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The ATH-CKM50. The CKM family impressions..(First look at the NEW CKM500)..Pg 86

post #1 of 1323
Thread Starter 

Well much like my isurus thread where I had to hurry my thread because of reasons out of my hand. I have to do that again here.


So welcome one and all to yet another discovery and this is the reason why I love this hobby. I suppose I have a knack for finding the ones that somehow slipped under the radar. Some that people have no idea about but in this case.. What was old is now new..Let me start with a little story.


Everyone knows these by now. 83201.jpgThe MP8320. Next time you want to order some cheap hdmi cables and the like throw one of these in your basket too as these are great for the price @ $7.11 One of the bigger Dynamic drivers and one that took me by complete surprise.. While researching what these could be copied from I had these. isurus.jpg The isurus.  The TT isurus is an awesome value for the bucks as these have an unexpected sound and refinement you would not guess that comes from a 'Gaming" earphone. I started to question where the drivers for these could be from and my search lead me to the only company that uses these dish like dynamic drivers on most of their earphones, Audio technica. It is no secret that everyone on the Isurus thread has seen me try out various earphones and the like and the sole purpose was to see if I can do one better than the Isurus.


Well, without a doubt in my mind there is better and it comes from of all manufacturers..Audio Technica. Recently I bought 4 new phones to try out 012012153917.jpg The criteria was. None of these could be over $30 well the UE500 was on sale for $40 and considering I have never heard a UE phone. Why not so I threw in one of those as well..So I burned all of them on for a day and what you know. This was indeed a solid batch of phones but one of them stuck out to me like no other. Yes it was the ATH-CKM50. 41HMXw8T7-L._SL500_AA300_.jpgSo why are these special enough for me to make another thread? Hmm. Well, let me post my impressions of them.. 


The sound quality is crazy. They use the AT proprietary rare earth drivers. I always thought this was probably just your standard Ne magnet driver but AT called them rare earth. Well I can say without a doubt they are not your standard drivers.


Where these shine is the layering of the tunes. The highs have a clean tone and definition only found in higher end dynamics while not being too bright or too weak. About as perfect as you want your highs to sound actually. The imagery in the highs is exquisite. You can make out every little detail of high notes with clean separation and pitch. The mids are not only smooth but also has a shimmer to it. You have to hear vocals to understand, this gives one of the smoothest mid sounds I have ever heard. The only other headphone that has this liquid like mid section is my V-80s.


These hit every note with authority in the bass department and then adds to that a blending of the  mids to the defined highs just effortlessly. perhaps the mids are colored a bit which adds to how they sound but man is it pleasing to the ears. Musical like you wouldn't believe.  On bass heavy tunes or even ones with vocals with a strong bass lines have substantial musical weight to them giving the sound a base to the tunes that is on a level I have not heard yet in any earphone. The over all sound is thicker than the isurus while maintaining true integrity of the tune. In other words. My library sound new with these. That my friends makes these stand out.


The bass is integrated so well and so cohesive and FAT to boot it gives some serious body to your tunes. Again that thickness= Richness on a new level for me. Every single tune I listen to is integrated so smoothly while having this body. Rare earth drivers.? I thought this was hokey pokey.. Nothing hokey about it. I have no idea what material they are using for drivers but this phone separates themselves from the the rest of what I bought recently not by a little but by a lot! Including the UE500. Those are good but not great like these.


This was sent to a few friends that I chose to have try out these before this thread. Unfortunately I forgot to mention to one of them that I was going to post this for my 1500th thread but hey sometimes it just happens. Then there is this.


Today at 1:43 pm

S**t man!! Got them in early today and damn!!! You struck gold again!! Definitely more refined than the TTs. The TTs do have more bass (but not that much more), but the CKM50's bass is more controlled, refined and of better quality (no burn-in and not really muddy at all). Treble is nicely extended but a bit smoothed out (like I like it), and mids aren't recessed at all. Not bad instrument separation at all. Again, I don't think GR07 or FXT90 level, but not too far off. Better than any $100 to $150 dynamic early I've heard other than those two (before burn-in). Only can imagine what to get after burn-in.... It blows the DDM out of the water IMO... Then again, these were originally $200 IEMs (you need to point that out before you recommend them). But I would tell your loyal following about these soon before the price goes up. Really, at $25 ($24 now) you can't beat these. I challenge the head-fi family to find a better sounding IEM at $25. Incredible!! You can use this email if you want to be my first impressions. I'm really impressed with your budget finds, my friend... Thanks for hipping me to these. Happy listening... More impressions form Eric on PAGE 14.


Well Amazon currently has a crazy price on these. $24. Hurry n get one. Even at full price these are a crazy find to the likes I have not yet found in anything that cost this much.


