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Audio Technica ATH-CKM99 Review - Page 3

post #31 of 70

First impressions, the ear tips included did not fit my ears comfortably. So I took out my cheap $15 Sony EX 50 earbuds and exchanged the tips. Now they fit perfectly and fit is exactly like it was on the EX50s.


If your ears fit these earbuds perfectly, using the tips from these will provide the exact same fit.



Right now sound-wise after 5 minutes, they sound very bassy. Tight and very punchy bass. The highs are a bit etched and I have it rolled off on my Cowon. EQing is a usual thing for me to do. I EQed the MTPGs too, but the MTPGs definitely have smoother treble (or upper mids?) compared to these un-burned right now.  But right now, I'm liking these more than the MTPGs since they just fit a whole freaking lot better. I suspect that I can go jogging with them and not worry about them falling out which is definitely not something I would say about the MTPGs. No matter which tips I used with the MTPGs, I never got a secure fit, but the MTPGs with supertips probably provide much better isolation than the CKM99.

Edited by wind016 - 5/4/11 at 3:33pm
post #32 of 70

Did you find the CKM99s bass to be bigger?


post #33 of 70
Originally Posted by Inks View Post

Did you find the CKM99s bass to be bigger?


Out of the box, the bass is really powerful. Very very similar to the Monsters.


post #34 of 70

Dang. I got some SE535s to listen to vocals and they are just not doing it the way I expected.... Thinking maybe I should have gotten these. 

post #35 of 70

Hi Takoyaki, I saw on your sig that you rated CKM99 to be equal to DDM. SQ wise in terms of low mid hi (ignoring the isolation and fit) how do you rate CKM99 against DDM?

post #36 of 70
Thread Starter 

Treble presentation on the DDM was to me a weakness, and one noticable area where the CKM99 is stronger. Both have excellent low-end presentation and smooth mids. The real difference (and imho improvement) of the CKM99 is in their much better fit and isolation.

post #37 of 70

Surprised you still like the IE8s more on my end, I do find that the 8s are a love or hate in-ear. But I just don't like that sort of signature and I think the DDM/DDM2 does it better. 

post #38 of 70

Pulled the trigger....

post #39 of 70


My CKM99s arrived this morning. I've listened to them for about 2 hrs, comparing them mostly to my Shure SE215s (and just a little to my EX500s), so these are my initial impressions. Please note I cannot do a direct comparison with my W4s as they were sold and shipped this morning, before the CKM99s arrived.
Build quality on the CKM99s, as is the norm with ATH, is excellent. Apart from the cable, the CKM99s have better build-quality than the CK10s and are closer to the CK100s, the latter being the best of all three. Both CK10 & CK100 have a better cable than the CKM99, but make no mistake: the 99's cable & strain reliefs are of EXCELENT quality. However, I wish the 99s came with a single cable, ie no extension, but I find the extension no to be that bothersome (unlike the pretty horrible SE530 heavy & bulky extension). Very glad the 99s come with an L-shaped plug, which is what I always prefer.
The CKM99s are meant to be worn with the cable down (as suggested by the manufacturer), and though they can be worn with the cable over the ear, you just don't get the best SQ that way. Isolation is VERY good and comfort is EXCELLENT, better than the Shure SE215 (with their awkward ear-guides & swivel mechanism) and just a little better than the Sony EX500s, but they do provide better isolation than the Sonys. Please note that the CKM99's housings are vented and therefore sound leaks, like on the EX500s, but not so on te SE215s (or EX1000s).
Out of the box the 99s were pretty bright sounding - even a little piercing - on a few tracks (ouch!) - I was a bit disappointed as the bass and mids were pretty good -- thankfully the treble settled within about 2 hrs and the treble is smoother now, though they're still a little bright at times, but definitely not as 'offensive' as the first 45 mins I had them in my ears, and now the CKM99s look like they'll be staying. This is the very first time I've noticed such a considerable change in SQ within just a couple of hours - a change definitely for the better.
The CKM99s have got VERY nice bass and mids. Bass is most definitely present (unlike the CK10), but it's not overly done (not basshead type of bass) and has markedly better quality & texture than the 215's bass, the latter sounds rather boomy/ congested in comparison; there's more mid-bass & less controlled low end on the 215s. Mids is a tough call as the 215s have excellent mids, but the ck99s are similarly good, though  I have to say the 215's mids sound a bit fuller (more body) because of a bump in the upper bass/ lower mids register, but the 99's mids are VERY good.
Will report back later, and in the meantime here are some pics of he ATH-CKM99 (and Sony MRD-EX500 & Shure SE215).
Below: CKM99 (left) & Sony EX500 (right)
Below: CKM99 (left) & Sony EX500 (right)
Below: CKM99 (left) & Sony EX500 (right)
Below: Sony EX500 (left) & CKM99 (right)
Below: ATH-CKM99 & Shure SE215

