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[Review] CK100PRO Unboxing & Impressions (+ a retrospective journey with Audio-technica and versus CK100) - Page 15

post #211 of 225
Quote:
Originally Posted by recarcar View Post
 

I saw a used one maybe a week or two ago for around $200USD. The housings weren't in the best of shape but knowing how well built these things are seems like that wouldn't be a problem at all. With the situation with the yen right now I imagine that you might be able to find an amazing deal on a used pair. Great!  Shouldn't be a problem navigating the sites then!:) If I see anything I'll send over a link. 

 

Sure is. 

The only problem i currently face, is that my current rig is not high-end enough to be used with the ck100pro. I real pity...with my current setup they are harsh and bright as all hell.

post #212 of 225
Quote:
Originally Posted by TheDreamthinker View Post
 

 

Sure is. 

The only problem i currently face, is that my current rig is not high-end enough to be used with the ck100pro. I real pity...with my current setup they are harsh and bright as all hell.

They are definitely one of the most source dependent earphone/headphones I have tried. I don't think you need anything super high-end to get a great sound out of them though, it just needs to be a good match. Something with a very low noise floor and low output impedance usually works well to eliminate the weird impedance swings that sometimes happen with the earphone. 

post #213 of 225
Quote:
Originally Posted by recarcar View Post

They are definitely one of the most source dependent earphone/headphones I have tried. I don't think you need anything super high-end to get a great sound out of them though, it just needs to be a good match. Something with a very low noise floor and low output impedance usually works well to eliminate the weird impedance swings that sometimes happen with the earphone. 

Completely agree with this. I was surprised how different the CK100PRO sounded out of my iPad and to my phone. They are definitely a special IEM.
post #214 of 225
Quote:
Originally Posted by malifact View Post

Completely agree with this. I was surprised how different the CK100PRO sounded out of my iPad and to my phone. They are definitely a special IEM.

 

Yes, makes owning them ever more difficult.

Thats why i am not sure whether it would be worth it. I'll maybe go with a warmer iem, because i just bought a ER4s.

post #215 of 225
Quote:
Originally Posted by TheDreamthinker View Post
 

 

Yes, makes owning them ever more difficult.

Thats why i am not sure whether it would be worth it. I'll maybe go with a warmer iem, because i just bought a ER4s.

 

I think if you can get a good deal and your budget allows, it might be worth the risk. Otherwise, I would air on the side of caution. Also, I didn't have this problem, but some CK100PRO owners in Japan didn't like the fit or the way the cables hang. IMO it's definitely a marmite (love it or hate it) IEM.

post #216 of 225
Quote:
Originally Posted by malifact View Post
 

 

I think if you can get a good deal and your budget allows, it might be worth the risk. Otherwise, I would air on the side of caution. Also, I didn't have this problem, but some CK100PRO owners in Japan didn't like the fit or the way the cables hang. IMO it's definitely a marmite (love it or hate it) IEM.

It definitely does seem like a love it or hate it IEM. When I first got them I was really disappointed with the fit and how source dependent they are, but after some toying around A LOT with tips and finally getting a better fit and pairing it with source it went well with (this was the biggest challenge), they are really unlike anything I have heard. They are also now really comfortable for me.

Quote:
Originally Posted by TheDreamthinker View Post
 

 

Yes, makes owning them ever more difficult.

Thats why i am not sure whether it would be worth it. I'll maybe go with a warmer iem, because i just bought a ER4s.

They are definitely not a warm IEM but I would say that they have more of a "fun" and dynamic sound signature than the ER4s (not as linear or neutral). They are however, very forward and although this really doesn't happen to me, can cause fatigue after some time listening to them if you are sensitive to a forward treble presentation. 


Edited by recarcar - 11/21/14 at 11:23am
post #217 of 225
Quote:
Originally Posted by TheDreamthinker View Post
 

 

Yes, makes owning them ever more difficult.

Thats why i am not sure whether it would be worth it. I'll maybe go with a warmer iem, because i just bought a ER4s.

 

There are so many option in terms of great IEMs right now I don't think you would be missing out too much by trying out something else. I feel like the used prices are gonna stay low for a while on these because of their fit and source issues. Good luck on your search!