Now this thread will be a work in progress as these have impressed me so much so I decided to get all of their current offerings minus one CKM99.  I have on order the CKM33, CKM55, Ck303 and the CKM77.


Lets just say I have a new found respect for Audio Technica..


I will throw impressions of all of them but for now.. Go! hurry n get one before they raise the price on them to $35-$40 what they usually go for. Even at that price. Astounding phones.


Page 15. Impressions of the CKM55.

Page 21. CKM33 and the CK303.

Page 24  CKM33 vs SoundMagic PL30

Page 26  CKM77 vs EX600

Page 28  CKM77 vs GR07

Page 51  CKM33 after complete burn.

Page 56  CKS77 Solid bass. Wholy COW!

Page 63  CKM55 and CKM99 impressions by applehead

Page 74  CKM99

Page 79  CKM77 vs TF10

Edited by Dsnuts - 4/13/12 at 11:04am
post #2 of 1323

I just love Dsnut's build ups when he introduces a new discovery. I had these overnighted, so I'll be able to add impressions tomorrow. So much for getting out of audio for now...


Oh, sorry you didn't get to post about this when you became supremus. I know it meant a lot to you

Edited by eke2k6 - 1/25/12 at 1:46pm
post #3 of 1323
Thread Starter 

So let me tell you guys a little background of these earphones. These was sold at a much higher price tag I believe it was $100 plus when they was introduced I believe in 2008..4 years later and yes these are an older model of their new current one the CKM55 31w5V4zHFhL._SL500_AA300_.jpgSo what do these newer version sound like and what did they improve over the CKM50?  A new housing design for one and then they added a new resonance ring in the housing..Yes I have one on order so I will indeed report on how these compare to the older CKM50s. I wouldn't be surprised if they sound exactly the same. lol!. In any case. Happy listening fellas. These are awesome. Oh and eke. Wait till you hear some vocals on these is all I can tell you.


So obviously the CKM50 has been overlooked and are indeed left overs from 2008 on Amazon. Maybe they were priced too high when they were introduced at the time is what I am thinking but at the price now. OMG. These are killer indeed. If you guys search here at headfi. There was one impression of them and the guy loved them then..Just because these are older that has nothing to do with having an older sound.


In fact these incorporate many of the newer design techniques that are all in their CKM phones. Better driver mounting which means they throw out 20% of more driver dynamics. That is one of the reason why they sound so full. Just amazing. And their so called rare earth drivers.. Rare earth indeed.  These are marvelous beyond anything you guys have heard in a sub $30 iem. These leave the current budget fi stuff in its wake. I encourage everyone that reads this to try one and see for yourself. Impressions to come and some well deserved recognition for Audio Technica.. I bow down.!

Edited by Dsnuts - 1/25/12 at 3:43pm
post #4 of 1323

Here's a quote from Headphonic about the M50 vs M55:




Re: Opinions on Audio Technica CKM55

Postby Earfonia » 19 May 2010, 13:47

I've CKM50, and tried my friend's CKM55, they sound the same IMHO.
I agree AT earbuds and IEMs are not highly rated, as I haven't heard any IEM from AT that really suit my musical preference. But for the price, I think CKM50 and CKM55 are pretty good IEM, some higher end and more expensive models from AT even sound worse than CKM50/55
I think you just wasted some cash Nutman biggrin.gif

Edited by eke2k6 - 1/25/12 at 1:59pm
post #5 of 1323

I have to admit that I was one skeptical of Dsnuts when he first started listing all these cheapies IEMs and talking about how good sounding they are. To be honest, my frame of thought was "well, he just haven't heard the really great ones yet, so he doesn't know any better." And while I'm not interested in many of the ones he like, something about the TTs piqued my interest. I tried it and realize Dsnuts was on to something. This is my concession speech of some sorts to say Dsnuts is not just a cheap headphone audio quack. Then, I saw that one of the vet head-fiers I respect greatly - james444 - also agreed with Dsnuts on some of his fines, i realized I had to take him more seriously than I've ever before. This was before hearing the TT for myself (I'm a big proponent of "hear it for yourself!!"


The TTs was everything Dsnuts described it to be and more (a very good phone although it lacks a bit of refinement, which I suspected at that price). But I was shocked when Dsnuts inboxed me about something he felt was better and truly more refined than the TT, and asked me to try it (especially since it was a little cheaper than the TT.


I went by instinct and went ahead and purchased the CKM50. Now I'm a believer! This doesn't mean I'm about to start buying all budget IEMs that get a good rep (having a bunch of IEMs is really not my thing, although I appreciate different sound signatures). but if I think it's something that can at least significantly challenge the top and mid-tiers, I'm in.The CKM50 does exactly that!!


