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January 19, 2022
Original: $99 USD
6 x 7 cm (ear pad interior)
1.2m or 3m (cables)
A companion to the Audio-Technica ATH-GDL3, the Audio-Technica ATH-GL3 is a new gaming headset from Audio-Technica. Featuring a simple design, detachable cables and microphone, and a focus on sound quality, this could be the ideal headset for the gamer looking for something cheap. The primary difference compared to its sibling headset is its closed-back design, which increases noise isolation but can sometimes hamper sound quality. With that in mind, does Audio-Technica hit the mark with this headset?
We spent two weeks with the ATH-GL3 and found out everything you need to know before you buy.
- Gamers looking for a sleek wired headset with a focus on sound quality should pick up the ATH-GL3.
- People looking for a headset with audio quality and a microphone on a budget will like this headset from Audio-Technica.
What is the Audio-Technica ATH-GL3 like to use?
Thanks to its plastic design the headset is fairly lightweight, although it does creak a bit when I place it on my head or remove it. Even with the creaking, it remains comfortable enough for shorter stints. The headband is made out of a rubber-like material meant to suspend the headset on your head. Unfortunately, this headband lacks padding, which decreases comfort for long-term use. The ear cups do a fairly decent job of cushioning the headset, but as this is a closed-back design heat buildup can happen over time. Wearing the headset for longer than two or three hours can be tiring, but not to an unusable degree.
Minimalist Audio-Technica logos brand the ear cups and there are no LEDs in sight—this is the case whether you go for the black or white colorway. While the lack of lights and features like haptic feedback, or even basic software support, could be a drawback for some, it has its appeal. The Audio-Technica ATH-GL3 is a simple gaming headset that doesn’t try to do too much.
The Audio-Technica ATH-GL3 is a closed-back headphone, in comparison to its sibling, the open-back Audio-Technica ATH-GDL3. It being closed-back means that the headphone driver is fully enclosed by the ear cup. Traditionally this type of design excels in creating noise isolation, blocking the listener off from the outside environment. An open-back design in comparison has the headphone driver exposed on the side facing away from the user, allowing air to pass through. This design is often praised for the way that it creates a wider soundstage, offering a superior stereo image compared to a closed-back design.
How do you control the Audio-Technica ATH-GL3?
The ATH-GL3 features adjustable volume controls on the left ear cup, very nifty for adjusting the volume without having to reach for your connected device. It also includes a switch next to this volume slider that can be used to turn the microphone on and off. You can replace both the microphone as well as the audio cable, and they’re easy to disconnect from their ports.
Is the Audio-Technica ATH-GL3 good for gaming?
The Audio-Technica ATH-GL3 is an excellent option for gamers thanks to its detachable microphone and solid sound quality. It sounds excellent with games like Halo: The Master Chief Collection and Elden Ring. It is important to note that unlike some other gaming headsets the Audio-Technica ATH-GL3 doesn’t have any included software for EQ or spatialization, meaning that if those are features you want you’ll have to find your own software for it, or rely on the built-in option for your platform of choice (if it has one). The detachable microphone, easily accessible mute button, and the included two 3.5mm audio cables make the headset excellent for Discord, Skype, or in-game voice chat.
How does the Audio-Technica ATH-GL3 connect?
The Audio-Technica ATH-GL3 connects via a 3.5mm headphone jack. The cable is fully detachable, and the headset comes with two different cables that are easy to swap out. The PC cable features separate 3.5mm headphone jacks, one for the microphone and one for the audio, while the other features a single 3.5mm TRRS jack for connecting to phones, console controllers, or some more modern computers.
Unlike some other gaming headsets, the Audio-Technica ATH-GL3 eschews USB audio. Because of this, it is compatible with any device that allows for a 3.5mm headphone connection. This includes most gaming computers, laptops, and phones (barring those that have removed the headphone jack in favor of going completely wireless). It also includes the Sony PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, and the Microsoft Xbox Series S/X through the headphone jacks in their controllers. It also works with the Nintendo Switch while in handheld mode. The audio spatialization features on the PlayStation, Xbox, and Windows platforms will also be compatible with this headset.
