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Audio-Technica ATH-M30x Review: Possibly the Best Studio Headphones under $100

Studio headphones made to be used by the masses, Audio-Tehnica is a brand that is worldwide known for making some of the best headphones currently on the market, and the ATH-M30x model is made especially with drummers in mind, but it’s adapted to suit everybody’s needs. They are advertised as being high in quality, comfortable, and flexible to use on any device that has a headphone jack, everything that you would expect from this manufacturer, and even more – all of that for a price that is under $100. Is everything about them really so perfect? Read below if you would like to find out.

Driver / Diaphragm Size

Let’s start with the numbers. The ATH-M30x model has 40mm drivers, with a sensitivity of 95.5 dB, the impedance of 47 ohms, and achieves a frequency response of 15-20,000 Hz. Magnets are made of neodymium, the best material at the moment when it comes to headphone magnets. All of these high-quality materials and modern engineering delivers enhanced audio clarity. Made for highly detailed audio, with strong mid-range and rich and clear sound, they also provide a rather realistic bass response – not too overwhelming, but rather completely balanced. The treble is a bit bumpy and the overall sound is adapted for studio tracking. The neodymium magnets help even the most minor sounds be nicely detailed and heard, which rarely happens with other models of a similar price range. The frequency response isn’t completely flat, but this is no issue, especially not for monitoring while tracking or recording. Generally, they are not recommended for mixing, but they’ll work perfectly fine for that as well.

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Isolation

The ATH-M30x model has a closed-back design and contoured earcups that swivel 15o in both directions. This will provide near to perfect isolation, which in return also helps the sound clarity. The isolation helps you immerse in the music that you are listening to and to completely disconnect you with your surroundings. The sound blockage isn’t too strong so that it bothers you; you can still hear loud noises, like screams or traffic, and you won’t feel the pressure that sometimes comes with complete sound isolation.

On the other side, noise leakage is down to a minimum. You would have to listen to the music in the painfully high volume for someone who is sitting next to you to hear anything. In short – perfect studio headphones when it comes to blocking both outside and inside noise!

Comfort

The large earcups can gobble your entire ear, which will prevent pinching. At the same time, they won’t be pressed too hard against your face, which means that it is highly unlikely that you will experience any pain while using them, even if you plan on having them on for hours upon hours. The earcups are made of plush leather material, which will allow a certain level of air circulation, which will prevent heat from building up which will, in return, prevent your head from becoming sweaty and gross. The headband is elastic to a certain degree, but not so much that the headphones can easily fall off your head or move around. Also, despite them looking huge, they are actually rather lightweight. All of this combined provides for a comfortable model, suitable for long, drumming hours.

Durability

The outside of the headbands and headphones themselves is made of leather, however, the inside is thick and durable, so don’t let the first glance fool you – they won’t break that easily at all. The earcups are firmly attached to the headband, so this model practically doesn’t have a weak spot. Even the cable itself, despite being detachable, is made of a rather thick and flexible material so it shouldn’t break that easily, which is always a good thing as cable fitting is one of the first places that tend to snap. Some users have reported that one side of the headphones tends to lose sound before the other one, but, sadly, this is a con that most headphones have.

Portability

Most musicians spend a lot of time on the road, which is why portability is really important for any headphones made to be used professionally. The good news is – this model is exactly that. It’s made of thick material that won’t likely break in the traveling bad. More importantly – they are foldable. The earcups can go completely towards the headband, which makes it really easy to simply pack them and leave. They don’t come with a bag, but this isn’t a problem when the headphones can be folded. For a musician that travels every day between his or her home to the studio, this model is a true savior.

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Connection

The ATH-M30x model isn’t wireless and you can’t use it with Bluetooth settings. The cable is fitted permanently to the left ear cup and it can’t be removed. Luckily, it’s rather long (around 3 meters or 9 feet 8 inches), so you don’t have to stand too close to the headphone jack and it gives you freedom of movement. The cord ends with a golden 3.5mm audio jack, but they also come with a 6.5mm adapter, so you can connect it to almost any device there is. Of course, as long as there is a cord, you shouldn’t plan on exercising with them, but when it comes to the electronic drumming, 3 meters is probably more than you need.

How Does It Stand Out

Durable design

The design of the headphones is simple to the eye, but it’s made with the intention of being durable, and it serves that purpose, as this model is almost unbreakable.

Made for studio and field recording use

The ATH-M30x model is tuned for enhanced detail, with great mid-range definition and deep, punchy bass sound.

Excellent sound isolation

The closed-back over-ear design makes for nearly perfect sound isolation, even in the loudest environments.

Foldable

This option makes these headphones great if you spend a lot of time on the road.

F.A.Q.

Do these cover your ears completely?

Yes, they do. They have an over-ear design, and with the earcups being big, they will cover your ears completely and comfortably.

Is the cord detachable?

No, the cord isn’t detachable, but it’s rather long and firm so it won’t easily break. However, if you are looking for wireless headphones, you should check out some other models from this brand.

How bad is the sound leakage?

The sound leakage is almost non-existent. You would have to play music at a high volume for someone who is sitting next to you to hear it, and anyone further away still won’t notice a thing. If others can hear what you are listening to, you are most likely listening at an unsafe level. 

Will these work on a tablet or an iPhone?

Yes, this model will work with anything that has a headphone jack on it. The music quality is still good and despite the headphones not having volume settings, they are loud and you won’t likely be turning the volume up to the maximum.

As this model is made for recording and sound monitoring, can you listen to the music casually on them?

Yes, you can! The sound quality is fantastic either way and you can use these in a lot of different ways. 

What is the difference between ATH-M30x and ATH-M30?

The M30x model has had a complete overhaul in design, and it also produces a slightly better sound quality than the previous model.

Will the headphones easily come off your ears?

No, the headphones are holding up to your head rather firmly, while also being gentle enough for you to feel comfortable.

Conclusion

Even when compared with some of the more expensive models, the Audio-Technica ATH-M30x model has one of the best sound qualities that you can find, especially when it comes to models made for electronic drumming. The sound is rich and clean with a good amount of bass, and all of this is only enhanced with great sound isolation. They are light-weight and comfortable and easy to use even for a long period of time. And not to mention – they are foldable. The only con we can find is that the model isn’t the best when it comes to mixing, as they can sound a little bit flat, but for a price that can be as low as $60, they are one of the best finds out there.

If these headphones are not what you were looking for, check out our Best Headphones for Electronic Drums Post.

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