Audio-Technica has long been one of my favorite headphone manufacturers, with their open-back Air Dynamic series of headphones being one of my all-time favorite product lines. Today, however, is my first time reviewing one of Audio-Technica’s in-ear products. Here, we have the ATH-SPORT60BT, a water-resistant, Bluetooth-connected headphone intended for use in exercise.
In the Box
- Eartips (XS, S, M, L)
- Ear fins (XS, S, M, L)
- USB charging cable
- Quick start guide & caution guide
Design & Ergonomics
The ATH-SPORT60BT is not the most attractive pair of earphones I’ve ever seen, with a fairly standard matte black finish and a rather plain faceplate, but it does come with some functional benefits that make up for the looks. First, there’s the magnetic locking mechanism that allows these to hang conveniently around your neck when you’re not using them; they’ll even automatically pause your music for you, no fumbling with your phone involved. They’re also waterproof. Although they can’t be fully submerged, they won’t be affected by sweat, and they can be washed at the end of your exercise routine.
More importantly, the ATH-SPORT60BT is quite comfortable; the included earfins do a better job at securing these in your ear than more conventional over-the-ear hooks, enough that these would reliably stay in my ear even when I was using the too-large-for-my-ear-canal medium eartips (not that this was entirely necessary; the earphones come with four differently-sized eartips).
The packaging touts a battery life of 6 hours – not bad for its price, but not great either. In other words, they won’t die on you during your workout, but if you happen to be using them for a lengthy bus journey or something like that, you might consider bringing along the included charger cable.
One little quibble, though: the supplied cable is somewhat microphonic, meaning that some sound of the sound resulting from the cable rubbing against your clothes will be transmitted into your ears. However, most Bluetooth earphones at this price range exhibit this quality to some extent, and the SPORT60BT is only a little worse than its competition; to completely eliminate the problem in a wireless earphone, you’d need to step up to true-wireless earphones.
The ATH-SPORT60BT, with its 6mm dynamic driver, claims to offer “powerful sound ideal for sports.” In other words, these earphones aren’t marketed towards audiophiles; instead, they offer a more traditionally commercial sound that’ll go along well with pop, EDM, and other similar genres. The problem with “audiophile-tuned” earphones at this price range is that they’ll sometimes sound a bit too analytical and revealing of flaws in recordings.
No such problems exist with the SPORT60BT, which is forgiving enough to sound good even with rather poorly-recording material, though it won’t bring out the finest details in well-recorded classical music, for example. The overall sound is thick and energetic, with powerful, boosted midbass (though it doesn’t render the midrange inaudible like some other earphones), warm but relatively coherent mids, and a rather polite top end.
Discerning audiophiles will probably take issue with a lack of extension in both the subbass and the top octave. The 6mm driver, while it sounds adequately “big,” is not super resolving and does boast some issues with speed in the upper mids and treble. The SPORT60BT also suffers from some problems with midbass bleed and minor distortion. These issues are mostly masked by the product’s overall warm sound signature, but they are not completely inaudible during careful listening. The SPORT60BT is also somewhat lacking on the soundstage and imaging front, but that’s to be expected for this kind of product.
Pros and Cons
Pros: Long-term comfort, stability in ear, warm and inoffensive sound signature
Cons: Lack of detail in sound, subpar imaging
While it doesn’t provide audiophile-quality sound, the ATH-SPORT60BT sounds pretty good with EDM and pop. It fits well, and it’s easy-to-use. At around $80, this is a well-balanced product offering from Audio-Technica for the more active among us.
Driver: 6mm dynamic
Communication system: Bluetooth ver. 5.0
Support codec: AAC, SBC
Weight: Not on package
You can find the ATH-SPORT60BT for the best price here:
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