Audio-Technica SonicFuel ATH-CKX9iS Headphones Review
Pump up the jam: headphones for the active, bass-loving listener
The Insides That Count
It's time for a closer look at performance, this time with charts. We run every set of headphones through a gamut of audio tests, and then score each pair based on the results.
The Audio-Technica ATH-CKX9iS put up solid marks on most every test, but a discrepancy in the frequency response held this pair back just a little.
Time to have a look at what these headphones are actually doing, in terms of emphasis. Whether they blast bass notes, muddle mids, or harp on highs, this test will tell.
Based on the frequency response chart, you can tell that bass notes are quite prominent, and so are very high notes of around 7-10kHz. Low kicks and rumbling tubas will really blare, cymbal crashes will thunder, but note the drop in the upper midrange: Details around 3-6kHz live at about 64dB, while low, middle, and very high notes are as much as a whopping 20dB louder. That means that the upper notes of percussion, brass, and even certain stringed instruments become quite obscured at times.
Still, these work well enough for general mobile use. If you're a casual listener and you don't mind a bit of a bassy sound quality, you may not mind the discrepancies here.
The CKX9iS does a pretty good job preventing too much added junk noise and snipped harmonics from hampering your tunes. The only measures that leap above the 3% THD (total harmonic distortion) mark occur in the sub-bass range—and human ears are not very sensitive to those deep, low notes.
Should you unwisely crank the volume upwards of 123dB, the distortion will certainly rise above 3%, however.
Get Our Newsletter
Real advice from real experts. Sign up for our newsletter
Thanks for signing up!