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Audio-Technica ATH-M20xBT Review: Awesome and affordable!

Audio-Technica ATH-M20xBT Review
Audio-Technica ATH-M20xBT Review

I am interested in new products among headphones from the Japanese company Audio-Technica . Despite the fact that its model range includes both in-channel and various wireless, including TWS headphones, it is the full-size models from Audio-Technica that are the most famous and recognized. First of all, it is worth mentioning the M-series, which became not only the “business card” of the company, but also the choice of many professionals and music lovers.

Audio-Technica ATH-M20xBT
Audio-Technica ATH-M20xBT

A few years ago, the audio market saw a Bluetooth version of the legendary  ATH-M50x , which has already managed to receive an update in the form of the  ATH-M50xBT2 , and several limited wireless models that differed in color were also released. And now it’s the turn of the younger  Audio-Technica ATH-M20x , the bluetooth version of which received the corresponding  Audio-Technica ATH-M20xBT index  and continued the general concept of the wireless M-series – Born in the Studio, taken to the street.

Specifications:

  • Acoustic design: closed;
  • Type of connection: wireless;
  • Driver type: dynamic (40 mm);
  • Resistance: 36 Ohm;
  • Sensitivity: 100 dB;
  • Bluetooth version: 5.0;
  • Supported codecs: AAC, SBC;
  • Battery: up to 60 hours;
  • Charging time: 4 hours;
  • Weight: 216 g

Packaging

The packaging design of the Bluetooth version of the Audio-Technica ATH-M20xBT is generally as similar as possible to its wired prototype. We will receive a high-quality cardboard box, on all sides of which various information is applied – from a list of technological features.

 

Cardboard is the main material in the middle of the box, and the headphones themselves are hidden in plastic bags. As for complete accessories, their selection is small. This is a USB charging cable (USB Type-A / USB Type-C, about 30 cm long) and an audio cable for wired connection (1.2 m long; 3.5 mm L-shaped plug). The audio cable is quite thin and connects only to the left cup. The box also contains various standard documentation.

Audio-Technica ATH-M20xBT Cables
Audio-Technica ATH-M20xBT Cables

For bluetooth headphones , when one of the scenarios of their use is the possibility of listening “on the go”, the case is a necessary accessory. But even the simplest soft cover in the ATH-M20xBT kit, unfortunately, is missing. There is also no adapter from 3.5 to 6.3 mm, which is equipped with ordinary ATH-M20x.

Design and ergonomics

Of course, different people have different attitudes to the design of headphones. For one it may be a significant advantage, for another it will not be of particular importance. In my opinion, if we are dealing with wireless headphones that are planned to be used outside the home, then the design should still be paid attention to. Obviously, in the case of the Audio-Technica ATH-M20xBT, the appearance of the headphones is completely taken from the wired version of the ATH-M20x (even the Bluetooth version’s cup holders bear the index of the exclusively wired model).

As in the case of the ATH-M20x, we are greeted by large silver letters with the name and logo of the company on the headband, unhidden parts of the wires and cups that change their position only by 15 degrees (the compact headphones do not fold). Added to this are physical buttons on the left cup and a constantly flashing white indicator light.

Since the structural basis is based on the usual ATH-M20x, which have long proven themselves as quality-made and reliable headphones, there are no problems with this in the bluetooth version of the ATH-M20xBT. As there are no problems with ergonomics, at least for me. The headphones have a sliding headband, hold well on the head, completely cover the ears and do not put pressure on them. The only standard drawback of the closed design is the gradual heating of the ears, especially in hot weather.

Functionality

Functionality, like design, is not the last place for bluetooth headphones. And the question is not only in the presence of certain functions, but also in their implementation. With this, everything is not so clear in the ATH-M20xBT. There is no touch control in the headphones. There are three buttons on the left cup: volume control “+” and “–” (changing tracks), play/pause (answering calls). Buttons of medium size, you quickly get used to their location and it is convenient to use them. However, I didn’t really like the control sound. If the sound of “turning on/off” headphones is perceived more or less normally, then constant announcements such as “Pause”/”Play” or “Bluetooth connected” seem redundant.

That is, in order for the music to start playing after a pause, first a female voice will say “Play” and only after that the sound will continue. Allegedly, the control can be changed through the proprietary application from Audio-Technica, but I was not able to check this – the headphones, for some reason, were not found by the application. By the way, this model is not yet at all on the application page, which contains a list of other wireless headphones of the company.

Separately from the control buttons on the left cup of the ATH-M20xBT, there is also a USB typeC connector for charging headphones. The declared autonomy is very significant – up to 60 hours. Full charging time is 4 hours. There is a possibility of quick recharging – 10 minutes is enough for 3 hours of work. I did not measure the accuracy of these indicators, but the autonomy of the work turned out to be really great.

A nice feature of the ATH-M20xBT is the declared ability to connect them to several devices at the same time, as well as a minimal delay mode, useful for gaming and watching videos. I note that in my conditions there was always a stable connection with the sound source. There were no problems when using headphones as a headset either.

Sound

For me, the usual wired ATH-M20x remain a pretty good budget option for universal balanced headphones for working with sound (without special requirements) and listening to music. Audio-Technica ATH-M20xBT headphones received the fifth version of Bluetooth, but do not have any high-quality codecs, except for the standard AAC and SBC. The difference in the transmission of music via bluetooth and via a complete cable is noticeable, and not in favor of the wireless option.

In terms of presentation, the ATH-M20xBT try to be the same universal headphones without a clear predominance of individual frequencies. The sound of the ATH-M20xBT can hardly be attributed to the mass segment, after all, the philosophy of the M-series (M – monitoring) can be felt in them. Detail and balance – this is what these headphones strive for, although they do not always succeed in this when transmitting sound wirelessly.

When listening to the ATH-M20xBT, there was a periodic lack of density and physicality of the sound, which reduced the naturalness. Some strings, brass instruments and vocals were not as saturated, and in the high frequencies there was sometimes some synthetic. The wired connection of the ATH-M20xBT had a positive effect on the mentioned comments and the sound, in general, added naturalness and better HF control.

Conclusion

The Bluetooth version of the well-known budget headphones ATH-M20x, designed for monitoring, in my opinion, turned out to be ambiguous. In the case of Audio-Technica ATH-M20xBT, we can hardly talk about trying to follow the trends of wireless headphones from design, ease of use “on the go” to high-quality sound transmission. In fact, we have the classic ATH-M20x in a wireless format with a minimal set of codecs.

I have no special comments on the sound of the Audio-Technica ATH-M20xBT. The headphones aim for detailed and balanced sound, but sometimes fall short. In this price range there are a number of well-known full-size models from other manufacturers, so before buying the Audio-Technica ATH-M20xBT, I would definitely advise you to familiarize yourself with them.