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Best Audio-Technica headphones

Audio-Technica has been providing premium products for nearly 60 years; here’s the best of the best.
By
June 21, 2022
Best all-around
Audio-Technica ATH-M50xBT2
By Audio-Technica
Product shot of Audio-Technica ATH-M50xBT2
7.8
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Positives
Industry-leading studio headphones
Swivel ear cups
Bluetooth 5.0, SBC, AAC, LDAC; wired input
Excellent battery life
Negatives
Price
Bluetooth carries some drawbacks
Heat buildup
The Bottom Line.
The ATH-M50xBT2 is a pair of no-nonsense, great-sounding Bluetooth headphones that live up to its wired predecessor.Read full review...
Best studio
Audio-Technica ATH-M40x
By Audio-Technica
The Audio-Technica M40x studio headphones in black against a white background.
8
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Positives
Price
Sound quality
Build quailty
Negatives
Still not very portable
Just okay isolation
The Bottom Line.
The ATH-M40x offers great performance for the price, and makes it easy to enjoy great audio on a budget.Read full review...
Best open-back
Audio-Technica ATH-AD900X
By Audio-Technica
Audio-Technica ATH-AD900x headphones angled away from the camera against a white background.
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Positives
Open-back sound quality
Also good for gaming
Lightweight
Negatives
Comfort
Cable difficult to straighten
The Bottom Line.
If you’re looking for good sound reproduction and enjoy the more realistic audio properties from open-back headphones, this is a great deal.
Best ANC
Audio-Technica ATH-ANC900BT
By Audio-Technica
A product image of the Audio Technica ATH 900BT
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Positives
SBC, AAC, aptX; wired input
Portable design
Battery life
Negatives
Finicky touch controls
The Bottom Line.
If you want to get noise cancelling headphones within the Audio-Technica family, this manages to be both functional and fashionable.
Best value
Audio-Technica ATH-CLR100iSBK
By Audio-Technica
The Audio-Technica ATH-CLR100iSBK Sonicfuel wired earbuds in black against a white background.
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Positives
Price
Angled nozzles
Integrated mic and remote
Negatives
Build quality
The Bottom Line.
If you just want a pair of plug-and-play earbuds, you can’t get a better value than these ergonomic in-ears.

Few audio companies are as respected as Audio-Technica. When it comes to studio headphones, audio engineers and enthusiasts alike are bound to sing their praises for the Japanese company. The fandom is well-earned, too, as Audio-Technica puts performance and dependability first time and time again with its premium audio products, drawing professionals to the brand like a band of cats to tuna.

Editor’s note: This article was updated on June 21, 2022, to address the Audio-Technica ATH-M70x and to add in-line FAQs of mic samples when relevant. We also updated the Notable mentions section.

Why is the Audio-Technica ATH-M50xBT2 the best Audio-Technica headphones?

If you’re familiar with the audio community, then you’ve heard of the Audio-Technica ATH-M50xBT2 as the wireless version of the headphones are some of the most recognizable studio cans around. When you stream over Bluetooth, you get your choice of the SBC, AAC, and LDAC codecs for high-quality audio to any operating system.

Audio-Technica ATH-M50xBT2
Audio-Technica ATH-M50xBT2
7.8
Audio-Technica ATH-M50xBT2 with one ear cup rotated laying flat on leaves.Audio-Technica ATH-M50xBT2 packed away in included vinyl bag.Close up of the buttons and connections on Audio-Technica ATH-M50xBT2 ear cup.A man wears the Audio-Technica ATH-M50xBT2 pressing the buttons on the left ear cup.Isolation measurement chart for Audio-Technica ATH-M50xBT2.Frequency response of Audio-Technica ATH-M50xBT2 set against the ideal studio curve.
Audio-Technica ATH-M50xBT2
Audio-Technica ATH-M50xBT2
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Housed within each ear cup is a 45mm dynamic driver that reproduces exceptional audio quality for professional use. If you’re looking for a pair of consumer cans with markedly exaggerated highs and lows, the ATH-M50xBT2 isn’t it. While the bass response is a bit more emphasized than its little sibling the ATH-M40x, its main purpose is for studio mixing so audio engineers can accurately create a sound.