Edited by recarcar - 11/21/14 at 11:26am
post #218 of 225
Quote:
Originally Posted by recarcar View Post

 

There are so many option in terms of great IEMs right now I don't think you would be missing out too much by trying out something else. I feel like the used prices are gonna stay low for a while on these because of their fit and source issues. Good luck on your search!

I briefly tried the ck100pro in TaiPei. 

And i found them extremely shrill and sibilant with my current rig/amp (3Move). Also a considerable amount of background hiss. 

 

Not very enjoyable all-in-all.

 

Speaking of the weak Yen. I consider buying Ocharaku iems. SUI or Kuro. 

Any thoughts?

post #219 of 225
Quote:
Originally Posted by TheDreamthinker View Post
 

I briefly tried the ck100pro in TaiPei. 

And i found them extremely shrill and sibilant with my current rig/amp (3Move). Also a considerable amount of background hiss. 

 

Not very enjoyable all-in-all.

 

Speaking of the weak Yen. I consider buying Ocharaku iems. SUI or Kuro. 

Any thoughts?

Yeah they can be a really terrible listening experience depending on your source. The 3Move is a very capable source from all accounts and has pretty low output impedence which just shows how tricky it can be to find a good pairing even when the conventional wisdom specs wise is applied. I have tried quite a bit of source pairing with these and the results seems pretty random (though I'm sure they are not, I don't have enough technical knowledge to be sure). I have had great experiences with these when coupled with lower end/"mid-fi" sources and not so great listening sessions with "better"ones and vice versa. They also sound very good just out of my computer headphone jack to my ears, so it seems like a very hit or miss kind of IEM in terms of source matching. 

 

I've unfortunately never had the chance to listen to any of the Ocharaku IEMs, but they definitely seem to produce very interesting and intriguing IEMs. They have been on my radar for a while now. Hopefully the chance to listen to them comes up some day. Unfortunately, their mid and upper tier IEMs are pretty expensive and don't come up on forums around here very often so they have to be imported which means more $ on top of their initial cost. And although the build quality of their stuff seems very good, they don't have detachable cables and I don't know what their warranty policies are for those not in Japan. 

post #220 of 225
Quote:
Originally Posted by recarcar View Post
 

Yeah they can be a really terrible listening experience depending on your source. The 3Move is a very capable source from all accounts and has pretty low output impedence which just shows how tricky it can be to find a good pairing even when the conventional wisdom specs wise is applied. I have tried quite a bit of source pairing with these and the results seems pretty random (though I'm sure they are not, I don't have enough technical knowledge to be sure). I have had great experiences with these when coupled with lower end/"mid-fi" sources and not so great listening sessions with "better"ones and vice versa. They also sound very good just out of my computer headphone jack to my ears, so it seems like a very hit or miss kind of IEM in terms of source matching. 

 

I've unfortunately never had the chance to listen to any of the Ocharaku IEMs, but they definitely seem to produce very interesting and intriguing IEMs. They have been on my radar for a while now. Hopefully the chance to listen to them comes up some day. Unfortunately, their mid and upper tier IEMs are pretty expensive and don't come up on forums around here very often so they have to be imported which means more $ on top of their initial cost. And although the build quality of their stuff seems very good, they don't have detachable cables and I don't know what their warranty policies are for those not in Japan. 

Very interesting observation. Sadly i didn't have a M8 or a Hugo on hand to use with the ck100pro at that time, see how these effected the sound.

 

It also should be noted, that the 3Move is a relatively cold sounding amp to work with.

 

I have for years been immensely interested in the ck100pro, which can be seen form my activity on this thread.

But when i auditioned them at my normal (ie low) listening volume and put on some high speed/ aggressive music to try, my ears literally felt deaf after only 10 minutes. This had never happened before with any other headphone/iem. Add to that a finicky fit, some very noticeable noise floor and i was left quite confused.

 

From what i have heard, i really can agree that the ck100pro are very picky iems indeed. One should consider them only with a rig which is sure to work with it well or many different options at ones disposal.

Speaking of the ck100pro...i have also tried the AT-IM03 and its siblings which are supposed to be spiritual successors to the ck100pro. And i must say i was left unimpressed. Shrill, harsh, thin and all in all not overall enjoyable from what i could tell on 2 separate listings.

