Audio Technica ATH-TWX9 Review

Audio Technica ATH-TWX9 Review

Audio Technica has a few true wireless earphones already, but nothing like their newest flagship release. The ATH-TWX9 is a brand-new set of Bluetooth buds that look to establish Audio Technica as a major contender in the true wireless market. With the TWX9, they look to match Sony and Sennheiser in terms of sound quality and extra features. Does the TWX9 accomplish that?

Audio Technica items

What You Get

  • Charging case
  • USB Type C Cable
  • Ear tips
    • Short: XS, S, M, L
    • Standard: XS, S, M, L, and L

Audio Technica single

Look and Feel

The TWX9 has a stemmed design with an oval-shaped housing. They are completely black, and I’m not sure if Audio Technica is planning on releasing more color variations in the future. Some true wireless earphones share this style, but the TWX9 refines it with a special form. This is the best-looking wireless earphone I have seen with a stemmed build. You don’t have to worry about fit either, as the TWX9 is very comfortable. It stays tight in the ear and comes with many ear tip options.

Audio Technica in case

Design and Functionality

Inside the TWX9 is a 5.8mm driver and a series of microphones for phone calls and ambient noise capture for noise-canceling. The driver boasts good volume but still runs into the common issue of only getting loud enough when it reaches the top volume on your device. Noise-canceling helps this a little, and there are tons of options here to optimize it. There are different options based on the environment you’re in. The companion app has options for planes, trains, offices, and city traffic. It goes even a step further and offers a custom option that will manually measure ambient noise around you and optimize noise-canceling to your specific space. There’s also a hear-through mode that will invite your environment into your music.

Other features include an EQ and 360 Reality Audio. My only major gripe here is its button controls. The fact that the TWX9 has buttons isn’t the issue, it’s just the feedback that’s weird. Sometimes the buds will have a long delay between actions, and other times the actions will be way too sensitive. I feel like there could have been more tweaking here unless this is just an issue with my specific unit.

Audio Technica charging

Bluetooth

You get Bluetooth version 5.2 with the TWX9. The connection is very stable, and pairing is almost instant. No dropouts were experienced. CODECs supported are AAC, aptX, and aptX Adaptive.

Battery Life

The TWX9 will last you six hours of playtime off a single charge, with the charging case making for a total of around 18 hours. Charge time is quick, but I expect a bit better for $299.

Audio Technica pair

Soundstage

With the TWX9 there is the standard stereo soundstage and the soundstage played through 360 reality Audio. Being one of the few wireless earphones outside of Sony to feature this experience, I was excited to hear if there were any differences. Spatial audio on mainstream consumer earphones is still in its infancy, so let’s see what Audio Technica can bring to the table. Suffice it to say I am very impressed by the performance here. Using optimized tracks from Tidal, I’m able to listen to an immersive bubble of sound with the TWX9. It almost sounds the closest to what a high-end holographic IEM is like. In order to get the best experience though, EQ is necessary. Adding a bit of gain to the bass, mids, and highs can extend the depth of the imaging even more. Treble frequencies gain height, and bass and mids enhance separation and layering. Especially in the mids, the instruments can appear behind, and in front of other elements in the mix.

Listening to the Chicago Symphony Orchestra through 360 was the best at demonstrating this during my listening. The many sections blended together beautifully over the TWX9. I’m pleasantly surprised that a true wireless earphone could articulate a busy album like this so effectively. Addmitadley, all of this praise is only coming from how spatial audio features perform over Tidal, but what about the soundstage in standard form? Of course, many non-linear characteristics disappear from the imaging, but the TWX9 still does a good job expressing the stereo field as accurately as it can. Even when performing in a flatter sonic environment, the TWX9 solidifies positioning and proper vocal and instrument placement.

Low End

EQ is going to make or break this region. Without it, the bass is still clean but lacks that extra kick. Its got good detail and even contains a solid body of tone. Not quite neutral, but the frequency content has a clear presence without EQ, especially with standard clean bass guitar performances. The bass section of Paramore’s “Rose-Colored Boy” sits almost toward the front, emphasizing the patterns and grooves enough to fill out the signature and maintain realism. With EQ now, the bass gains a whole new shape. The fun factor is enhanced with an extended sub-bass texture. There’s a greater rumble that fills your jaw when boosting 80Hz just below 6dB in the app. The timbre has a distinctive growl that brings a whole new energy to the bass, making it more versatile and gripping.

Mids

There isn’t a shortcoming in the midrange that can’t be improved with EQ. Without it, the mids are mostly flat and even in tone. Their timbre doesn’t quite pop, but clarity is still obtainable in instruments and vocals. While they don’t have the drive of the lows. the mids offer a natural presence, filling out performances with clean textures and fine detail. The best enhancements EQ makes in the midrange are with vocals. I found that certain performances benefited from the slightest gain. Specific lyrics felt like they were enunciated better, with more emphasis.

Highs

The treble has a good resolve that only gets better the more you adjust it. With no added gain, the high frequencies still contain a fair amount of spark. Their presence is already pleasant, and like the mids, they feel very natural. There’s some nice bite to the tone that brings better resolution to the timbre. With EQ adjustments, even more, glisten can be obtained. I don’t think any of it is too sibilant either, as the highs never appear harsh no matter how much you bring up the top end. They’re well-textured, with a crisp shine that never hides in the mix.

Summary

I am very impressed with a lot of the qualities of the TWX9, but it has a few shortcomings that should be addressed. Its control feedback didn’t quite work right for me, and its battery life could have been improved at its price. However, when it comes to pure sound enjoyment, the TWX9 is surprisingly great. The sound feels natural, and the EQ keeps adding more flavor to keep the profile versatile and engaging. Support from 360 Reality Audio is also a huge plus for me, as it places the TWX9 right at the forefront with the latest spatial audio technology. There’s some competition to consider, but Audio Technica brings their A game with the TWX9, and it should be one to consider.

ProsĀ  Cons
  • 360 Reality Audio
  • Great EQ
  • Deep bass
  • Vocal clarity
  • Colorful highs
  • Noise-Canceling options
  • Stable connection
  • Fit
  • Strange feedback response
  • Battery life is not great for the price

The Audio Technica ATH-TWX9 is available at Audio46.

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Alex S. is a sound designer and voice-over artist who has worked in film, commercials, and podcasts. He loves horror movies and emo music.