Audio-Technica ATH-M20x Professional Studio Monitor Headphones

Last updated date: July 8, 2020

DWYM Score
8.3

Audio-Technica ATH-M20x Professional Studio Monitor Headphones

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Overall Take

These headphones are professional-quality and feature contoured earcups with a tight seal for proper sound isolation. This is especially helpful for individuals who are working in a studio setting, where sound quality is a priority. In our analysis of 152 expert reviews, the Audio-Technica Audio-Technica Professional Studio Monitor Headphones placed 5th when we looked at the top 19 products in the category. For the full ranking, see below.

Editor's Note July 8, 2020:
Checkout The Best Headphones for a detailed review of all the top .

Expert Summarized Score
6.6
10 expert reviews
User Summarized Score
9.0
5,552 user reviews
Our Favorite Video Reviews
What experts liked
Durable, comfortable construction. Rich, crisp sound quality doesn't overdo the bass. Easy to adjust. Helps isolate sounds. Extra long 10-foot cord gives you freedom to move. Designed for use in recording studios.
- BestReviews
It comes with a 10-foot hard wired cable, and a snap-on 6.3mm adapter.
- Medium
They have an above-average audio reproduction and a moderately comfortable and stable design.
- RTINGS.com
Contoured earcups seal tight for excellent sound isolation, with minimal bleed.
- What HiFi
Professionals with small studios should definitely take a look at this wallet-friendly pair of headphones.
- NDTV Gadgets 360
Despite its rugged build, a lot of users found them light-weight and comfortable to wear over long periods of time.
- Gearank
If you aren’t using them for mixing songs professionally and it’s more for a daily/workout/travel purpose, they will suffice — they don’t have a cheap sound that will ruin your listening experience like some other lower-priced headphones in the market.
- The Wire Realm
We believe they provide more than adequate comfort, and they do not pinch or clamp too hard.
- Tech Bottom
The ear pads found on each headphone are designed to foster greater sound isolation for a better concentration of sound in each studio headphone.
- Music Critic
One of the most neutral sounding closed backs out there. Great value.
- Sonarworks
What experts didn't like
Some feel the cable is too long and is easy to trip over or get tangled in.
- BestReviews
Compared to the M50X and M40X…the M20X sounds a little dull.
- Medium
No audio controls. Poor isolation.
- RTINGS.com
Soundstaging is average.
- NDTV Gadgets 360
Some users suggested that they're not great for travel since they lack folding ability and carrying case. In this case, it's preferred to use these in studios or at home.
- Gearank
Another con that may be concerning to you is the lack of interchangeable cable.
- The Wire Realm
They don't fold down or compact at all, and the size adjustments do not click - they just slide. The M20X is light and a bit stiff, and the ear foam is not quite the same as the higher quality M50x.
- Tech Bottom
No detachable cable. Comfort could be better.
- Sonarworks

From The Manufacturer

The ATH M20x professional monitor headphones are a great introduction to the critically acclaimed M Series line. Modern design and high quality materials combine to deliver a comfortable listening experience, with enhanced audio and effective isolation. An excellent choice for tracking and mixing. More About the M Series Headphones Critically acclaimed M Series professional monitor headphones deliver accurate audio and outstanding comfort, perfect for long sessions in the studio and on the go. Contoured earcups seal tight for excellent sound isolation, with minimal bleed. And the pro grade materials are durable, yet comfortable. Find out why online reviewers, top audio engineers, and cult followers agree, M Series is an unmatched combination of audio and build quality that gets the job done. Hour after hour, year after year. Cutting-edge engineering and robust construction. For Studio Tracking & Mixing: Tuned for enhanced low-frequency performance. Offers Excellent Sound : Isolation Circumaural design contours around the ears for excellent sound isolation in loud environments. Makes the ATH-M20x a popular tracking headphone for multi-station studio sessions.

Overall Product Rankings

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Bose SoundLink II Around Ear Wireless Headphones
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Bose QuietComfort 20 Acoustic Noise Cancelling Headphones
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Expert Reviews: 10
Sennheiser RS 165 RF Wireless Headphones
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Overall Score: 8.2
Expert Reviews: 4
Sony H900N Hi-Res Noise Cancelling Wireless Headphones
9. Sony H900N Hi-Res Noise Cancelling Wireless Headphones
Overall Score: 8.2
Expert Reviews: 3
Sony MDRZX110NC Noise Cancelling Headphones
11. Sony MDRZX110NC Noise Cancelling Headphones
Overall Score: 8.2
Expert Reviews: 9
HyperX KHX-H3CL/WR Cloud Gaming Headphones
12. HyperX KHX-H3CL/WR Cloud Gaming Headphones
Overall Score: 8.2
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Plantronics BackBeat GO 410 Wireless Headphones
18. Plantronics BackBeat GO 410 Wireless Headphones
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Expert Reviews: 4

An Overview On

Headphones are huge right now. Music fans, gaming buffs and podcast aficionados spent more than $9.5 billion dollars on them in 2016, and that number is projected to balloon to $13.8 billion in the next seven years.

