Audio-Technica has announced a strong line-up of new headphones at the IFA 2018 technology show, with a focus on Bluetooth connectivity. It’s a wide variety of Bluetooth products too, most notably including Audio-Techica’s first leap into the world of true wireless earbuds — and not just with one pair either. Here are all the new products, and what you need to know.
Unsure of who best to aim its true wireless headphones at, Audio-Technica has decided one-size does not fit all, creating two different pairs. The CKR7TW are for everyday wear, with a larger battery for longer use, and some impressive technology inside. Each bud has an 11mm, diamond-like carbon coated driver, which is isolated from the electrical components to minimize the possibility of interference.
The battery will provide an impressive (for the segment) six hours of listening, and the case will add another nine hours — that’s one-and-a-half additional charges (we would have liked to see more there). Bluetooth 5.0 helps here by reducing battery consumption and increasing the amount of range. Audio-Technica will release a new iOS and Android app to manage these headphones and others, and supported codecs include AptX, and AAC.
We’ve yet to try these on, but like the simple design and use of the Audio-Technica logo, and given the company’s previous Bluetooth headphones, we expect they will sound great. They will come in either black and grey color schemes.
The Sport7TW are more suited to use while at the gym or out running, due to an IPX5 rating for sweat and water resistance, and an audio passthrough feature to keep you in touch with your surroundings. This feature is easily activated with a tap of the left earbud.
They’re smaller than the CKR7TW’s, and this affects the size of the battery. The sport models only last three-and-a-half hours on a single charge, but the case will add an additional 14 hours total use. Helpfully, there is a fast charge system where just 10 minutes plugged in will return 45 minutes use: Perfect for a run or gym visit. A pair of 5.8mm drivers provide the sound, and they fit into your ears using silicone tips, Comply sport ear tips, or special new Freebit ear fins for a secure fit.
Both sets will be released in the autumn, with the CKRTW’s costing $250/230 British pounds, and the Sport7TW’s costing $200/180 British pounds.
The technology inside the new ATH-SR50BT makes them tempting. These Bluetooth over-ear headphones are managed using the new Connect iOS and Android app, where a noise reduction mode and hear-through setting can be activated and tuned. The headphones sync over Bluetooth 5.0 for better battery lifetime and longer range. A pair of 45mm drivers deliver the sound, and the battery lasts for an excellent 28 hours.
This long battery life, paired with an ability to fold the headphones flat, makes them great for travel. A 3.5mm headphone cable keeps them going even after the battery runs out, and you also get a carry case included in the $200/180 British pound price. They will go on sale in autumn, and come in black or brown-grey.
Audio-Technica ATH SR30BT
The headline feature here is an amazing 70-hour battery life. That’s right, if you spend two hours listening to music each day, you’ll only have to charge these Bluetooth headphones up once a month. Sound comes through a pair of specially designed 40mm drivers — Audio-Technica doesn’t tend to reuse components, ensuring the sound is exactly right for the product design, a serious benefit at this price.
These come in either grey, black, blue, or pink, each of which is a pale shade rather than an in-your-face color. Like the SR50BT they connect with Bluetooth 5.0, and come with a carry case. The price is a very reasonable at $100/100 British pounds. We wore a pair of prototype SR30BT, and found them very comfortable.
New for 2018, Audio-Technica has introduced an updated version of the popular ATH-MSR7 wired headphones, specially made for high-resolution music listening. The company’s excellent True Motion Drivers are inside, measuring 45mm, and with a diaphragm made from that same diamond-like carbon coating mentioned above.
The design repeats the original ATH-MSR7s, but also re-use Audio-Technica’s Dual-layer Air Control technology, with acoustic resistors for the best clarity possible. The ear cups and headband are covered in memory foam and leather. Available in brown with red accents, and black with blue accents. Seeing a pair of prototypes confirmed how little they have visually changed, but reminded us of just how well the color scheme and design work.
Audio-Technica has upgraded the 3.5mm jacks on the cups to A2DC connectors, which lead to a regular 3.5mm jack, a 4.4mm balanced cable, or an optional 2.5mm balanced headphone jack. It’s aiming these headphones at those with high-performance music players, which have the connections to make the most out of their sound quality.
Out in autumn, the ATH-MSR7b headphones will cost $250/220 British pounds.