Audio-Technica ATH M20 | John R.
There’s always room in my bag for my laptop, my mp3 player and my Sennheiser HD 280 full-size headphones. I’ve had them for years and they are broken in – more comfortable than when I bought them and still performing to maximum capacity. So it would be difficult to pull me away from them even under the lure of the Audio Technica brand’s dependability. Nevertheless the Audio-Technica ATH M20 Stereo Monitor Headphones came a-calling so I answered.
Like the 280s, the Audio-Technica ATH M20s are full-sized dynamic headphones with an adjustable cushioned headband (more cushioned than my 280s, actually) and closed-backed earcups. They are circumaural headphones, covering the entire ear so in theory, they should offer a pretty snug fit with great isolation and very little sound leakage. I fully expected to be oblivious to what was going on around me, but in louder environments there actually wasn’t an exceptional amount of isolation and I didn’t ask if the folks around me could hear what I was listening to. In that respect, my 280s had the Audio-Technica ATH M20s beat. In all fairness to the M20s, they cost around $30, whereas I paid close to $100 for the 280s when I bought them a few years back, so for the price, the M20s do a great job and you don’t have to fret too much about damaging them because spending another $30 probably won’t break the bank. Coincidentally, they come with a one-year warranty.
The Audio-Technica ATH M20 headphones do offer exceptional clarity and are quite comfortable, though you get a taste of some of the common issues with full-sized phones like hot ears and maybe a little sweat. It’s nothing that can’t be cured with a five-minute break though.
The Audio-Technica ATH M20s are lightweight cans and feature 40mm drivers with neodymium magnets and voice coils made of copper-clad aluminum wire and a 10-foot coiled cable with 1/8-inch gold-plated stereo connector (also comes with a snap-on 1/4-inch adapter). The M20s have a pretty wide range frequency response – 30 – 20,000 Hz with a 98dB sensitivity and impedance of 40 ohms.
The M20s offer a nice, full bottom and a pretty good high end as well. It felt a bit like the music (Buddy Miles, if you must know) was playing in my head. The headphones are comfortable too, which is good since I’m constantly listening to music at work.
All in all, Audio Technica’s ATH-M20 dynamic headphones were worth the money and served their purpose. I would recommend them as a low-cost option for people who are in the market for a decent pair of full-sized headphones.