Review: Audio-Technica ATH-CK3TW

Affordable and good from Audio-Technica

Audio-Technica has finally come up with some completely wireless plugs that fit well in the ears.

Audio Technica ATH-CK3TW
Audio-Technica ATH-CK3TW

Our verdict

Full bass, clear overtones, good call quality. Better fit than previous plugs from the same manufacturer.
The midrange range is too restrained, instruments and vocals lack emphasis here.
  • Type: completely wireless earplugs
  • Bluetooth: 0
  • Waterproof: IPX5
  • Codecs: AptX, SBC (not AAC)
  • Battery: 6 h + 24 h from case
  • App: No.
  • Weight: 2 x 4.7 g + 49.7 g
  • Charging cable: USB C
  • Number of ear cushions in the box: 4
  • Web: audio-technica.com
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Price: £ 139

The most affordable completely wireless earbuds from Audio-Technica are also the most modern. For example, the ATH-CK3TW is the first to charge with USB C instead of micro-USB, and the extra playing time from the charging case has increased from 9 to 24 hours, compared to other plugs from the same manufacturer.

Where the ATH-CKR7TW protrudes well from the ears, and weighs down when walking with them, the CK3TW is far more streamlined. They are not small either, and there are other plugs with a more discreet fit. But it is definitely a place in the right direction, and they are also far more intuitive to put right in the ear.

The music is controlled back and forth with tapping on the right earplug, volume by tapping on the left: one tap for up, two for down. A long press on any plug activates the voice assistant. Audio-Technica has an app, but it does not support CK3TW. This means, among other things, that you can not tune the sound, but accept what you get.

The earbuds better support Bluetooth audio with aptX codec, but note that AAC is unfortunately not supported, which means that iPhone users have to settle for the low-resolution SBC (Sub Band Codec) codec integrated with Bluetooth technology.

The sound of Audio-Technica ATH-CK3TW

ATH-CK3TW has a better and more natural bass reproduction than both Creative Outlier and Skullcandy Sesh Evo. The harmonics are also more airy and more resolved, which makes both the bottom and top register in the piano under the hands of the young unique Eric Lu sound more natural with Audio-Technica. It is also softer and more comfortable to listen to than with their own top model CKR7TW.

But again, the midrange is missing. In the eagerness to turn up the bass, one pulls down too much in the important midrange register, which means that the sound image does not sound balanced enough. There is a lack of touch in the keys, and female voices such as that of Fiona Apple also lack the necessary impact in the middle register. When I in the Spotify app pull up a bit at around 1 kHz, it all gets much better, but there is no good solution when YouTube is back to the original setting with lost midrange.

I would still argue that the sound quality is solid enough, it does not take much. And considering the price, this is good. And when you raise the volume, it feels more balanced. Eminem’s Godzilla is entertaining listening.

The call quality on CK3TW is good, the other party will hear you clearly and distinctly with these. You also hear your own voice, but a little delayed which can be annoying.

Conclusion

Although the Audio-Technica ATH-CK3TW is not perfect, the sound is more comfortable than with several in its price range. There is a bit missing in the midrange range, and we miss the opportunity to tune the sound to your liking. But overall quite engaging, especially when playing loud.

The fit is better than from the previous completely wireless from Audio-Technica, and finally the battery life – especially in the case – is where it should be.

Call quality is good, even if you hear a delayed version of your own voice in both ears. All in all, no stupid purchase is deleted.

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