 

Indeed Ocharakus are very difficult to come by outside of Japan and don't have removable cables which should make them susceptible to use. But again i wouldn't say they were conceived to be 'use-iems' but rather 'art-iems' (音楽 - the name says it all). They should be savoured like good tea.

But i also found their fit to be a bit difficult, due to a rather big nozzle, but again it didn't have a big tip selection at my disposal. 

When i tried them though, what irritated me was the lack of apparent definition. Especially for the price.

The more i try Japanese gear, i get the feeling they are much more about the artisanal 'feel' of sound, rather than actual accuracy and definition. I also found this to hold true for high end ATs (ex. ATH 2000x).

post #221 of 225
Quote:
Originally Posted by TheDreamthinker View Post
 

Very interesting observation. Sadly i didn't have a M8 or a Hugo on hand to use with the ck100pro at that time, see how these effected the sound.

 

It also should be noted, that the 3Move is a relatively cold sounding amp to work with.

 

I have for years been immensely interested in the ck100pro, which can be seen form my activity on this thread.

But when i auditioned them at my normal (ie low) listening volume and put on some high speed/ aggressive music to try, my ears literally felt deaf after only 10 minutes. This had never happened before with any other headphone/iem. Add to that a finicky fit, some very noticeable noise floor and i was left quite confused.

 

From what i have heard, i really can agree that the ck100pro are very picky iems indeed. One should consider them only with a rig which is sure to work with it well or many different options at ones disposal.

Speaking of the ck100pro...i have also tried the AT-IM03 and its siblings which are supposed to be spiritual successors to the ck100pro. And i must say i was left unimpressed. Shrill, harsh, thin and all in all not overall enjoyable from what i could tell on 2 separate listings.

 

Indeed Ocharakus are very difficult to come by outside of Japan and don't have removable cables which should make them susceptible to use. But again i wouldn't say they were conceived to be 'use-iems' but rather 'art-iems' (音楽 - the name says it all). They should be savoured like good tea.

But i also found their fit to be a bit difficult, due to a rather big nozzle, but again it didn't have a big tip selection at my disposal. 

When i tried them though, what irritated me was the lack of apparent definition. Especially for the price.

The more i try Japanese gear, i get the feeling they are much more about the artisanal 'feel' of sound, rather than actual accuracy and definition. I also found this to hold true for high end ATs (ex. ATH 2000x).

Definitely seems that way with a lot of Audio-Technica's stuff that I have used! I never know how to feel about this as often times I think it's really great that they are approaching their tuning in an artisanal way, but that can sometimes means that it gets further away from accuracy and definition. The CK100Pro are interesting in this way because they definitely have an artisinal sort of tuning IMO, but they don't stray away from accuracy and clarity. Those are in fact its strengths, while maintaining a very unique and engaging presentation. They seem to be a very unique IEM in this way (when paired well, of course :basshead:). When reading about the Ocharaku Kaede, the description's often reminded me of 100pros. I really wonder if there is anything to this.  

post #222 of 225
Quote:
Originally Posted by recarcar View Post
 

Definitely seems that way with a lot of Audio-Technica's stuff that I have used! I never know how to feel about this as often times I think it's really great that they are approaching their tuning in an artisanal way, but that can sometimes means that it gets further away from accuracy and definition. The CK100Pro are interesting in this way because they definitely have an artisinal sort of tuning IMO, but they don't stray away from accuracy and clarity. Those are in fact its strengths, while maintaining a very unique and engaging presentation. They seem to be a very unique IEM in this way (when paired well, of course :basshead:). When reading about the Ocharaku Kaede, the description's often reminded me of 100pros. I really wonder if there is anything to this.  

This is also one of the reasons why, to be honest, i never actively owned any AT products myself. I have loaned and tried extensively, yes, but never invested my own money into them.

This is due to the fact, that i found ATs offering inconsistent and their tuning not absolutely 'committed 'at times. By this i mean, that ATs sound sig does fit female vocals quite well. But doesn't do so at all times. Some gear they produce, especially their iems (see the IM line), doesn't seem to embody that philosophy completely. I have the feeling that AT is sometimes 'stuck' between precision and art, not knowing which to attribute more importance to.

Also, they have a tendency to spike (even their AD1000x and other high end offerings). Not to say that this is uncommon, but i have heard other companies, deliver as extended treble without spikes. -  This again speaks to their artisinal approach to tuning.

