These tiny Hi-Fi headphones are the future of portable devices

These tiny Hi-Fi headphones are the future of portable devices

In 2007, Klipsch introduced the X10, the smallest in-ear monitors ever. They are surprisingly light. The commercial end is about the size of a grain of rice, and with the silicone tip removed, you’d be forgiven for thinking you’re just looking at a wire.

But here in 2022, the threads are over and the ever-stunning X10s continue to evolve. Klipsch and Ear Micro, a wearable technology company, used the X10s as the basis for the smallest pair of wireless headphones ever, the T10 Bespoke, by Ear Micro, proudly presented by Klipsch Audio. And at $2,500 a pair (at their lowest), they’re also among the most expensive.

The original wired X10s were designed to fit Deep inside your ears, sitting very close to your eardrums, so they can achieve pinpoint accuracy in part by being relatively quiet, limiting distortion. Fifteen years later, the T10s operate on the same basic acoustic principles.

“This is a product designed to teach the world that you can go way beyond Apple AirPods.”

“If I put the T10 and the X10 next to each other, you’ll find it’s exactly the same thing,” says Bear Clark, chief innovation instigator at Ear Micro. They have the same acoustic package: audio tube, nozzle, precision balanced armature and acoustic joint system. “But instead of a cord sticking out at the end, our computer is stuck to the side,” he says.

The result is the acoustic excellence plus the intelligence of premium wireless headphones. T10 ear computers support high-resolution streaming up to 24-bit/96kHz (if it comes from a device that can distribute it). They have hybrid active noise cancellation. And despite their small size, each earbud has a pretty impressive 9 hours of battery life. But as its name suggests, the T10 aims considerably higher in terms of computing capabilities.

klipsch headset

The T10s have capabilities that go far beyond most other wireless headphones.


Each earbud works like its own computer – minus the screen, of course. They’re equipped with a custom processor, built-in memory and storage, and gyroscopes and accelerometers to detect head and even mouth gestures. It’s a suite of features that Clark says puts the T10s more in the realm of augmented reality devices than your average pair of cans. “The fundamental difference between Google Glass, which is a computer, and the T10, which is a computer, is that Google Glass or Apple Glass is for your eyes and this is for your ears,” Clark says.

And to that end, the T10s are upgradeable and customizable, designed with internals replaceable by anyone with standard tools and moderate electronics expertise. “You can think of us as the creation of that chassis,” Clark says. “Want more memory? Put new memory card here. Want to put 5G here? Put new circuit board with 5G.” But perhaps more importantly, it means you’ll eventually be able to replace the battery – assuming Klipsch, Ear Micro or someone else still sells new ones when you need them.

a closed case for klipsch earphones


and open case for Klipsch headphones


You can pick up a pair of T10s for $2,500, but that price can double if you choose to customize your pair at checkout. “Part of the reason these things are $2,500 is that they’re built like Swiss watches,” Clark says. “One at a time with exotic materials, under microscopes by a human being.”

And with prices like that, the T10s are squarely aimed at a very small, specific market. “We designed this product for people who care too much and have a very low affinity for the dollar bill,” Clark says. “What really interests them is something excellent, which gives them the goosebumps and the pride of ownership, and the possibility of being the first in the world to have something.”

a woman wearing klipsch earbuds with the case as a necklace pendant

The T10 ear computers are clearly a luxury item. The charging case can even be worn as a pendant.


You probably won’t see many T10s in the wild – they’re just too expensive. But Ear Micro and its software partner Bragi intend to make “ear computing” a core aspect of the coming wave of wearable augmented reality devices. With ownership of a number of key patents, they are poised to rule the space whether it becomes popular or not.

Clark is unsurprisingly optimistic. “When I tell you ear computing is how we’re all going to interact with the world, it’s not far-fetched — fools like me are leading this wave,” he says. “And so what you’re really talking about with the Klipsch product, or the T10 product, is proof of concept. It’s a product that’s designed to teach the world that you can go way beyond Apple AirPods. “


Gear Patrol Magazine Issue 19 Spotlight

A version of this story appears in Gear Patrol Magazine. Subscribe today

Matthew Stacey

#tiny #HiFi #headphones #future #portable #devices

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *