Gaming headset review: Audio Technica ATH-AG1

Gaming headset review: Audio Technica ATH-AG1
Audio Technica ATH-AG1.

The number of big-name audio brands springing into the gaming headset business underlines its growing market clout. Joining names like Sennheiser and Beyerdynamic, Audio Technica showed off its first gaming headsets at the CES trade show in January.

Its ATH-AG1 gaming headset is a closed-back design with the cups sealed for better sound isolation. It was accompanied by an open-back variant, the ATH-ADG1.

Both are available here now.

They appear to reuse the maker's existing designs to such an extent that online users have described the headsets as Audio Technica ATH-A700s with a microphone.

From initial impressions, this description is not far off.

Like many Audio Technica headphones, the ATH-AG1 feels very comfortable. Using what the manufacturer calls a 3-D wing-support system - two flexible supports that rest on top of your head - the ATH-AG1 adapts to you. The plastic build may feel flimsy, but it does keep things fairly light at around 310g.

The short 1m cable is more suited for connecting to mobile devices such as phones and laptops, but a 2m extension cord is provided.

The ear cups are soft and comfy, but can get warm with extended use, especially in our climate. If that bothers you, the open ADG1 may be a better choice. The earcups cannot be folded for convenient storage.

On the left, at the end of a short flexible cable, is a microphone whose position can be adjusted. To switch it off, just hit a mute button just below the left earcup. The microphone picked up my voice clearly in my gaming sessions.

The AG1 uses 53mm drivers, unlike many gaming headsets which commonly use 40mm versions. On paper, the larger drivers should produce better sound.

The bass is quite good and can be enhanced using the USB-powered amplifier included, though I found the enhanced bass rather overpowering.

In-game audio was clear and crisp while game soundtracks were suitably epic. The closed-back design blocks out ambient noise very well. At the same time, it ensures that only you and not those next to you can hear the in-game explosions.

Unlike some of its rivals, the ATH-AG1 lacks virtual surround sound. But this is no big deal as you can enable this effect on a computer using a sound card or software such as Razer Surround.

The headset's biggest drawback is its price. At $338, this is a premium device but one that lacks "cool" features such as active noise cancellation and surround sound advertised by its competitors. Its impeccable audio quality means that the ATH-AG1 is more than just for gaming.

Background story

TECH SPECS

Price: $338

Driver diameter: 53mm

Impedance: 38 ohms

Frequency response (headphones): 5 - 35,000Hz

Cable: 1m

Weight: 310g (without cord)

RATING

Design 4/5

Performance 4/5

Value for money 2/5

Overall 4/5

vinchang@sph.com.sg


This article was first published on July 02, 2014.
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