10 Best Audio Technica Headphones in 2020 for Different Use Cases
Why get the best Audio Technica headphones? – it’s because this company, like many others, covers all its bases. You’ll find many “ATH” headphones with designations for a wide range of activities, both leisure and production-related.
10 Best Audio Technica Headphones for any Occasion
Whether you’re looking for professional headphones, generic affordable consumer-grade headphones, or truly high-end cans that leave you in awe, there’s something on this list for everyone.
Table of Contents
- 10 Best Audio Technica Headphones for any Occasion
- Headphone Basics
- Balancing the Frequencies
- Prioritize Impedance Ratings
This pair of headphones quickly became a fan favorite (and my personal favorite) since its release in late 2018. The ATH-M50xBT headphones are a staple of audio balance for movies, music, gaming, recording, you name it.
A big advantage over the original ATH-M50 model is obviously the wireless connectivity. The freedom of movement is a major convenience factor. In a way, you could argue that it’s right up there with the impressive bass-heavy sound that so many people seek these days.
The ATH-M50xBT is equipped with Bluetooth 5 technology. The connectivity is almost flawless, which makes the audio quality that much better than on most other Bluetooth headphones, including some premium models from other manufacturers.
You can use the buttons on the back of the left earcup to control the headphones. But once there, if you’re like me, you’ll probably quickly fiddle with the voice assistant function and experience a true hands-free operation.
The headphones are not exactly top-tier by audiophile standards. There’s not a lot of definition in the high frequencies. This may make it difficult to hear certain vocal effects in pop music. Luckily, this doesn’t impact vocal or dialogue clarity in games and movies.
The mids and lows are done justice. Bassheads should appreciate the minor boost. And, everyone else that doesn’t like bass-heavy music won’t feel overwhelmed and might appreciate the overall warmth and balance offered below and above the C register.
High-pitched instruments (cymbals, snares, etc.) are also somewhat boosted thanks to the unique configuration of the ATH-M50xBT. The good sound isolation is also great for both indoor and some outdoor settings.
Are there any problems with the headphones? – At times, yes. But, all important issues can be traced back to codec compatibility. Most of these problems have easy fixes like updating the codecs on your mobile devices.
The ATH-R70x is a bit pricey for consumer-grade headphones. That’s only because these headphones aren’t designed for the average consumer. They are premium headphones intended for professional studio work.
The headphones offer a neutral sound. This allows you to hear any imperfections in recordings and clearly tell instruments and mixes apart. The high impedance of 470 ohm makes the headphones somewhat difficult to drive using a smartphone or tablet without a dedicated amp.
Though, your mixing laptop would probably be more than enough to drive it. The overall design is simple but that’s not really an issue as you’re not supposed to wow an audience with the ATH-R70x.
The headphones are comfortable enough and have a very long cable that gives you plenty of range. The earcups are on the smaller side but offer decent isolation nonetheless. I also appreciate how rugged the headphones feel.
As simple as they look, they are deceivingly durable and ready to be put to work for long hours on a daily basis. If you have a studio and you’re looking to for the most neutral sound with just a hint of extra bass definition, the ATH-R70x headphones are made with you in mind.
These active noise-canceling headphones are quite versatile. First of all, you would be hard-pressed to find more comfortable headphones from Audio Technica that can be used for recording, mixing, gaming, and even binge-watching your favorite shows. I’m a big fan of memory foam padding and the ATH-MSR7NC has it on the earpads and on the headband.
Speaking of versatility, a lot of people are looking for headphones with detachable cables. This model features two cables, a standard one and another 3.5mm one compatible with smartphones and tablets. What’s even cooler is the portability factor. The headphones come with their own pouch and an airline adapter.
The sound is just about as clear as it gets. There’s no need for dialogue enhancement software or equalization. The calibration is spot-on. The mids are slightly enhanced which fleshes out the sound and makes everything sound warmer.
