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Audio-Technica ATH-M20x Headphones Review

Tested using Methodology v1.4
Reviewed May 16, 2016 at 03:00 pm
Audio-Technica ATH-M20x Picture
Test Methodology v1.4
5.2
Mixed Usage
7.2
Neutral Sound
4.6
Commute/Travel
5.0
Sports/Fitness
5.3
Office
4.1
Wireless Gaming
6.1
Wired Gaming
2.0
Phone Calls
Type Over-ear
Enclosure Closed-Back
Wireless No
Noise Cancelling No
Mic No
Transducer Dynamic

The Audio-Technica ATH-M20x are decent over-ear headphones. They have an above-average audio reproduction and a moderately comfortable and stable design. Sadly, They don't block much noise, which may affect your listening experience in loud environments or while commuting.

Our Verdict

5.2 Mixed Usage

The M20x struggle a little as everyday headphones. They lack a few features and are a little too cumbersome for everyday casual use.

7.2 Neutral Sound

Good audio fidelity but they have a poor soundstage because of their closed back design. They perform above-average for neutral listening but may lack a little openness.

See our Neutral Sound recommendations
4.6 Commute/Travel

Not ideal for commuting. The weak noise isolation is not sufficient for loud environments.

See our Commute/Travel recommendations
5.0 Sports/Fitness

Not Intended for sports. They're a bit too bulky and unstable for high-intensity exercises.

See our Sports/Fitness recommendations
5.3 Office

Passive noise isolation too weak to block the chatter of a busy office. They're also a bit leaky at high volumes.

See our Office recommendations
6.1 Wired Gaming
2.0 Phone Calls
  • 5.2 Mixed Usage
  • 7.2 Neutral Sound
  • 4.6 Commute/Travel
  • 5.0 Sports/Fitness
  • 5.3 Office
  • 4.1 Wireless Gaming
  • 6.1 Wired Gaming
  • 2.0 Phone Calls
Pros
  • Above-average sound reproduction.
Cons
  • Poor isolation.
  • No audio controls.
  1. Update 3/24/2020: Converted to Test Bench 1.4.
  2. Update 11/21/2019: Converted to Test Bench 1.3.1.
  3. Update 11/6/2019: Converted to Test Bench 1.3.
  4. Update 2/16/2018: Converted to Test Bench 1.2.
  5. Update 8/10/2017: Converted to Test Bench 1.1. Learn more about our new versioned test bench system here.

Check Price

Test Results

perceptual testing image
Design
Design
Style

The ATH-M20x have a simple and understated studio appeal that's a little bland, but will work for some. They come in an all-black color scheme and share the same design as the ATH-M30x with slight differences on the back of the ear cups. They also resemble the higher-end ATH-M50x but with a different metal frame that looks slightly cheaper.

7.0
Design
Comfort
Weight 0.46 lbs
Clamping Force
0.99 lbs

The ATH-M20x are moderately comfortable. They don't apply too much pressure to the head, and the large ear cups fit around most listener's ears. However, the ear cups do not swivel like the ATH-M40x or ATH-M50x making these headphones feel a little stiff. They also don't have as large ear cups which could get slightly uncomfortable for some.

0
Design
Controls
OS Compatibility
No Controls
Ease Of Use No Controls
Feedback No Controls
Call/Music Control No
Volume Control No
Microphone Control No
Channel Mixing
No
Noise Cancelling Control No
Talk-Through
No
Additional Controls No
6.3
Design
Breathability
Avg.Temp.Difference 6.3 C
5.5
Design
Portability
L 7.87 "
W 6.50 "
H 3.35 "
Volume 171.12 Cu. Inches
Transmitter Required No

The M20x are not portable headphones. They do not fold into a more compact format or have swiveling ear cups that lay flat. They are cumbersome to carry around and will occupy quite a bit space in a backpack and may not be able to fit comfortably in a handbag. Their cable is also a little bulky and is non-detachable, which can be frustrating when transporting these headphones. They also don't come with a case pouch.

0
Design
Case
Type No case
L N/A
W N/A
H N/A
Volume N/A
6.5
Design
Build Quality

Build quality is average. These headphones can handle a couple of drops without getting damaged and feel sufficiently dense. Unfortunately, their build quality feels cheaper and less durable than the ATH-M40x and the ATH-M50x. The metal frame used is thinner and exposes the audio cable connecting the ear cups. Unlike the higher-end models of the same design, this exposed cable makes the M20x more likely to get damaged by wear and tear.

6.0
Design
Stability

These headphones are not designed for use while doing sports and physical activity. They will maintain their position during casual listening sessions and won't slip off as you tilt your head. However, they will quickly fall off during high-intensity physical activity and are not ideal for use in a gym or while running and jumping. Also, the cord is not detachable and may yank the headphones off your head if it gets hooked on something.

