Audio-Technica made a very capable and comfortable set of headphones.
Audio-Technica made a very capable and comfortable set of headphones.

Editor's Choice AwardAudio-Technica positions the ATH-M60X as a set of closed back on ear professional monitoring headphones. They took the driver from the extremely popular ATH-M50x and put it in a smaller, lighter form factor. It’s the tiny ear cups that make these headphones stand out. There is no mistaking that they are on-ear headphones. They are quite light, with deeper than normal ear cups cushioned by memory foam. You might even forget you have them on.

For $200, Audio-Technica made a very capable and comfortable set of headphones. The ATH-M60X weigh just 7.1 ounces, that’s 2.9 ounces lighter than the ATH-M50X. For some context, the headphones we use daily are the Blue Headphones Sadie, weighing 15.67 ounces — more than twice as much. With neodymium magnets, the driver is 45 mm with an Impedance of 38 Ohms and a frequency range of 15 Hz to 28 kHz.

In Use

We reviewed the M50X’s back in 2015, so we were eager to get our hands on the newest iteration of the M series headphones. Unlike the M50X, the M60X don’t collapse and they have very little tilt and rotation. If you plan to use them for travel, this might be an issue. However, using them for production, it’s nice that they don’t collapse. That way, they’re ready to slip back on after hanging around your neck. As part of our testing, we shot A-roll of a host for an instructional video. It can be disorienting to have to engage with the voice you are monitoring. Because of this, I found myself sliding the M60X off between takes. Because they don’t fold, or even move much, they were ready to go much faster than the Sony MDR 7506 we typically use for monitoring on set. If using them for on-location sound, the only thing to be concerned with is their ability to pack in with the rest of your gear. They come with a pouch with a drawstring, but it doesn’t offer much protection outside of preventing scratches.

The ATH-M60X are made mostly of hard plastic, with the parts that get more adjustment being metal. There is a wire that comes out of the headphone to tie to the other side. We caught the cable on numerous things when using them in a production setting. The input cable is detachable but can also be locked in place so you don’t lose signal during an important moment of monitoring. A replaceable cable will give these headphones a longer life, since cables are easy to destroy. The M60X come with three headphone cable options: a long cable — the one we used most — a short one for a phone or personal listening and a coiled cable. You also get an adapter for use with a ¼ inch output.

On-ear headphones are much smaller; they are easier to wear for longer than over-ear.

On-ear headphones are much smaller, they are easier to wear for longer than over-ear. Additionally, their smaller size should lower the risk of sweaty ears. The pads are very comfortable. Unlike many headphones, they are filled with memory foam and are twice as deep as the ones on the M50X. When at operating volume, we found they isolated us well from the outside world. However, on the other side of that, those around me could hear what I was monitoring much more than when using most other headphones.

Memory-foam ear pads
Memory-foam ear pads

Although it was very nice to have high-quality headphones in the field, they are a much better fit for monitoring as you edit. Because they are easy to wear, if you keep your volume down to keep from having listening fatigue, they could be worn for 8 hours straight with no problem.

Sometimes, we find time in our workflow to listen to music. To test how the M60X sound, we use the same songs we use for reference when mixing music. It’s music we are very familiar with and can easily identify the clarity of individual parts and of the music as a whole. The bass on the ATH-M60X is very punchy for their size, and they have a sweet spot for mid to high range voices. We did feel that the mids were a bit muddy. We found the sound field to be very nice, with clarity and a good stereo image.

Marketplace

There are 928 different sets of headphones on Best Buy’s website. Narrow that search to on-ear headphones and there are 135. With that many options, where do you even start? The first aspect of any purchase is knowing your budget. That will greatly lower the number of options. With that said, we choose to look at headphones between $100-200. When doing this, make sure to look at multiple stores. While doing research for this review, we used Sweetwater, B & H and Best Buy to see the full marketplace; some retailers don’t carry every model and brand.

Let’s look at two sets of headphones with similar specs as the ATH-M60X. The first is the Sennheiser HD 25 Plus. These are closed-back on-ear headphones for $200. They weigh less than the M60X at 5 ounces and they have an impedance of 70 ohms and a frequency response of 16 – 22kHz. They are marketed as DJ headphones, so take that into consideration.

The next option has a much lower price at $129. The AKG K175 is an on-ear and closed-back set of headphones. They are heavier than the M60X at 8.81 ounces. They have an impedance of 32 ohms and a driver size of 40mm. Lastly, they have a frequency response of 18 – 26kHz. Because they cost $70 less, make sure you try them out before you buy them to make sure they are up to your expectations.

Final Thoughts and Recommendation

We really liked the Audio Technica ATH-M60X. They are light and comfortable to wear. We wish that there were no loose wires and some users will need the ability to collapse their headphones. However, if you like on-ear closed-back headphones, the bass response and sound field are very good.

SUMMARY:
The Audio-Technica ATH-M60X are a lightweight on-ear closed back set of headphones. They have a nice soundscape and good bass response, but they don’t collapse.

COMPANY NAME: Audio-Technica
WEBSITE: audio-technica.com

STRENGTHS:
Lightweight
Great sound field

WEAKNESSES:
Don’t collapse
Very little adjustment

RECOMMENDED USES:

Documentary Filmmaking and Journalism
Marketing Video Production
Online Video Production

TECH SPECS:
Driver Size: 1.77″ / 45 mm
Driver Type: Dynamic
Magnet Type: Neodymium
Voice Coil: Copper-Clad Aluminum Wire
Design: On-Ear (Supra-aural)
Earcup Style: Closed-Back
Frequency Response: 15 Hz to 28 kHz
Sensitivity: 102 dB
Impedance: 38 Ohms
Maximum Power Handling: 1600 mW
Audio Connector: 1/8″ (3.5 mm) TRS Straight
Adapter (Included): 1/4″ (6.3 mm) TRS
Cable Length
3.9 to 9.8′ / 1.19 to 2.99 m (Coiled)
9.8′ / 2.99 m (Unbalanced)
3.9′ / 1.19 m (Unbalanced)
Weight: 7.1 oz / 201 g without Cable

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