Also nice to have is the long battery life. You should get up to 30 hours of playtime off one charge. The active noise cancellation, or ANC, is good when used indoors and in low-traffic areas.
The ATH-AD700X first drew my attention with the affordable pricing. Then, it was the audio quality that sold me. Partly responsible for the clarity on the midrange and higher register are the 43mm drivers.
The open-air design certainly has its appeal for many people, me included in some situations. It allows for a more natural sound projection and everything seems less emphasized on the low end. There’s nothing that overpowers high-pitched instruments, vocals, or string instruments.
The headphones are also quite comfortable even though they don’t have what you may call high-end padding. It’s the flexibility of the material and level of adjustability that makes it easy to wear the headphones for long hours. The 3D wing support design also improves the comfort.
The honeycomb casing looks cool to me. It also happens to improve the acoustics on any pair of open-air headphones. If there’s one thing that could be improved in these headphones, it’s the non-detachable cable.
To say that these are professional headphones would be a severe understatement. I consider the ATH-M70x the flagship of the M series. Not the least for its great sound quality, projection, and many comfort features.
The headphones come with three detachable cables and you get to pick and use your favorite (whether it’s a straight or coiled cable that you’re after). The headphones are also foldable which makes them easy to carry and store.
They’re as durable as any other Audio Technica headphones, if not actually superior to most. The proprietary 45mm drivers deliver impeccable audio performance and help with frequency separation and isolation. This is a key feature in recording studios.
The swiveling earcups add to the level of comfort whether you’re just listening to music for leisure, or if you’re doing one-ear monitoring. The low impedance of 38 ohm makes these headphones easy to play loud.
This is a model that’s very dear to me. It’s one of the few true gaming headsets from Audio Technica. The open-air design is always comfortable to wear but also ideal in multiplayer gaming sessions where outside noise isolation is not advised.
The large 53mm drivers can move an incredible amount of air and are capable of loud and accurate sound reproduction. The headphones are calibrated for surround sound and creating an immersive natural audio experience.
The microphone is a very important feature in online gaming. The built-in microphone on the ATH-ADG1X headphones has a quick response time and close to no distortion even when used at the maximum setting. There’s little need for voice enhancement or noise-cleaning software to get your message across loud and clear.
A minor drawback is the lack of a detachable cable function. There’s still enough range to use this headset with a gaming console though. That’s because the 3.9’ cable is accompanied by a 6.6’ extension cable.
If you’re looking for a more budget-friendly pair of headphones, the ATH-A550Z deserves your consideration. The headphones have a balanced frequency response on the low end. The mids are neutral and the highs are slightly emphasized.
This makes the headphones somewhat ideal for gaming and listening to anything but club music. The mid and high frequencies emphasize both instruments and vocals.
The construction is not the most durable but it is flexible and reliable enough for this price range. The headphones are also comfortable and I will always appreciate having little to no head pressure to worry about.
The cable is not detachable but it is very long at 9.8 feet. If you’re not worried about the clutter then you will appreciate the range it offers to console users.
The 3D wing system support is a staple of Audio Technica headphones and in this case it does a good job at easing the head pressure and ear pressure. It also helps support some of the weight of the extra-long cable.
Considering the low price and overall sound quality, the 53mm large angled drivers are doing a terrific job at elevating the performance of the headphones and balancing out some of the cons.
After so many years, I’ve found out just how amazing some of the cheapest headphones can be in terms of sound quality. The ATH-M30x continues to surprise me as they are yet to be matched by similarly priced headphones from any manufacturer.
They’re not super durable or the most comfortable to wear. Some may say that the design is rather flimsy. But that would probably be an accurate assessment. I can certainly understand the need to prioritize sound quality above all else when working with a budget constraint.
These headphones have the best midrange definition in their class. The 40mm drivers deliver a sound that’s above their pay grade. If you’re looking for good vocal and instrumental definition, I can’t recommend checking out these headphones enough.
