Few audio companies are as respected as Audio-Technica. When it comes to studio monitors, 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 November 24, 2021, to include the Audio-Technica ATH-M50xBT2 and to add the Audio-Technica ATH-M30x to the Notable mentions section.
Related: The best studio headphones
The best Audio-Technica headphones is the ATH-M50xBT2
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. This headset earns its keep time and time again because it can withstand studio usage. You can rotate the swivel ear cups and even flip them up. This lets you hear your surroundings during live mixing.
Audio-Technica ATH-M50xBT2Full Review
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 Audio-Technica ATH-M50xBT2 earns its place as a studio staple.
The synthetic ear cup material may not be the most comfortable seeing as it heats up fairly quickly, it isolates the listener from external noise well enough for professional studio use. When it comes to reliability, it’s nearly impossible to beat these cans.
See also: The best LDAC headphones
What you should know about Audio-Technica headphones
Even though Audio-Technica headphones can be used by anyone, its headsets may not produce the most pleasant sound for general consumers. Bass response isn’t as emphasized as with Beats, but certain models do retain a strong low-end like the ATH-M50x.
Audio-Technica offers a huge range of headphones and microphones. If you prefer a certain style or level of performance, there are typically at least three options you should consider. Be sure to check out their site if you can’t find what you’re looking for.
Audio-Technica made its name on versatile, utilitarian products at a reasonable price. Its headphones keep their value on resale well. Another perk: none of these headsets require an amp or DAC, keeping things reasonably priced.
That said, 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.
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 there’s not a ton of competition here, outside of the Sony MDR-V6.
Audio-Technica ATH-M40xFull Review
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.
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.
With an improved battery life of 35 hours, these headphones outlast the Sony WH-1000XM4, 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.
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.
The best Audio-Technica headphones: Notable mentions
- Audio-Technica ATH-ANC300TW: These true wireless earbuds are equipped with the company’s neutral sound signature, an IPX2 water-resistance rating, and active noise cancelling that is comparable to the Sony WF-1000XM4.
- 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-M50x: Anyone who wants a pair of serious headphones for moments in and out of the studio will appreciate the rugged, durable build of the ATH-M50x. You don’t pay a premium for Bluetooth as you would with the ATH-M50xBT2.
- 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-SPORT90BT: For the active Audio-Technica enthusiast, these are reliable pair of workout earbuds that feature a built-in 4GB music player and an IPX5 waterproof rating.
- 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.
How we chose the best Audio-Technica headphones
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
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
If I'm going to use an Audio-Technica microphone, do I need Audio-Technica studio headphones to go with it?
How is the microphone quality of the Audio Technica ATH-M50xBT?
How does the sound quality of the Audio Technica ATH-M50x compare to the Beyerdynamic DT 770 Pro?
Is the Audio Technica ATH-M40x good for conference calls?
Which is better for studio applications, the Audio Technica ATH-M40x or ATH-M50xBT?
Still looking? Check out the following lists: