Headphone wonder brand Audio-Technica goes after the hip female crowd with its ATH-CKF300 “Bloom” canal phones. Featuring a number of available “soft” colors and a floral cardboard carrying case, these small canal phones are surprisingly big on sound. And at just $25 (street price), they are a steal too; if you can find them.
Features and design
There is no doubt about which audience Audio-Technica is trying to appeal to. Young urban women everywhere will find the ATH-CKF300’s to be the perfect companion for that long subway or train ride into the city. The ATH-CKF300’s are available in dark pink, gold, lime green, light pink, pink, purple, white and mint green. Can’t find a color to match your outfit? No problem, at just $25 a pop, you can afford to buy a couple. And if you still cannot find a matching pair, your wardrobe has bigger issues.
The ATH-CKF300’s feature an 8.8mm dynamic driver with an 18Hz to 23KHz frequency response, which is pretty amazing for a headphone in this price range. With a sensitivity level of 101 dB/mW, the ATH-CKF300’s are easily powered by any phone or MP3 player.
Audio-Technica includes a cardboard carrying case instead of the typical bag, which is just fine for us. It is small enough to fit in a coat pocket or a purchase, and distinguishable enough to find on touch alone while rummaging through a bag. Also included in the package are three pair of silicon ear sleeves to ensure you get a snug fit.
We noticed that right out of the box, the ATH-CKF300’s sounded great, and got even better after a few hours of use. For our tests we listened to Zero 7 and a little Thievery Corporation and Underworld. The midrange is nice and warm, just as it should be, but with vocals being a little distant behind the music. Vocals can also be a little drowned out at times, depending on how “busy” the music is that you’re listening to. Highs are relatively flat and tinny, not as bright as we would like, while bass is surprisingly deeps and tight – we didn’t experience any muddiness or bottoming out.
Cord noise (the thumping you hear when it bounces on your chest) is normal and nothing to write home about. We had to laugh at the design of the cord though; its double-wire design reminds us of the old PC headsets from the 90s.
The Audio-Technica ATH-CKF300 Bloom canal phones are a surprising treat. When we first saw their $25 price tag, we were ready to battle it out with a second-rate product. Fortunately, that is not the case as the ATH-CKF300’s definitely held their own. In fact, we think Audio-Technica could probably get away with charging $10 to $15 more and still sell a lot of these. Women everywhere can finally rejoice in the glory that is a designer ear bud with great sound. Burn the black cords!
- Great value
- Warm midrange
- Deep bass
- Available in a number of colors
- Tinny, flat highs
- Hard to find