Audio-Technica is one of the names often mentioned in audiophile communities and forums online. Its M series, both the M20x and M50x, are two of their most popular headphones for mid-range headphones. With the ATH-M20xBT, the company has added wireless functionality to the M20x with a price tag of Rs. 13,500. Let’s check if the ATH-M20xBT is worth that much or not.
Design and build quality: The ATH-M20xBT is a closed-back over-the-ear headphones with fauxleather earcups that are spaciously big, plus, inside and headband part doesn’t lack cushioning either to make them comfortable to wear. But wearing these for longer periods, especially for those on the go, is not the best experience, as the headband can get slightly loose and require you to adjust its position on your head every now and then. This is my biggest complaint with the build quality for what’s otherwise quite a comfortable pair of headphones to wear along. The left earcup looks packed, carrying the volume buttons with the multi-function power key in the middle, 3.5mm audio jack and the USB type C port. This key also handles Bluetooth pairing mode, low-latency-mode as well as switching on your voice assistant. There’s ATH-M20x name imprinted with the logo appearing on both sides.
Audio quality: The pair comes with 40mm drivers, supports Bluetooth 5.0 with SBC and AAC codecs (no aptX support for Android, but Fast Pair is present for pairing). The sound quality from the ATHM20x is neutral and quite accurate, to put it briefly. It gives balanced sub-bass and bass while mids have decent representation, too. This is pretty much in line with what one would expect from AudioTechnica’s studio offering. With vocals, you can hear a clear and bright output frequently. For most of the popular genres, the headphones do a good job of not showing any distortion and providing a rich output. You can, of course, use them wired using the bundled cable. If you’re using these over Bluetooth, would suggest you have its low-latency mode on (by pressing the power button thrice), which is especially helpful for high bitrate videos and while playing games. The mic does a good job for calls and catching on your voice even if not done in very quiet environment. Noticeably, there’s no active noise cancellation present here and passive isolation via the cushioning inside doesn’t really fulfil its absence.
Other nitty gritty: The company claims battery backup of 60 hours, and using the headphones wirelessly about 2-3 hours a day for 15 days, the headphones are at low battery stage (as indicated by the headphones themselves). Other than the 3.5mm aux cable, you get a USB Type C to A cable for charging with headphones supporting fast charging as well (10 minutes of charging for about 10 hours of playback).
Verdict: The ATH-M20xBT have a lot of worthy points up its sleeve while have a couple of glaring misses. It has excellent battery life, a natural-sounding audio quality that a lot of folks, that want their music playback to be neutral and adjusted to their taste, might appreciate. But on the other than, there’s no active noise cancellation and aptX either, which is quite disappointing for a pair of Bluetooth headphones priced this much. If you favour quality of audio much more than features in the package, and aren’t going to use these only while on the move, the ATH-M20xBT might well be for you. If not, there are quite a few other options available in this price range for you look at.