Excellent Studio Headphones from Audio-Technica for Any Budget

Daniel Mwangi
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Excellent Studio Headphones from Audio-Technica for Any Budget.

When it comes to manufacturing high-performance studio headphones ideal for critical listening, Audio-Technica stands among the most trusted brands. Renowned for superb quality and value across diverse price segments, Audio-Technica offers excellent listening tools accessible for any budget.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore some of Audio-Technica’s best studio headphones and reveal their key features, audio capabilities, and overall value. We’ll also provide tips on selecting the right Audio-Technica headphones to suit your critical listening needs and budget.

Why Choose Audio-Technica Headphones?

Founded in Japan in 1962, Audio-Technica has spent decades honing their expertise in transducer technology and audio reproduction. Here are some of the reasons why Audio-Technica is an excellent choice for studio headphones:

  • Sound Quality - Optimized drivers and sound-isolating designs deliver detailed, accurate audio critical for mixing and editing.
  • Comfort - Well-padded over-ear models and lightweight on-ear options ensure both short and long-term listening comfort.
  • Durability - Robust build quality and high-grade components allow Audio-Technica headphones to withstand repeated studio use.
  • Noise Isolation - Many models like the ATH-M50x provide impressive passive noise reduction for undisrupted listening.
  • Value - From affordable entry-level to high-end premium headphones, Audio-Technica offers excellent performance per dollar.

Now let’s take a closer look at some of the best studio headphones across the Audio-Technica line-up.

Audio-Technica ATH-M20x

Key Features:

  • Closed-back design
  • 40mm drivers
  • In-line controls
  • Affordable price

The ATH-M20x represent an inexpensive introduction to the critically acclaimed M-Series headphones from Audio-Technica. While abandoning premium materials in favor of cost savings, the ATH-M20x retain the excellent sonic qualities of the line.

The 40mm drivers may be smaller than pricier models but still reproduce clean audio with accurate mids and smooth highs. The extended 15-22 kHz frequency response provides satisfying musical detail. The closed-back design delivers respectable passive noise reduction for focused listening.

Weighing just 6.7 oz., the ATH-M20x maintain wearing comfort over hours in the studio. The permanently attached cable allows easy cuing via the in-line controls. If your budget is extremely tight yet you want capable closed-back headphones, the ATH-M20x deserve strong consideration.

Audio-Technica ATH-M40x

Key Features:

  • Closed-back design
  • Pro-grade build quality
  • Detachable cables
  • Balanced sound

The ATH-M40x represent a significant step up from the entry-level M20x, providing robust pro-grade headphones that can handle years of regular studio use. Their accurate audio reproduction and excellent isolation make them a go-to choice for engineers and producers.

Utilizing large 45mm drivers and quality Japanese components, the ATH-M40x deliver impressive clarity across the spectrum. The midrange stands out with its transparency and detail. The bass provides taut low-end punch when called for by your mixes.

The M40x demonstrate their professional design through traits like the collapsible construction, 90-degree swiveling earcups, and easily replaceable parts. Whether tracking, mixing, or location recording, the M40x are built to excel.

While not the most high-fidelity headphones available, the sub-$100 ATH-M40x outclass competitors at this approachable price point. For budget-minded individuals wanting great performance for the money, the M40x absolutely satisfy.

Audio-Technica ATH-M50x

Key Features:

  • Closed-back design
  • Highly customizable
  • Exceptional clarity
  • Detachable cables

The ATH-M50x represent Audio-Technica’s most popular headphones combining audio excellence, robust construction, and affordable pricing. Used by everyone from home studio owners to top artists in commercial studios, the ATH-M50x are highly revered.

Equipped with ample 45mm drivers and carefully tuned, the ATH-M50x deliver impressive clarity throughout the extended frequency range. The bass is satisfyingly punchy while the midrange shines with detail perfect for assessing mixes.

Outstanding isolation makes the ATH-M50x ideal for use in noisy environments like live recording scenarios. The secure fit and plush padding keep the M50x comfortable over extended sessions.

With a collapsible design, detachable cables, and choice of earpads, the ATH-M50x offer plenty of customization for different applications. Given their quality and reasonable price, the ATH-M50x should top any shortlist when shopping for closed-back studio headphones.

Audio-Technica ATH-M70x

Key Features:

  • Closed-back design
  • Carbon composite build
  • Wider frequency response
  • Increased sound isolation

Serving as the new flagship of the M-Series line, the ATH-M70x takes studio headphone performance to another level. With several audio enhancements and a durable carbon composite construction, the M70x satisfies advanced users.

Notably, the M70x utilize larger 47mm drivers specially tuned to extend the frequency range beyond even the ATH-M50x. You get enhanced low-frequency impact and detailed treble reproduction.

