We can’t reiterate how happy we’ve been with Audio-Techncia‘s new studio monitor headphone line. We’ve received some great feedback on our best Audio-Technica headphones article, and although the ATH-M40x won that award, we are still giving attention to their lowest model of the line, the ATH-M20x. Although it is around $50 retail and the models above it offer some larger driver numbers and frequency ranges, this is an incredible quality headphone at an affordable price.
Main features of the ATH M20x headphones
- Retail price: $69.00
- Closed-back dynamic headphones
- Frequency response: 15 – 20,000 Hz
- Impedance: 47 ohms
- Weight: 7 ounces
- 10″ straight cable attached (comes with 1/4″ snap-on adapter)
- Advanced quality of build and engineering
- 40mm neodymium drivers (rare earth magnet and copper-clad aluminum wire voice coils)
- Tuned better low-frequency performance (bass)
- Circamural design contours around ears
- Excellent sound isolation in loud places
- One single-cable exit
- Specifically for studio mixing
Overall build of the headphones
We’re huge fans of Audio-Technica’s make, and these headphones in particular are quite comfortable. I haven’t had any ear pain issues (I used them for a few days when I worked out and made some music for a total of 20 hours throughout a few days). The earpads are also comfortable — really soft and nice material — no complains there either. I mean, they’re not genuine leather or anything, but they aren’t made of cheap plastic or mesh we’d find at a swap meet. I don’t think they’re as nice as the ATH-M50x, but they still offer a premium build — a lot better than some Sony and Panasonic’s within the same price range I’ve tried out. The headband is reliable too — it’s got a nice little bend and is adjustable as well in case you’ve got a big noggin (don’t be ashamed!).
I was honestly surprised at how good these sounded. Maybe I was being a bit biased, but since they were the lowest possible model of their monitor line I wasn’t expecting much. Now don’t get me wrong, they’re not as ‘accurate’ or ‘flat’ as the later versions (these are specifically tuned for low-frequency — a little cheaper for them to make), but for $50 these are a crazy deal.
It is especially great if you’re looking for a more bassy headphone, although if you want something really bass-heavy and made for that in particular, I’d check out Audio-Technica’s bass headphones article.
Overall, the sound quality of the Audio-Technica ATH-M20x are worth the money. Obviously if you want to spend some more money you’ll get some better sound quality, but if you aren’t using them for mixing songs professionally and it’s more for a daily/workout/travel purpose, they will suffice — they don’t have a cheap sound that will ruin your listening experience like some other lower-priced headphones in the market
So there aren’t many cons to these headphones unless you’re ignoring the price. As far as competing against some of the Beats by Dre headphones or popular studio monitor models, they don’t match up as far as sound quality goes. However, keep this into consideration — they’re only $50! These are some of the best $50 and under headphones we’ve used. If you want to save even more money, you can check the price for the original ATH-M20 on Amazon (I’ve seen it for as low as $25 and it continues to drop). You can also check out our best studio headphones article for some more options if you’re still trying to decide.
Is that important to you? Worth the extra $100ish dollars? I don’t think so personally, but that’s your choice. These headphones also do not have swivel ears or fold like the latter versions — that may be a concern to you if you’re traveling a lot or like to DJ and sound mix.
Lastly, it doesn’t come with a carrying case like the other versions of their m-line (although I don’t like it, it’s merely cloth and isn’t too protective anyway) — if you want a case, buy a separate hard shell with it.