The synthetic ear cup material may not be the most comfortable seeing as it heats up fairly quickly, but it isolates the listener from external noise well enough for professional studio use. You can rotate the swivel ear cups and even flip them up, letting you hear your surroundings when live mixing. If you need something rugged and reliable, that works anywhere, get this headset.

The microphone is good for standard phone calls, and you can even enable sidetone through the mobile app to hear yourself on the call.

Audio-Technica ATH-M50xBT2 microphone demo (Non-standardized):

How does the microphone sound to you?

2532 votes

Get studio sound on a budget with the Audio-Technica ATH-M40x

There’s no point in fixing what isn’t broken, and Audio-Technica embraced that sentiment when it released the ATH-M40x. This pair of headphones retains the same 45mm drivers found in the original version and offers very respectable sound for such a low price. For $99 USD there’s not a ton of competition here, outside of the Sony MDR-7506.

Audio-Technica ATH-M40x
Audio-Technica ATH-M40x
8
The Audio-Technica ATH-M40x on a wooden shelf.The Audio-Technica ATH-M40x studio headphone on an Audio-Technica record player.Best headphones under $100: Audio-Technica ATH-M40x on Audio-Technica record playerBest headphones under $100: Audio-Technica ATH-M40x on Audio-Technica record playerThe isolation chart for the AuA frequency response chart depicts the A comparison frequency response chart with the Audio-Technica ATH-M40x (cyan) response over the SoundGuys Consumer Curve v2.0 (pink), with the headphones closely following our curve's treble response.A comparison frequency response chart of the Audio-Technica ATH-M40x, M30x, and M50x studio headphones against our Studio Curve V1.1 (pink). It shows that there's little difference between the three headsets, and the largest difference relates to treble reproduction.
Audio-Technica ATH-M40x
Audio-Technica ATH-M40x
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Unfortunately, the headphone jack is disappearing from phones, so this may be an at-home-only type deal if you have an iPhone or Note 10. If you like these headphones and want to find a phone that fits them, be sure to check out our picks for the best handsets.

For open-back cans, it’s hard to beat the ATH-AD900x

If you’re on the prowl for the most realistic sound possible, open-back headphones should be a top consideration. The company made its name off its open-back headphones and has maintained a respected reputation throughout the years. Beneath each grill is a huge 53mm dynamic driver and CCAW voice coils for clear audio reproduction with a wide soundstage.

Audio-Technica ATH-AD900X
Audio-Technica ATH-AD900X
Audio-Technica -AD900x headphones straight-on product image against white background.Audio-Technica ATH-AD900x headphones angled away from the camera against a white background.Audio-Technica ATH-AD900x headphones angled with the cable showing against a white background.
Audio-Technica ATH-AD900X
Audio-Technica ATH-AD900X
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The winged headband is designed to mitigate any vibrations that may degrade audio quality. Unfortunately, listeners have mentioned that, while effective, it isn’t the most comfortable mechanism. If you want comfortable open-back headphones, Sennheiser may be a better—albeit more expensive—option.

Gamers and audiophiles alike will benefit from the open-back design of the AD900x.

This isn’t just a great option for audiophiles, though. No, the open-back design bodes well for gaming too, since it provides a more natural representation of sound. Due to the open nature of the cans, you’re able to more realistically register what direction enemy footsteps are approaching from.

Need noise cancelling? Get the ATH-ANC900BT

While it’s true that the Sony WH-1000XM4 and Bose QuietComfort 45 are the kings of noise cancelling headphones, the ATH-ANC900BT puts up a fight. This can combat lower rumbles and include touch controls for music playback and wireless calls. The minimal design is appealing and will likely complement any outfit, or at least not clash with it.

Audio-Technica ATH-ANC900BT
Audio-Technica ATH-ANC900BT
A product image of the Audio Technica ATH 900BT
Audio-Technica ATH-ANC900BT
Audio-Technica ATH-ANC900BT
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With an improved battery life of 35 hours, these headphones outlast the Sony WH-1000XM5 and XM4, even when using Bluetooth and ANC. While you’ll get the best audio quality by using the included 3.5mm plug, aptX support is good enough for on-the-go scenarios.

