The Audio-Technica ATH-M20x has been around for a long time, and it was once a popular product for affordable studio monitor sound. Now the company has launched its wireless version as the latest product. Audio-Technica ATH-M20xBT The price in India is Rs 13,500. This allows its old fans to experience the same unique sound signature with wireless connectivity. With 60 hours of battery life, multipoint connectivity and optional wired connectivity, is this the best wireless on-ear headphone under Rs 15,000 you can buy right now? Find out in this review.
Design and specifications Audio-Technica ATH-M20xBT
The Audio-Technica ATH-M20xBT is the wireless version of its classic, wired models, the Audio-Technica ATH-M20x. It is the same in appearance. The headphones have a good fit on the ear, comfortable padding around the ears and on the headband, and a metal frame connecting the two ear cups. Other similarities in design elements include the etched ATH-M20x on the sides, the soft, telescopically adjustable swivel headband, and the exposed audio wires near the headband.
The helmet is currently only available in black color. Its weight is 216 grams. The weight of the helmet is not so important for the size, it is light and comfortable to wear. The padding around the ear cup completely covers the ears.
I didn’t find its passive noise isolation particularly impressive. It didn’t seem to be very good at blocking out sound coming from outside. One advantage, however, was that I didn’t have to remove the headphones from my ears to let in some outside air. Its fit is such that it allows outside air to enter as needed.
There are also some differences in its design compared to the old model, which are given for the controls and buttons. These include a stereo jack for wired listening, a USB Type-C port for charging, and three buttons to control playback and volume on the left side. The sales package also includes a USB Type-A to Type-C charging cable and a stereo cable for wired connectivity. But unfortunately, there is no carrying case for the headphones.
The Audio-Technica ATH-M20xBT uses Bluetooth 5 with support for SBC and AAC Bluetooth codecs for primary connectivity. The headphones feature 40mm dynamic drivers, a frequency response range of 5-32,000Hz, a nominal sensitivity of 100dB, and an impedance of 36 Ohms. There is a microphone on the M20xBT, so you can use it as a hands-free headset.
It has multipoint connectivity so you can pair and connect two devices simultaneously. Here, the headset keeps switching between the two based on its intelligence. It depends on the type of content being played or a call being received. Active noise cancellation is not available in the headset, nor is app support provided. It also doesn’t have wear-detection sensors, meaning it can’t detect itself when worn. This shortcoming puts the headphones behind rivals such as Sony, JBL and Sennheiser.
Audio-Technica ATH-M20xBT performance and battery life
The Audio-Technica ATH-M20xBT lags a bit behind in terms of features. But it has a lot to offer when it comes to sound quality. Being the wireless version of the ATH-M20x, it offers similar sound tuning, but with the convenience of wireless connectivity. I wouldn’t say that the M20xBT offers completely the same sound quality as the M20x, as wired connectivity still sounds better than wireless connectivity. Yes, but the M20xBT comes pretty close.
The Audio-Technica ATH-M20xBT delivers the same neutral, studio-friendly sound that the M-Series is popular for. Very good audible detail is found in the sound. It is also capable of locating buried items, giving the experience of a studio monitor. Same experience with different genres and songs. However, its sound signature and tone are more suited to slow, detailed tracks. It was a wonderful listening experience on Kamasi Washington’s Truth that hardly any other product in this price range can match.
The slow progression of the jazz track was striking, with headphones delivering every smooth hit of drums, saxophone riffs and laid-back piano elements with great precision for the wireless headphones. In Astropilot’s Arambol, I was lucky enough to hear the stereo separation of the headphones up close. In addition to the frequency range, specific elements were also heard. The bass wasn’t too tight, with the headphones focusing on delivering neutral, flat sound, not the polished, polished sound like more expensive wireless headphones.
The M20xBT seemed stuck in the setting of a busy track. Perhaps the advanced codec support here could have added a bit to the overall sound. The headset only supports SBC and AAC codecs, which makes it wobbly at times.
Overall, Bluetooth is the only problem here. It’s pretty much tied to its roots as a wired headset. It can be said that it is not tuned for the weak wireless input of Bluetooth. Hearing problems are reduced by plugging in the cable, but you didn’t pay Rs 13,500 for this adjustment.
Indoor call quality is good. Connectivity is also stable and works well up to a distance of 4 meters from the source device. The battery life of the headphones is also quite good. It can last up to 48 hours on a single charge while listening to music continuously at moderate volume.
Audio-Technica is a recognized name in consumer headphones and the ATH-M20xBT is an iconic product in itself. But that is not enough here. The headset has the same monitor-quality sound as its wired version, which is great, but some drawbacks hold it back. The headset is expensive and does not support advanced Bluetooth codec.
For fans of the Audio-Technica M series, it offers wireless connectivity, but it lacks features based on the price. There’s no active noise cancellation, no app support, no extra features aside from Bluetooth connectivity. It is a very good pair of headphones to use but should have been priced under Rs 13,500.