Audio Technica ATH-CKR55BT In-Ear Wireless Review
The Audio-Technica ATH-CKR55BT is a unique little headphone. It’s packed with features like a built in amplifier and aptX technology, all for a reasonable price of $100. But, what’s the deal with aptX technology? How does it affect your listening experience? And does this little amplifier make any real difference in volume? We’re about to sort it all out.
IN the BOX – Audio Technica ATH-CKR55BT In-Ear Wireless Review
USB Charging Clip
FIT – Audio Technica ATH-CKR55BT In-Ear Wireless Review
The ATH-CKR55BT fits securely in the ears. No annoying over-ear wires, and you can wobble your head around without losing them. Unfortunately, the amplifier, which is a separate unit forces you to wear the wire around the front instead of behind your head. This takes away from the whole carefree wireless experience. The upside is the sound. I’ll discuss this below.
DESIGN and FEATURES – Audio Technica ATH-CKR55BT In-Ear Wireless Review
Finally, some volume! This is the first pair of wireless headphones I’ve seen at this price with a dedicated amplifier. It’s a really smart idea, since the biggest problem with wireless headphones is that they don’t get loud enough for you to rock out. But as I mentioned, the downside is that you have an extra unit hanging on the cable. Luckily, Audio Technica has included a clip to alleviate the extra weight and allow you to move the device out of sight. Another feature with these headphones is that it has compatibility with aptX and AAC (as well as SBC) codecs for improved audio reproduction. However, if your listening device doesn’t have aptX technology, you won’t benefit from better sound. So, your iPhone won’t make a difference. But if you have a Samsung, you might be in luck. The ATH-CKR55BT has 7 hours of playtime, which is about average for a pair of wireless buds at this price. The wireless range is about 30 feet without obstructions, which is also standard in terms of distance. Pairing for the first time takes only a few seconds, and the controls function with three simple buttons; power, play, pause, skip, and call answering.
SOUND – Audio Technica ATH-CKR55BT In-Ear Wireless Review
I listened to the ATH-CKR55BT through an iPhone, so I can’t vouch for the aptX technology. And the jury is out in terms of how much it improves sound quality on wireless headphones. But it was a pleasure to finally be able to turn up the volume on these wireless buds. If you’re a fan of Audio Technica’s sound signature, you’ll be happy with these. They’re light, poppy and transparent.
The lows are fine, as long as you’re not bass head. The bass has a bit of a punch, but it’s not particularly rich. They don’t really do justice to the hip-hop or EDM genres. On the other hand, what they lack in depth, they make up for in bass clarity.
The mids are great and contribute to a nicely balanced headphone. Rock stands out as a strong genre when listening to the ATH-CKR55BT. Electric guitars have good timbre, and acoustic guitars sound pretty too. Vocals are perfectly present, and for wireless headphones, they convey impressive subtleties in texture. They have a great transient response; drums and percussion feel really lively.
The highs are a little bright for me, especially when listening to rock. But if you’re an Audio Technica fan, you’ll probably disagree. And I couldn’t detect much sibilance at all. Brass and woodwinds in this range are breathy and realistic, while strings sound smooth and round. If you like classical music, you’ll love the ATH-CKR55BT.
There is no real soundstage, as is the case with all wireless headphones in this price range. But the imaging isn’t bad, and you can definitely discern placement of instruments in live recordings.
SUMMARY – Audio Technica ATH-CKR55BT In-Ear Wireless Review
I’m not one of those die hard Audio Technica fans, but I absolutely love these for the price. If you value clarity and require volume, you won’t be sorry buying the ATH-CKR55BT. The amplifier might be slightly annoying to wear, but it’s totally worth it for the sound. For 100 bucks, this might be the best in-ear wireless deal you can find on the market. I give the ATH-CKR55BT a gold star.
SPECIFICATIONS – Audio Technica ATH-CKR55BT In-Ear Wireless Review
Frequency Response: 5 to 35,000Hz
Impedance: 16 ohms
Operating time: 7 hours
Communication system: Bluetooth version 4.1
Support codec: aptX audio, AAC SBC