Head-Fi.org › Forums › Help and Getting Started › Introductions, Help and Recommendations › Upgrading from Audio Technica CK-10
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Upgrading from Audio Technica CK-10

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 
Hi all,

I have been using these for more than 3 years now and it has been absolutely fantastic. Its cable is a little stiffer now than when it was new and I probably need a back-up in case these suddenly fail (it's my only to-go phones).

Firstly, where I'm coming from: I like the CK-10 mainly for its (IMHO) relatively balanced presentation. The bass punch is just nice (not too much like the HD-25 or anemic like the K601), detail resolution & isolation pretty good and, most importantly, it is simply a joy to listen to. Okay, there is that spittiness somewhere in the highs but most of the time I can just listen to it and never think about 'if only the sound was more/less... (insert something)". It's transparent and fun at the same time.

I'd love to grab another pair but I understand they have been discontinued. I would also like to try out some other headphones anyway. I'm not looking to spend more than $400-500 (the lower the better). The Shure 535 or Westone 4R look like good candidates but I'm still not entirely sure how they sound, especially compared to the CK-10. The AT CK-100 is reportedly more coloured than the CK-10 and that is a no-no to me.

I use these unamped on a Samsung Note II (Neutron player).

Appreciate your thoughts on this.

Thanks.
Edited by Zorander - 8/12/13 at 11:43pm
post #2 of 16
Thread Starter 
TL;DR:

Want an upgrade from the AT CK-10. Looking at either the SE535 or W4R. Appreciate any opinions on these or other alternatives.
post #3 of 16

The CK-100 Pro looks awkward but should be a nice upgrade and can be found for a good price on ebay.

There's a review here: http://www.head-fi.org/t/585007/review-ck100pro-unboxing-impressions-a-retrospective-journey-with-audio-technica-and-versus-ck100

post #4 of 16
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the reply. I can find these on ebay for just a little over AUD $400. Should I be worried about fakes?
post #5 of 16
Thread Starter 
I know the CK-10 is not a very common phone but the SR-535 and W4R should be. I honestly expected more discussion/response. Are these in an uncommon price bracket (for portables) or am I just not asking the right question?
post #6 of 16

I still never read about a fake ATH-CK100 Pro. And thought the CK-10 was a popular choice, Joker reviewed them and at the time (of the review) they got a solid 10/10.

The Ck-100 Pro is quite underrated I think. I guess they just didn't got too much attention at the launch, when they were sold at their MSRP, which is twice the actual price.

 

One phone that should be similar is the Sony EX1000, slightly better according to some reviews but it's open.

post #7 of 16

Second the CK100Pro, natural upgrade to the CK10 signature and very wide genre bandwidth, just a top top tier IEM overall (though sadly very under-appreciated around these parts). 

post #8 of 16
Thread Starter 
Sounds like the CK-100Pro is a winner then. Thanks for the suggestion, everyone.

p.s. missed a used pair for AUD$300 yesterday but I guess another $100 or so for a new pair ain't so bad...
post #9 of 16
Thread Starter 
Got these today and have been listening to it straight out of the Note II.

First impression: I can now hear the infamous background hiss that the CK10 does not pick up. Combined with the stock comply tips, the presentation was maddeningly bright (but otherwise a clear improvement over the CK10 in many areas). I swapped the tips with the triflange I had been using with the CK-10 and it toned the brightness down to much more natural level. Voices/instruments seem more closely spaced as a result (less airy?) but it's definitely listenable now.

A bit off-topic: I have been jumping between the Note II headphone output and the iPod 5.5 line-out/Corda Move combo output. Not withstanding the presence of a head-amp in the latter, there is a very notable difference, in particular the absence of background hiss and a darker presentation in the latter. The Note II is definitely brighter. How does the DAC in the Note II compare to that of the iPod 5.5?
post #10 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by Zorander View Post

Got these today and have been listening to it straight out of the Note II.

First impression: I can now hear the infamous background hiss that the CK10 does not pick up. Combined with the stock comply tips, the presentation was maddeningly bright (but otherwise a clear improvement over the CK10 in many areas). I swapped the tips with the triflange I had been using with the CK-10 and it toned the brightness down to much more natural level. Voices/instruments seem more closely spaced as a result (less airy?) but it's definitely listenable now.

A bit off-topic: I have been jumping between the Note II headphone output and the iPod 5.5 line-out/Corda Move combo output. Not withstanding the presence of a head-amp in the latter, there is a very notable difference, in particular the absence of background hiss and a darker presentation in the latter. The Note II is definitely brighter. How does the DAC in the Note II compare to that of the iPod 5.5?