 

Again i do not want to bash here, as AT has the potential to become one of my favourite headphone brands in the future. Especially because my music library does include more than just a few asian (and japanese) artists and AT do these genres very well at times. But to me, at the moment they aren't quite there yet.

 

About Ocharaku, i have till this date only auditioned the SUI and DONGURI. To my ears both were very similar (and in the state i was then, quite difficult to tell apart).

Having compared the ck10opro to the Ocharakus, i can tell that they, from what i have heard there (impressions) are not alike.

I found the Ocharakus 'tamer' and overall more atmospheric. If you have owned any Grados, especially the higher ones, they are similar Ocharakus (in as iems that is). But Ocharakus, as i said before, seem to have technical difficulties, compared to the high performance iems from other companies.


Edited by TheDreamthinker - 11/25/14 at 1:18pm
post #223 of 225
Quote:
Originally Posted by TheDreamthinker View Post
 

This is also one of the reasons why, to be honest, i never actively owned any AT products myself. I have loaned and tried extensively, yes, but never invested my own money into them.

This is due to the fact, that i found ATs offering inconsistent and their tuning not absolutely 'committed 'at times. By this i mean, that ATs sound sig does fit female vocals quite well. But doesn't do so at all times. Some gear they produce, especially their iems (see the IM line), doesn't seem to embody that philosophy completely. I have the feeling that AT is sometimes 'stuck' between precision and art, not knowing which to attribute more importance to.

Also, they have a tendency to spike (even their AD1000x and other high end offerings). Not to say that this is uncommon, but i have heard other companies, deliver as extended treble without spikes. -  This again speaks to their artisinal approach to tuning.

 

Again i do not want to bash here, as AT has the potential to become one of my favourite headphone brands in the future. Especially because my music library does include more than just a few asian (and japanese) artists and AT do these genres very well at times. But to me, at the moment they aren't quite there yet.

 

About Ocharaku, i have till this date only auditioned the SUI and DONGURI. To my ears both were very similar (and in the state i was then, quite difficult to tell apart).

Having compared the ck10opro to the Ocharakus, i can tell that they, from what i have heard there (impressions) are not alike.

I found the Ocharakus 'tamer' and overall more atmospheric. If you have owned any Grados, especially the higher ones, they are similar Ocharakus (in as iems that is). But Ocharakus, as i said before, seem to have technical difficulties, compared to the high performance iems from other companies.

Doesn't sound like you are bashing at all! I think you are describing a lot of AT products very accurately. They seem rather inconsistent especially when compared to other major Japanese brands. It is a very interesting aspect of their products and perhaps why some of the really wonderful things they produce often get overlooked in comparison to other manufacturers. I have no favorite brands but the CK100pro has definitely left me curious about what AT has done since. I really wish I could hear the Kaede but unfortunately may never get that chance, or other really interesting Japanese stuff :frown: 

post #224 of 225
Quote:
Originally Posted by recarcar View Post
 

Doesn't sound like you are bashing at all! I think you are describing a lot of AT products very accurately. They seem rather inconsistent especially when compared to other major Japanese brands. It is a very interesting aspect of their products and perhaps why some of the really wonderful things they produce often get overlooked in comparison to other manufacturers. I have no favorite brands but the CK100pro has definitely left me curious about what AT has done since. I really wish I could hear the Kaede but unfortunately may never get that chance, or other really interesting Japanese stuff :frown: 

To me a company should represent a certain tuning 'philosophy', an approach which they cherish and cooperate into every of their products.

Yes, AudioTechnica is one of the older and bigger players in the game. Of course more a company grows, the more it needs to diversify and adapt to different audiences, the more it becomes difficult to maintain this 'core-heritage'. 

Take the smaller companies, Grado Labs, Etymotic Research, Westone, they all embody different, valid approaches: Bright, fun, energy / clinical, precise, utilitarian / warm, bass, smooth...

In ATs case, I feel that they had a harder time maintaining this heritage than (some) other bigger names.

One can have the ck100pro, the new IM series...and all may sound (imo) quite different. Not bad, but inconsistent in overall tone and target reference.

 

I think AT should cut down certain parts of its line up, to become more relevant again the headphone space.