Design
Headshots 1
Design
Headshots 2
Design
Top
Design
In The Box

  • Audio-Technica ATH-M20x Headphones
  • 1/8" to 1/4" Adapter

Sound
Sound
Sound Profile
Bass Amount
-2.02 db
Treble Amount
-2.57 db
7.7
Sound
Frequency Response Consistency
Avg. Std. Deviation
0.45 dB
Sound
Raw Frequency Response
8.1
Sound
Bass Accuracy
Std. Err.
2.53 dB
Low-Frequency Extension
38.86 Hz
Low-Bass
-4.14 dB
Mid-Bass
1.51 dB
High-Bass
0.05 dB
9.1
Sound
Mid Accuracy
Std. Err.
1.17 dB
Low-Mid
-0.96 dB
Mid-Mid
0.17 dB
High-Mid
1.16 dB
5.3
Sound
Treble Accuracy
Std. Err.
6.31 dB
Low-Treble
-2.17 dB
Mid-Treble
-4.28 dB
High-Treble
-8.17 dB
6.5
Sound
Peaks/Dips
Peaks
2.16 db
Dips
2.25 db
8.7
Sound
Imaging
Weighted Group Delay
0.34
Weighted Amplitude Mismatch
0.65
Weighted Frequency Mismatch
1.67
Weighted Phase Mismatch
2.43
5.3
Sound
Passive Soundstage
PRTF Accuracy (Std. Dev.)
2.19 dB
PRTF Size (Avg.)
2.98 dB
PRTF Distance
9.53 dB
Openness
5.0
Acoustic Space Excitation
3.7
0
Sound
Virtual Soundstage
Head Modeling
No
Speaker Modeling
No
Room Ambience
No
Head Tracking
No
Virtual Surround
No App
7.6
Sound
Weighted Harmonic Distortion
WHD @ 90
0.176
WHD @ 100
0.185
Sound
Test Settings
Firmware
No Firmware
Power
Passive
Connection
Wired
Codec
PCM, 24-bit, 48kHz
EQ
No EQ
ANC
No ANC
Tip/Pad
Default
Microphone
No Microphone
Isolation
5.0
Isolation
Noise Isolation
Isolation Audio
Overall Attenuation
-11.74 dB
Bass
0.74 dB
Mid
-9.9 dB
Treble
-27.03 dB

Poor isolation. These headphones don't have active noise cancelling, and the passive isolation provided by the ear cups is average. They provide no isolation in the bass region and only start to kick in at around 300Hz. The total amount of isolation provided in the mid-range is about 10dB which is below average. In the treble range, the overall amount of isolation is about 27dB which is decent.

6.8
Isolation
Leakage
Leakage Audio
Overall Leakage @ 1ft
40.96 dB

Decent leakage. The majority of the leakage is happening between 500Hz and 3KHz, which is relatively broad. This means that the content of the leakage (lyrics for example) may be intelligible to the people around you at moderate to loud volumes.

Microphone
Microphone
Microphone Style
Integrated
No
In-Line
No
Boom
No
Detachable Boom
No
0
Microphone
Recording Quality
Recorded Speech
N/A
LFE
N/A
FR Std. Dev.
N/A
HFE
N/A
Weighted THD
N/A
Gain
N/A
0
Microphone
Noise Handling
Speech + Pink Noise N/A
Speech + Subway Noise N/A
SpNR
N/A
Active Features
0
Active Features
Battery
Battery Type
No Battery
Continuous Battery Life
N/A
Additional Charges
N/A
Total Battery Life
N/A
Charge Time
N/A
Power-Saving Feature
No
Audio While Charging
No
Passive Playback
Passive Headphone
Charging Port None
0
Active Features
App Support
App Name No App
iOS No
Android No
macOS No
Windows No
Equalizer
No
ANC Control
No
Mic Control No
Room Effects
No
Playback Control
No
Button Mapping No
Surround Support
No

No compatible app.

Connectivity
0
Connectivity
Bluetooth
Bluetooth Version
No Bluetooth
Multi-Device Pairing
No
NFC Pairing
No
Line Of Sight Range
N/A
PC Latency (SBC)
N/A
PC Latency (aptX)
N/A
PC Latency (aptX HD)
N/A
PC Latency (aptX-LL)
N/A
iOS Latency
N/A
Android Latency
N/A
0
Connectivity
Non-Bluetooth Wireless
Non-BT Line Of Sight Range
N/A
Non-BT Latency
N/A
9.0
Connectivity
Wired
Analog Audio
Yes
USB Audio
No
Detachable No
Length 10 ft
Connection 1/8" TRS
Analog/USB Audio Latency
0 ms
Connectivity
PC / PS4 Compatibility
PC/PS4 Analog
Audio Only
PC/PS4 Wired USB
No
PC/PS4 Non-BT Wireless
No
Connectivity
Xbox One Compatibility
Xbox One Analog
Audio Only
Xbox One Wired USB
No
Xbox One Wireless
No
0
Connectivity
Base/Dock
Type
No Base/Dock
USB Input
No
Line In
No
Line Out
No
Optical Input
No
RCA Input
No
Dock Charging
No
Power Supply
No Base/Dock

Compared to other headphones

Superlux HD 681
SEE PRICE
B&H

The Superlux HD 681 are better critical listening headphones than the Audio-Technica ATH-M20x. These semi-open headphones are more comfortable and offer great audio quality, especially for their affordable price. Their design also makes them more open-sounding, although their build quality is pretty cheap and fragile. On the other hand, the ATH-M20x will be better headphones to bring on the go since they are closed-backs, which means they block a bit of ambient noise and don’t leak as much as the Superlux HD 681.

Audio-Technica ATH-M20x Price

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