How well does the Audio-Technica ATH-GL3 block out noise?
The Audio-Technica ATH-GL3 is generally fairly good at blocking outside noise, as the closed-back design inherently cuts off more of the sound from the outside world than an open-back one. Room-level conversations, quiet music played over speakers, and annoying outside traffic will be diminished while wearing these headphones, although not to the level of something with active noise cancelling (ANC).
How does the Audio-Technica ATH-GL3 sound?
The Audio-Technica ATH-GL3 frequency response is surprisingly close to our target consumer curve, giving it a fairly even and enjoyable sound. The deviations in the low end of the frequency spectrum are fairly minor as the headset still supplies an enjoyable but light bass. The high end of the frequency is also adequate, but not quite ideal; hi-hats sometimes sound a bit thin because of it. The rest of the frequency response curve follows our ideal curve quite closely.
Lows, mids, and highs
Thanks to its fairly consistent midrange response, most instruments sound quite excellent on this headset. The guitars and synthesizers on The Enemy Are the Future by Late of the Pier sound particularly enjoyable with a full sound that compliments the headset well. Songs that are bass-heavy also come across fairly well, such as Diesel Power by The Prodigy or Legend Has It by Run The Jewels, where the bass is present but not overpowering and the vocals shine through nicely over top of it. Hi-hats and cymbals suffer in some songs due to the treble response, however, such as the hi-hats in Reptilia by The Strokes, which has more of a hiss to it than I expect.
How is the Audio-Technica ATH-GL3 microphone?
The microphone on the Audio-Technica ATH-GL3 is adequate, but not stellar. It certainly isn’t studio-quality gear, as seen by the sharp decline in frequency response in the high end, but it’s good enough for calls and in-game voice chat. The microphone features foam padding acting as a pop filter, as well as being conveniently detachable and able to bend and shift to a comfortable position. The headset also features an on-off switch on the left ear cup to turn the microphone on and off as needed.
Audio-Technica ATH-GL3 microphone demo (Ideal):
Audio-Technica ATH-GL3 microphone demo (Office):
How does the microphone sound to you?
Should you buy the Audio-Technica ATH-GL3?
The Audio-Technica ATH-GL3 is an easy recommendation for anyone looking for a gaming headset that isn’t wireless or USB based. The solid frequency response and acceptable ergonomics make this an excellent choice as an entry-level headset that can serve both for gaming as well as for casual music listening. This is bolstered by the detachable microphone, the two included headphone cables, and the reasonable price tag. Compared to its open-back sibling the Audio-Technica ATH-GL3 is especially an excellent option for anyone in a slightly noisier space thanks to its superior noise isolation.
What should you get instead of the Audio-Technica ATH-GL3?
If you’re looking for an alternative around the same price range, the Razer BlackShark V2 is an excellent option. Compared to the Audio-Technica ATH-GL3 it features a USB connection for audio instead of a 3.5mm cable. Another option might be the Beyerdynamic MMX 150, which uses a USB-C port in the headset to connect to your device. It’s slightly more expensive but with a better focus on comfort than the Audio-Technica ATH-GL3.
Frequently asked questions about the Audio-Technica ATH-GL3?
The Audio-Technica ATH-GL3 and the Audio-Technica ATH-GDL3 are two headsets that share a fairly similar design. The ATH-GL3 features a closed-back design, which gives it a focus on noise isolation. On the other hand, the ATH-GDL3 has an open-back design, which gives it an edge when it comes to soundstage, but with sacrifices being made to isolation. While the Audio-Technica ATH-GDL3 is a unique option for a gaming headset due to this design, the ATH-GL3 is generally superior thanks to its reduced price and slightly more accurate frequency response.