Love it or hate it, that coveted headphone jack is no guarantee modern smartphones. Thankfully, companies across the board are jumping into wireless headphone market with new, high-end earbuds and headsets Today, we find ourselves with just such a pair from Audio-Technica with the ATH-CKR75BT Sound Reality Wireless In-Ear Headphones. Retailing for $149 and bearing the Sound Reality moniker, they arrive with a lot of promise but can they deliver while also cutting the cord? Find out in our review of the ATH-CKR75BT In-Ear Headphones.
- MSRP: $149
- Type: Dynamic
- Driver Diameter: 11.8 mm
- Frequency Response: 5 – 40,000 Hz
- Sensitivity: 108 dB/mW
- Impedance: 19 ohms
- Communication System: Bluetooth Version 4.1
- Support Codec: AAC, aptX
- Battery: DC 3.7 V lithium polymer rechargeable battery
- Battery Life: 7 hours continuous use (200 hours standby)
- Charging Time: Approx. 3 hours
- Type (Microphone): Condenser
- Sensitivity (Microphone): -44 dB (1V/Pa, 1 kHz)
- Frequency Response (Microphone): 100 – 10,000 Hz
- Polar Pattern (Microphone): Omnidirectional
- Weight: 17.8 g (0.6 oz)
- Accessories Included: 30 cm (11.8″) USB charging cable, eartips (XS/S/M/L), secure-fit battery clip, protective pouch
- Warranty: Two-year
Audio-Technica has a reputation for delivering premium, audiophile-pleasing products and the unboxing experience gets things off on the right foot. Inside the box, you’ll find the headphones themselves, well showcased, some documentation, a micro-USB charging cable, three sets of replacement ear tips, and a nice hardback travel case. At this price point, it’s nice to see A-T include a quality travel case to keep them safe between uses.
The headphones themselves are small and lightweight. Compared to the RHA wireless pair we reviewed earlier this year, they’re easily half the cable length and only slightly more than a third of the weight. At the gym, they won’t be flopping around on your neck and if the little bit of movement does bother you, they include a shirt clip positioned at the back of your neck.
That light weight and short length can be a bit of a liability, though. Draped across your shoulders, it’s easy to forget they’re there and not notice if they fall. That short length would turn the cable into a choker if A-T opted for the usual magnet solution, so the clip becomes the main way you’ll keep your earbuds safe when not in use outside of the case.
The earbuds themselves are plastic, though feel sturdy and don’t creak under pressure – but I’d still be careful to avoid abusing them. There’s also an in-line remote with volume up, volume down, and play-pause buttons that also double for track skipping and answering/ending calls. The microphone is actually quite good and worked well for taking calls but also recording clear voice memos on the go.
The stems for the ear tips connect to the housing at an angle, which I’ve found is much better for keeping buds from wiggling free in normal use. The tips themselves are rubberized but remarkably good for noise isolation. I popped these in while mowing the lawn recently and was surprised at just how good they are – even up against a roaring motor, I was still able to hear the fine details in AFI’s Blood album.
When it comes to sound, the ATH-CKR75BTs tend toward the low-end, which is great for creating a rich, full sound for rock and hip hop. They would certainly be what I would consider a “fun” headphone since they veer away from the neutral soundscape of something like the M50Xs (also in the Sound Reality line). The headphones have clearly been tuned to preserve the details hidden in the mids and highs, however, and the wide 5-40,000Hz ensures they’ll be delivered with the highest clarity. As a mainstream headphone, they’re quite good and should please users looking for something with “oomph” to power them through heavy workouts.
Battery life is decent, coming in at about 6 hours at 75% volume. My Note 8 had no trouble driving these headphones to ear piercing levels, however, so outside of loud environments, you may be able to drop the volume and pull some extra life out of each charge.
Audio-Technica falls into the trap of other bluetooth headphones here, including a USB that’s far too short to be practical to plug into a wall. It’s obvious that they’re intended to be charged through a PC (there’s no power brick in the box) but as someone who charges overnight to use throughout the next day, I wound up replacing the cable to keep the headphones off the floor.
Leading up to this review, I had the CKR75BTs in hand for some time. Their small and lightweight nature is great when you don’t want to be dragged down mid-run, and the angled steps allow for a snug fit for excellent sound isolation. The flipside to that is that, in the hand, they do feel a little cheap. Are they? Not at all, but that’s to say that this is a case where you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover. Audio-Technica’s ATH-CKR75BT Wireless Sound Reality In-Ear Headphones deliver a rich, bassy sound without sacrificing the clarity of the rest of the spectrum and are a great choice for fans of rock and hip hop.
The product discussed in this review as provided by the manufacturer for the purposes of review.