Audio Technica ATH-M20x Headphones review: The Best Ones!

One of the most beloved brands of headphones these days, Audio-Technica offers a wide variety of high-quality models. Even though the ATH-M50x is all over the place, from studios to streets, the more affordable ATH-M20x can also hold its own. 

When shopping for studio headphones, how much should you spend within your budget? The Audio-Technica ATH-M20x is changing people’s views on what you can get for your money, coming in at little under $50. This ATH-M studio is the most affordable option, so it doesn’t have much to prove except that it’s beyond what is expected from it. 

All in all, the ATH-M20X studio monitor headphones are a good choice for studio headphones that won’t cost too much and have a good sound quality. They are designed to go over the ears and are pretty comfortable for longer sessions. With that in mind, let’s go over the specifics of these headphones below.

Design and Build

The Audio-Technica ATH-M20X headphones look like other headphones in the ATH series. Its body is black and has the Audio-Technica logo pressed into it on the side. The adjustable silver metal band adds the right amount of contrast to a design that would otherwise be plain. It doesn’t have a control wheel or any other cool tech. So simple with no surprises. 

Even though they’re mostly made of plastic, M20x looks like they could take a thrashing. Not including the cable, the M20x is very light—only 190 grams. This is possible because the whole thing is made of light plastic; the only metal parts that can be seen are the rails for adjusting the headband. It is common for headphones in this price range to not have detachable cables, but the headband and ear pads are good, though. 


These headphones are pretty comfortable, and the fact that they’re lighter helps with that. They don’t feel that different from those on more expensive M series headphones. The padding is average, and the ear cups are shallow. They just barely fit over your ears. These might not feel good on people with bigger ears. What’s interesting is that these have more noticeable headband padding than the more expensive M series ones.

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Sound Quality

A lot of work went into tuning the M20x by Audio-Technica. If you’re looking for the cheapest closed-back headphones with neutral frequency response, these are by far the best. They are great for setups without computers where Sonarworks Reference calibration isn’t possible because of this. While most headphones have a high-mid cut and a high-frequency boost, the M20x is surprisingly conservative in this area, cutting and boosting by only 5 dB each. It’s too bad that the low end doesn’t go lower than 60 Hz; that’s where calibration comes in handy.

There is a neutral sound stage with the ATH-M20X that is clear enough for a lot of different types of music. The M20X does have a simple sound, which is good because it works well for editing audio or video. To improve the sound quality of music, you’ll need to change the equalizer. The 40mm drivers have a wide frequency response, and the closed-back design makes the sound even better.


These headphones have a cable that is 3 meters long, which is almost 10 feet. It is a good length for use in a studio. The cable might be too long for people who just want to use these headphones for fun with their phone. There is a 1/4′′ adapter on the cable that goes with the 1/8′′ plug. The cable can’t be taken off because it’s permanently attached to the left ear cup of the headphones.


The ATH-M20x frequency response under-emphasizes almost every note, with the exception of a very small boost at 2kHz. The ATH-M20x doesn’t have much of an impact, even compared to our studio curve. It doesn’t get in the way of music or speech, though. The bass and sub-bass are off by more than 70Hz, and the highs are off by 5kHz and between 8 and 10kHz.

It balances out in a way since there isn’t as much auditory masking when everything is under-emphasized. It’s mostly highs and mids that you’ll hear instead of bass, but the bass isn’t as quiet as it seems at first. The highs aren’t boosted so much that they drown out the bass. 

Most of the time, channels are very closely matched, and low-end differences are very rare. Even though there are more inconsistencies above 5 kHz, they are still very small and don’t change how the stereo image is perceived. In this way, the M20x is much better than the M50x.


What you would expect from Audio-Technica for about $50 is not at all what you get. In line with that, the Audio-Technica didn’t make the ATH-M20x so that you can take it with you on the subway. This is for a do-it-yourself producer, podcaster, or studio that needs to buy a lot of tracking cans but doesn’t want to spend a lot of money.

Overall, for those who don’t need the most luxurious or comfortable headphones, the ATH-M20x might be a good choice. The headphones are meant to meet your basic needs without making you feel like you’re giving up anything. In this way, the headset does its job without any extraneous features or fuss. If you’re on a tight budget, this might be the best choice for recording headphones under $50.

Why You Should Read Reviews Before Buying

While finding a perfect set of studio monitors (or any other devices for that matter) can be a bit of a headache, you need to explore more on your options rather than settling down on the first thing that you see. As smart buyers, we know how important it is to do research on a product and think about its pros and cons before we buy it. with that, it’s great that the internet gives us access to so much information that we can learn everything we need to know about a piece of equipment before we decide to buy it. So, there should be no excuses on your part as a smart buyer.

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