- The ATH-M20x BT are the Bluetooth variant of the ATH-M20x, which are considered to be among the best budget studio headphones in the world.
- While the ATH-M20x BT deliver very good sound and amazing battery life, their price tag of Rs 13,500 might seem a little high for what they are offering, especially for those looking for a consumer-centric pair of headphones.
- The ATH-M20x BT are one of the few options for those who want studio-quality sound without wires, but their price is almost three times that of their wired counterparts!
Audio Technica, or ATH, enjoys a formidable reputation in the professional audio segment. The brand is known for its legendary ATH-M50X pair of headphones, which some say are among the most popular studio quality headphones of all time, and for many are synonymous with audiophile level sound quality.
Not surprisingly, wired headphones make up most of Audio Technica’s professional headphone portfolio, but the brand has been dipping its sonic toes in wireless waters of late as well. A few years ago, it came out with a Bluetooth version of the ATH-M50x BT (it has been updated recently), and now it has come out with a Bluetooth version of its most affordable M series headphone – the ATH-M20x BT.
The irony, however, is that while the wired version of the ATH-M20x is the most affordable of the ATH-M series at under Rs 5,000 (it is often available for under Rs 4,000, in fact), its Bluetooth avatar comes with a price tag that is more than three times that of its wired one – Rs 13,500. It is that price that throws the biggest spanner in what is otherwise a very able piece of audio machinery.
ATH-M20x BT Review: Studio-level clarity without wires
In terms of audio performance, the ATH-M20x BT are outstanding. You get a very balanced output, with all frequencies – bass, mids, and treble – being well represented. You are not going to get rumbling bass or sharp trebles, but what you will get is an exceptional level of quality, which is very close to the studio level. In terms of wireless audiophile quality headphones, these go right alongside the very good AKG K371 BT – those had a slightly brighter sound (more treble), these have just a hint of more bass, but only hardcore audiophiles or those who have used headphones like the ATH-M50X or the Beyerdynamic DT770 Pro will notice that.
If you are someone who wants Bluetooth headphones to edit high-quality audio, these are an excellent option. They are also very good for casual listening if you appreciate clarity and like to listen to classical music and rock. If you are a fan of high-octane action films and games with lots of explosions or hip-hop and techno music, you might find the bass a little too understated. The soundstage is not as wide as you would get from open-back headphones but is considerably better than you would get from most Bluetooth headphones in the segment. The headphones, however, come with no support for aptX codec and support only SBC and AAC codecs over Bluetooth, which might put off some users.
ATH-M20x BT: Amazing battery life, classic design
The ATH-M20x also come with staggeringly good battery life – 60 hours on a single charge. We actually found ourselves seeing out almost a fortnight of use before we needed to recharge them. There is a USB type C cable in the box for this, and charging them normally takes about three and a half to four hours. If you manage to run out of charge, you can connect them using a wired connection over a 3.5 mm jack. There’s a cable in the box for wired connections, and well, truth be told, we felt they sounded very good even over a wired connection. Incidentally, these are studio headphones, so there is no ANC, although the earcups are good at keeping a lot of external sounds out.
The ATH-M20x BT follow the classic ATH design, with a lot of tough plastic being used and large Audio Technica branding on the headband and large logos on the earcups, with a metallic band that lets you adjust the fit as per the size of your head. The earpads are comfortable, and the headband is not too tight – you can use the ATH-M20x for hours without them heating up or you feeling tired or fatigued. They are not the jazziest or most premium-looking headphones in town and might even seem a little lightweight to some, but we found them convenient to use and capable of taking some rough use. We still wish Audio Technica had bundled a bag with them, though. The earcups also do not fold inwards, so they are a little bulky to carry.
ATH-M20x BT: No touch, but the controls work!
Controls are simple, with three buttons on the left earcup, two for volume and one for multiple functions like connecting the headphones, switching between devices, and taking and rejecting calls. It is not a very fancy setup, and it works very smoothly indeed. You can also long-press the volume increase key to skip a track ahead and the volume decrease key to go to the previous track. Pairing is as simple as pressing the multi-function button, as is switching between two devices. It might not appear as snazzy as a touch interface, but it just works, which is what we think matters to the audience of this headphone. Call quality is, however, a little spotty, with a number of folks saying our voice sounded a little faint when we spoke to them using these headphones.
ATH-M20x BT Review Verdict: Great sound, great battery…but THAT price?
They have terrific sound, amazing battery life, and a solid if predictable, design. The big question is: is all of this worth the Rs 13,500 price tag that the ATH-M20x BT come with? If you are looking for a studio-level Bluetooth headphone, then the ATH-M20x BT is one of the best options you can get – we can only see the AKG K371 BT challenging it in that zone, and that particular set of headphones is a little difficult to find these days.
However, those who want studio headphones might be tempted by wired headphones like the Beyerdynamic DT 770 Pro and 990 Pro, and indeed the ATH-M50X BT, all of which are available at lower prices and deliver better sound, although without the wireless comfort of the ATH-M20x BT. Those looking for a more consumer-centric sound with more bass and features like ANC might find headphones like the Sony WH-XB910N and the Sennheiser HD 4.50 BT NC more to their liking. The ATH-M20x BT are a very good pair of headphones and are perfect for those who want to edit audio on the move with the convenience of Bluetooth and seemingly never-ending battery life, but their price lets them down.
- Very good sound quality
- Excellent battery life
- Multi-point connectivity
- Good control system
- Wired as well as wireless sound
- Good build quality
- Not great at calls
- No ANC at this price
- No carry bag
- No aptX support
The ATH-M20x BT are one of the few options for those who want studio-quality sound without wires, but their price is almost three times that of their wired counterparts!