High-end Wooden Headphones

Klipsch HP-3.

Portrait of Tammy Strobel

If you need any more proof that the personal audio market is booming, you only need to look at the new HP-3 headphone from Klipsch. To be accurate, the HP-3 isn’t Klipsch’s first headphone - the company already has a line of very popular in-ear headphones. However, the HP-3 is Klipsch’s first foray into the world of über high-end headphones.

The HP-3’s build befits its flagship status. It has a retro-inspired look and is made out of quality materials. The head band is aluminum and stitched with genuine cowhide leather, the ear cups are fashioned out of solid wood, and ear pads attach magnetically to the ear cups and are made out of sheepskin leather. There are three wooden ear cups options available: ebony, walnut, and oak. 

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The HP-3 headphone comes in a majestic wood presentation case. 

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Because of the materials used, the HP-3 is not light and weigh about 440g that’s nearly half a kilogram. Comfort is quite good thanks to the nicely padded head band but I did discover a hot spot forming at the top of my head after about an hour of wear. Of course, your mileage may vary but this is something to take note of.

The drivers within a made out of bio-cellulose, which is something you don’t often find in headphones. Bio-cellulose is favored for its stiff ness and some manufacturers prefer it to metallic diaphragms as bio-cellulose is said to sound warmer and less cold. The HP-3 has a low impedance of just 25 ohms and a fairly high sensitivity of 98dB/ mW so it should be fairly easy to drive. I could get it to sound sufficiently loud even off an iPad. That said, a high-end headphone like the HP-3 should definitely be paired with equally high-end electronics so that you get the best results. 

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Sound quality is decent. What strikes you most about the HP-3 is its thumping bass and accentuated highs which gives a sense of greater detail. The overall tonality is certainly quite pleasing and works well with modern and edgier genres like rock, pop, and dance. There’s also a laidback vibe about it, which makes the HP-3 work well with certain kinds of jazz. 

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But listeners seeking a more balanced sound will find the mids recessed with vocals and some instruments sounding more distant than they should. Consequently, I found that the HP-3 doesn’t work as well for genres like ballads and classical music. 

As the brand’s first high-end headphone, the HP-3 is an honorable effort. Build quality is outstanding and the sound is enjoyable. Veteran audiophiles will probably find the overall tonality a little too V-shaped, but I think it’s a kind of sound that will easily find many fans. 


A gorgeously crafted headphone that serves up a fun listen. 

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DRIVERS 52mm bio-cellulose dynamic drivers



PRICE $1,999 

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