Reviewed Apr 2010
Details: Mid-range dynamic-driver earphone from Audio-Technica
Current Price: N/A (discontinued) (MSRP: $59.99)
Specs: Driver: Dynamic | Imp: 16 Ω | Sens: 100 dB | Freq: 15-28k Hz | Cable: 4’ I-plug
Nozzle Size:N/A (Oval)| Preferred tips: Stock Single flanges
Wear Style: Over-the-ear or straight down
Accessories (3/5) – Single-flange silicone tips (3 sizes), detachable ear inserts (3 styles), and soft carrying pouch
Build Quality (3/5) – Housings are made of metal with oval-shaped plastic nozzles and paper filters. Though strain reliefs are excellent all-around, the cabling itself is hugely disappointing (especially coming from the excellent cables on the ATH-CK10) – thin, rubberized, and prone to kinking. The cable tangles itself into a ball of knots if you so much as think about it
Isolation (2/5) – Poor due to shallow insertion and vented design
Microphonics (3/5) – Cable is too energetic and tends to bounce around a lot. Lack of cord cinch and shirt clip means these have to be worn over-the-ear to be usable
Comfort (4/5) – Small, light housings make them very easy to wear. The rubber ear inserts can be used to further stabilize them but aren’t necessary
Sound (3.9/10) – Unfortunately the ATH-CK6 is decidedly underwhelming when it comes to sound quality. The bass lacks extension, is boomy, and becomes somewhat muddy on dense tracks. There is no definite moment of impact, which results in drums sounding too soft and at times hollow. The midrange is veiled and vocals lack both presence and smoothness. Treble is harsh and tiring. The entire signature lacks clarity and resolution. On the upside, they don’t sound closed and soundstaging is better than average. A small consolation but it made listening to them for a few days bearable.
Value (3.5/10) – I wanted to like Audio-Technica’s mid-range offering, I really did. But the ATH-CK6 suffers from mediocrity on all fronts, from isolation to sound to build quality. All things considered it’s just not a very strong competitor in an increasingly crowded field. The line is due for a refresh anyway and hopefully Audio-Technica will apply at least some of the design principles of their top-tier entries to the mid-range earphones.
Pros: Very small, light, and comfortable
Cons: Poor isolation, awful cable, no cable cinch, non-standard nozzle shape, mediocre sound