Despite being a lifelong Audio-Technica headphone fanatic, I was still skeptical of the $199 ATH-M60x headphones, as I’ve never been overly impressed by on-the-ear headphone designs. Previous experiences with other manufacturers’ on-the-ear designs have been so lacking in comfort that I haven’t been able to focus on the sound quality long enough to know if I even like them or not.
The extremely comfortable ATH-M60x closed-back, dynamic, on-the-ear headphones are beautifully designed, extremely lightweight and sonically stunning. At the heart of the ATH-M60x is a pair of proprietary 45 mm drivers that, with a 102 dB/mW sensitivity, provide an impressive 15 Hz – 28 kHz frequency response. The 7.8 ounce headphones have an impedance of 38 ohms with a maximum input power of 1,600 mW.
The headphones include three detachable cables: a 3-meter (9.8-foot) coiled cable, a 3-meter straight cable and a 1.2-meter (3.9-foot) straight cable. Each one terminates in a 3.5 mm (1/8-inch) gold-plated stereo mini-plug. Also included is a threaded 6.3 mm (1/4-inch) stereo adapter that can be attached to either of the 3-meter cables, allowing the headphones to be used with a 1/4-inch headphone jack.
Review: Audio-Technica ATH-M Series Headphones, by Rob Tavaglione, July 3, 2014
Somewhat hidden on the top of the left earpiece is a limiter switch. When activated (I found that a small screwdriver works best), it confines volume peaks to 105 dB, offering a great option for ear protection.
The ATH-M60x headphones don’t collapse or have earpieces that swivel, so even though they are lightweight and somewhat small, they will still take up some room in your carry-on bag. From what I can tell, they are extremely well made, so I anticipate they will easily hold up to the rigors of the road or any professional studio environment, and sonically, the headphones are perfectly suited for mixing, tracking, referencing or recreational listening.
Review: Audio-Technica E-Series In-Ear Monitors, by Strother Bullins, Aug. 28, 2016
I did the majority of my listening through the headphone amp in the Grace Design m905 monitoring system, the TEAC HA-P90SD high-resolution music player and the Benchmark DAC-1. I also spent time listening through my iPhone X and MacBook Pro. As anticipated, higher quality amplifiers resulted in better sound quality. While the Grace Design is always my first choice, every option provided exceptional sound quality.
Besides utilizing the headphones while recording, editing and mixing, I spent significant time auditioning the headphones while listening to my staple of reference material. This includes Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon, Elton John’s Goodbye Yellow Brick Road, James Taylor’s Hourglass, Daft Punk’s Random Access Memories, Adele’s 25, The Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, the Beach Boys’ Pet Sounds, Fleetwood Mac’s Rumours, and the Nashville Symphony Orchestra’s recording of Paulus: Three Places of Enlightenment, Veil of Tears & Grand Concerto.
Low frequencies are nicely articulated with a smooth clarity and punch; midrange response is well defined, upfront and undistorted; and high frequencies are clean and smooth, but never harsh or brittle. The headphones provide a soundstage that is both deep and wide, with exceptional imaging and detail, and they continue to be comfortable after extremely long listening periods. I’ve used them for recordings lasting over five hours multiple times and have yet to have them become uncomfortable. All in all, they provide a very enjoyable and accurate listening experience perfectly suited for the professional engineer, producer or audiophile.
Audio-Technica • www.audio-technica.com