Audio-Technica's cheap noise cancelling earbuds are 'built for bass lovers'

Audio-Technica ATH-CKS30TW+
(Image credit: Audio-Technica)

According to Audio-Technica, whose inexpensive and decidedly cubist ATH-SQ1TW earbuds still hold a dear place in our hearts – and a coveted spot in our best budget earbuds buying guide – the Japanese audio expert's been on "a 15-year quest for super deep bass" and the new ATH-CKS30TW+ earbuds are the result. With a frequency response of 5Hz to 20,000Hz these earbuds go low, too. For clarity, humans can only hear from 20Hz up; anything lower than that we feel as vibrations in our bodies.

The ATH-CKS30TW+ buds are built around proprietary 9mm drivers with "acoustic ducts" to deliver tight low frequencies, and you can tweak the sound via AT's app where you'll find a new 'Bass Boost – Deep' option to pushes those bass frequencies further. There are also four preset listening modes for beats, dynamics, vocals and clarity, and there's active noise cancellation with hear-through and talk-through functions. 

Audio-Technica ATH-CKS30TW+: specifications and pricing

Battery life is a very acceptable 6.5 hours per bud or 17.5 hours via the charging case, and turning off ANC increases that to 7.5 and 20 hours respectively. There's IP55 equivalent water and dust resistance, customizable touch controls and Bluetooth multi-point for easy pairing. Voice assistants are Apple's Siri and Google Assistant.

There are four color options: black, beige, a sage-y green and a translucent black option, and all four versions are available from today for €99 / £89. We haven't been notified of US pricing yet but we’d expect it to be around $99.

We haven't had the chance to test these earbuds yet but we'd expect them to share sonic characteristics with other AT earbuds such as the ATH-TWX7, which launched earlier this year. We liked their sound – like other AT buds they deliver a slightly warm tone (this is a company that made its name creating excellent turntable cartridges, after all) that's nice to listen to. But we didn't like the comparatively short battery life and felt that the earbuds weren't as loud as we'd have liked. Even with the volume up and noise cancellation on, we sometimes struggled to hear our music when we walked beside busy roads. Hopefully that isn't the case here: the newer buds have bigger drivers and are likely to be more powerful as a result.

As always, when we know, so shall you. Watch this space. 

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Carrie Marshall

Writer, broadcaster, musician and kitchen gadget obsessive Carrie Marshall has been writing about tech since 1998, contributing sage advice and odd opinions to all kinds of magazines and websites as well as writing more than a dozen books. Her memoir, Carrie Kills A Man, is on sale now and her next book, about pop music, is out in 2025. She is the singer in Glaswegian rock band Unquiet Mind.