While kicking it in Germany for IFA, I jumped at the opportunity to demo the brand-spanking-new truly wireless Audio Technica ATH-CKR7TW. Retailing for a competitive $249, the CKR7TW marks the first foray by the Japanese audio company into the truly wireless market. But how does it sound? And how does this model stack up against other truly wireless offerings?
Audio Technica ATH-CKR7TW Review
The CKR7TW comes with a charging case, 8 pairs of eatips, and a 1 ft USB charging cable.
In terms of design, Audio Technica includes a number of innovations in this model. First and foremost, the CKR7TW utilizes a built-in DAC from Asahi Kasei Microdevices for better wireless sound. The earphones also sport 11 mm drivers featuring carbon-coated diaphragms and stainless steel mesh resistors.
Battery life for this truly wireless model comes in at a class-leading 6 hours, with another 9 hours available via the charging case. Charging times for the case and the battery each measure at 2 hours.
Comfort-wise, the CKR7TW fits like a dream, never feeling too loose or too tight, but resting graciously against the natural contours of my ears. Removable molds can increase or decrease the overall dimensions of the earphone, allowing them to fit snugly no matter what size ears you have.
Frequency Range: 5-45,000 Hz
Nominal Impedance: 16 ohms
Sound Pressure Level (SPL): 100 dB
The specs for the CKR7TW reveal an earphone with wide frequency response and a characteristically low impedance. Sound pressure level measures a fairly average 100 dB, so volume shouldn’t be an issue.
The low end of the Audio Technica CKR7TW exhibits a clean and natural sound with ample detail. A driving bass impact compliments the lows but never seems to overpowered. Indeed, good control in this part of the frequency range prevents bleed and keeps everything sounding accurate and full.
In the midrange, the CKR7TW offers a present and intimate listening experience. Detail in vocals and instrumentation seems to almost leap from the earphones, with no compression or distortion to mar this pristine sound.
The highs show off good detail. Though slightly bright, this part of the frequency range remains tempered and clean with no major issues. Female vocals never seem too harsh or uncomfortable, though the highest high notes may come off a little intense.
Where soundstage is concerned, the CKR7TW gives a generous performance. Tracks sound deep and airy, though the sense of placement still suffers from the in-ear design. That being said, this is still the best sense of soundstage I have heard yet in a truly wireless earphone.
The slight, comfortable fit of the CKR7TW impresses me greatly. While I’ve never really encountered any problems with wearing truly wireless earphones, this model still fits like a dream. Once situated in my ear, it seems to disappear from my senses, leaving me alone with my music.
Sound quality is another impressive feat. Of course, I went into my listening session expecting something good – but I never expected it to sound this good. Audio Technica has engineered an earphone sans cable that truly fits among other CKR-series earphones.
For those in need of great sound quality in a truly wireless form, nothing I have yet encountered tops the CKR7TW. The fact that this model offers a longer battery life and phenomenal comfort adds further value to your purchase.
Really, the only reason not to buy the Audio Technica CKR7TW would be if you can’t afford it. In which case, I would probably recommend the cheaper JBL Free truly wireless earphones. This model retails for an affordable $149, while offering a slightly compressed sound and only half the battery life. However, the JBL sound is actually better than most other consumer offerings at the same price.
With a high-resolution sound, 6 hour battery life, and eye-rolling comfort, the Audio Technica CKR7TW offers an impressive, wireless listening experience you won’t soon forget. Taking into account the modest $249 cost of entry for such an impressive sound, it’s hard not to fall head-over-ears for this enticing little gem. Our recommendation? Trade in those Air Pods for some audiophile goodness and never look back.
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