Review: Audio Technica Sonic Fuel In-Ear ATH-CKX5iS Headphones
Before you go to the International CES you get a lot of email – and I mean literally thousands of emails from people trying to entice you to their booths. Audio-Technica’s invitation to visit their booth said I would get custom fitted for a free pair of ATH-CKX5iS Sonic Fuel in-ear headphones and I figured – why not.
First I have to admit that I am not a huge fan of in-ear headphones. Usually my ears get tired and sore and, especially when I fly or do yard-work, I prefer the noise insulation provided by over the ear headphones. That being said for day to day usage especially with a phone I crave a pair of comfortable in-ear headphones.
There was a lot of ‘pomp & circumstance’ surrounding the presentation of these headphones – first you made an appointment then a specialist took you over for a custom fitting. What it really is: They have 3 sizes of in-ear cups for each ear and you try and find the right one. It is an unusual process. How do I know what is going to feel good in my ear in 10 minutes? Is it supposed to be tight or loose? And while it is a great idea it is this unusual process that they were trying to sell – that you can spend a few minutes getting your headphones to fit better.
Once they sized my headphones (which took 90 seconds). I got to try them. The first thing I noticed were these little extruding crescent shapes that kept the headphones from falling out of my ear. You can’t feel them but they do they job so well at first is is a little disconcerting because they balance in a way that it feels that they WILL fall out of your ears (but they don’t they just float there and are very snug – in a good way).
Sound wise these are amazing headphones – a full rich sound. And the ‘custom fit’ blocks a ton of sound. So much that you can’t have a conversation with them on – you get that muffled “my god my voice is so loud in my head” feeling when you talk while wearing them. With phone calls I have had mixed results – some say the microphone sound is great others say it is just OK.
Overall – these are really good headphones. And remember I am biased against in-ear headphones and I found them very comfortable with a great sound quality. But they do take a few moments to get used to because they are so ‘unusual’.