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Audio-Technica CKX Information & Reviews Thread

post #1 of 50
Thread Starter 

In the fall of 2013, Audio-Technica will release a new line of "budget" IEMS. Please post your reviews & impressions here.

 

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CKX5 - $44.95 USD (looking forward to getting a pair of these in green!)

CKX5iS - $49.95 USD

 

CKX7 - $74.95 USD

CKX7iS - $79.95 USD

 

CKX9 - $94.95 USD

CKX9iS - $99.95 USD

 

*All prices MSRP from Audio-Technica


Edited by schneller - 9/7/13 at 4:13pm
post #2 of 50
Thread Starter 

Bump for any news/reviews of these?

post #3 of 50

I heard one impression that the CKX9 is similar to the EX600 sound IIRC.

From this pic and an early video I saw they seem to be quite a large earphone.

 

Tons of large earphones now a days though. The R3, the M200, the CKS1000, the XBA-H3 etc.

post #4 of 50

I few days ago got ckx5. Payed for them $45 ang got form cooljapannow.jp

Sound quality is superb. They sound like ckn70. Exellent detail, clarity, mids. Highs are bit harsh(like ckn70, ckm500), but you can adapt for that. bass is boosted, like ckn70, but not as much as any cks series iem. Overall sq is as good as tf10, ckm500, cks77. CKS1000 is only fraction better. They to my ears is bit better than westone 2 and MMDT. They easily sound superior to vsonic vc02, mh1c.

As for ergonomics and comfort.

They are super comfy and stay exellent on your ear while running. cable as usual is microfonic, but at least it have chin slider. Build is realy good.

Summary-  there is no need for ckx7 or ckx9, because sq wouldnt better in those iems. Only more bass, but ckx5 have plenty of it.

post #5 of 50

Not to offend but I think it might be off base to say no need for the higher models; they just have more bass. Usually it is the other way around with AT. As those have higher treble extension specs the same should follow as in the past with the higher model having a more apparent high end(hopefully less peaky than older models).


Edited by jant71 - 11/1/13 at 3:52pm
post #6 of 50

Just got my CKX9iS today. I'm so pleased with it and yet at the same time kinda flummoxed by it, that I just have to come on here and discuss my emotional rollercoaster ride in public discourse. Yes, I'm that kinda person, you've been warned. :tongue:

 

Disclaimer

My ears may not be as hi-fi as yours; all views are relative and subject to sudden tectonic shifts; our music collections and listening habits may be very different, etc etc et al, are just roundabout ways of saying: your freaking mileage may vary, and don't sue me, don't curse me...

 

The Seduction

I had the opportunity to sample the CKX9 (demo unit is non-iS, without the remote button and analog volume dial) in a quiet showroom with portable sources: today the fleet consists of two iPod shuffles, a Samsung U5, and two smartphones. It's not often that I take a liking to Audio-Technica's sound; in spite of serving up the trebly highs I so enjoy, they often sound too dry or too flat to my ears, and I often opt instead for an IEM with inherently less treble, then apply a treble-boosting EQ..

 

But the CKX9 sounds very good to me. I own a few $100 IEMs - the JVC FXT90, UE700r, Sony EX510 - actually they all cost me a little more than $100, but I get the feeling that CKX9 is higher-fi than all of them. In terms of details and layers revealed, the precise spatial placement of sound elements, and maybe a little more energy/fun than even the FXT90. Most of my music - even 70s oldies in a very low bitrate - sound renewed and modern, but at the same time the CKX9 doesn't go overboard on higher-energy stuff like EDM or smooth jazz (yep, laugh away...). This is the quality that sold me.

 

The CKX9 is not a bass monster, there's just no way when there's a true fart cannon that we call the Sony XB90EX. If you like bass, there's plenty of rumble and fire to keep things enjoyable, but the CKX9 is simply not as dark as the XB90EX, the overall balance bears more resemblance to Sony's non-XB offering in this price range, the EX510.

