A few days ago, we covered the release of two new gaming headphones from Audio Technica. And today, with the MajorHiFi offices empty due to National Pandemonium Day, I can finally kick back and demo the Audio Technica ATH-G1WL. At $249, this wireless gaming headphone offers some nice creature comforts for longer gaming sessions. But how does it compare to other gaming headsets at the same price point? And is it worth the IRL currency?
The G1WL comes in your usual Audio Technica box with a charging cable, the removable gooseneck microphone, a USB wireless dongle, and a charging cable. Unfortunately, there is no analog aux cable.
Once out of the box and sufficiently charge, I can really admire the quality and build of the ATH-G1WL. Audio Technica has claimed the design for this headphone was inspired by the gold-standard M50X, and for the most part that claim seems true.
Like the M50x, the G1WL features large, comfortable earcups that fully ensconce my giant Fennec Fox ears. Here the similarity seems to end, though, as the headband wears lighter thanks to the aluminum build and absence of unnecessary padding.
Yet, compared to the M50x, the G1WL feels just as comfortable – especially during my longer listening sessions. The earpads even feature a hybrid construction, with PU leather on the outside and a velour fabric on the face, allowing the pads to stay cool no matter how long I get pwned on PUBG.
On the underside of the left earcup, you’ll find controls for volume and surround sound, as well as using the headphones in a monitoring mode. This last feature combines the mic feed with playback, allowing you a guesstimate of how you might sound as you talk into the mic.
Using a 2.4 GHz wireless connection, the Audio Technica ATH-G1WL features plug-and-play operation. Just switch on the headset and plug in the USB dongle and WHAM! you’re cooking with gas. This radio frequency connection also allows for lower latency, eliminating the lag you usually get from Bluetooth connections.
While not over-the-top bass-heavy, the lows on the G1WL have a bit of kick to them. Drums and bass guitars feature a characteristic warmth that gives any track a little bit of life or verve. For gaming purposes, it does improve the depth of low-frequency sound effects like explosions and atmospheric noise.
Here vocals and instrumentation pop thanks to a certain amount of clarity and separation. Neither distorted or compressed, the sound remains surprisingly contrasting and articulate. While these mids sound great with pop, classical, rock, or jazz, they also do justice to spoken dialogue and various sound effects when using the ATH-G1WL as a gaming headphone.
In the highs, the Audio Technica ATH-G1WL feels just slightly rolled off. While this leads to slightly less detail in the highest highs, it also allows for smoother vocals and a lack of harshness. While this definitely works great with pop, classical, and electronica, the tempered sound works well with just about any material you throw at it.
In terms of the soundstage, the G1WL features some depth and space that allows for a least a modicum of realism. Instruments seem to occupy their own spaces, though on more complex tracks, there can be a little overlap from time to time. For genres like pop, rock, electronica, and hip-hop, this may not be an issue, but classical tunes may suffer a bit here.
Mic quality comes across as surprisingly decent. The gooseneck mic picks up plenty of detail, and this makes my voice sound more articulate than it did with similarly-priced Sennheiser models.
While this mic still may not be as good as a solid standalone USB mic, it’s a convenient feature to have, and one that doesn’t sound bad, considering that convenience.
Supporting 7.1 channel surround sound, the ATH-G1WL can offer quite the immersive gaming experience. While this does little for actual sound quality, it does a great job of putting you smack-dab in the center of the action – whether revisiting an old classic like Star Wars: Battlefront or watching the gameplay footage for Cyberpunk 2077 for the bajillionth time.
If you don’t need wireless connectivity and want a gaming headset that could withstand the Biblical Apocalypse (marching anthropomorphic hammers and all), I would recommend the Beyerdynamic Custom Game (at $199), or the super dope MMX 300 (at $349). These headphones offer a comfortable fit, great microphones, and a two-year warranty. Plus, you can replace every part on the headphones with just an Allen Key. G’damn, son!
But if you’re looking for wireless headphones, this Audio Technica ATH-G1WL really does take the figurative cake. Thanks to its wireless RF connection, there’s no lag and the audio doesn’t sound as compressed as it does with Bluetooth. And despite the fact that this headphone has been tailored to gaming use, it’s still a fairly competent piece of equipment when it comes to outright sound quality. At $249, this wireless headphone delivers superb value for gamers using a PC or MAC.
For $249 smackaroos, Audio Technica does a pretty fine job of delivering a gaming headset that doesn’t just work for gaming, but offers pretty good sound quality, too. While the G1WL won’t help out console fans, it’s the perfect purchase for PC gamers, and a solid option for anyone who needs their headphones for gaming as well as music enjoyment. Our take? Audio Technica knocks it out of the park with this M50x-inspired gem.
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