The carbon composite materials including the earcups, yokes, and headband reduce resonance for purer sound. Improved isolation thanks to the premium earpads allows you to access finer details at lower volumes.

Given their professional pedigree and superb performance rivaling far more expensive headphones, the relatively affordable ATH-M70x offer outstanding value. If you demand no-compromise studio headphones but don’t require luxury branding, the M70x make a compelling case.

Audio-Technica ATH-R70x

Key Features:

  • Open-back design
  • High-resolution audio
  • Dual-sided detachable cables
  • Carbon composite build

With the 70-Series, Audio-Technica introduced their first open-back headphones tailored for critical listening applications like mixing and editing. The flagship ATH-R70x demonstrate this dedication to reference-grade performance.

The precisely positioned transducers and acoustically transparent housings provide an accurate, natural soundstage perfect for assessing stereo imaging and space. The carbon composite construction results in little distracting resonance.

While the open-back design prevents sound isolation, it allows the R70x to reproduce astounding levels of detail and resolution in the studio. The dual-sided detachable cables permit easy switching between portable and home use.

For studio professionals and discerning listeners seeking accurate open-back headphones without the prohibitively high cost of luxury brands, the R70x represent an outstanding option worthy of consideration.

Key Considerations When Choosing Studio Headphones

Selecting the ideal Audio-Technica headphones involves prioritizing a few key factors:

  • Sound Quality - Seek headphones with flat, accurate reproduction. This allows you to make mix decisions based on the purest signal.
  • Type - Closed-back models like the ATH-M50x block sound leakage/intrusion. Open-back designs like the R70x provide a spacious soundstage.
  • Comfort - Over-ear padding prevents ear fatigue over hours. Lighter on-ear models can be worn comfortably for extended periods.
  • Noise Isolation - Closed-back headphones isolate distracting ambient noise. Open-back models allow environmental bleed.
  • Budget - Audio-Technica offers excellent studio headphones from very affordable like the ATH-M20x to premium models like the ATH-R70x.

Matching Headphones to Your Audio Needs

Mixing and Mastering

For mixing and mastering, open-back models like the ATH-R70x allow you to carefully assess stereo imaging and space. Their neutral sound ensures balancing decisions reflect the source audio.

Tracking and Monitoring

When tracking and recording, closed-back headphones like the ATH-M40x or ATH-M50x let you monitor takes and overdubs in loud environments by blocking external noise.

Casual Listening

For relaxed listening and reviewing music choices, the ATH-M50x provide excellent sound quality with enhanced low end that exposes nuance without fatigue over long sessions.

Location Recording

For recording live concerts and field interviews, portable closed-back headphones like the ATH-M20x allow you to capture clean audio while shutting out crowd noise and distractions.

Drum Tracking

When tracking drums, the enhanced low-frequency performance and isolation of the ATH-M70x lets drummers and engineers monitor takes with exceptional detail.

FAQ About Audio-Technica Headphones

What are the best Audio-Technica headphones for mixing?

For mixing, the ATH-R70x open-back headphones deliver neutral, transparent audio representing the most accurate studio headphones from Audio-Technica. The ATH-M70x and ATH-M50x are also great choices.

Should I get open-back or closed-back headphones?

Open-back headphones like the R70x are ideal for mixing in quiet environments. Closed-back models like the M50x block ambient noise for tracking and noisy locations. Assess your needs.

Do Audio-Technica headphones require a headphone amp?

Most Audio-Technica headphones can be adequately powered from regular audio interfaces and devices. However, a dedicated headphone amp allows models like the R70x and M70x to reach their full dynamic potential.

How durable are Audio-Technica headphones?

From entry-level models to premium headphones, Audio-Technica headphones feature solid construction with high-grade components able to easily withstand years of regular studio use.

Where are Audio-Technica headphones manufactured?

While founded in Japan, Audio-Technica has factories worldwide including in Taiwan and China. However, their professional headphone lines are still engineered and assembled in Japan.


Whether on an extremely tight budget or ready to invest in top-tier studio headphones, Audio-Technica has models to satisfy any critical listening needs. Their dedication to accuracy, build quality, innovation and value has made Audio-Technica a trusted brand for audio professionals and enthusiasts.

For audiophile-grade performance under $500, check out the ATH-R70x open-back headphones or the ATH-M70x closed-back option. If funds are limited, you can’t go wrong with the ATH-M40x or ATH-M50x.

So take the time to carefully consider your budget, listening environments, and audio applications. Then you can confidently select excellent Audio-Technica studio headphones to match your needs and enjoy their exceptional performance for years.

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