First Looks: Audio-Technica ATH-CKM77 In-ear Headphones

First Looks: Audio-Technica ATH-CKM77 In-ear Headphones

Hybrid Metal Dreams

Take any form of public transport and chances are you’ll see someone plugged into a portable media device or smartphone with in-ear headphones. In-ear headphones are so popular not only because they are highly portable, but due to their ability to block out the ambient noise from the commute. To further improve on their in-ear headphones offerings, Japanese audio guru Audio-Technica have just released the new ATH-CKM77, which boasts some interesting technologies.

Aluminum x Stainless Steel

First and foremost, the key highlight of the Audio-Technica ATH-CKM77 is its specially designed hybrid metal housing, which blends aluminum and stainless steel to form a high-rigidity casing that reduces unwanted vibration for better sound. That aside, the hybrid metal housing is eye-catching and adds pizzazz to what would otherwise be a dull-looking set of headphones.

The Audio-Technica ATH-CKM77 weighs a mere eight grams, so it feels very light on the ears and the fitting is pretty good too. It sits well on your ears and it’s not obtrusive or uncomfortable. It also comes with rubber ear tips of four different sizes (XS, S, M, L), so it's unlikely that users can’t find something among them that will fit their ears.

Noise isolation is decent, but we thought it could be better as it seemed to leak noise more than other in-ears headphones we’ve tested. This is probably due to the odd design of the headphones, where the tips are protruding out of the housing at an angle.

Bass Heavy

Audio-Technica’s mainstream headphones tend to be very bass-happy and the ATH-CKM77 is no different. Bass is present in generous amounts, though not to the same extent as say the ATH-CKS70 from their Solid Bass series. It is also more well controlled and less overwhelming, so at least it doesn’t overwhelm vocals as much on slower tracks and genres such as jazz and easy listening.

That said, given the bass-happy nature of the ATH-CKM77, it’s no surprise to find that its aggressive sound suits uptempo music such as rock, hip-hop and dance. On Tiesto’s Elements of Life track, we found that the ATH-CKM77 was more than capable of keeping up with the fast-paced beats and on Jay-Z’s Run This Town, the ATH-CKM77 sounded excellent and we couldn’t stop tapping our feet.

The Audio-Technica ATH-CKM77 is too forward and aggressive for critical listening, but it is this nature that makes it so fun to listen to, especially if you are a big fan of hip-hop and dance music.

Final Thoughts

We can’t help but think that the new Audio-Technica ATH-CKM77 headphones were designed with hip-hop and dance music lovers in mind. If you think about it, the hybrid metal finish on the housing is pretty “bling” and the bass-happy, forward sound of the headphone lends itself well to certain genres. If what you seek is an attractive pair of headphones with a fun sound, then at S$178, the Audio-Technica ATH-CKM77 fits the bill to a tee.