 

But Do I Pull the Trigger?

The showroom had other products. The CKM77 and CKM99 with their metal housings are more precise, corresponding to the sensory pleasure derived from sharpness in a well-focused picture. The "solid bass" CKS99 seems more bassy, at the expense of some separation and clarity. It might be that the CKX9 demo unit isn't burned-in adequately, but it trades these other IEMs' refinement & control for a little straight-forward fun - the trade-off is very subtle and you can absolutely have fun with any of them, but since my obsession was with the CKX9 first, I picked up a black pair, in the iS version for its analog volume thingy. At $90, less than half of the CKM99's price, it punches above its weight and is a great, great deal.

 

The Fall

My previous ATH purchases have always sounded very dark out of the box, and take a few hours to a day to open up; not this pair, it sounds impressive even as is, so that's not the source of my pain. Call me silly, but it just hadn't dawned on me until I left the showroom that the CKX9 doesn't offer much isolation. This is not a fit issue; there's a tiny vent facing the inside of your ear canal that lets sound in, and no silicon tip (or the bundled Comply Action foam tips) can defeat that tiny vent. You could tape up the vent like I tried to, but that changes the sound beyond recognition.

 

Some of my favorite IEMs have always been only semi-closed: The Sony EX90 that head-fiers don't really care about, and the Philips SHE9500, and my Sony EX510, are all like this. I cannot resist the bouncy airiness in their timbre. But I often crave so much peace and quiet while I'm out and about, that I don't know if I'd made the right call. In silence the CKX9 is still super-persuasive, in the same way love songs bitch about "how can something feel so right & turn out so wrong?", so I'm going to do the obligatory? 200 hours burn-in and see what happens.

 

Addendum

I did not try the CKX5, but I tried the CKX7. It sounded smaller, darker, more vocal-centric, and was easier to wear. It sounds more like my existing IEMs. With only $20 difference between them, and a desire for something new, plus a superstition that I should avoid the numbers 5 and 7, I insisted on the CKX9.


Edited by heatofamatch - 11/10/13 at 4:29am
post #7 of 50

Nice impressions. My CKX5 sounds great. as i mentioned, they too isnt bass monster unlike CKS series(77/99/1000).

post #8 of 50

CKX5 bass sounds a bit slow and delayed. The treble can be a bit harsh at times.  I wonder if the CKX7 or CKX9 fixes these issues?

post #9 of 50
Thread Starter 

FYI that Amazon seller CE Showroom is selling the CKX5 for $41.13. For that price, I'm like what the heck and ordered a pair to compare against my CKM500.

 

(Link to Amazon buying choices.)

 

They'll arrive early next week.

post #10 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by jant71 View Post
 

I heard one impression that the CKX9 is similar to the EX600 sound IIRC.

 

From this pic and an early video I saw they seem to be quite a large earphone.

 

Tons of large earphones now a days though. The R3, the M200, the CKS1000, the XBA-H3 etc.

 

As a CKX9 owner I probably owe the community an on-point opinion on fit & comfort...so here we go.

 

It's not the length, it's the girth that kills me

The CKX9 is humongous. Picture a Sony EX85 or ATH-CKM99 design, but with a rubber sheath wrapped around the housing (ATH calls this the "C-tip", Cチップ). In my ears it feels almost as large, or maybe larger, than even the Sennheiser MX985.

 

You can remove the C-tip to reveal the shiny driver housing underneath, in this state the fit for me is more natural. There's a protruding tab on the housing, facing towards the back of your head, that looks like it might be a safety hazard, but they never really come into contact with my ears. Which is where realization strikes! -- the housing by itself is already pretty secure, and there's really no need for the the C-tip. The search for optimal wear continues.

 

Sound is fairly constant on the CKX9 no matter how you wear it.

