Japanese audio specialists, Audio-Technica was established in 1962 in Tokyo, Japan, by Hideo Matsushita as a phonograph cartridge manufacturer. Its first products were the AT-1 and the AT-3 MM stereo phono cartridges for record players. This high-end audio company are well-known for their premium audio gear, especially microphones and headphones. I’ve been testing one of their latest headphones, the ATH-G1 premium gaming headphones.
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The ATH-G1 sports a stylish metal band with a section of padding for your head. The black metal band has cutout slots for looks and to keep the weight down. The head padding is held in place with six small metal screws that are clearly visible on the top of the band and give the headphones an industrial look that feels consistent with the gaming world of tech. The closed-back cans have a striking blue ring on the outside with the Audio Technica logo in the middle.
There’s a black and white striped wire connecting the left earcup to the right and it’s clearly visible. Although this is in keeping with the design aesthetic, I don’t really like how it looks. To be fair, thanks to the metal band design it would have been impossible to hide the wire completely, but I do think the wire could have been made to look better with either a braided or rubber outside layer.
The earcups have faux leather edges that look nice. The part that touches your ears and head is made from soft material but I don’t like that you can see the stitching between the leather and material.
However, comfort is good overall and on hot summer days, I did find my ears getting a little warm but not sweaty. I would have liked the cups to have been a little bigger to fit my ears better. That being said, the headphones are light and I had no major problems wearing them for long periods of intense gaming.
The ATH-G1s are wired headphones, although Audio Technica does a wireless version (ATH-G1WL) that only work on a PC. The G1s come with a thick black, two-metre cable that isn’t detachable. The cable features a large inline control that consists of a volume dial and a mic mute switch. There’s also a Y-type stereo headset cable included in the box.
The ATH-G1 comes with a boom mic that is detachable and unlike a lot of dedicated gaming headsets, you really can use these for more than just gaming. However, I’d have preferred to have been able to use a shorter, smaller diameter cable to swap out for on-the-go use. It’s not a dealbreaker though.
The ATH-G1’s use of the 3.5mm headphone jack means no charging, Bluetooth connectivity problems. It’s compatible with PC, PS4, Xbox, Nintendo Switch and of course your phone or tablet — USB-C dongle notwithstanding.
The detachable mic is exceptional, providing crystal clear audio to those listening on the other side. I also tried it for phone calls and it always impressed for clarity and isolating the voice from background noises. Of course, if your phone doesn’t have a 3.5mm jack you can still use a USB-C to 3.5mm adapter.
The ATH-G1 impressed me with its audio performance but it may not blow everyone away. Personally, I love that it reproduces audio with a flat response, but many may prefer their audio with a particular bias towards bass for example.
Although the ATH-G1’s are designed based on the company’s iconic ATH-M50x professional studio headphones, they’ve specially-tuned large-diameter 45mm drivers with 1,300mW input capacity that should take full advantage of dedicated sound cards. Sound quality will improve with better sound cards on a PC but the overall gaming experience on a PC was excellent.
I really enjoyed the wide soundstage and I could hear tiny details in sound during quiet sequences in games with great clarity. During heated action sequences, sounds didn’t get muddy but sounds like explosions could have done with a little more bass boom.
In a market flooded with cheap gaming headsets, it’s nice to see a premium offering that provides decent features, good build quality and excellent audio for both gaming and music.
The Audio-Technica ATH-G1 is available now, priced €179.