They’re also easy to take with you on the road thanks to the foldable design. I find them ideal for gaming, watching movies, listening to music, and even doing some on-the-fly recording.
Here I’m addressing another type of users that rely on headphones and superior audio quality: the streamers. The BPHS1 headphones excel not just because of how good they sound but also because of the built-in cardioid microphone.
The microphone alone is worth half the value. It’s capable of high output levels and of eliminating crowd noise and most interference. As with most dynamic cardioid microphones, off-axis sounds become less concerning.
The microphone can also be repositioned to the left side if you want. The headphones aren’t lacking in durability either. The well-rounded design offers just enough of everything to be worth every penny.
The closed-back design is definitely worth testing if you plan on using these headphones for streaming. The large drivers project a neutral sound with minor artificial enhancements.
The pricing is also very good considering what the BPHS1 has to offer in both sound capturing and reproduction. And, just as a cherry on top, the cables are detachable.
If you’re looking for a pair of low-impedance Bluetooth-ready headphones, you may not need to look any further. The ATH-ANC700BT headphones are rated at 32ohm, which is perfect for mobile devices.
These over-ear headphones score off the charts in terms of comfort, design, value, versatility, and yes, even style. Although the latter is not a main point of emphasis with Audio Technica.
The headphones are sleek, light, and very durable for a mostly plastic model. On the left earcup you’ll find all the controls and connectivity ports. It’s also where the Bluetooth indicator is located.
There’s not a lot of padding to speak of, but there’s more than enough given how light the headphones are and the lack of a cable.
The sound is what you might call balanced if you’re not picky. However, there’s a clear emphasis on the low-end. Maybe not enough to satisfy most bassheads. But definitely enough to make a huge difference in creating a fuller sound when playing at lower volume.
The midrange frequencies and the high frequencies are more neutral and faithful. These headphones are particularly extended at the high end.
Overall, these are solid headphones. And while they may not have the best battery life, they make up for that with comfort, sound, noise cancellation, and style.
There are a couple of things that you should always account for when buying headphones. There are very few affordable models out there that can do it all. That’s simply because different specs are required for certain activities, and that’s regardless of manufacturer.
For example, you can always make do with Audio Technica's best studio offerings for watching movies, but they’re not going to be the best choice for that purpose.
Balancing the Frequencies
If you’re a DJ, you probably want enhanced bass features and crisp response on the low frequencies. You probably care less about mids and highs since they don’t offer quite as much in terms of clarity for club music.
On the other hand, if you like instrumental or classical music or any genre with a heavy focus on strings, drums, and other sharp instruments, there are two schools of thought. One says that the best headphones should emphasize the mids over the other frequencies. The other would argue that you need a pair of neutral-sounding headphones that can stay out of the way of the music.
When vocal clarity is concerned, know that more than 90% of human talking voices are in the midrange most of the time, even though female voices can extend far into the high frequencies.
A neutral response can also be highly useful in many situations. But probably none as useful as for recording or mixing. By stripping away certain enhancements, you’re able to stop imperfections in pitch a lot faster and make the appropriate adjustments.
Prioritize Impedance Ratings
Higher isn’t always better when it comes to impedance as there are always drawbacks and positives to impedance.
High-impedance headphones may require dedicated amplification. That’s because when the impedance is high, the load is going to draw higher current, perhaps more than your computer or laptop can offer, and certainly more than a smartphone can offer.
Lower-impedance headphones are best suited for travelers. They can be used on smartphones and still deliver enough volume and clarity. Since low-impedance headphones need less power, they’re going to play louder at the same volume setting.
Why I Recommend Audio Technica
Audio Technica is all about range, quality, and affordable pricing. The Japanese company has been right up there with the best Western audio equipment manufacturers for a very long time. And, even though their headphone designs may not look as flashy, the best Audio Technica headphones can more than hold their own.
I’m not against mixing, matching, and comparing brands. But if you’re not an audio equipment geek or already loyal to another brand, Audio Technica can serve you well as it has served many others over the years.