Audio Technica ATH-CKX9iS review

Needs a bit more refinement, but the ATH-CKX9iS are a solid pair of headphones from Audio Technica Tested at £75

What Hi-Fi? Verdict

Needs a bit more refinement, but the ATH-CKX9iS are a solid pair of headphones from Audio Technica


  • +

    Ingenious design

  • +


  • +

    Meaty, detailed sound


  • -

    Not as easy to put in as conventional buds

  • -

    Short on sonic refinement

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One of the most common complaints we hear about earphones is that they shift and fall out of place.

It’s with this in mind that Audio Technica has made the ATH-CKX9iS earbuds an unusual shape.


The tip goes into the ear canal as usual but the rest sits in your outer ear, held in place by a flexible rubber fin. You get fins in different sizes, as well as several ear tips.

Putting them in is a little fiddly, but get the right fit and these are very comfortable earphones, especially if you use the foam ear tips.

We also like the flat cable, which is mildly tangle-resistant.

It’s clear that a lot of thought has gone into design (even if the mic unit is too far from your face to be optimal for hands-free talking).


Sound is mostly good. These buds deliver a balanced, neutral performance with plenty of detail. We really like the energy and sense of space they convey.

Sadly, this is let down a little by a hardness to the sound. These headphones need a bit more refinement to be great.


We applaud the fact that Audio Technica has done something to address the problem of buds slipping in the ear, and those who find this a recurring problem would do well to give the ATH-CKX9iS an audition.

MORE: Best headphones 2014

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What Hi-Fi?

What Hi-Fi?, founded in 1976, is the world's leading independent guide to buying and owning hi-fi and home entertainment products. Our comprehensive tests help you buy the very best for your money, with our advice sections giving you step-by-step information on how to get even more from your music and movies. Everything is tested by our dedicated team of in-house reviewers in our custom-built test rooms in London, Reading and Bath. Our coveted five-star rating and Awards are recognised all over the world as the ultimate seal of approval, so you can buy with absolute confidence.

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