Known the world over for their professional audio equipment, Audio Technica have been making strides into the gaming market with a series of high end headsets. Audio Technica sent us the new ADG1X set for a spin and to see what we think, and, well, it’s a beast.
From the moment you open the ADG1X’s box, you can almost hear the screams of “premium” emanating from it. A fabric-lined inner box protects the impeccably machined aluminium outer chassis of the headphones, while the extension cable and pop filter sit underneath. It’s a far cry from the plastic-windowed and twisty-tie filled packages that most headsets come in.
The ADG1X comes equipped with a 4-pole 3.5mm jack, which allows for it to be used in a variety of devices. Phones, consoles, PCs, anything that could use a headset will benefit from Audio Technica’s latest and greatest. I’ve put it through its paces with both the PS4 and Xbox One, as well as my PC and phone, and it’s consistently surprised me with just how good it is. Even using them as a pair of headphones, they’re easily the best set I’ve ever owned, and this is from someone who once had sights set on going into the world of music production. There’s really no way to say this other than everything sounds like it should do, and really natural. The sense of spatial awareness and positioning you get is unquestionably brilliant, and I was able to picture the location of individual instruments and vocals much easier than I ever have before. It almost sounds a bit corny to say, but this headset made me fall in love with some of my old favourite albums all over again.
Of course, there’s probably a reason for these being the best set of headphones I’ve ever used, and that’s the price. The ADG1X headset will set you back a whopping £265 (RRP) – a pretty penny in anyone’s book. Of course, spending more on a headset than you will on the console you’re using it on is something that will probably require some pretty hefty consideration, and it’s really the only downside I can see to picking one of these up.
After running the headset in with some of the classic albums in my collection, I threw myself into Rainbow Six Siege with the ADG1X’s ear cups nestled around my lugs and settled in for a night of gaming. Immediately I felt the difference to my aging Turtle Beach PX21s. The Audio Technicas feature an open-back design, which not only gives you the sense of spatial awareness mentioned above, but also a much more breathable feel to your headset. Whereas previously I would start to feel myself perspire, I just didn’t get that with this headset. It’s also helped by the copious amounts of padding and the simply gorgeous soft material used to help keep your head comfortable through even the most taxing of marathon sessions. In fact, after a while, you hardly notice it’s there. It’s a clichéd statement to make, but it’s true. Both the ear cups and the headband are incredibly comfortable, with the latter being composed of two “wings” that have just the right amount of spring in them to keep firmly yet comfortably in place.
Having sung its praises with relation to music, I was keen to see how the ADG1X performed with a wide variety of games, and each time I was met with consistently high performance. In Rainbow Six Siege, it game me a much more accurate idea of where the enemy team were as they clumped and stomped around in the rooms on the next floor, whilst in Battlefront I had my breath taken away yet again by John Williams’ score in the kind of fidelity I’d never really experienced before. Other, more sedate affairs such as The Witness allowed for a much better sense of immersion, letting me almost completely lose myself in Jonathan Blow’s wonderfully crafted world. Forza 6’s engines and tyre squeal became all the more lifelike, and Amplitude’s thumping soundtrack got a new lease of life through the ADG1X’s magnificent sounding 53mm drivers.
The microphone draws on AT’s history of producing high quality pro audio equipment, allowing for a Supercardioid pattern, meaning that, in theory, you should very rarely get any mic bleed from other areas. Of course, in practice things are a little different, but in my testing it’s certainly not as prominent for the most part. In terms of the comms quality, I’ve not heard any complaints from the guys I play with, and when I’ve done recording with them, it certainly sounds as good as to be expected from a headset.
If I had to come up with a complaint (and there is really very, very little to even begin to consider), it would be that there is no separate volume control for the headset and mic volumes on the headset directly, it needs to be done on the console itself. There have been a couple of times as well that I’ve accidentally caught the volume control, which is incredibly sensitive, and managed to cut the audio almost completely, but these are nitpicks on what is an exceptional product.
The Audio Technica ADG1X headset is, hands down, one of the most impressive pairs of headphones I’ve ever used, before I’d even plugged it into my consoles. The engineering that has gone into them is superb, with a solid feel and a lovely honeycombed mesh design on the ear cups, and the wonderfully soft padding negates any fear of these putting undue pressure on your ears or making you uncomfortable. If there was a way to allow separate chat and game audio levels without having to go into the console menus and adjust them there, I wouldn’t have any complaints at all. Well, aside from the price. But in this case, you definitely get what you pay for. A stunning piece of hardware.