If you’re looking for a more affordable pair of headphones that can fit in your budget yet still provide studio monitor quality, it can be a bit of a hassle searching through everything out there. We’ve had some problems with the pricing by the more popular models, such as Beats by Dre or Skullcandy brands. In our experience, the sound quality is extremely disappointing, and their ‘studio’ adjective in their titles is merely a marketing scheme. A lot of these pairs of headphones also cost over $200+! I needed a pair of headphones that offered studio monitor quality because I was looking for both an even amount of emphasis and accuracy with sounds in all frequencies, as well as a solid pair I could use somewhere besides my music studio. We love the Audio-Technica ATH-M30x because of their lower price (MSRP of $99 – around ~$70 on some websites) yet great tech included in their build. Let’s get into the details.
Our rating of the Audio Technica ATH M30x
- Cheap price of $99 retail (seen about $20 lower on websites) for a great quality studio monitor quality headphone
- Sleek black color and style looks cool on your head (as seen with the stud on the right)
- Collapsible – great for traveling and portability
- Good for even frequency distribution (not bass or treble favored)
- More comfortable than a lot of competitors out there
- Cable is not interchangeable like the M40x or M50x
- Tuned mainly for mid-range as opposed to flat like the higher editions for overall frequency
- Do not swivel like the M40x or M50x
- I noticed in my listening that it isn’t too bass heavy
Main features of the M30x studio headphones
This is just about in the middle of Audio Technica’s studio monitor headphones line. One of the biggest ‘downsides’ (if that’s what you’d consider it) some would say is the lack of interchangeable cable that’s unique to their new x-line of studio monitor headphones. If you really need that feature, it’s only available in the ATH-M40x or ATH-M50x. Other than that, this headphone is absolutely worth the money. You can also check out this version’s predecessor, the ATH-M30 (the price will continue to drop as they get older and overlooked).
The drivers are 40 mm with ‘rare earth magnets’ and ‘copper-clad aluminum wire’ coils for a great, solid build. No gimmicky stuff here. As stated previously, they are more ideal for a mid-range definition. The around-the-ears build is also great for sound isolation if you’re in a noisy place. The sound quality is surprisngly clear even though it’s one of AT’s lower models. If you want to save some money and can deal with out the interchangeable cable or swiveling ear cups, the M30x is a great solution as opposed to the higher models.
Great for taveling and portability
One of the best features of the M30x headphones by Audio Technica is the ability to collapse. It also comes with a nice little pouch to put them in (it is cloth, we recommend going for a harder shell if you want some more security). The only thing you’ll be lacking is being able to take the cable out of the bottom, which you can easily wrap around the headphones themselves instead.
Specifications of the M30x
- Type: Closed-back dynamic
- Drivers: 40 mm
- Magnet type: Neodymium
- Frequency response: 15,000 to 22,000 Hz
- Maximum Input: 1,300 mW (1 kHz)
- Sensitivity: 96 dB
- Voice coil: Copper-clad aluminum wire
- Impedance: 47 ohms
- Weight: 7.8 oz (220g)
- Cable: 3.0m straight (left-side exit)
- Comes with a pouch and 6.3 mm screw-on adapter
The differences between the M30x, M40x and M50x
You’re probably wondering if it’s worth the price. As you go down Audio-Technica’s studio monitor headphone line, you’re losing driver, frequency, sensitivity, and impedance numbers — are these important to you? I’ll be completely honest, it is barely noticeable. Unless you’re using these for some very serious mixing purposes, you should be fine with the cheaper models. However, if you want the best of the best (I am this way, I’ll admit), or want the interchangeable cable feature, you should obviously go with the ATH-M40x or ATH-M50x.
All in all, our conclusion of the M30x is pretty clear: it depends on your needs, really. If you were wondering about their effectiveness, you are good to go in terms of sound quality, comfort and overall stability. The sound isn’t quite as nice as the 40x or the 50x, but the different isn’t too noticeable unless you’re mixing or mastering professionally or even semi-professionally in the studio. For some headphones that pertain this, read our best headphones for mixing and mastering article.
We’ve also recently compiled a top 10 on the best studio headphones in the market. If you want to see some other praised models around the net, be sure to read that article so you can do some comparing before making your purchase!