Sound quality in headphones has improved to the point that over the last few years many consumers have pointed into the direction of units that delivers acceptable listening but at a more affordable price point than in the past. Audio-Technica has looked to “buck” the trend by offering a line of gaming headphones that cater to an audience that is more meticulous in their search for a better sounding experience. One of those headsets, the Open Air ATH-ADG1X (Audio-Technica MSRP $299.99) is even more unique than anything else that AT currently offers but in its effort to stand out does it leave quality listening behind for players?
The market for high end gaming headphones has changed so drastically that many manufacturers have shied away from delivering many “top end” headsets for fear it may not be a profitable return on their investment. Compounding that even further are budgetary constraints many of us gamers have in deciding where our funds are going to go: games or gaming accessories. While those fears are certainly warranted, Audio Technica’s distinctive model offers a namesake open back design that gives the listener a different feel than any other like model (Audio-Technica or otherwise) in its class.
When comparing sound quality, the ADG1x delivers in spades with a spacial sound that provides a rich, encompassing experience whether one is playing their favorite first person shooter or fighting through a dramatic climax in the hottest role playing game. A variating frequency response of 5-35,000 Hz allows for a surround sound that becomes enhanced due to the open back nature of the headphones themselves. While the sound is top notch what really will attract players is that the open back creates a lighter design than many of its closest competitors which as any gamer can attest to would be a welcome relief and an opportunity to put in even more gaming time due to a 3D wing support that allows for less head fatigue.
Microphone support is not left out in the equation as the ADG1x comes equipped with a gooseneck supercardioid model with included windscreen that when tested out makes the grade with a quality transmission for recording, podcasting, streaming and chatting purposes. While some may suggest that the price itself will be the largest stumbling block for those interested in the product, points of contention when examining the headphone included the fact there was no USB easy plug in and that it uses a more old-fashioned 3.5mm connection with a cable that even with an extension that falls a bit on the shorter side (3 feet 9 inches, with extension 6 feet 5 inches) even if one has it directly plugged into the controller. The volume/mute microphone transmitter built into the cord could have been better constructed and probably would have been better suited if contained on the headset itself but these issues (outside of price) are not enough to take away from people strongly considering adding this headpiece to their gaming arsenal.
Sure $300 is a lot to spend on anything these days and for a gaming headset the decision making process can be even that more thorough. But if a superior listening experience is desired with a cushioned, lightweight fit that will extend the time gamers can play their favorite titles than it might be an investment worth taking. The Audio-Technica Open Air ATH-ADG1X delivers an experience virtually unmatched by its peers, and a sound quality that any gamer or audiophile will surely grow to love.
(Please note that for this review we did receive a review code/copy/product from the Public Relations Firm, Developer and/or Publisher responsible for distribution to the press.)