Just earlier this week, I had a roundup of some light and sound options for your home entertainment needs. Well, what if you take your entertainment on-the-go? Well, then that’s where our pals over at Audio-Technica come in. Today, we’ll give you a quick run-down of some of what they’ve got up on the shelf.
True Wireless Earbuds
These days, wireless earbuds are all the rage. It seems like just a few years ago when everyone was pumping out Bluetooth earbuds that had a wire going between them (and I actually still use a pair at the gym), but being able to cut that cord is where it’s at. Not only does it remove any cable bounce, it generally makes for a more discreet earbud, and you can choose (often times) to use just one if you want.
In that category, Audio-Technica has two offerings. First up, you’ve got the ATH-CK3TW, which manage to pack in 5.8mm drivers in there, and can pump the jams (or phone calls) to you for up to 6 hours. Once you drain those, pop them into the charging case, and you’ve got another 24-hours of charge available there (the case itself charges via USB-C for a speedy top-off). The ATH-CK3TW does have a built-in mic, and features touch controls. Should you be working out (or caught in the rain), you’ll be ok, as they carry an IPX2 water-resistance rating. Available in black, blue, or white, the Audio-Technica ATH-CK3TW runs $119.
If you’re wanting to step up a level, that’s where the Audio-Technica ATH-CKS5TW earbuds come in. Here, runtime gets a major boost (15 hours), with the charging case adding another 30 hours of usage. On the earbuds themselves, you’ve got even bigger drivers (10mm) for clear audio and improved bass (bigger drivers = bigger boom). Again, you’ve got a built-in mic and controls on the earbuds (these look to have some physical buttons), as well as that water-resistant IPX2 rating. Available in black, blue, or khaki, the Audio-Technica ATH-CKS5TW go for $150.
Wireless Over-Ear headsets
Not everyone cares for earbuds, I get that. I use that style (corded) a good amount, but sometimes you just want that additional noise isolation that the ear cups of a good over-ear headset will provide. Again, Audio-Technica is bring the goods.
First up, the Audio-Technica ATH-ANC500BT QuietPoint® Wireless Active Noise-Cancelling Headphones are for the traveller, with that active noise cancellation. Need to cancel out the monotonous drone of the plane engine or the loud HVAC ? You’re set here. But these are more than just noise-cancelling (which is cool in it’s own right). No, the ATH-ANC500BT give you flexibility. You can use them with Bluetooth, or via a corded connection (versatility for the win). You’ve got a mic and button controls built in, so you can switch between music and phone calls without an issue. Even when using Bluetooth and ANC, the internal rechargeable battery is rated to give you up to 20 hours of playback, which is impressive. Use them as standard wired headsets (don’t underestimate the noise isolation of good ear cups) with ANC, and, well, of course it’ll last longer. These are available in black and navy (which looks great, IMO) for $99 which seems like an absolute steal for these 40mm driver-equipped ANC Bluetooth cans.
If, on the other hand, you just want a solid set of headphones and can’t really make use of (or prefer not to use) ANC, then something like the Audio-Technica ATH-M50xBT are what the doctor ordered. These are positioned as a direct descendent of their popular ATH-M50x pro studio headphones, so you know they’re putting a premium on sound quality. Here, you’ve got larger 45mm drivers keep the audio crisp and the bass booming. The earpads and headbands are designed for extreme comfort, which is good, because these will give you up to (wait for it) 40 hours of playback on a full charge. They of course have controls on the ear cups as well as a mic, so you can do all the things you need to with a headset. And, should Bluetooth not give you the fidelity you want, then you’ve got the option of going wired as well. Available in any color you want (so long as it’s black) the Audio-Technica ATH-M50xBT retail for $199 (but I do see a $20 discount on the site at the moment).
Gaming / Computer Headsets
And last, but not least, we’ve got a category of headphones that you either give zero thought to, or obsess over – the headphones you plug into your computer. I do this daily, but I just use the (not fancy at all) headset provided by work. I think any of the headsets above could do the job over bluetooth, but sometimes you want something that can put the mic right in front of your mouth. For that, Audio-Technica has two headsets that really are one. You see, you’ve got the Audio-Technica ATH-G1 and the ATH-G1WL that literally cuts the cord (using 2.4 GHz).
Both headsets have 45mm drivers, and a directional boom mic. With the mic, you can actually detach it (and the ear cups are replaceable as well) so you can still use the headphones (well, at least the wired ones) with your portable device. For the wireless ones, you’ll be getting about 15 hours of run time. But have no fear – if the power runs out, you can just plug in the USB cable to your computer and keep on gaming. Going with wires will run you $169 while cutting the cord takes it to $249.
This is, of course, just a small slice of what Audio-Technica has on tap. They’ve got other fun things like turn tables and the like, but I think headphones are something more immediately relatable, as I think most folks use headphones regularly, if not daily. While the Audio-Technica ATH-M50xBT remind me of what my dad used when I was growing up, if I was picking up just one from this, I think the Audio-Technica ATH-ANC500BT QuietPoint® Wireless Active Noise-Cancelling Headphones are the winners (for me, personally) of the roundup, given the all-around versatility that they offer, along with the noise cancelling at the very affordable price point. We’re in talks with the brand now, and we’ll see what we can get in for an ears-on review for you. audio-technica.com