 

If I'm not wrong, the Note II features the same Wolfson chip used on the S3, it has a very nice sound, but you need a specific kernel to enjoy those advantages. Unfortunately I don't have an iPod to compare.

post #11 of 16
Thread Starter 
I've been reading about the Note II, the background hiss and consequently intrigued by USB DACs. The HiFimeDIY Sabre Android DAC is an interestingly tiny proposition which I can live with (don't want to lug a brick of DAP+amp+cables). Are there any others like it (at whatever price)? I know it's a low-cost device but that's the only one of its kind I know of.

p.s Loving the CK100Pro. It's very clearly more capable than the CK10 (which itself is already a very good-sounding phone).
post #12 of 16

It's weird you're getting a hiss with the DAC of the Note 2...  try an inline volume control for a little added impedance, see if you can isolate out the noise before dropping money on a USB DAC.

 

It would be a shame to have to bypass the DAC in the phone because it's supposed to be pretty good.

post #13 of 16
As an user of ck100pro,I found a 10-20 ohms cable is required because of that unique mid-high presentation. Using foams on ck100pro aren't ideal because they will reduce the details and mid presentation heavily. The original pairs are the best IMO .
post #14 of 16

Ah, shame I didn't see this thread earlier as I was in the same situation as you a few months ago when I owned the CK100PRO as an upgrade candidate for my aging CK10. I could've told you that the spike in the highs at around 8kHz (you can find FR graphs here http://en.goldenears.net/15507 and here http://sonove.angry.jp/sudio_technica_ath_ck100pro.html) is not to be dismissed and that the sheer amount of treble energy (ie the shelf from about 2~10kHz) from them was an issue for me, and I would assume would be for most others as well. Thus, you end up with something that can definitely be classified as a fatiguing signature whereas the CK10 as you said is much more balanced and easy to listen to. I've not heard the CK100 before but I'd venture to say that the CK100PRO type of colouration is even more objectionable than whatever direction the CK100 went in terms of its signature. The upgrade from CK10 to CK100PRO is somewhat reminiscent of moving up the Grado lineup where the general consensus is that the SR325 and RS1 are much brighter than the rest. The reason I say this is that the CK100PRO sound signature actually reminded me of the SR325 at first listen. The lean sub bass and the treble emphasis is something both share. I believe it's because of this top-heavy, uninviting signature that prevents the CK100PRO from being a more popular top-tier IEM choice.

 

However, I would have also added that in terms of tone and timbre, something that FR graphs fail to communicate, the CK100PRO clearly bests the CK10. Across the entire frequency range, though to a lesser degree in the bass frequencies simply because of a lack of sub bass presence in both, music sounds more organic and natural coming out the the CK100PRO than the CK10, which sounds flat and lifeless in comparison. This was the most pleasant surprise for me auditioning the CK100PRO, because I've always thought that discussing tone and timbre is kind of moot when it comes to BA IEMs since traditionally these characteristics are handled poorly by them. But that said, I've since come to equate impressions of tightness/leaness to an inorganic bass, at least for BA earphones, and I would say this is still the case with the CK100PRO. In the end, they're still no match against dynamic IEMs in that department, and that is why I've moved away from BA IEMs in favour of dynamics. On that note, though I'm wary of comparing BA to dynamic IEMs, the Sony MDR-EX1000 is nothing like the CK100PRO. It has ample sub bass and the treble is much smoother. There's this weird spike in the high-mids at around 5kHz that makes cymbals sound kind of unnatural though. Anyways, I shall refrain from writing too much as the CK100PRO have been traded away for a while now (still holding on to the CK10 for now) and what I write here are the very apparent differences in performance between the two that are quite hard to forget.


Edited by yaluen - 8/27/13 at 8:16pm
post #15 of 16
Thread Starter 
Hi Yaluen,

Thanks for your reply.

I won't go so far as to say the CK100Pro was not the right purchase. Its sonic signature is indeed similar to the CK10 (which I like) and, as already mentioned, it is easily the better of the two. The drawbacks are that: 1) it picks up the background hiss of my Note II (I tweaked settings in Neutron player and it is barely there now, even if still audible in quiet passages), and 2) it is quite energetic in the high frequencies it makes me grimace at times (particularly with JPops).

About the Grados, I owned the SR-80 (with Bowls) many years ago and it was quite shrill. The MS-2 I owned later was even more piercing and I had to use Flat pads to tame the highs. I now have an RS-1 (sold the others already) and its highs are definitely far more refined/cultured than the lesser Grados. The CK and Grado house sound are quite different though; the latter being very forward and mid-bass centric. I can confidently say I can live more happily with the CK sound signature.

I'm happy with the purchase though truthfully I have nothing else in the same price bracket to compare it against. I'm still giving it listening time to break myself into these phones (hopefully).
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
Head-Fi.org › Forums › Help and Getting Started › Introductions, Help and Recommendations › Upgrading from Audio Technica CK-10