Fresh from Audio Technica and debuting at IFA in Berlin this past week, there’s a new true wireless earphone on the audiophile block – the $149 CKS5TW. With 45 hours of wireless battery life in the case and other 15 hours on the earpieces, this Audio Technica earphone offers the best battery life yet in a true wireless earphone. But how does it sound?
Audio Technica ATH-CKS5TW Review
The CKS5TW comes with a snazzy charging case. A charging cable and some eartips also come included.
This new addition tot he CKS-TW line feels fairly solid – just as solid (or maybe even more so) than its older forerunner, the CKS7TW. This new model runs on Bluetooth 5.0 and supports both AAC and aptX HD codecs.
As mentioned, the battery life in the case amounts to 45 hours and the earphones offer 15 hours of battery life. Charging relies on a USB-C connection, ensuring fast charging.
Comfort feels just as good as it did on the original CK5TW, with only a little bit of protrusion, but a good, comfortable fit. And that fit proves slightly isolating on its own, blocking out a good amount of noise on the IFA showroom floor.
In the low end, the ATH-CKS5TW performs admirably with a strong tactile sense of bass and some good detail to boot. While just a bit emotive, the sound feels more energetic and engaging than the CKS7TW, giving the impression of a newer and more fun sound. Drums and bass guitars seem to surge and swell with a characteristic thickness.
The sound here delivers a strong sense of detail. Yet, despite the level of resolution and clarity, this part of the frequency range never leans too far forward. Instead, the mids seem just slightly scooped, allowing the highs and lows to receive just a little more attention and focus. And while they may sound just a little recessed overall, this presentation doesn’t mean there’s any less detail at play here. Listening for nuances and minutiae, you’ll hear it in the mids – just not as readily as those more characteristic highs and lows.
Where the highs are concerned, the Audio Technica ATH-CKS5TW shines with a noticeable emphasis. Both female vocals and higher-pitched instruments like violins excel here, sounding detailed yet fun. And, despite this clear and forward presentation, the highs never become too sharp or unpleasant, instead treading the fine line between highly detailed and too vibrant.
It should come as no surprise that the Audio Technica ATH-CKS5TW doesn’t have very great soundstage. While a little deep, the sound still feels somewhat cramped. On classical and jazz tracks, instruments do seem to have a habit of overlapping with one another. Still, the soundstage remains passable for most simpler ensembles, like those found in pop, rock, or electronic tracks.
At $149, the Audio Technica ATH-CKS5TW offers an affordable entry-point into the True Wireless phenomenon – and one that doesn’t skimp on quality, either. Because, while there may be cheaper alternatives out there, none can deliver this kind of audio quality – and even a few more expensive models struggle to keep up with it.
Personally, I recommend this earphone to anyone who prefers a slightly v-shaped sound signature and wants a ton of detail in their earphones – as well as some solid battery life.
If you’re looking for a slim profile that won’t stick out as much, go with the RHA TrueConnect instead, at $169. While the CKS5TW delivers impressive comfort, the earpiece does stick out. The TrueConnect’s slimmer profile will feel much less conspicuous.
For folks who want something higher end than the CK5TWS, my go-to-recommendation comes in the form of the Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless. At $299, this earphone may land on the expensive side, but your ears will never be the same again.
Perfectly pairing luscious sound quality with good battery life and an affordable price, the Audio Technica ATH-CKS5TW offers a new prosumer audio choice for Audio Technica fans the world over. At $149, this small earphone is big on sound and a great bargain.
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