This is an unbiased review of the cream of the crop of Audio Technica’s in-ear monitor earbuds. This is their titanium (literally) flag ship ear buds featuring dual 13 mm drivers, and it’s evident in there 5hz-40khz response range. The impedance is very low (12 Ohms) and is highly sensitive at -110 dB. I’m not going to bore you anymore with Google-able statistics, so lets get to the qualitative experience.
Brilliant… Neutral… Warm… Ruins Youtube forever; let me explain. These in-ears have a VERY noticeable burn in, which is why most reviews say the mid’s are too much. They’re shrill and stiff sounding initially. Out of the box yes, they are way mid range heavy, but long term it mellows out. They articulate cymbals and snare hits over full sounding music beautifully, making one believe them to be more than just two drivers per ear. They are intended as monitors with a neutral balance. If you like the ”Beats” sound, then these aren’t for you. By that, I mean the bass isn’t emphasized. But that’s absolutely ok, considering you’re going to hear every little thing that’s in the song. That’s not to say there is no bass, because these buggers push air when it should! The CRK-10 means you’ll hear every breath between words, all the accidental clipping that makes it into the final mix, and I’ve personally caught the studio musicians piano bench creaking at the end of a song through these guys. Very clear articulation of everything. They reproduce what the engineers intended (or in some cases missed); no bass boosting, no mid scoops, not range scaling shenanigans. Basically, Dr. Dre couldn’t drop these in red paint and sell ear-subwoofers for 5 times what they’re worth. You’re buying high quality, and nothing more.
Unfortunately, the clarity makes lower resolution songs sound terrible, because the CRK10′s are reproducing exactly what is there, which in low bit rate songs, are lacking definition and contain lots of noticeable compression. The CRK10′s ruin a lot of Youtube sound, which seems to have a HPF (High pass filter, or a filter defining the lowest range of sound replicated) at around 40Hz before it rolls off. It’ll sound very dull on the bottom end if used on most Youtube videos. You don’t notice Youtube sound as much through lesser ear buds like the standard Apple earbuds (also not bad for the price), but with high fidelity units like the CRK-10, there is a world of difference between CD to Youtube.
These earbuds do feel heavy in the hand, but once worn, you’ll appreciate the ergonomic engineering to the ear canal and they feel very natural. Hardly noticeable. They do come with 4 different size ear bungs to fit most (mine were the smalls). They are intended as monitors with a neutral balance, and act as such except for the cable. The cable is trash. Booming noise right into the mix if you even tap the cable. They’re also non-replaceable, which is odd considering lesser models from Audio Technica do have replaceable cables. It almost ruined these wonderful ear buds for me. They were listed on Audio Technica’s page (as of this writing) for around $389. There was an Amazon sale where I picked em for around $189.00 USD. I’d have to say the cable issue, and how they ruin lower quality songs really warrants maybe $120 USD. Sound quality is superb, bass is more rich than many over ear models, and what really shines with the CRK10′s is that it ALWAYS handles whatever your music can throw at them with clarity and defines each instrument in the bi-neural sound stage.