Looks like AudioTechnica is going after the venerable Sennheiser HD25-II (or any of it’s dozen variants) with the ATH-M60x. Once you pick these up, it’s obvious that we’re not talking about a ATH-M50x +10 or ATH-M70x with 10 taken off. The newest M-series headphone from the Japanese company is more mobility oriented with smaller size and an over-ear design. Read on to find out what has been sacrificed to make the M50x mobile and whether the ATH-M60x is something that can help you.

Pros
  • Well-built
  • Light weight
  • Very low THD lets a lot of detail through

Pros list with Sonarworks Reference calibration

  • The neutral sound together with low THD makes the ATH-M60x a compelling package for a wide array of applications
Cons
  • Coloured mids
  • Can't be taken apart without tools
  • Isolation could’ve been better
Use cases Recommended music genres:
Anything bass-heavy
Best use case:
Mixing
Location sound
On-the-go
Tech specs Type
Closed back, On-ear
Impedance
38 Ohm
Distortion
Not specified
Frequency response
15 Hz to 28 kHz
Connector
threaded 3.5mm straight jack
Adapter
Screw-on 6.3mm adapter
Weight
200 g (without cable)
Require headphone amp
No
Headphone amp

The ATH-M60x is around 5dB more sensitive than other of the M-series headphones from AudioTechnica. The 38 Ohm load impedance of the headphone also suggests that the M60x is designed to be run from portable devices, which usually don’t excel in dealing with high impedance loads. One should take care to not power the ATH-M60x from high output impedance headphone jack as that would alter the tonal response; anything under 5 Ohms should be fine.

Build quality


AudioTechnica must be commended here as the ATH-M60x shows a palpable increase in build quality over the M50x and its direct competitor, the Sennheiser HD25-II. The metal parts make it feel higher class, however it remains to be seen how they would hold up against the wear and tear of fieldwork. The HD25-II, while made from plastic is famous for being nigh indestructible, as the plastic doesn’t mind bending without any lasting damage. As is customary with headphones of this price range, the ATH-M60x comes with a replaceable cable seems to share the design of the headphone side jack with the rest of the M-series lineup.

Sound


Lose the dips and the ATH-M60x would’ve blown away the competition. Again – for everyday listening these dips at 700Hz and circa 3kHz wouldn’t deter anyone from enjoying the tunes, however they present a blind spot for the engineer. The mid dip will make vocals and strings sound strange, once compared to an uncoloured reference. Distortion effects on synth lines and guitars will have much of their crunch robbed away by the upper mid dip. The highs do appear peaky on the graph, but its certainly not worse than what one gets from other pro-oriented headphones.

Channel balance

Unlike the ATH-M50x, this headphone has no channel imbalance to speak of. The slight discrepancy in the mids won’t be audible to anyone and the upper octave imbalance shouldn’t shift the position of overtones enough to lead any engineer astray.

Comfort


The AudioTechnica ATH-M60x feels great on the ears. Unlike all of the other M-series cans, it uses a supra-aural or on-ear design to make the earcups smaller. The earpads are made from protein leather, which makes them less susceptible to cause sweating. On top of that this type of artificial leather certainly feels nicer than what’s found on the M50x. If one has tried the HD25-II with its pleather padding, the M60x will feel more luxurious, but won’t isolate as well. This makes these headphones less suitable for drummers and DJ’s who need SPL shielding, however for location sound the isolation should be more than fine.

Value

For 200$ these are a decent deal and compared to the HD25-II, the ATH-M60x trades isolation for comfort. Neither have an accurate tonal balance, yet the M60x seems to be class leading in terms of harmonic distortion.

Observations on how headphones perform after applying Sonarworks Reference calibration Total Harmonic Distortion


Great job here, AudioTechnica! Overall low THD throughout the frequency range with 2nd harmonic dominating. Noteworthy is the absence of any odd peaking, which usually translates to superb calibrated performance.

How accurate and consistent is the correction effect among different listeners?

Consistency is the Achiles heel of on-ear headphones. These sit on one’s pinnae and will change tonality depending on placement. Stick to over-ear headphones for best consistency.

How much do they differ pair to pair in terms of frequency response?

Sample to sample variation is low with the ATH-M60x. Differences between headphones will surely be introduced mainly by fit issues.

Rating

7.2 / 8.3 / 8.8

Sound rating is a weighted average of Frequency Response, Adaptiveness, Harmonic Distortion and Channel Balance scores, with Frequency Response and Adaptiveness having the greatest influence.

9 / 6 / 10

The flatter the frequency response – the higher the score. When evaluating the frequency response score with the Average calibration profile, the pair to pair consistency of the given model is taken into account – if we have measured a considerable frequency response inconsistency among multiple pairs of the given model, the score drops, as the profile loses accuracy. Individual calibration will grant perfectly flat frequency response.

7

Adaptiveness shows how capable these headphones are at delivering the same perceived frequency response to any listener. Headphones with high score will sound nearly identical to everyone.

9

Harmonic distortion – the lower the Total Harmonic Distortion (THD) figure, the higher the score. Headphones with prominent 3rd harmonic distortion above 100 Hz will score lower.

9 / 10

Channel balance – the closer to identical the frequency response of both channels, the higher the score. Individual calibration delivers perfect channel balance.

6

Comfort – shows if headphones can be used for long listening sessions comfortably. Every model is tested by at least a few individuals.

8

Build – evaluates how well the headphones are put together, the materials used and indicates the expected longevity. Easily replaceable (and easily available) parts will boost the score. We don’t do any stress tests and very few models are used for longer than a couple of days, so this is a fairly subjective score.

7

Value – indicates the price-performance ratio of the given headphones and how they stack up against the competition. High score means that you won’t find more neutral sounding alternatives for the price.

Conclusion

If you need a portable high performance headphone, then it’s hard to go wrong with the AudioTechnica ATH-M60x. It’s hard to call them neutral, but none of their direct competitors are neutral as well. If you need more isolation, go for the HD25-II, but you’ll lose THD performance and comfort. It’s all about making the compromise that suit you best!

Final Rating

8.1
With Sonarworks Reference 4
Calibration Enabled
7.2
Without Sonarworks
Calibration

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