With a street price of around $70 the ATH-M30x Professional Monitor Headphones are well worth your consideration for field or studio recording. As part of the venerable Audio Technica M-series the ATH-M30x’s deliver good clean, clear sound for a very attractive price. The specifications are respectable:
- Driver Diameter: 40 mm
- Magnet Neodymium
- Voice Coil: Copper-clad aluminum wire
- Frequency Response: 15 – 22,000 Hz
- Maximum Input Power: 1,300 mW at 1 kHz
- Sensitivity: 96 dB
- Impedance: 47 ohms
- Weight: 220 g (7.8 oz), without cable and connector
- Cable: 3.0 meters (9.8 feet), straight, attaches to the left-side
- Connectors: removable 1/4″(6.5mm) adapter and standard 1/8″ (3.5mm) headphone connection.
- Accessories Included: Carrying pouch.
The ATH-M30x’s are both flexible and portable enough for most recording and mixing situations.
So how do they sound?
High-frequencies: The treble is clear and and smooth, no harshness even at high volume.
Mid-frequencies: The mids provide extra clarity as was the intention of the manufacturer and this could be one of ATH-M30x’s most characteristic features.
Low-frequencies: The ATH-M30x offer smooth thump-free lows but if more thud is required then a headphone amp could help, however, I wouldn’t exceed the input limit of 1,300 mW. The other alternative would be moving up to M50x which have a much more pronounced bottom end.
The major caveats are the long straight chord which can tangle easily and be subject to unintentional crimping due to an office chair rolling over it. Coiled chords are some what more resistant to this hazard and since the existing chord isn’t detachable, this could be a deal breaker. Another issue pertains to folks planning to use these for DJing. Though there is rotation in the ear cups they don’t do a full 90 degrees. The ATH-M30x have a modest swivel of about 15 degrees. The last contention is the pleather lining of the ear-cups since they are subject to degradation over time. This is what happened to a pair of older ATH-M30’s that I nursed for better than a decade. After the transition phase where the pleather cracks and then flakes away, the fabric lining was exposed and rather than replace them I continued using them with no further worry. Personally, I find the long chord to be a plus when care is taken to keep it untangled.
Are the ATH-M30x worth their modest price tag, I can affirm that they are.