Also, I've never owned any ATH IEM, so my curiosity of the company's earphone house sound also intrigued me. But I do feel like I and Dsnuts owe you guys a bit of disclosure:

Unlike some good sounding IEMs Dsnuts has found that started off as cheapies (so those are really bang-for-the-bucks), the CKM50 doesn't fit into that criteria in my opinion. The CKM50 was originally an IEM costing over $100 (actually found it over the Internet now selling for over $200). So it wasn't meant to be a cheapie that sounds good. It was meant to at least compete in the mid-tier market...


With that stated, you would be insane not to pick these up for $24! Why Amazon is selling them that low I don't know? But at this price (although not the original price) it's one of the best bangs-for-the-bucks I have ever seen!! I'm saying this before burn-in (and I really believe in burn-in). if the CKM77 or higher-end ATH models drop in price like this I'm going to try them without a doubt..

post #6 of 1323

I owe you a big and deep amount of gratitude, Dsnuts!! Thanks man!!beerchug.gif

post #7 of 1323

I don't think I will be getting any higher costing ATH IEM models (no need with this sound) unless those prices drop ridiculously low like these!!

post #8 of 1323
Thread Starter 

Well I have 4 AT earphones coming to me. I will indeed let everyone that follows this thread know which ones are worth picking up even at a higher price. What is interesting the CKM99 is no longer in production so I can see those dropping in price. I have my eye on Amazon and other online vendors that have them. It will only be a matter of time before they drop close to $100.. I did however get the higher end CKM77. These were on sale from electronics expo for $108. Heck why not.


But again I wouldn't be surprised if these turned out to be a downgrade to the sound on the CKM50. AT is strange. Just because there are higher end number scheme with their product that don't mean a thing. You have to hear a phone for what it is and not look at high number schemes from them. I will definitely report back with impressions as of now. The CKM50 is my 2nd favorite AT phone. My A900X being my favorite.

Edited by Dsnuts - 1/25/12 at 2:13pm
post #9 of 1323

lol @ Eric. What you're experiencing is the "hot damn, Dsnuts is the sh*t syndrome" that overcomes most head-fi'ers who discover the tremendous value he uncovers.

post #10 of 1323

This time i live on the wrong continent to buy at the right price. 75$$$$  with shipping. wohooo  :O

post #11 of 1323

Ugh, not again! I already have 6 IEMs...


post #12 of 1323
Thread Starter 

Oh yea I forgot to mention to others It seems this deal is a US Amazon thing. which kinda sucks. I have no idea if you guys will be able to find them but I would search. to see if they are available. I know the newer CKM55s will be but those will indeed cost more.


Hold off a bit as these are interesting alternative. 31JURdqCq9L._SL500_AA300_.jpgThese are cheaper consumer level earphones from AT called the ATH-CK303 World wide available. The one favorable review I read on these, these seem promising.. SO naturally I got one coming to me. Will report back. I would also look up ebay but be wary about fakes on ebay.

Edited by Dsnuts - 1/25/12 at 2:43pm
post #13 of 1323

Dsnuts, sorry if I may have asked you this before but have you posted and recommended any "value" budget finds in the earbud style(not iem)?  I have seen many of your recommendations and enjoy reading them but all have been either iem or over ear(Pansonic) but I was not sure if I missed any earbud style recommendations you may have made.  Thanks.

post #14 of 1323

Dsnuts come on man, I already have too many iems now. You will have us make a nice collection if you keep this up for good :)

post #15 of 1323
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by roark37 View Post

Dsnuts, sorry if I may have asked you this before but have you posted and recommended any "value" budget finds in the earbud style(not iem)?  I have seen many of your recommendations and enjoy reading them but all have been either iem or over ear(Pansonic) but I was not sure if I missed any earbud style recommendations you may have made.  Thanks.

A good friend tipped me to these over the Yuin Pk3s. These are better is the word and don't cost much. 41JeuFfeFfL._SL500_AA300_.jpgSennheisser MX580. $26 bux means free shipping too on Amazon. Let us know if you try these how they are. If they are good I will get some myself.


Originally Posted by donedj View Post

Dsnuts come on man, I already have too many iems now. You will have us make a nice collection if you keep this up for good :)

I know it is crazy but hey at least my stuff don't cost much. That being said. Hurry and throw a CKM50 in your basket before they sell out. Looks like they had 8 of them at that price. The price will go up I am certain of that. With every discovery the SQ ratchets up. So for the guys that follow what I do these are the best so far. By far..


Edited by Dsnuts - 1/25/12 at 2:53pm
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Head-Fi.org › Forums › Equipment Forums › Portable Headphones, Earphones and In-Ear Monitors › The ATH-CKM50. The CKM family impressions..(First look at the NEW CKM500)..Pg 86