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Reviewed on May 16, 2016

Audio-Technica ATH-M20x HEADPHONES REVIEW

Usage Ratings - Version 1.2
5.9
Mixed Usage
7.2
Critical Listening
5.3
Commute/Travel
5.5
Sports/Fitness
5.7
Office
5.8
TV
5.5
Gaming
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.

Test Results
Design 5.9
Sound 7.3
Isolation 6.0
Microphone 0
Active Features 0
Connectivity 4.8
Pros
  • Above-average sound reproduction.
Cons
  • Poor isolation.
  • No audio controls.
  1. Update 2/16/2018: Converted to Test Bench 1.2.
  2. Update 8/10/2017: Converted to Test Bench 1.1. Learn more about our new versioned test bench system here.

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5.9

Design

The ATH-M20x are moderately comfortable headphones with a decent build and a stable fit for casual listening sessions. Unfortunately, They will slip off your head if you use them while doing sports. They have no audio controls, and the exposed audio cables that connect to the ear cups can easily get damaged. They feel less durable than the similarly designed ATH-M40x  and ATH-M50x (see our recommendations for the best over-ear headphones).

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 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 Controls
Ease of use : N/A
Feedback : N/A
Call/Music Control : No
Volume Control : No
Microphone Control : N/A
Channel Mixing
:
N/A
Noise Canceling Control : N/A
Talk-Through
:
N/A
Additional Buttons : N/A
6.2 Breathability
Avg.Temp.Difference : 6.3 C
5.5 Portability
L : 7.87 "
W : 6.50 "
H : 3.35 "
Volume : 171.12 Cu. Inches
Transmitter required : N/A

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 Case
Type : No case
L : N/A
W : N/A
H : N/A
Volume : N/A
6.5 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 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.

Cable
Detachable : No
Length : 10 ft
Connection : 1/8" TRS
Top
Headshots 1
Headshots 2
7.3

Sound

The Audio Technica M20x is a decent sounding pair of closed-back over-ear headphones. They have a very good Bass, an excellent Mid Range and an average Treble. However, their Bass lacks a bit of consistency and extension, their Treble is slightly recessed, and have a mediocre Soundstage.

8.3 Bass
Std. Err.
:
2.3 dB
Low-Frequency Extension
:
29.97 Hz
Low-Bass
:
-1.61 dB
Mid-Bass
:
2.9 dB
High-Bass
:
0.6 dB
8.4 Mid
Std. Err.
:
2.16 dB
Low-Mid
:
0.5 dB
Mid-Mid
:
1.78 dB
High-Mid
:
2.56 dB
6.6 Treble
Std. Err.
:
4.59 dB
Low-Treble
:
-0.3 dB
Mid-Treble
:
-3.11 dB
High-Treble
:
-2.27 dB
7.7 Frequency Response Consistency
Avg. Std. Deviation
:
0.45 dB
8.7 Imaging
Weighted Group Delay
:
0.34
Weighted Amplitude Mismatch
:
0.65
Weighted Frequency Mismatch
:
1.67
Weighted Phase Mismatch
:
2.43
5.5 Soundstage
PRTF Accuracy (Std. Dev.)
:
2.19 dB
PRTF Size (Avg.)
:
2.98 dB
PRTF Distance
:
9.53 dB
Openness
:
4.3
Acoustic Space Excitation
:
3.7
Correlated Crosstalk
:
-0.25 dB
6.5 Total Harmonic Distortion
Weighted THD @ 90
:
3.719
Weighted THD @ 100
:
30.298
6.0

Isolation

These headphones only provide passive isolation. This means they don't actively block or cancel the noise that seeps into the ear cups. Sadly, this is not enough for loud environments like on a train or plane, and is not ideal for commuting. They also leak at higher volumes, and may be distracting to the people around you when used in an office.

5.7 Noise Isolation
Isolation Audio
:
Overall Attenuation
:
-11.74 dB
Bass
:
0.74 dB
Mid
:
-9.9 dB
Treble
:
-27.03 dB
Self-Noise
:
0 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 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.

0

Microphone

Integrated
:
N/A
In-line
:
N/A
Boom
:
N/A
Detachable Boom
:
N/A
0 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 Noise Handling
Speech + Pink Noise : N/A
Speech + Subway Noise : N/A
SpNR
:
N/A
0

Active Features

No active features.

N/A Battery
Battery Type
:
N/A
Battery Life
:
N/A
Charge Time
:
N/A
Power Saving Feature
:
N/A
Audio while charging
:
N/A
Passive Playback
:
N/A
0 App Support
App Name : N/A
iOS : N/A
Android : N/A
Mac OS : N/A
Windows : N/A
Equalizer
:
N/A
ANC control
:
N/A
Mic Control : N/A
Room effects
:
N/A
Playback control
:
N/A
Button Mapping : N/A
Surround Sound : N/A

No compatible app.

4.8

Connectivity

0 Bluetooth
Bluetooth Version
:
N/A
Multi-Device Pairing
:
N/A
NFC Pairing
:
N/A
7.2 Wired
OS Compatibility
:
Not OS specific
Analog Audio
:
Yes
USB Audio
:
No
PS4 Compatible
:
Audio Only
Xbox One Compatible
:
Audio Only
PC Compatible
:
Audio Only
0 Base/Dock
Type
:
N/A
Optical Input
:
N/A
Line In
:
N/A
Line Out
:
N/A
USB Input
:
N/A
RCA Input
:
N/A
PS4 Compatible
:
N/A
Xbox One Compatible
:
N/A
PC Compatible
:
N/A
Power Supply
:
N/A
Dock Charging
:
N/A
0 Wireless Range
Obstructed Range
:
N/A
Line of Sight Range
:
N/A
10 Latency
Default Latency
:
0 ms
aptX Latency
:
N/A
aptX(LL) Latency
:
N/A

In the box

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

Compared to other Headphones

Superlux HD 681
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com

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.

5.9 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 Critical Listening

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

5.3 Commute/Travel

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

5.5 Sports/Fitness

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

5.7 Office

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

5.8 TV

Decent for home theater use. They have a decently well balanced audio reproduction that caters well to both listening to music and watching movies. Also since they're wired, they have no latency when watching videos however the audio cable does limit their range.

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