ATH-M20X BT review: Audiophiles can rejoice, on a budget

Over the years, I have enjoyed reviewing Audio-Technica headphones which offer audiophile quality sound without making your bank balance sound like a sour note. The ATH-M20X BT hope to fit into the same bracket, this time offering a wireless experience.

The ATH-M20X BT has a trademark Audio-Technica look with large comfy ear cups and soft headbands. Audio-Technica also does not seem to believe a lot in heavy metallic components in headphones, and the ATH-M20X BT is also a lightweight model with mostly plastic components. Personally, I prefer my headphone to have a bit of metal, or even wood, to make it a bit heavy.

But the lightweight design makes the ATH-M20X BT ideal to use for long hours in office, or when you are on the move. There is a 3.5mm port too just in case you want to go wired. On the right, there is a power button flanked by volume controls. The remote worked well on all platforms. However, the buttons do not let you skip songs and all you can do is adjust the volume.

The moment music starts streaming through the ATH-M20X BT, you want to lie back and let the moment overpower you. It is that kind of headphone, one that makes you weak in the knees every time you listen to something on it.

The first time I played the ATH-M20X BT, I just wanted to check out one new Malayalam song on Apple Music. It was almost an hour later that I realised the time, switching from one song to another, because you just don’t want to stop. As Shahabaz Aman crooned one of his new Ghazal, I could almost feel the reverberation in his throat.

The lightweight design makes the ATH-M20X BT ideal to use for long hours in the office, or when you are on the move. (Image credit: Nandagopal Rajan / Indian Express)

Whenever I love a headphone, I am usually using it to run through my favourite playlists. And so I was soon listening to Tagore & We for the n-th time, starting with Gohonokusmokunjhu Majhe. Soumayajit Das’s silken voice stood out despite the busy composition and I could still hear the guitar and Mahua Das’s interventions very clearly.

The ATH-M20X BT is like an opera house on your ears, opening up enough space for all to play to their heart’s content. You get the full feel of this when you play something as rich and poignant as Nicholas Brittel’s Ballade in C# Minor from Netflix’s The King. If ever there was a 70mm audio experience, it is this. I can’t describe this in any other way. I can only hope I’m making sense.

The ATH-M20X BT is like an opera house on your ears. (Image credit: Nandagopal Rajan / Indian Express)

This headphone underlines two things for me. One, a headphone meant to please audiophiles does not have to be designed and built like a work of art in itself. If you can make it sound good and look decent, then it also adds value to the users because of the lower price point. Two, Audio-Technica is also reaffirming its faith in wireless technology as being as good as wired when it comes to reproducing sound as it was intended to be heard. Even the purists should agree by now.

The ATH-M20X BT has battery life that can last a full week with a few hours of leisurely lounge time every day. For those who want to use this for work and calls, then this is a couple of Zoom days at least.

At Rs 13,500, the ATH-M20X BT offers a headphone that is studio quality with natural sound across all frequencies. It sounds better than a bunch of more expensive models I have tried out recently. I strongly recommend this one for those who love and live their music.