Edited by music_4321 - 5/9/11 at 7:55am
post #40 of 70
They make the rest of those Iems look very cheap.....
Glad the sound lives up to the hype. Have to say that I'm surprised isolation is once again reported to be good, maybe I'm just skeptical because the fx700s have the same type of housing with no isolation. But then again the JVCs have those large vents. If the harshness got tamed with only a couple of hours then it seems like it should almost disappear after 100+, let's hope that's the case.
post #41 of 70

Wrote the following to a friend a few minutes ago:


"I'm really enjoying the 99s now. The treble seems to have been tamed somehow. By contrast, the 215s sound kind of muddy and I much prefer the ATHs (never mind the price difference). The 99s have excellent bass & mids, and rather nice treble, too. Can't wait to compare them to the EX1000s - we know the so-called 'law of diminishing returns', but I really think the 99s are VERY good - I'm NOT selling these. And make no mistake: these are NOT just good for TV/DVD watching, they're very, VERY good for music. I don't get this quality SQ from my EX500s or 215s. The 99s, like the EX1000s, are a little bright sounding on a couple of recordings but on the whole, they're damn good phones!


The extension ain't all that bad, but the cable is a little microphonic, I must say, the CK10/ CK100 cables were less so as far as I can remember."

Edited by music_4321 - 5/9/11 at 11:24am
post #42 of 70

Here are my impressions.


I notice that there is a treble peak at  around 6K-8K frequencies that are resulting in sibilance for me. The highest frequencies 13+K are also a little boosted. Rolling them off helped a lot.


This finding was through my EQu app on my Iphone. I will try it through my computer eventually, but as of now, I do not find this headphone to really sound like the usual Audio Technica W-series headphones I'm used to. Is this treble only characteristic to the IEMs?

post #43 of 70

Well, yesterday I received my $500 Sony EX1000s. Here & here are some very early impressions of the Sonys - I happen to mention the CKM99s a couple of times. In a nutshell, the CKM99s are excellent IEMs in their price range and compare very favourably to the much more expensive EX1000s.

post #44 of 70

Well, I've had my ($500+) Sony EX1000s for 11 days and been listening to them practically non-stop. Yes, the MDR-EX1000 is an incredible sounding phone.


After 11 days last night I went back to the CKM99s and once again I was impressed. Yes, the treble can be 'hot' at times depending on type of recording/mastering; yes they can sound a bit bright on said recordings (though not offensive to these ears), but on the whole I was VERY impressed again. Yes, the CKM99s are definitely keepers, and like I said 10 days ago, they compare very favourably to my EX1000s, though the latter are a more refined IEM.


Looking back at an earlier post where I showed photos of the Sony EX500 & Shure SE215, the truth is that the CKM99s are markedly better IEMs. Comparing the CKM99s and SE215's, the latter's bass was muddy in comparison, lacking texture - yes, there's bass quantity on the 215s, no doubt, but bass quality just isn't there. The CKM99s have both quantity AND quality.


Treble extension on the SE215s & CKM99s couldn't be more different. The former's is definitely recessed, non-fatiguing, but unlike the (more expensive) UM3X's non-fatiguing treble where you still get all the details, with the 215s you just don't. In that respect I'll take the CKM99's treble any day, which though a bit on the bright side at times, has excellent extension & clarity yet never grainy like I sometimes found the (much more expensive) SE535's treble.


As for the EX500 vs CKM99, there's just no comparison, the latter is a significantly better phone, specially in the mid-range. Not much has been said of the CKM99's mids - well, they are excellent!


One thing worth noting about the CKM99s -  and I only discovered this late last night - is that they're absolutely brilliant for listening at low volumes. For me personally this makes them an even better IEM.


Though I meant to do this before, I kept on forgetting: I'd like to thank takoyaki7 for reviewing the CKM99s in the first place. If it hadn't been for him, I would not have tried this fine IEM (at least not when I did).



Edited by music_4321 - 5/22/11 at 12:19pm
post #45 of 70
Balanced Iems like the ckm99s are very good at low volume levels. Should be getting mine soon but it has a very tough competitor in the FX500....but I'm expecting it to at least beat out the HJE900s/MTPC for my taste.
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