Kristin Forte/Simplemost Media

There are multiple styles of headphones. Earbuds, on-ear and over-ear headphones are the three most popular types, and they’re all available in wired and wireless versions. If you’re intimidated by the number of options you’re seeing online or in the electronics aisle, there are a number of ways to narrow down the choices and find the best headphones for your needs.

“The most important factor to consider when shopping for headphones is the environment it’s going to be used in,” says music and video producer Calvin West.

Kristin Forte/Simplemost Media

Will you use the headphones at the gym, at home or on the train? If you’ll be outdoors a lot, or wearing the headphones on the bus while you commute to work, consider headphones with noise-canceling properties, West suggests.

Earbuds, or in-ear headphones, sit just inside your ear canal. Soft silicone tips fit snugly inside your ears, and some models come with different sizes for a customized fit. Other models have secure-fit tips that create a stronger seal in your ear canal so they stay put.

Kristin Forte/Simplemost Media

Earbuds are available in standard wired versions, wireless versions (which connect around the back of your neck with a small wire but do not need to connect to your device with a wire), and true wireless versions where both earbuds operate independently with no wires at all.

On-ear headphones, which are sometimes called supra-aural headphones, are larger, with soft ear cups made from real or synthetic leather. They sit on top of your ears and allow more sound in while you’re listening, which makes them great for times when you want to listen to music without completely canceling out surrounding sounds. They’re also more lightweight and portable than heftier, full-coverage over-ear headphones.

Kristin Forte/Simplemost Media

Over-ear headphones enclose your entire ear in soft ear cups. They’re the largest headphone option, and they boast advanced features like noise cancellation and higher sound quality than other types of headphones. They’re great for wearing indoors while you’re focused on work, playing video games or enjoying high-definition sound on your smart TV. They tend to be a bit bulky to take with you when you’re commuting or traveling, but the total noise cancellation option makes them great for long flights.

Kristin Forte/Simplemost Media

Some over-ear headphone models have active noise cancellation as well as ambient sound modes for different listening scenarios. Other types of over-ear headphones come with a transmitter that connects to your home audio or entertainment system for a more robust digital listening experience.

DWYM Fun Fact

You owe your favorite pair of headphones a salute. The first pair of modern audio headphones were picked up by the U.S. Navy in 1910 after being repeatedly rejected by private sector investors. Mormon inventor and engineer Nathaniel Baldwin invented them on his kitchen table; the Navy’s eventual investment made him a rich man. They ordered 100 pairs and sparked a headphone revolution. Unfortunately, Baldwin never patented them, so the German company Bayerdynamic made some serious cash when they created the first pair for home enjoyment in 1937. Baldwin also wound up bankrupt after using his payout from the Navy to make a less-than-sound investment in the Mormon polygamous movement. Whoops!

The Buying Guide

  • If you’re picking out new headphones, the first order of business is choosing between wired and wireless. Wired headphones are generally more reliable, since they don’t rely on a Bluetooth connection to connect you to your music, but wireless technology is quickly catching up. You can get more bang for your buck in terms of sound quality with wired headphones, too, and you’ll never have to worry about your wired headphones running out of battery. However, the freedom of wireless headphones outweighs their downsides for many people, and high-end styles have up to 20 hours of battery life per charge.
  • Next up: What activities will you be doing while you wear your headphones? Gym-goers will benefit from earbud styles. Their cone-shaped silicone tips fit securely in your ears, staying in place during active sweat sessions. Plus, the in-line mic and volume control help you answer calls or switch songs without fumbling with your phone. If you’re relying on headphones to help you focus while working from home or enjoying your favorite music, a pair of plush over-ear headphones can provide premium sound and comfort with active noise cancellation.
  • How portable do you need your headphones to be? Earbuds are lightweight and fit into a purse, pocket or briefcase, but wireless and true wireless versions are easier to lose. If you’re not planning on taking your headphones far from home, on-ear or over-ear options make more sense; you can enjoy their superior sound quality without worrying about hefting them around.
  • If you’re going to drop your hard-earned cash on headphones, you’ll want to take steps to care for them to keep the music playing. Wired headphones need cable care; you’ll want to wind up the cable and secure it with a twist tie or velcro rope while not in use. Make sure you don’t leave your headphones in areas where it becomes extremely hot or cold (like inside your car during chilly winter nights or hot summer days). Those temperatures can damage the internal audio components.
  • Keeping your headphones clean also contributes to their life span. Earbud-style headphones need special attention since wax buildup can affect sound quality and hygiene. Removing the silicone ear tips, rinsing them with warm water, and drying them with a soft cloth should be part of their regular maintenance. All types of headphones should be wiped with a damp, clean cloth and dried if they’re exposed to excessive sweat or moisture. Make sure to keep your charging port clear of crumbs and debris for reliable charging, and store on-ear and over-ear headphones in a hard case when they’re not in use.