Audio-Technica's affordable wireless earbuds tease "chest-thumping" bass power

Audio-Technica ATH-CKS30TW
(Image credit: Audio-Technica)

There's an emerging trend in the world of headphones at the moment. Many brands are focusing on bass oomph, with Sony's ULT range, including the ludicrously bassy ULT Wear over-ears, doubling down on the lower-end frequencies to attract a 'younger' crowd. Start-up company Heavys promotes bass power for committed metalheads, while Final's new flagship D7000 planar magnetic headphones promise to bring the bass to the wired section of the market. 

Audio-Technica is the latest brand to jump on the bassy bandwagon, with the new ATH-CKS30TW+ wireless earbuds promising a "stimulating sound experience" that offers super-deep, "chest-thumping bass" from a compact pair of buds. Here we go again, then.

To aid this bassy mandate, Audio-Technica’s latest feature specially designed acoustic ducts working alongside 9mm drivers to deliver what the Japanese brand describes as a rich soundstage with "tightly controlled low frequencies, detailed mids, and sparkling highs". If you want to get even deeper into your tunes, the app allows access to an ultra-low-frequency EQ setting to whack up those booming notes.

Audio-Technica ATH-CKS30TW

(Image credit: Audio-Technica)

From the app, you can also access four more equaliser presets alongside bass boost – Beat, Dynamic, Vocal, and Clear – all of which can be set as favourites and then accessed via the buds. Active noise-cancellation (ANC) is available, too, something we don't always necessarily see at this affordable level, putting the new buds out on a path to rival the Award-winning Sony WF-C700N. Not only do you get standard ANC functionality here, but you're also treated to "hear-through" and "talk-through" modes that allow appropriate levels of environmental noise in, depending on your needs.

What about battery life? Audio-Technica claims 6.5 hours of charge for each earbud, even with noise-cancelling turned on, or 17.5 hours in total including the charging case. If you want to squeeze a little bit more from your buds, turning off noise-cancelling will grant you up to 7.5 hours of life from each earbud or 20 hours of use with the charging case.

Audio-Technica promises a snug, secure fit from the ergonomically designed ATH-CKS30TW+, while an IP55 water and dustproof rating means the new buds will happily survive days in the rain or nights on the sand. While we weren't too keen on the sound of the recent Audio-Technica ATH-TWX7, we were at least impressed by the premium buds' feel and build, so if the CKS30TW+ can add some sonic spark and dynamism, they might have a lot to offer the more budget-friendly end of the market.

Coming in four colours – matte black, beige, green or translucent black – the Audio-Technica CKS30TW+ are available from June 24th, priced at £89/ €99.


Read our Audio-Technica ATH-TWX7 review

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Our main list of the best headphones – every type tried and tested

Harry McKerrell
Staff writer

Harry McKerrell is a staff writer at What Hi-Fi?. During his time at the publication, he has written countless news stories alongside features, advice and reviews of products ranging from floorstanding speakers and music streamers to over-ear headphones, wireless earbuds and portable DACs. He has covered launches from hi-fi and consumer tech brands, and major industry events including IFA, High End Munich and, of course, the Bristol Hi-Fi Show. When not at work he can be found playing hockey, practising the piano or trying to pet strangers' dogs.