Thanks to a good friend of mine that ended up sending me a pair of these CKM500. I thought I would share my views on the newest of the new earphone from Audio Technica. These were released literally about a month ago in Japan. They were just being released on ebay to sell and go for around $72-$87..
You guys can call me an AT superfan but I tell you what. This AT earphone journey has been worth every cent I have spent on these earphones. And why do these new CKM500 get a thread? You guessed it. These are fantastic earphones.
I can tell you guys right now these are gonna take off like crazy.. So without further ado here we go
Build..on these are their standard short cord version of their earphones. The build quality of all AT earphones are solid and should be something that every earphone manufacturer should strive for, to date I have not had a single AT earphone have issues with anything regarding shoddy build. So the quality is evident in every iteration of their earphones.. These have the same build quality that is on all the CKM and CKS earphones. .Both the CKM77 and the CKM99 have this short cord. It doesn't bother me much but I know there are many guys that didn't like this short cord design with a 2 ft extension. These come with the standard small medium large and X large tips with the same felt pouch that comes with the CKS77. Available in Gold, red, white,black, silver, and blue.
Sound..I am convinced that AT improves on their house sound with every iteration of headphones and earphones and these are no exception..To put it short. These have the precise detailed extended non fatiguing rich highs that are on the CKM77 but with a nicely detailed and smooth full on mids to go with it.. Very detailed and clean sound, these put a smile on my face almost instantly.. The bass end is balanced out with the rest of the spectrum and has a complete and full quality bass end to balance out the overall presentation.
Staging for these earphones are nice and wide the same width that is on the CKS77. I think these guys have incorporated some designs from their other earphones and added them to these CKM500. For one the staging on these are wider than most earphones. About the same as the CKS77 and the TF10s. They do have a chamber in the back end which extend their sound and gives precise and detailed imaging. The depth in sound is above average as well. Much more fuller sounding than most but not quite the extent of the CKS earphones. .These are a very clean solid sounding earphones and one that will surprise you for the cost.I have much much more expensive ones that don't have the complete sound these do nor the detail level..
Highs..have clean full extension, crisp and sparkly substantial yet not hot or sharp in any way..Almost the same exact level of highs that are on the CKM77 and unlike the CKM99 which do have the occasional hot treble these have complete control in the upper registers that give vocals and instruments a very clean yet detailed sound. ATs mastery of the highs are clearly evident in these earphones. They seem to improve in their house sound with the highs in every single iteration. About the best highs as your gonna get without stinging your ears.
Mids..The new star of the show here. This is the aspect that threw the smile on my face more than anything. I love how my CKM77 sound but I have to admit the mids are not at the same level of sound as the highs or the bass end. These correct that issue..To date these have the best clean balance in overall sound I have heard from AT yet.. Very precise vocal to instrument separation. Vocals are as engaging as they should be and instrument have solid impact on the tunes.. For once AT did not miss out on the MIDS! This my friends is great news..The mids have the perfect amount of fullness that the older CKM77 and the CKM99 are somewhat lacking on. I have noticed as of late AT on their newer earphones the CKS77 and now these CKM500 both have fully realized mids.
Lows..Again AT is flexing their know how in the bass department on these earphones. These have the full meal deal on all the sound not just the highs mids but the lows. You guys can guess for guys that love a bigger fuller bass end the CKS77 is the thread you should be looking at but the lows on these are %100 quality with the perfect transition from higher mid and Sub bass is perfect to balance out this full sound..Textured perfectly..You get the full satifying punch and low end rumble for them low notes.. For me if the bass end is not right it don't get a thread. Just know this. Tight for rock and metal and beefy for hiphop and EDM. AT is no longer playing around fellas. These earphones are gonna shock many of you because of just how good they sound for much less than a bill.. These are boosted from neutral but cleanly and evenly at the same levels across the spectrum and extended for miles on both ends. Just the right amount to be engaging yet fully detailed and smooth.
Conclusion..These incorporate the best of what AT has done in the past and at a great cost for all to enjoy. As of now AT has raised the bar on not just the CKS77 big bass earphones done right. But these new CKM500 are gonna have you neglecting your current favorites. Versatile and complete. I only recommend the best for your hard earned cash.. These are no exception. .It is very fulfilling for me to see 2 great earphones coming out from the house that AT built..You want more emphasis on detailed highs with rich clean full mids the CKM500.. You want the biggest roomiest complete quality sound with the best bass end the CKS77.. Happy listening fellas and enjoy yet another AT masterpiece. These are not just an upgrade to the old CKM50..These are the upgrade to all of them, minus one CKM1000..
Edited by Dsnuts - 3/12/13 at 10:02pm