 

So, update @ 80 hours burn

5 stars for sound, 1.5 stars for the overall package - the C-tip is kinda like the rough-looking black plastic guards? skirt? surrounds? that give a 2-wheel drive SUV its rugged off-road look. Not very useful, and for some people it's gonna cause "moral" problems because it's almost pretending to be something it's not. :P

 

But if I can just mentally accept it as a pair of open earbuds, the CKX9 is excellent. For the longest time I yearned for Audio-Technica's CM707, but this sounds so much sharper, brighter and feistier, I'm so glad I didn't cave in and get the CM707.

 

Someone mentioned the EX600 but I like the CKX9 much more - more fun/flavored, and possibly more tolerant of crap sources. In spite of all my complaints, it's easy to get the CKX9 to sit stably in my ear, which I have never, been able to achieve with EX600 or EX1000.

 

The CKX9 also eliminates my entire need/planned gadget lust for all open phones $100 and above. I'm happy enough with this, that my heart shall never yearn, never wonder about the B&O A8, Aurvana Air, Yuin PK1 or Sennheiser MX985 again, not to mention I no longer plan to purchase the KSC75. But the search for a new closed, highly-isolating IEM - which is what I had set out to buy - has to start anew.


Edited by heatofamatch - 11/16/13 at 5:38pm
post #11 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by heatofamatch View Post
 

 

 

But if I can just mentally accept it as a pair of open earbuds, the CKX9 is excellent. For the longest time I yearned for Audio-Technica's CM707, but this sounds so much sharper, brighter and feistier, I'm so glad I didn't cave in and get the CM707.

 

 

 

How sharp/bright is this IEM? Is it to the point where the treble is offensive and piercing?

post #12 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ziadax View Post
 

 

How sharp/bright is this IEM? Is it to the point where the treble is offensive and piercing?

 

The comparison is made because the CM707 was particularly dark for Audio-Technica.

 

The demo CKX9 I auditioned was a tiny bit piercing & rough at times, but never offensive, even though my ears are used to darker IEMs like the IE8. I was pleasantly surprised that the CKX9 can be so bright but not offend me. My own pair has no piercing highs or roughness for now.


Edited by heatofamatch - 11/16/13 at 5:48pm
post #13 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by heatofamatch View Post
 

 

The comparison is made because the CM707 was particularly dark for Audio-Technica.

 

The demo CKX9 I auditioned was a tiny bit piercing & rough at times, but never offensive, even though my ears are used to darker IEMs like the IE8. I was pleasantly surprised that the CKX9 can be so bright but not offend me. My own pair has no piercing highs or roughness for now.

How is the soundstage and imaging of the CKX9?  Sorry for asking so many questions.


Edited by Ziadax - 11/16/13 at 6:14pm
post #14 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ziadax View Post
 

How is the soundstage and imaging of the CKX9?  Sorry for asking so many questions.

No worries!

The reason I didn't describe my experience in those terms is I'm not very good at describing either. I'm a lot better with the subjective/emotional stuff and I really believe in auditioning... :L3000:

 

Okay I need to redo my comments. Something like the UE700 probably has the same soundstage as the CKX9 and maybe even a little more precision in imaging, but the CKX9 comes with a massive brightness/headroom and makes me feel it's wide open.

 

Compared to other Audio-Technica products, it's better than CKS99 but worse than the CKM99.


Edited by heatofamatch - 11/16/13 at 6:44pm
post #15 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by heatofamatch View Post
 

No worries!

The reason I didn't describe my experience in those terms is I'm not very good at describing either. I'm a lot better with the subjective/emotional stuff and I really believe in auditioning... :L3000:

 

Okay I need to redo my comments. Something like the UE700 probably has the same soundstage as the CKX9 and maybe even a little more precision in imaging, but the CKX9 comes with a massive brightness/headroom and makes me feel it's wide open.

 

Compared to other Audio-Technica products, it's better than CKS99 but worse than the CKM99.

 

Since you said that the CKX9 has some piercing sound how bad is the sibilance if any?

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