Crystal clear and comfy as they come, Audio-Technica’s M60x Professional Monitor Headphones are a piece of gear every home studio should have.
Somewhat of an older, more studio-savvy brother to the ever popular M50x, not long ago Audio-Technica released the ATH-M60x, their new pair of monitor headphones.
At $299 it’s not the most expensive pair of cans you can get your hands on, especially if you’re looking into pro-grade gear. They’re aimed at those working in a home studio and perhaps a few medium-grade audiophiles for casual use – and they’re pretty perfect for the job.
Specs-wise these headphones are quite similar to the M50x, both packing a 15 – 28,000 Hz frequency response, 1,600 mW max input power and 45mm drivers. The M60x are slightly more sensitive at 102 dB compared to 99 dB on the M50x, plus they’re 85 grams lighter at a clean 200g.
Physically they’re a pair of closed-back, on-ear headphones, with memory foam ear pads and headband. Metal components around the headband/ear pad joints help the design feel as solid as a rock, and a limited swivel on each side allows for surprisingly good fit.
Most often I wear a pair of Sennheiser HD 280 Pro headphones at home for jamming, mixing, and listening to music, and at work I wear a pair of Audio-Technica M50x cans – mostly for listening to music with the odd studio or voiceover application. Although my time with the M60x model was relatively short, I was super impressed all around.
I started the road test by loading a few bass heavy patches on a Korg Monologue to find out if Audio-Technica’s claims of an “accurate bass response” had any backing. They did – I even managed to tweak out a few nuances in the signal I hadn’t heard before.
Next I loaded up a track to mess around with – these are supposed to be monitoring headphones after all. Again I was surprised at the upgrade in quality from the M50x and my Sennheisers across the board… basically I wanted to keep the new toy within my first hour using them.
I even snuck in a few hours of video games with these bad boys to, you know, test the comfort factor. The memory foam is a stroke of genius that I’m surprised more headphone manufacturers haven’t caught onto. Normally on-ear headphones are a deal-breaker for me due to the inevitable ear squash, but I could wear the M60x for days.
The other factor was isolation and sound cancelling, again something I’ve found to be lacking in most on-ear headphones. When wearing the M60x without any signal coming through you’ definitely get some bleed from the outside world, but as soon as I loaded anything up this was forgotten. Unless your studio is within 50 feet of a train station (in which case you have bigger problems than headphones), you’ll be fine.
Currently the M60x will only set you back an extra $20 from the much-loved M50x, but the difference was black and white for me. It’s hard to tell where that difference lies, to be honest, given the similarity of the two headphones’ specs. They feel like a more refined M50x in almost every sense, which no doubt would have been Audio-Technica’s aim with the product.
Call me doe-eyed for anything new, but I’d heartily recommend going the extra mile for the ATH-M60x if you’re on the fence.
Find out more about Audio-Technica’s ATH-M60x Professional Monitor Headphones here.