Here at Audio46, we love to review headphones – even if the headphones are older, end-of-life headphones, like the CKM500s from Audio Technica.
Why the CKM500? For it’s cheap appearance, this headphones hides some really great specs. And as prices drop in an effort to get them off of retail shelves, they can easily compete with similar headphones from other manufacturers.
CKM500: Unusual Usurper
I did my research before I chose these headphones. With my girlfriend borrowing my Sennheiser Momentum In-Ears, I figured this headphone offered the same specs (with a little more bass) at about half the cost. Specs-wise, the CKM500 looked a little better on paper. The lower end of the frequency range is 10hz instead of the Momentum In-Ear’s 15hz. Big whoop, right? Well, the impedance is also slightly less (supposedly). Again, factor in the price point and you can see why these might be an enticing prospect for someone who already loves the Sennheiser equivalent.
When it comes to actual performance, the CKM500 gives maybe 80-99% of the same sound you could get out of the Sennheiser In-Ear. It downright sucks for classical music (that’s the 80%). But this is pretty much the only deal-breaker (and it is only a deal-breaker if you listen to classical music). But, if you find yourself listening to a lot of EDM, Rap, Techno, or Rock, these headphones are fantastic. There is some noticeable bass with them – much more so than with the even sound of the Momentum In-Ears. So bassy music will definitely have a little more “oomph” to it.
Build quality is cheap cheap cheap. However, this is not to mean that they are fragile. I would probably feel safer putting these headphones through the ringer, than I would with a similarly-priced model from any other competitor. They may smack of cheap Chinese plastic, but there’s just enough bulk to each component to give it an impression of stability.
If it were between two headphones, the CKM500 or the Momentum In-Ear, which would I choose?
Personally, I would go with the In-Ear. But I also listen to enough classical music to require a more even sound. When I’m blasting Kendrick Lamar, Chance the Rapper, or M83, I can feel that bass in my soul. Suffice to say, it’s some good stuff. If you’re into classical music, the extra $40 or so won’t be a bad investment, but if you’re listening to other types of music, save on the price and enjoy that low end.
Interested in the CKM500?