Gadget of the Week – Audio-Technica ATH CLR-100

Audio-Technica is among the well respected and well-received brands in the audiophile world. Although the company has produced tons of high-quality audio instruments, the main pair of over-the-ears headphones that pushed them to stardom was the Audio-Technica ATH M50s.

The value for money ratio with the M50s was so excellent that even the critics couldn’t really point out anything against these gorgeous monitors. After tasting success in the Studio monitor’s category, Audio-Technica decided to give the budget category a shot with their inexpensive in-ear earphone, the ATH CLR 100. We decided to feature it on the ‘Gadget of the Week’ section this time.

Sturdy Ear Pieces, Flimsy Wires

The Audio-Technica ATH CLR-100 has an angular audio Jack which we actually find convenient, since most of these inexpensive in-ear earphones will used by consumers who listen to music through their mobile devices.

The construction of the earpieces is rather sturdy, we got ourselves the white variant which looks neat. The wires are a little flimsy and tangle prone, but at an asking price of approximately INR 500, we really can’t complain.

The ear plugs are silicon based instead of the fancier memory foam tips, but then again, we really couldn’t ask more for the cost. The ear tips are rather hard initially and take their sweet time to loosen up.

Audio Technica ATH CLR 100 Black Earphones in Close up

How Do They Sound?

The Audio-Technica ATH CLR-100 has a colored sound signature; we mean to say that they are not perfectly neutral (which is not necessarily a bad thing). There is definitely some pep to the bass, and it is not bass heavy, but there’s definitely some attention given to the bass it produces. The highs, which mean the high pitches such as the strings, sound clear and crisp, the CLR in the naming actually refers to ‘Clear’, meaning that these earphones are meant to be great for highs.

It is a natural tendency for earphones good at highs to be good at stereo separation too, and the Audio-Technica ATH CLR 100 does not disappoint. The stereo imaging is very good, although you might not get the same sound stage as you get with expensive earphones or with earphones like the SoundMagic Pl30 (which is another great buy) but the sound stage is definitely decent and more than justifiable for the cost.

The mids of the ATH CLR 100 are slightly recessed, and during our initial stages of listening we didn’t find the vocals to be appealing, but they sounded rather distant. But after using the earphones for about 15 to 20 hours (over a course of time and not continuously), the vocals seemed to get some life and it appeared as if the earphones started burning in well.

After extensive listening sessions, the mids now sound decent, they might not be as good as the Panasonic ergo-fits, but they are definitely on par with the Sennheiser CX180.

Audio Technica ATH CLR 100 White Earphones in close up

What About The Competition?

In the price bracket where the Audio-Technica ATH CLR-100 is competing, the main competitors are Sony, Panasonic and Phillips, out of which Panasonic and Phillips seem to be making earphones that actually stand up against the Audio-Technica ATH CLR-100.

Move a little higher into the INR 1,000 price bracket and we find JBL, Sennheiser, Cowon, SoundMagic and Tekfusion. Each of these brands has excellent earphones, but then again, it all boils down to personal preferences and while considering pure audio quality distinctly, none of these earphones are lesser than the other and the only factors worth considering are the cost, durability and guarantee.

Our Verdict

We personally enjoyed listening to the ATH CLR-100 and would pick it up against the Sennheiser CX180 any day. Don’t get us wrong! We love Sennheisers, we really do! Check out our review over here. But this time, Audio-Technica has the upper hand over the CX180.

We also love the fact that they include a cable wonder into the package, although we’ll never be using it, the logo reminds us of Linkin Park!

We would suggest you to get this pair of in-ears if your genres include: Alternative Rock/ nu-metal, Rock, Hip-hop, Dubstep, and Pop. They are great at orchestras even though they have very good highs, the recessed miss sometimes leaves the orchestras a little flat, although they are not really that bad and you probably wouldn’t complain if you are coming from stock ear buds, including the Apple earpods, trust us, the ATH CLR-100s are better than those.

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