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
Published 2020-10-01 - 10:15 am
Our opinion
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:

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.


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.

Also in this test

Technics EAH-AZ70W

The icing on the technological cake

Technics EAH-AZ70W has everything you could want from technology in a pair of earbuds, and also excellent sound with great resolution.

Good noise cancellation, neutral and resolved sound
We want more punch

Beoplay E8 3.0

Luxury that finally sits

Bang & Olufsen have tried and failed sometimes with their completely wireless Beoplay E8. Beoplay E8 3.0 is the best so far.

Nice sound with lots of details. Ambient sound that is let through sounds very natural. Wireless range is finally good, and support for wireless charging is fine.
The sound could well have been louder. Touch features are quite knotty, and the Bluetooth connection could have been more intuitive. Not NFC.

Klipsch T5 True Wireless

I really want these earplugs to be good!

Klipsch likes it best when the music is thrown into the listener's face. It also happens here, but we have to make some reservations.

Energetic midrange, lots of dynamics. Fantastically satisfactory charging case.
Coarse-grained and fairly sharp sound.

Skullcandy Sesh Evo

Do what it's supposed to

Skullcandy's cheapest completely wireless earbuds Skullcandy Sesh Evo have rhythmically enough bass, and sound pretty good. When set correctly.

Energetic bass, works for training. Movie sound mode sounds pretty good.
Missing details, especially in the overtones. Default setting sounds woolly. Poor call quality.

Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 2

Our new favorite

Review: Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 2 - Sennheiser reaches the top with its latest edition of Momentum True Wireless.

Excellent sound quality, improved operation, great fit and - finally - long playing time! Active noise reduction comes in handy in some situations.
Outgoing call sound is a bit more confined than with its predecessor. Sound delay a bit big for action games and movies.

Beats Powerbeats Pro

Still among our favorites

Top-class wireless range, fully-fitted fit - Beats Powerbeats Pro delivers a very engaging sound.

Very engaging sound, and a fit that never falls off. Seamless integration with Siri. Class-leading wireless range.
There are earplugs with better resolution at the very top. Missing some of the features of AirPods Pro.

Jaybird Vista

Sports earbuds with an impact

Jaybird Vista is stable, and with lots of bass energy! But here, too, some weird choices have been made.

Wireless connection is very stable. The user can customize sound and features.
Dark tone, bass-focused and a fairly sharp midrange reproduction. Only the Sub Band Codec (SBC) limits the sound quality.

Creative Outlier Gold

Good idea, poorly executed

Creative Outlier Gold has some smart stuff in it, but the sound can not be approved.

Full-bodied and rhythmic bass, interesting Super X-Fi function for holographic sound. Fantastic battery life!
Sharp treble, too little midrange. Very "hammock" sound! EQ function does not work outside the app.

Jabra Elite Active 75t

Superior training earbuds

The Jabra Elite Active 75t is perhaps the best wireless training earbuds you can buy.

Effective "passive" noise cancellation, excellent and solid sound and excellent battery life. They are waterproof and firmly attached to the ears, and are therefore also perfect for training.
The effective noise cancellation can create a kind of cheese bell feeling. Operation directly via the plugs is a bit difficult.

Panasonic RZ-S500W

Packed with technology

Panasonic RZ-S500W serves the best noise cancellation found in a pair of earbuds is combined with good speech sound and a neutral music reproduction. Why is it not enough?

Good noise cancellation, neutral sound
Lacks dynamics, sounds flat and tame.
A tempest in a teacup

The Argon Audio Quiet Storm looks like a set of more expensive headphones. However, the sound doesn't live up to the design.

Jabra Elite 4 with ANC and multipoint

The Jabra Elite 4 are fully wireless earbuds with noise cancellation at a comfortable price.

Headphones for music lovers

They look the same, but the sound of the latest Sennheiser headphones is better than ever.

A dream for both studio and pleasure

The MM-500 has been developed by and for studio engineers, to reveal the full substance of a recording. Something that also provides pure enjoyment for "ordinary people".

Even more utopian?

Focal has updated the uncompromising Utopia headphones. But is it really possible to improve them even further?

A different kind of Sound Blaster

The Creative Sound Blaster X5 isn't just a sound card for the gaming community. It's also a nice little DAC, even if it does have a few oddities.

Follow LB Tech Reviews