Klipsch’s $1,000 noise-canceling wireless buds open CES 2020 with a bang

With just a few days until CES 2020, we’re already seeing some significant audio trends. The biggest one we’re tracking is noise-canceling true wireless earbuds — a trend that has been picking up steam in 2019 thanks in large part to Sony, Apple, and others. Now, Klipsch has joined that list.

Klipsch today announced a variety of new noise-canceling earbuds, from the $299 Klipsch T5 True Wireless ANC smart headphones (a follow-up to the regular T5 wireless buds) to some crazy-expensive models towing some very intriguing claims. Oh, and Klipsch also has some impressive new Dolby Atmos soundbars to show off, too.

Here are some of the biggest products we’ll be seeing from Klipsch, along with all the specs that have been released so far.

High-dollar headphones

Klipsch x McLaren T10 True Wireless smart earphones ($999, fall 2020)

Klipsch x McLaren t10 ANC true wireless earbuds unveiled at CES 2020

Yes, you read that correctly: Klipsch is releasing $1,000 wireless earbuds. And if you can afford them, you might just have the car to match.

Klipsch claims these McLaren-partnered wireless buds are significantly smaller and lighter than any other true wireless earphone available today. And that’s just for starters. They feature a built-in operating system with embedded artificial intelligence (for whatever that’s worth) and can be controlled using advanced gestures  — though we don’t yet know what these gestures are or how you use them.

They also incorporate dual-microphone active noise cancellation and the same balanced armature drivers as the high-end Klipsch X10i earphones. Klipsch also claims a “turbo boost mode” enhances performance, though again, we’ll have to wait to see what this means.

Klipsch being Klipsch, you also get some style points for your high-dollar purchase: The charging case uses magnetic doors to open and is inspired by McLaren supercars. Things we don’t know yet — such as battery life, water-resistance, or whether the buds include features like ambient sound mode — make these high-priced buds an even bigger mystery heading into the show.

Klipsch T10 True Wireless smart earphones ($649, fall 2020)

The non-McLaren version appear to be nearly identical to their racing-inspired counterparts, but considerably less expensive. Klipsch hasn’t said if these buds get the McLaren “turbo” mode or the magnetic doors, but the earbuds and their respective charging case look pretty similar to our eyes.

Even at $300 less, these earbuds are setting a new mark for what we expect to pay for wireless earbuds. Will they offer enough high-end performance to match? We’re hoping to find out soon in Las Vegas.

Klipsch x McLaren T5 Sport True Wireless earphones ($249, fall 2020)

Klipsch x McLaren t5 sport true wireless earbuds unveiled at CES 2020

A much sportier pair of fully wireless buds than what we’ve seen thus far from Klipsch, these earbuds and their charging case are IP67 dust-resistant and watertight. That means the buds have been tested to be fully submerged for up to 30 minutes in 1 meter of water.

The charging case also features a moisture removal system and wireless charging, so you should be able to take these babies on just about any adventure you can imagine. They include three sizes of earwings and memory foam eartips for a tight fit during your workout. Again, we’re waiting to find out about one of the most important specs here, battery life, but these buds could be great new workout companions for 2020.

Klipsch T5 True Wireless Sport earphones ($229, fall 2020)

Apparently Klipsch’s McLaren partnership falls in value as you go down the line. These are essentially the same buds as the x McLaren edition, but without the McLaren branding, for $20 less.

T5 True Wireless ANC smart earphones ($299, fall 2020)

This update of the Klipsch T5 for 2020 brings active noise cancellation to the table. Beyond the addition of ANC, the same impressive 8-hour battery life is on tap between charges, and 24 extra hours are available in that gorgeous, chrome Zippo-style charging case that stole our hearts last year.

Klipsch T5 II True Wireless earphones ($199, fall 2020)

These are the Klipsch true wireless buds for those who don’t care about ANC, but still expect great things from their earbuds. They take last year’s T5 buds and improve on wireless reliability with a new antenna design.

Klipsch x McLaren Over-Ear Active Noise Cancelling (ANC) headphones ($549, fall 2020)

This model features dual-microphone noise cancellation, ultra-plush memory foam earpads, a lightweight design, transparency mode, 30 hours of battery life, and a FlightCase with pockets for travel essentials and convenient charging.

Klipsch Over-Ear Active Noise Cancelling headphones ($399, fall 2020)

You’ll find identical specs on these cans if you remove the fancy McLaren badging. At $399, these headphones look to match up against an extremely competitive crowd of lower-priced contenders, including Sony’s still-dominant WH-1000XM3.

Soundbars

Klipsch is also rolling out some new (and/or upgraded) soundbars at CES 2020 to add to its growing collection.

Klipsch Bar 54 Dolby Atmos soundbar unveiled at CES 2020

Klipsch Bar 54A with Dolby Atmos and DTS Virtual:X ($1,499, fall 2020)

This is essentially the same soundbar that was previewed at CES 2019 (but never materialized for purchase), with a few tweaks. A 54-inch soundbar with a 12-inch subwoofer and separate satellite speakers, the Bar 54A is a full 5.1.4 system. But perhaps the big news is the incorporation of HDMI eARC, which lets TVs with eARC ports deliver uncompressed Dolby Atmos over Dolby TrueHD from built-in apps. In addition, eARC allows for sync adjustment so what you see always matches what you hear.

The Bar 54A also offers built-in Wi-Fi and is compatible with Google Assistant, Apple AirPlay 2, and Amazon Alexa. Optionally, you can add another set of satellite speakers to bump the whole system up to 7.1.4 surround sound.

Klipsch Bar 48 with Dolby Atmos and DTS Virtual:X ($699, fall 2020)

The “Dolby Atmos” in this upgraded Bar 48 is of the virtual kind, meaning you’re really only getting 3.1 sound with DSP to help simulate a more immersive soundstage. That said, at $700, this bar competes with Vizio’s 5.1.4 Dolby Atmos soundbar which offers four upfiring drivers and wired satellite surrounds for true Dolby Atmos immersion.

Like the 54, one of the marquee features for the Bar 48 is HDMI-eARC for future-proofed connection. You can also upgrade the Bar 48 to 5.1 sound with a pair of Klipsch satellite speakers.

Klipsch Bar 44 ($499, summer 2020)

Filling in between Klipsch’s Bar 40 and Bar 48 (released in 2019), this 44-inch bar comes with an 8-inch subwoofer and offers a 3.1-channel configuration, adding a center channel for better clarity in dialogue. This may account for why this bar is smaller than its 48-inch predecessor, yet still touts the same $499 price point.

We’ll update this post with our first impressions of  Klipsch’s latest gear at CES as soon as we get some hands-on time with it, so stay tuned!

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