This is the first thing that came out of my mouth as soon as I tried on my pair that came in today!
I've been on a buying spree lately trying to find a set of buds that not only sound great on my iPhone 4, but are also comfortable to wear while I am in the gym. I listen to mainly metal, hard rock, and some pop, so my tastes vary a little bit, which do require some juggling around depending on my mood. So far, I've picked up the Sennheiser CX475, CX485, and CX495; all were around $20 on sale from Newegg over the past few weeks. I also have the Sennheiser HD555 and CX300, as well as the MEElectronics M9, M9P, and M6.
To put it simply, the ATH-CKM50's blow ALL of the Sennheiser and MEE earbuds out of the water (save for the HD555 of course
)! Almost all of the Sennheisers required at least a little bit of break-in time before realizing their potential, the MEE buds not so much, but the AT's sounded fantastic
right out of the box! That, in and of itself, is quite impressive!
Sadly, I bought the CX475 at the same time as these ATH-CKM50's, and I made the mistake to listen to the AT's first tonight. I'm spoiled now as the CX475's sound shamefully inadequate in comarison!
Not only are the mids much more pronounced on the AT's (which, I happen to like VERY much!) compared to ANY of the Sennheiser buds, but the bass is nice and strong with good clarity (something the MEE's aren't very good at, and is hit or miss depending on which Sennheiser buds you choose). They're also pretty comfortable to wear too, which was my biggest gripe with the MEE M6's as they were, otherwise, a great sounding, budget set.
For anyone who is curious about my recent Sennheiser purchases though (if they happen to catch a sale), I would consider buying the CX475 first, and the 485 a close second. The 475's have a slightly more well-balanced sound compared to the 485's, but the differences are not that great to really have a clear winner over the other. If you absolutely want the in-line volume control and pouch, than that may sway the favor over to the 485's. But whatever you do, stay AWAY from the CX495! I could NOT, for the life of me, get them to sound good, even when using EQ settings - something I don't do too often. In the end, it was too much effort for too little return in enjoyment. The other two sound good naturally, to me, without even using any special EQ settings at all. It's just that the AT's are MUCH better sounding in comparison.
I'll be watching closely when this set drops in price again to pick up a second, and maybe third, set as backups! But I sure would not mind paying the current ~$40 asking price now as that is a bargain for the sound quality you are actually getting.
Thank you OP for the wonderful heads up! Rep+++