The world of audio and musical equipment can be a tricky one to navigate at the best of times. With so many different products, conflicting opinions and confusing reviews, it’s hard to know what’s actually the best product for your needs. Luckily, the team at Mixdown have put in the legwork for you, sifting through the spec-sheets and putting the products through their paces to bring you Mixdown’s Picks - a new series of expansive, category defining product guides across our digital channels. Anything that has made the cut has rated highly across the board with the Mixdown staff, garnering a unanimous tick of approval from our staunch critics.
Today, we kick off proceedings with one of the staples of the modern recording climate and in many ways, a product group that has a much bigger influence on production quality than most probably realise - the humble studio headphone.
Audio-Technica ATH-M60x Professional Monitoring Headphones
Distributed by: Audio-Technica Australia | Expect to pay: $299
Key Features: Audio-Technica’s M50x professional monitoring headphones were celebrated upon launch by total amateurs and seasoned pros alike, and they’ve been a consistently huge seller for the company. Audio-Technica’s M60x headphones share the same 45mm large-aperture drivers as their legendary M50x compatriots, but there’s a few key differences that make them heavyweights in their own field.
Whereas most Audio-Technica headphones tend to feature an over-ear design, the M60x’s feature an on-ear, closed-back design with premium memory foam earpads and a nifty padded headband. This ensures a much more comfortable (and less sweaty) fit over longer periods of time, which makes them suitable for use during longer mixing sessions or even performing. A common complaint about on-ear headphones is that they lack the isolation their over-ear cousins provide, but due to the quality of the memory foam of the pads, I experienced no dramas with the ATH-M60x’s isolation whatsoever: they fit as snug as a bug in rug.
For those who are tech-savvy, the ATH-M60x headphones also features a slightly less build up around the 300 Hz range. This ensures that the M60x’s are practical for a multitude of applications, including studio, broadcast and live use. However, the lack of a foldable design means that you won’t be wanting to cart these bad boys around in a crammed backpack anytime too soon, and there’s also no inbuilt microphone or any controls for adjusting volume or changing tracks. While they’re incredibly sturdy and feature detachable components, these cans are definitely not made for rugged, on-the-go listeners: either keep them in the studio, or firmly planted on your noggin.
Mixdown Says: I’ve been using Audio-Technica ATH-M50x headphones for years, and I love the way they sound for both critical and casual listening. Although they’re definitely designed to dominate in the studio, the M60x’s certainly live up to the standard set by the ATH-M50x range. They boast a crispy high-end that makes acoustic guitars, hi-hats and shimmering textures absolutely sparkle, while the low-end is punchy and well-balanced: suitable for even the most thumping of 808s.
With an SPL of 105dB, the ATH-M60x headphones can also handle loud volumes incredibly well, which makes them a great pick for recording drums or ear-piercing horn sections. They also come shipped with three different cable lengths (1.2m – 3.0m coiled, 3.0m straight, and 1.2m straight – each with a 3.5mm mini-plug) as well as a 1/4” inch adapter screw-on adapter and pouch.
Overall: A no-brainer for anyone seeking the legendary sound of the ATH-M50x headphones, but with an on-ear design and slightly tweaked sound for really getting into the zone for modern mixing and broadcast applications. The Audio-Technica ATH-M60x headphones are an almighty addition to any audiophile’s arsenal.
Check out the full range of Audio-Technica headphones available today.