Audio-Technica's M-line has become one of the most popular studio headphones on the consumer market. Their ATH-M20x became one of their most popular selling headphones, combining both great sound at an affordable price. Recently, they've released an updated Bluetooth version, the ATH-M20xBT, which aims to preserve the same sound, while adding bluetooth functionality. At $79, they go for $30 more than the original M20x, and I'm going to see if the bluetooth addition is worth the price increase.
What’s in the Box
3.5mm TRS Cable
USB-C Charging Cable
Look and Feel
At first glance, I can't tell a difference between the M20xBT and the original M20x, Audio-Technica did a fantastic job of integrating the bluetooth seamlessly while still preserving the original design. The only difference is the addition of volume control with universal command button, and a charging port. One of the biggest upgrades is the Headphone jack, which is a nice addition compared to the original M20x, which came with the 3.5mm cable hardwired in. The headphones look great, and have the iconic AT M-Line design, though these are made of a slightly weaker plastic than some of the higher-end models. They still feel durable and are an overall improvement in the design of the original M20x. I did feel some discomfort after wearing them for an extended period, but headphones are meant to be used with breaks.
The ATH-M20xBT utilizes a 40mm dynamic driver and is a fully closed-back housing style. It has 60 hours of battery life and features Audio-Technica's Rapid Charge Technology, which allows it to gain 3 hours of battery life after charging for only 10 minutes. It features full bluetooth connectivity with multipoint pairing, allowing you to connect to multiple devices at once. Additionally, you can activate low latency mode to reduce lag and sync with video faster, at the cost of some battery life. The left earcup also has a built-in microphone for bluetooth calling.
The ATH-M20xBT has a frequency response of 5 Hz – 32 kHz and an impedance of 36 Ohms.
Bluetooth vs Wireless connection
Some wireless headphones suffer a serious drop in quality when switching from a wired connection to a wireless connection. Thankfully, this isn't the case for the ATH-M20XBT. I tested it and didn't notice a difference between bluetooth and wired. The Bluetooth setup is also seamless and doesn't try to bog itself down with needless features; it's just you and the headphones.
The M20xBT's soundstage is a great representation of the intended studio mix. The stereo field is well separated and it has a neutral spatial character to it. The isolation is pretty good, though I did find that my glasses would get in the way of the seal at times. The dynamics on these are very responsive and stay consistent throughout the frequency range.
The lows on the M20xBT are very tame. While still audible and very clear, I feel that they lacked some of the presence and power in the sub range that are needed to reproduce a more studio-accurate frequency curve. While they still sound great, I would recommend checking with another source when mixing low end.
The midrange on the M20xBT is incredibly flat and gives a great representation of the true mix. While there is a slight dip in the low-mids, it plateaus around 55 hz. This is essential for Audio-Technica's goal of creating an accurate mixing experience.
The high range is somewhat less mix-accurate. While slight, there is some enhancement in the highs. While this doesn't interfere too much with the M20x's otherwise amazing frequency reproduction, it does tend to create some harshness on certain mixes , but thankfully that doesn't interfere with the listening experience to an extreme degree. For the most part the high range doesn't detract from the sound quality.
Overall, I think the ATH-M20XBT is one of the best over-ears you can get at this price. The addition of bluetooth and the detachable cable alone are enough to justify the additional cost compared to the original M20x. While it's not the best in Audio-Technica's M-Line, I would definitely recommend it if something like the ATH-M50x isn't in your budget. If you're looking for a solid studio headphone, but also want the option to listen on the go, the ATH-M20xBT is definitely for you.
You can buy the ATH-M20xBT here