Audio-Technica ATH-CKP500 in-ear headphones review: Secure fit, clean sound -- and waterproof

As far as extra features go, the one big omission is an inline remote/microphone for making cell phone calls. Audio-Technica's $99.95 ATH-CP700BK earphones offer this feature, but that model's design is quite different.

Also, no carrying case is included.

The earphones include a 2-foot extension cable. Sarah Tew/CNET

Performance
The ATH-CKP500 earphones have more of an audiophile sound profile, with clean, well-balanced sound but not a huge amount of bass. As I said, you lose a little bass with the ridged eartips, and you'll also lose some bass if you don't achieve a tight seal with the standard ones.

I liked the ATH-CKP500 earphones' sound and so did CNET contributor Steve Guttenberg, but we both prefer more natural, accurate-sounding headphones.

The cord terminates in an L-shaped plug. A clip is included to attach the cord to your clothing. Sarah Tew/CNET

The ATH-CKP500s aren't incredibly open-sounding, but they're pleasant to listen to (I didn't get listening fatigue after an hour) and work well with a variety of music. However, if you're into bigger bass and more aggressive headphones, you should probably look at the Monster Immersion in-ear sports headphones (the yellow Livestrong version is a great deal at around $50 while it lasts).

And fans of Audio-Technica's full-size ATH-M50s take note: you're not going to get the M50's impressively rich, spacious, and detailed sound from this in-ear model. In other words, keep your expectations in check.

Close-up of the earphones. Sarah Tew/CNET

Conclusion
I've tested a fair number of in-ear sports headphones and the ATH-CKP500 ranks up there with my favorites, offering a comfortable, secure fit and very good sound. It's also nice that they're IPX5 waterproof headphones and can be rinsed off after use.

The ATH-CKP500 in-ear headphones list for $74.95, but you can pick them up for less online. At one time, the Monster Immersions could be had for $60 to $75, but the price has gone up (except for the yellow Livestrong model). While this model doesn't have as much bass or an inline remote/microphone, it's a decent value at its price. I have no problem recommending the ATH-CKP500 earphones for both sports use and everyday use.

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Quick Specifications See All

  • Release date May 8, 2013
  • Color black
  • Weight 0.3 oz
  • Sound Output Mode stereo
  • Additional Features anti tangle cord
  • Type headphones
  • Headphones Form Factor In-ear
  • Connector Type mini-phone stereo 3.5 mm