Head-Fi.org › Forums › Equipment Forums › Portable Headphones, Earphones and In-Ear Monitors › My review of Audio Technica ATH-CK9 and ATH-CK10
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

My review of Audio Technica ATH-CK9 and ATH-CK10

post #1 of 76
Thread Starter 
Audio Technica ATH-CK9

Specs.
Single balanced armature
Frequency range: 20 Hz – 15 KHz
Impedance: 30 Ohm
Sensitivity: 104dB/mW
RRP: £159

Build quality and accessories.
Build quality is absolute top class. The housing is made of plastic and the cable is 120cm/47in, with a straight jack. The cable is the best I have seen in a IEM, soft and flexible, not too thick nor too thin and very light, excellent work Audio Technica!
The included accessories are, three pairs of different sized silicone sleeves (S, M and L) and a semi-hard zippered case. Not too generous, but still everything needed for normal use.

Comfort and fit.
The CK9’s are quite large, but due to their design they do fit comfortably. They are to be worn with the cable running over the ear. Isolation from ambient noise is good and the excellent cable does not suffer from any microphonic noise.

Sound quality.
As a single balanced armature IEM the CK9’s could sound a little thin and flat, but they don’t. In fact they produce an impressive full bodied sound, and as an added bonus they respond very well to the use of EQ and DSP. The bass is tight and fast, very high in quality but quantity may not be enough for all tastes. The mids and highs are detailed and smooth at all times, and will please even the most demanding listeners. They have a very good level of detail and an airy soundstage that separates the instruments nicely. They never missed a beat during the different music styles I tried them with, but they do really shine with vocal and acoustic music.

To sum up.
The good: detailed and overall good sound quality, excellent build quality.
The bad: quite expensive, few accessories.

Verdict: they are pricey and they come with few accessories, but they do offer sound and build quality that few can match.



Audio Technica ATH-CK10

Specs.
Dual balanced armature, one for low and one for mid/high frequencies
Frequency range: 20 Hz – 15 KHz
Impedance: 55 Ohm
Sensitivity: 107dB/mW
RRP: £279

Build quality and accessories.
Simply put, build quality and detailing is stunning. (The housing itself is made of plastic, a very high quality plastic I may add, and has a metal back plate) The housing is infact made of stainless steel, with a rubber cover, which is even better than I wrongly assumed. The cable is the same excellent one as the CK9’s, i.e. 120cm/47in, with a straight jack and the best quality I have seen in a IEM.
The included accessories are, just like with the CK9’s, three pairs of different sized silicone sleeves (S, M and L) and a semi-hard zippered case. Again, not that many accessories, but everything needed.

Comfort and fit.
The CK10’s are very small, light and comfortable. They are to be worn with the cable running over the ear. Isolation from ambient noise is good and the excellent cable does not suffer from any microphonic noise.

Sound quality.
The dual armatures produce a beefy and incredibly detailed sound, from the highly textured low end with its good depth and attack via the natural and buttery mids all the way up to the really sparkling and expansive high end. Natural, detailed and expansive, in the true meaning of the words, that is the best and most honest way of describing the CK10’s.
It’s like I am listening to, or rather, hearing my favourite music for the first time, they present me with so much detail that I have never noticed before. Hotel California and Comfortably Numb sound excellent, stunning and brilliant all at once, if I close my eyes I can almost imagine myself in the studio alongside the guys. The CK10’s make any music, I tried them with everything from classical to rap, sound extraordinary. The accurate and detailed sound make them well suited for critical monitoring and their relatively high impedance and low sensitivity means they do not suffer from any background hiss. They respond well to the use of EQ and DSP, if anyone would deem that necessary. Now if you’ll excuse me I will continue to explore my music library and enjoy the fantastic sound of the CK10’s.

To sum up.
The good: they have a fantastic sound quality and a build quality that trounces any IEM I have seen before, they are light, very small and comfortable, did I mention the stunningly detailed sound already?
The bad: main drawback is of course the price, and being picky, the bass may not be enough for bassheads, they don’t have many accessories included.

What can I say? The CK10’s are pricey and they come with few accessories, but they sound stunning and they define the meaning of build quality. These are a serious contender for the best universal IEM for sound quality, build quality and comfort. Is that recommendation enough?


