Ya try them out. My pair just sounds better and better the more I use them..I would be listening to these and something that is quite unique to these earphone is. They have such depth and layering to their sound. You can make out background sounds literally in the back ground. Most earphones would just give you an idea there are back ground instruments and singers. These actually give you an exact idea where the background sounds are at in the recording. I find myself hearing instruments in the far background or foreground in the mix better than other iems I have heard. It is quite addicting.
As I am a big fan of BASS earphones, my temptation is driving me not to wait till weekend. I dropped in a local store in HK here yesterday and give a try on the CKS1000. It is so amazing!! I can say IT IS ONE OF THE BEST SINGLE DYNAMIC DRIVER IEM I have ever heard!!
Some people might think I might be a bit exaggerated, but I am sure to tell you CKS1000 even wins on all aspects of my Shure SE215SPE + Oyadie SE-HPC cable I got last month. Both are driven by single dynamic driver, and have nearly equal cost/value. Shure means to be one of the famous IEM for audiophile. Its brand is well known all over the world. However, as Dsnuts said, AT has demonstrated how a complete/big sounding of a dynamic driver IEM should sound and I reckon this CKS1000 is a masterpiece of it.
I guessed the CKS1000 that I tried has run-in over 5-10 hours and it was warmed up a bit already. When I was listening to it, I was not shocked at once when I heard them and yell ‘WOW!’ something like this. I was shocked when I played all different kind of songs(AIFF / ALAC files) on my iPod classic continuously for half and hour. I summarize my listening as follows, by my impression compared with my other single dynamic driver IEM I have owned, the Shure SE215SPE and Sony XB90EX:
Highs: - CKS1000 delivers all detail and timbre at a very high quality level, which makes the song detailed and enjoyable while listening. For my XB90EX, I reckon it is already good enough as it produced boomy, rich bass with highs not rolled off too much, details of highs can still be listened. But CKS1000 is doing even better to show you details of the high more, more clearly. It even sounds more sparkling than my Shure SE215SPE.
Mids: - Full forwarded mids. Music instruments are clearly heard and the separation is marvelous. It reflects more instruments that I can heard from my SE215SPE. If compared to SE215SPE, human vocal is a bit fall behind, just a bit, but the quality and texture is still on a very high end level.
Bass: - Bass is deep and well-textured, big punch and extremely solid!! That’s a new listening experience I hear! I owned the CKS90 before and I remembered the bass was really good in quality. It was well-textured and went deep when the songs call for the bass, but not the extent as the CKS1000 provides. It goes even deeper, can hear the textures/layers there, and more solid. It focuses on the quality not quantity, but when the songs call for the bass, it plays a damn good one. If compared to XB90EX, I would say they are different in quality and quantity.
For quantity, XB90EX provides more quantity than CKS1000. In most of the songs, I hear the background of bass. It is there but not severe. In CKS1000, I did not hear at all, but it would dive deep and gives you a big punch when the song calls for heavy bass. It would base on the level how the song call for it and the quantity is well controlled.
For quality, XB90EX has a ‘creamy taste’ of bass. It is rich and deep and I would say it is kind of ‘Sony style’. CKS1000 has a bit more texture in bass, tight and solid. I feel the quality is higher than that in XB90EX.
I would not say which one is better in between them, actually I love both of them as they have their own style. XB90EX is much like the UE 5EB I owned 6 years ago, their bass are very similar but 5EB went even more crazy. Bass are in excellent quality but the massive quantity destroys the mids and some highs of songs. The bass of this CKS1000 are on a different level at all! I don’t compare it with the SE215SPE because even the bass of SE215SPE is refined, its is not as good as the CKS1000. The quality is above the level, but the whole image is poorer than CKS1000. People always say SE215 has good bass. It is good, have certain impact when bass is call for, but I reckon the quantity and quality is only ‘fair’ and just above average, not bad, but definitely not as good as CKS1000. I would say SE215 is kind of balanced sound rather it is bassy.
Imagery: as Dsnuts said, most single driver-dynamic IEM wish to play a good role in this part but is always lack of one of the elements or the others. For CKS1000, I have no complaint on it. Its sound stage is very wide and the depth is extraordinary. It is composed of the high, mids and bass that I mentioned above, which forms an imagery of complete sounding. I can even hear the distance in between the music instruments and background vocals like high definition IEMs. It is truly amazing if a single dynamic driver can reach this level.
Drums: You may wonder why I mention this part. Rare to read this in other headfiers’ comments, but I must say the drums part is that I love the most of CKS1000. I have listened to many many other IEMs, including the high-end ones with 3 BA drivers, but none of them has the unique sound of drums by AT, very solid, well-textured and drives CKS1000 very dynamic. Others are still good but quality is a bit loose and flat. CKS1000 raised the memory of my previous CKS90. It had already played the drum part with excellent quality. Sure that CKS1000 would not lack of this as it has inherited AT’s tradition of sound tuning.
I think the high resolution 13mm iron yoke driver is one of the factor that makes the CKS1000 sounds so marvelous, of course with the serious tuning by engineers of AT. This driver is newly, specially developed and designed for CKS1000, but I think AT will put this high-end driver in their future IEMs. The tuning of CKS1000 might be one of the best among AT’s dynamic IEM so far, very serious tuning here on all frequencies that the earphone can produce.
CKS1000 is easy to drive. With my iPod classic only, not amped, it can perform very well on all kind of different music. For personal use, I like this kind of user-friendly earphones as I do not user amp and it is definitely not my cup of tea, even amp can produce better audio quality.
The only drawback of CKS1000 is the roomy sound stage not as 3D as those high-end IEMs. But I cannot request too much as it is only a single dynamic driver IEM and it has already done its best at all in the market.
After trying it for about an hour. No doubt that I pay, take it back home and enjoy. My pair has run-in for about 10 hours now and it is revealing more and more as I listen to them. Its sound is beginning to tighten and I am looking forward to hear the best of it in the future. Growing it is a part of enjoyment of listening.
I truly recommend ATH-CKS1000 to all music lovers. Its sound is so dynamic and musical that totally delivers a new listening experience to me. It is abstract but you will know the answer when you listen to them. Also wants to thank Dsnuts for your recommendation. My previous CKS90 could not impress me but this magical IEM brings me back to be an AT fan and follower!!
Thanks for reading.