In-ear headphones have become more and more a part of our lives, from the everyday use with our phones to listening to a monitor mix on stage. While there are some pretty good models available, most owe their sound to precision materials and manufacturing rather than sonic innovation. The new Audio-Technica SonicPro series tries an old loudspeaker idea for the first time in an in-ear monitor, and that's why they're worth checking out.
The AT SonicPro series features 5 models that were built for a high-quality audio experience by employing a push-pull driver system to increase the detail in the mid and high frequencies. The two 13mm drivers face one another but are wired out of phase to lower the distortion and increase the output sensitivity. As an example of the extended frequency response, the most expensive of the models, the ATH-CKR10, has a frequency response that goes out to an impressive 40,000Hz.
The ATH-CKR10 has a US retail of $389.95 (click for better price), the CKR9 is $269.95, and the CKR7 is $134.95. Two lower priced models, the CKR5iS and the CKR3iS are meant for smartphone use and feature integrated volume control and microphone, and are designed to nestle in your ear without entering your ear canal. They're priced at $64.95 and $39.95. All SonicPro models come with 4 sizes of silicone eartips and a two foot cable. You can check them out on the Audio-Technica site.
The video below gives a look at how the push-pull drivers work.