Tornado Equalized Audio Technica: Ocharaku CKM55

Disclaimer: I purchased the Audio Technica CKM55 directly from Ocharaku.

The Audio Technica CKM55 started life as just another IEM in the sea of entry level IEMs. The stock CKM55 has a typical entry level boombox tuning with plenty of bass, recessed midrange and unpleasant highs. Then Ocharaku came and installed their Tornado Equalizers into the CKM55 and changed the life of the CKM55 forever.

Perhaps intended as proof of concept to the benefits of the TE (Tornado Equalizers — you can download the white paper by clicking on this link), the Ocharaku modded CKM55s consists of nothing but the equipping of the Tornado Equalizers. Gone is the boombox tuning of the original CKM55s replaced by a proper tonal balance from top to bottom. The tonality is moderately dark, clean, and clear. The soundstage depth and width are good and spacious, the bass and mids full bodied and smooth. The sound signature is warm and relaxed, something that almost anyone can enjoy.

The mod comes in several variations. There are three different canal lengths to choose from: short, normal, and long. The length of the ear canal is different from person to person and you can audition the different versions and determine which one sounds the most neutral to you. You can also choose a mod with a soft treble than the default tuning, or going the other direction a mod with a more pronounced treble. In all, between the choice of the canal lengths (short/normal/long) and treble tuning (soft/normal/pronounced), there are nine different variations of the Ocharaku CKM55s.

The tuning variations have the same basic signatures though with an altered tonal balance. Testing the blue color coded for short canal lengths gives me a thinner, slightly recessed bass body that just doesn’t feel quite right. The red color for longer canal length pushes out the midrange more than the stock but not in an extremely colored way, while the light green color has an even softer treble than the relatively laid back treble of the default set up and is my personal favorite of the bunch.

Other than the blue color mod which is designed for short canal lengths (primarily women, Mr. Yamagishi said), I felt that the three different tuning of red, dark green, and light green are all very pleasing and natural to listen to. The laid back and relaxed tonality, while not as resolving and as accurate as the Flat-4 models, are much friendlier to the ears and may very well be a strong candidate of being one of the most special dynamic drivers in the market. Obviously they are far below the Flat-4s in terms of technicalities, but I just happen to enjoy how enjoyable a proper warm sounding dynamic driver IEM can sound. For 10,000 yen that it’s being offered for, I think these are one of the best buys out there. The superior dark background and soundstage depth to even the highly regarded VSonic GR07 (I’m using the GR07 bass for this comparison) makes this IEM one of the best mid-level dyanmics in the market. It would be interesting to pitch this against something mid-end like Sennheiser’s IE80, but I happen to not have a demo unit around.

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Tornado Equalized Audio Technica: Ocharaku CKM55
4 (80%) 4 vote[s]

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25 Comments

  • Reply June 19, 2013

    Ryan Adiputra

    i’m the first! yeah!

    i agree with your “red” bias man, that ‘red’ modded is so nice! but the blue one is not bad either πŸ˜€ . the rest is not for my musical taste =))

    “people are not hearing all the sound” eh? hahahah!!

    • Reply June 20, 2013

      Anthony

      Is this like that one about bass? That was the best laugh i have ever had in years

      • Reply June 20, 2013

        Mike

        Got to have bass man

        • Reply June 20, 2013

          Anthony

          Do you still have the red ones mike? I remember you have both the green and blue at your store, i like green better than blue though

        • Reply June 20, 2013

          Ryan Adiputra

          you can’t surpass that guy’s ears man.

  • Reply June 20, 2013

    thethirty3rd

    Do want, will have to beg someone to help me buy a pair eventually!

    • Reply June 20, 2013

      Mike

      I hope Ocharaku is willing to send some overseas

      • Reply June 20, 2013

        thethirty3rd

        I hope so too, really seems like they’d be a big hit.

  • Reply June 21, 2013

    Marcus

    hi,
    This is my first post, be kind. So how do i get a pair, short of flying to japan? Are you aware of any stockists prepared to send overseas?

    • Reply June 21, 2013

      Mike

      Marcus
      Ive sent an email to Ocharaku with your question and I will get back to you

  • Reply June 21, 2013

    ohm image

    I’ve been asking Mr. Yamagishi to think of opening some of his products for distribution overseas. Will that happen? I somehow doubt. He operates a very small outfit.

    KAEDE sure has proved popular. Same with SUI. KURO on the horizon. But getting some of that Ocharaku house sound for 100$ USD is really priceless. I love these earphones.

    • Reply June 21, 2013

      Mike

      Yes very small outfit. I haven’t been able to get them for my store either.

      • Reply August 20, 2013

        woody888

        Mike, did you ever get an answer on this one?

        • Reply August 21, 2013

          Mike

          I asked and the CKM-55 Ocharakus are Japan only.

          The Kaede model is also apparently Japan only.

  • Reply June 21, 2013

    Arvee

    So, I’m interested to get one…

    Which of them mods are best with the largest variety of music?
    It’s a bit hard to choose when that smallest bit of difference could be vital.
    Plus I can’t read japanese…

    • Reply June 21, 2013

      Mike

      I would go for the default dark green or red which is the long canal version.

      • Reply June 21, 2013

        Arvee

        Ah.

        What’s the sound sig difference between those two?

        • Reply June 21, 2013

          Mike

          Please read the article. Cheerw

          • Reply June 21, 2013

            Arvee

            Sorry, I was thinking of asking about the degree of difference between those two…
            πŸ™

            I mean, how noticable are the differences between them?
            Is it immediately noticable or does it need an intensive listening session.

            • Reply June 21, 2013

              Mike

              Ummm i guess it depends on the listener.

  • Reply June 22, 2013

    Fabio_Rocks

    I want one πŸ™

  • Reply November 25, 2013

    James

    Hi Mike,
    Would love to get a pair of these. I am in the US. I have even tried emailing to Ocharaku directly but not even gotten a response. Seemingly Mr. Ocharaku must think we are still at war. Great product but poor business person. Perhaps he is not in it for the money which honestly makes me want the product more. Could you kindly tell me how these compare with the RHA 750i IEM’s you just reviewed?

    • Reply November 25, 2013

      Mike

      I found out that they don’t sell these even in Japan, outside of that special occasion in the Tokyo Audio Festival.
      I didn’t review the RHA 750i.. I did listen to it though, the RHA is more sparkly but acoustic quality, I think the Ocharakus are better.

  • Reply July 2, 2014

    emad

    hi mike

    Where is the building?

    China?

    • Reply February 18, 2015

      T.Van

      ^ does it matter? Look at Fiio, look at Hifiman

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