 

Another thing which frustrates me about AT as a company is that in their full-sized offerings they tend to use the same driver. Take the AD/AIR series - a considerable part of the line-up uses the identical driver in a slightly different enclosures.

Having tried the entire series, i can tell that they all struck me as remarkably overall similar, which probably is why their AD2000x is hardly a hot flagship in the community. Take the AD1000x or even the AD900x and get a different (not necessarily worse) sound at half the price.

 

hear that Audio Technica, we need you to come back to the game.

 

---- 

 

concerning Ocharakus - if i remember correctly i also briefly tried the Kaede, but it was overshadowed byits much more price efficient siblings. The fact that i need to think already tells quite a lot about how memorable they where on first listen..;)

Try finding some used cheaper Ocharakus (tend to pop up from time to time) and get them. Like the sound, progress but don't expect wonders.

 

Not saying they are not good, just found them more about atmosphere than technical proficiency - and at that price point (Kaede and up...) i am afraid that i expect a bit more than 'air'.

(*cough*) MDR7550 (*cough*)

post #225 of 225
Quote:
Originally Posted by TheDreamthinker View Post
 

To me a company should represent a certain tuning 'philosophy', an approach which they cherish and cooperate into every of their products.

Yes, AudioTechnica is one of the older and bigger players in the game. Of course more a company grows, the more it needs to diversify and adapt to different audiences, the more it becomes difficult to maintain this 'core-heritage'. 

Take the smaller companies, Grado Labs, Etymotic Research, Westone, they all embody different, valid approaches: Bright, fun, energy / clinical, precise, utilitarian / warm, bass, smooth...

In ATs case, I feel that they had a harder time maintaining this heritage than (some) other bigger names.

One can have the ck100pro, the new IM series...and all may sound (imo) quite different. Not bad, but inconsistent in overall tone and target reference.

 

I think AT should cut down certain parts of its line up, to become more relevant again the headphone space.

 

Another thing which frustrates me about AT as a company is that in their full-sized offerings they tend to use the same driver. Take the AD/AIR series - a considerable part of the line-up uses the identical driver in a slightly different enclosures.

Having tried the entire series, i can tell that they all struck me as remarkably overall similar, which probably is why their AD2000x is hardly a hot flagship in the community. Take the AD1000x or even the AD900x and get a different (not necessarily worse) sound at half the price.

 

hear that Audio Technica, we need you to come back to the game.

 

---- 

 

concerning Ocharakus - if i remember correctly i also briefly tried the Kaede, but it was overshadowed byits much more price efficient siblings. The fact that i need to think already tells quite a lot about how memorable they where on first listen..;)

Try finding some used cheaper Ocharakus (tend to pop up from time to time) and get them. Like the sound, progress but don't expect wonders.

 

Not saying they are not good, just found them more about atmosphere than technical proficiency - and at that price point (Kaede and up...) i am afraid that i expect a bit more than 'air'.

(*cough*) MDR7550 (*cough*)

I definitely agree that they seem to be trying to cater to every sort of audio taste and this often leads to a lot of inconsistency in quality/pricing etc. Before trying any of their products I was under the impression that both their earphones and headphones tended to emphasize a sound geared toward female vocals, and more of an "artesanal" tuning. But after listening to the CK100, 100pro, IM series (02,03), and their W1000X and W5000, they all are pretty different to my ears. Even from that small sample they seem to not have a specific sound in mind and I personally tended to like their less expensive offerings, excluding the 100pro. I am not sure whether I am bothered by this but it definitely seems to have made a lot of their "higher end" products less relevant to a lot of audio enthusiasts compared to other flagships. There has also been such a saturation of great IEMs since the 100pros came out in 2011, at many different price points, and it seems like AT has not adjusted well to this as much as other major Japanese manufactures have. 

 

That's interesting info on the Kaede! Most people I have talked to seem to think it is a really unique listening experience. I have always wanted to try the 7550 and 1000. I have often heard that both are quite similar to the 100pros. Maybe I'll look into getting a used pair of one of them soon!:etysmile:

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Head-Fi.org › Forums › Equipment Forums › Portable Headphones, Earphones and In-Ear Monitors › [Review] CK100PRO Unboxing & Impressions (+ a retrospective journey with Audio-technica and versus CK100)