reference On-Ear II and Reference Over-Ear will retail for $200 and $250, respectively. The Reference On-Ear Bluetooth will sell for $250, while the Over-Ear Bluetooth retails for $300. All of the new models will be available later in October.

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Kris Wouk
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