Speaking of which, the flat-folding design makes the ATH-ANC900BT an excellent travel companion, while the memory foam ear pads are plush and ease any pain that may arise from extended listening sessions. If you want fine active noise cancelling paired with Audio Technica’s sound signature, these headphones are definitely worth considering.

The best bang for your buck is the ATH-CLR100iSBK

If you’re looking for a no-nonsense pair of in-ears that get the job done for cheap, the Audio-Technica ATH-CLR100iSBK is it. Jutting out from the housings are angled nozzles that create a comfortable, secure fit. The stress relievers transitioning from the housings to the cable seem substantial enough to hold up against normal wear and tear.

Audio-Technica ATH-CLR100iSBK
Audio-Technica ATH-CLR100iSBK
The Audio-Technica ATH-CLR100iSBK Sonicfuel wired earbuds in black against a white background.
Audio-Technica ATH-CLR100iSBK
Audio-Technica ATH-CLR100iSBK
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Despite the compact size of these wired earbuds, relatively large 8.5mm drivers are used to pump out a clear sound. What’s more, the company includes an integrated one-button mic and remote module for hands-free calling and basic playback controls. For less than $20, it’s a solid deal for people who just want a basic headset.

Who should buy the Audio-Technica ATH-M50x instead of the ATH-M50xBT2?

A man facing right plays guitar while wearing the Audio-Technica ATH-M50x.
The upshot of closed-back headphones is you can track instruments without sound leakage.

The Audio-Technica ATH-M50x is a great headset for anyone who wants a pair of headphones that works in and out of the studio, and it’s a bit cheaper than the Bluetooth version. You can often find the wired-only ATH-M50x on sale for $149 USD, $50 USD cheaper than the BT2. Sonically, these headphones are virtually identical and you’re bound to appreciate the rugged, durable build of the ATH-M50x. This headset also doubles as a great pair of headphones for gaming, so long as you don’t mind the heat-retaining ear pads.

Both products are closed-back studio headphones that retail for around the same price—between $150-$160 USD. The Beyerdynamic DT 770 PRO is known for its more consistent output, especially with midrange frequencies. When you listen to the DT 770 PRO, you may notice a louder treble response, but this is fairly easy to equalize. This makes the DT 770 Pro ideal for more critical listening applications, such as production sound mixing and broadcast. On the other hand, the ATH-M50x is popular amongst EDM artists and DJs because of its boosted bass, relative to the mids, which allows percussion and bass lines to cut through a mix—a must-have when trying to keep track of tempo during a live performance.


The best Audio-Technica headphones: Notable mentions

The Audio-Technica ATH-M30x resting on a wood surface with the cable folded up.
For many, the long cable of the ATH-M30x is a selling point, but it’s not removable.
  • Audio-Technica ATH-GL3: This is a simple wired gaming headset with a lightweight plastic build and onboard controls. You can replace the cable, mic, and ear pads, making it a pretty easy headset to fix your own and extend its life. The ATH-GL3 costs $99 USD and doesn’t come with any software.
  • Audio-Technica ATH-M30x: This pair of wired headphones compromises build quality but delivers a similar sound to the beloved M40x. If you don’t care for a detachable cable and sleeker design, the extra money saved is a good thing.
  • Audio Technica ATH-R70x: For professionals, these open-back studio headphones provide accurate audio reproduction and unparalleled comfort that will complement any studio setup.
  • Audio-Technica ATH-SR30BT: These over-ear Bluetooth headphones are perfect for people who are constantly on the go—featuring good sound quality, SBC and AAC support, and a whopping 70-hours of battery life!
  • Audio-Technica ATH-WP900: These high-end cans were announced earlier this year, along with the ATH-AWKT and ATH-AWAS, aimed at studio professionals. Large 53mm drivers deliver a wide soundstage and balanced overall frequency response, suited for mixing and mastering applications.

The ATH-M70x is a very good headset but its price-to-performance ratio holds it back from being one of the best headsets around. See, the ATH-M70x has a premium build that looks nicer than the ATH-M50x and its cheaper siblings, but it doesn’t stand out relative to other premium headphones. We’re also left unimpressed by the treble-heavy frequency response that we don’t hear from other Audio-Technica cans. Ultimately, if you’re going to spend this much on a pair of barebones headphones, we recommend the Beyerdynamic DT 700 PRO X, or save some money with the ATH-M50x.


