Audio Technica ATH-M60x Review - Good In The Studio, Fun On The Go
So, you may have noticed this blog is a little underutilized. We want to change that, so we can share information about the products we offer, and we’d love a place to keep in touch with people apart from in-store and on our Facebook page. So we’re going to kick things off with a comparison review of the new Audio Technica ATH-M60x with its siblings, the M50x and the M70x.
The M60x is an on-ear monitoring headphone with a compact design that is ideal for broadcast or mobile sound engineering situations where you need an accurate sound on the go. But as often happens with professional gear (like the ever popular Audio Technica ATH-M50x), that same design makes it quite suited for casual music listening. The M60x actually uses the same drivers as the M50x, and while it doesn’t sound the same, this is a product that both M50x fans and detractors can get excited about.
But let’s start with an overview of the M50x and the M70x, so we know where we’re coming from.
So here at Minidisc, we’ve sold a LOT of M50x’s. It’s a very popular headphone and for many people, this is their first quality headphone. As a headphone originally designed for studio monitoring, it has a very detailed, aggressive sound in both the bass and treble. For monitoring applications, this is useful since it allows producers to pick up distortion and sibilants. It doesn’t always sound great for casual music listening as a result. Surpisingly for such a popular headphone, the M50x is quite unforgiving - it sounds direct, in your face, with plenty of punch in the bass and an almost metallic sounding high frequency response.
Not everyone likes the sound of the M50x, but it can sound tremendously detailed like few other headphones at this price point can. Add to that the durable, fold up design, and detachable cables, and its enduring popularity is understandable.
The ATH-M70x, in comparison, is a more refined version of the formula. The M70x comes with a premium metal build, plusher, comfier earpads, and while it doesn’t fold up like the M50x, it still folds flat into its sturdy carrying case. The sound is also more tamed as well - with less emphasis on the bass, to the point where casual listeners might find the M70x a bit bass anemic. The high frequencies are more emphasised on the M70x as well, but they don’t actually sound as harsh and metallic as they do on the M50x. Instead you get a smooth, detailed high frequency response that is well suited for critical listening. When people ask us for a for “accurate, flat” sound for monitoring purposes, the M70x is one of our first recommendations. The M70x can dissect a recording, but again, it definitely isn’t the first choice for a fun, musical sound.
And then there’s the new M60x. Where does it fit into this line-up? Well, the first thing you’ll probably recognise is that the M60x is so much physically smaller than the M50x and M70x, because the M60x is an on-ear headphone. Unlike the M50x and the M70x where the earpads are designed to sit around the ears, the earpads on the M60x sit on top of your ears. Thankfully, unlike a lot of other on-ear headphones, the earpads are very thick, and the headphone is quite lightweight. This is definitely one of the more comfortable on-ear headphones out there, along with the Beyerdynamic Aventho.
A caveat: as this glasses-wearing author can attest to, like every on-ear headphone the M60x can pinch your ears against your glasses frames. This can get painful after 1-2 hours of wear. I find this can change depending on how thick your glasses frames are (I have both a thin and a thick pair I tested with) so keep that in mind. If comfort is what you are looking for in a monitor, then the M70x is likely the most comfortable of the three.
In terms of build, the M60x is quite similar to something like the Sennheiser HD25. It’s got a simple, well built frame where key parts have been made of metal and the rest is high quality plastic. Note that the M60x doesn’t fold into any kind of smaller shape, unlike the M50x and the M70x. Like the M50x and M70x it comes with three types of cable - 3m straight and 1.2m coiled cables that you might use at home or in a studio, and a 1.2m straight cable for portable use.
And in terms of sound? Out of all these headphones, I find the m60x the most enjoyable to listen to, by far. The M60x’s shared drivers with the M50x can be heard in the way the two headphones share the same overall ‘V-shaped’ (bass/treble forward) sound profile. But putting the M50x drivers in a smaller compact earcup seems to have tamed some of the most aggressive tendencies of the M50x. The M60x inherits the M50x’s treble emphasis, but it’s smoother and like the M70x it doesn’t pick up sibilants quite as much. In the lows, the M60x is not quite as punchy and tight as the M50x - but the trade off is that it sounds warmer, smoother and easier to listen to.
The M60x is still an aggressive, energetic sounding headphone, where the vocal range is de-emphasised compared to the bass and treble. If you want forward, beautiful female vocals, you’d still want to go for something like the ATH-MSR7. For flat, critical monitoring, I’d still feel safer with the M70x or even the R70x, because of the M60x’s V shaped sound.
But for these ears, the energy of the M60x makes it easily the most fun to listen to, out of the M series headphone from Audio Technica. And at the same time I would be very happy to use the M60x for monitoring on the go because it’s detailed, compact and isolating.
The M60x is available for demo at our Chatswood showroom. Get in touch with us if you have any questions, and follow the links below to see our product pages.