CK9 on the left and CK10 on the right.
LL
LL
LL
post #2 of 76
I have two favourite iems: Atrio M5 and the Ck10. The ck10 have the most balanced, yet smooth sound i have heard from any universal iem, are quick and as you said it, trounce any competition for build quality. The only thing not good is the straight cable and the lack of stress relief. buth otherwise, the ck10 cable is the strongest of any iem i have used, very noise free and only beaten by westone for microphonic-less listening.
post #3 of 76
Thread Starter 
Personally I don't mind the straight jack, even if I can understand the reasoning.
By stress relief, do you mean on the jack or on the earpiece itself? There is a short stress relief on the jack and a thicker rubber coating that acts as a sort of stress relief on the earpiece. I have to agree that they could be better though, even if I don't find them bad either.
post #4 of 76
well, when i mention stress relief, i mean properly moulded (melted onto the cable itself) so that there is a proper anchor. there isn't anything like that on the ck10. it just has a sleeve which sort of does something, but is more for looks than anything else.
post #5 of 76
Thread Starter 
True, that would be better than the sleeves so many use.
post #6 of 76
wow, ck10 totally disappear in your ears...

shigzeo, ck100 has angled plug AND proper stress relief on earpieces and the jack
post #7 of 76
IIRC, CK9 has just been discontinued by AT. With the new release of CK90Pro, there is a good chance CK10 might be pulled out in the next few months as well. I just wish AT is cheaper outside of JP
post #8 of 76
next time i go to japan, i will have to buy a few. the ck10 simply suprised me from the very first look to the last listen. best universal iem i have ever used.
post #9 of 76
Yep, I just sold my Denon C710. I would listen to the CK10 instead so might as well sell the Denon's. Very nice with foams, either Comply's or homemade from Hearos Xtreme plugs.

A bit of clarification on the build of the CK10. The housing is stainless steel with a rubber covering. Think of of stainless steel auto rim and a tire mounted on it. A plastic disc is fused to the Rubber covering. The only plastic is the back piece.
post #10 of 76
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by jant71 View Post
A bit of clarification on the build of the CK10. The housing is stainless steel with a rubber covering. Think of of stainless steel auto rim and a tire mounted on it. A plastic disc is fused to the Rubber covering. The only plastic is the back piece.
Cheers for the clarification. I thought it was plastic because the rubber is so tight and stiff it feels and looks like plastic. I will edit my original post.
post #11 of 76
i preferred the ck10 with homemade foams - brought out the bass a lot, but the victor hybrid foams also worked very well.
post #12 of 76
So how are these compared to the PFE?
post #13 of 76
i've had the ck10 and the pfe. while it isn't fair - the ck10 are 200$ earphones and the pfe are 139$ - the ck10 outclass the pfe in every possible way. From build quality, to smooth rendition of highs and mids to a better layered bass, the pfe is outclassed. audeo is great when compared to other sub 150$ earphones - one of the best i reckon -, but isn't that great when compared above 200$.

the ck10 (i have not owned the ck9) is simply stunningly well made with a cable which will not crystalise, has a better carrying case, higher quality housing and better sound. i bought them at 200$ or so about 2 years ago and think they remain at that price, the best buy. as an entire package, they aren't bettered by any other non-at product among universals. there simply isn't a good enough upgrade at any price with any number of drivers which can compete for sound and build quality.
post #14 of 76
shigzeo, so the EarSonics SM2 DLX won't better the ck10, is this correct?
post #15 of 76
They are both very good. the earsonics have a better relieved cable. that is 100% accurate. They are also monitors, so have a slightly elevated mid range, but it remains dry and detailed. the ck10 are the most neutral non-professinal monitors i have heard bar none.

which do i prefer? the CK10's housing will outlast any other univesal, i have no doubts about that thought he cable could have better support.

sound is up to you. i prefer the CK10 though i wish it had the bass of the SM2. The ck10 is simply the smoothest universal i have tried.

i should not say that it is better though, simply that i prefer it. the SM2 is the best professional monitor i have used and like all professional monitors, its sound needs to be regarded for what it is. excellent, but not a 'fun' tweaky sound of many phones. its stage is simply phenomenal as is its extension both high and low.

the ck10 though not professional, has a very neutral sound, though it is smooth, too smooth maybe for professional use. it can detect grain of course as it is detailed, but there is not fatigue in it anywhere making certain recordings which should have a different influence, pass the test.
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
Head-Fi.org › Forums › Equipment Forums › Portable Headphones, Earphones and In-Ear Monitors › My review of Audio Technica ATH-CK9 and ATH-CK10