The best Audio-Technica earbuds: Notable mentions

The Audio-Technica ATH-SQ1TW lays on a wooden table next to a Google Pixel 4a playing the Trash Taste podcast on YouTube
If you’re in the habit of watching video podcasts, you’ll like the ATH-SQ1TW for its low-latency streaming.

Still looking? Check out the following lists:

What you should know about Audio-Technica headphones

How should Audio-Technica headphones sound?

This chart compares the frequency responses of the Audio-Technica ATH-M20x and Audio ATH-M30x against our target curve.
In cyan, the ATH-M20x supplies less sub bass and fewer highs than the ATH-M30x (in yellow).

Like other household name headphone brands, Audio-Technica has a signature sound. You’ll find that many of its headsets have a fairly even output across the bass and midrange with some under-emphasis around 300Hz. Usually, you’ll find that the treble response is boosted a bit but this is normal among pretty much all headsets and it isn’t so emphasized that it’s painful to hear. Audio-Technica made its name on versatile, utilitarian products at a reasonable price. Its headphones keep their value, and they resell well.

Do these headphones need an amp?

No, none of these headsets require an amp or DAC, keeping things reasonably priced.

What Bluetooth codecs matter for wireless headphones?

When it comes to the wireless options, keep an eye out for high-quality Bluetooth codecs. As it stands, wireless cans can’t compete with the quality of wired alternatives. Getting a set with aptX compatibility for Android users or AAC support for iPhones will mitigate any perceptible audio-visual lag.

How we choose the best Audio-Technica headphones

The Audio-Technica ATH-M40x wired studio headphones on an Audio-Technica turntable.
Though the ATH-M40x isn’t the pinnacle of portability, they fold flat to make space in a bag or to rest comfortably on the chest.

Seeing as Audio-Technica has a legacy of studio headphones and various accouterments, it’s hard to narrow it down to just five picks. That said, we tried to account for a wide variety of listeners from traveling audio enthusiasts to the casual listener who just wants an easy pair of earbuds to listen with. If we omitted your favorite pair of headphones, be sure to shoot us a line in the comments, since we maintain these best lists as living documents.

You may find that you want another set of headphones, or that Audio-Technica only offers certain models near you, and that’s fine! The company doesn’t really put out bad headphones, so you should give the others a whirl if you’re able.

Why you should trust SoundGuys

A man faces left wearing the Audio-Technica ATH-M30x.
We make sure to test out as many products as possible while curating our best lists to lessen the amount of research our readers have to conduct.

We strive to educate our readers first and foremost. When it comes to audio, each of our writers understands that it’s both an objective and subjective topic. We perform in-house testing to all review units, while also taking them out into the real world whether that means working out, commuting, or leisurely listening to something.

While our site does operate via referral links, none of our writers may benefit from awarding one product over the competition. We strive to be transparent and just want you to enjoy your purchase if one is made. Ultimately, we want to sate your auditory appetite and pique your interest in the science of it all.

Frequently asked questions about Audio-Technica headphones

No, it doesn’t matter if all of your studio equipment is from the same brand or not—compatibility should be no issue so long as you’re using a USB interface to record from an XLR mic. What’s more important is that you like each individual product you buy and they serve your particular needs. You may be able to get deals on Audio-Technica products if you buy microphones and headphones in a set, though.


Because the Audio Technica ATH-M40x lacks a built-in microphone, this headphone would not be ideal for conference calls—unless you were planning to use an external microphone. If you want a good pair of Audio Technica headphones for such use case, consider the Audio Technica ATH-M50x, which features a decent built-in microphone. For more alternatives, be sure to check out our list of the best Bluetooth headphones for conference calls.


A lot of users have reported that the Audio-Technica ATH-M40X had a flatter sound signature than the ATH-M50xBT, which results in a more accurate reproduction of your mix—ideal for home studio applications. The M50xBT, however, has also been well-received for basic home mixing applications and casual listening—especially with its inclusion of Bluetooth. If you’re still unsure, visit your local audio shop and try these cans out for yourself! At the end of the day, the best studio headphones are the ones that cater to your needs.[