Here at Audio46, we sometimes get swept off our feet by the high end earphones we carry, forgetting about less expensive models in the process. And then there are those middle-child headphones that aren’t exactly cheap or astronomical that occupy a decent price while offering great bang-for-buck audio performance. Cue the Audio Technica CKR7, an in-ear monitor with a price of $119 – an a sound that wouldn’t be out of place in an earphone that costs twice as much.
The CKR7 is comes in a basic package – a box holding a plastic shell that contains the earphones, three pairs of replacement eartips, a small pouch, and some literature.
Build quality feels solid, giving me the impression these headphones could take a real beating and still deliver great sound all day long. While the cabling is not particularly impressive, the earpieces are thick and robust while still being comfortable. They feature an angled design that most Audio Technica in-ear headphones employ these days, funneling sound right down your ears.
This beast features a 14mm dynamic driver, a 16 ohm impedance, and 5-28,000 hertz frequency range. Spec-wise, it appears to be the in-ear cousin of the larger and more ambiguous ATH-M50x, a headphone that needs no introduction.
That being said, the same dynamic sound found on the M50x can be heard in this smaller earphone. It’s not overly bassy, but there is a noticeable oomph or punch to the bass, thanks in no small part to that 14mm driver. The frequency range of this headphone, too, translates into some fine detail in the lows, mids and highs.
Overall, the sound coming out of the CKR7 might be somewhat compressed. It doesn’t sound incredibly spacious, but there’s some separation to it that I didn’t find in other earphones around this price – like the Sennheiser Momentum In-Ear, or the Beyerdynamic IDX160iE.
Should you consider this headphone? If you’re looking for that perfect in-ear headphone around $100 that offers an even-keeled sound without too much bass on one end or treble on the other, this may be the optimal choice. What little bass there is will be a welcome addition to the mix, as the bass never sounds sloppy or unnatural. If you’re looking for a completely flat headphone, to the point of teetering on the brink of boring, choose the much cheaper MEE Audio M6Pro. If you want to extend your price range to $149, you could also opt for the Audio Technica ATH-IM01, which might have just a slightly brighter sound, as well as removable cable and an around-the-ear design.