The Most Comfortable Gaming Headset I’ve Ever Worn

Audio-Technica’s ATH-ADG1X open-air gaming headset has a lot going for it. It’s designed and built by one of the most respected brands in audio. It’s got big 53 mm drivers that create a lovely, large soundstage. It’s even got a decent microphone for a gaming headset. But the best thing about the ADG1X is how surprisingly nice it feels, even after hours of wear.

Though I’ve been using Audio-Technica headphones and turntables for years, I only recently learned that the Japanese company makes headsets specifically targeted at gamers. In fact, Audio-Technica makes two tiers of gaming headsets. The ATH-PDG1 and ATH-PG1, both retailing for $130, represent the company’s lower-end offerings, traditional quality headsets with 40 and 44 mm drivers, available in both closed and open-air models. The open-air ATH-ADG1X and its closed sibling, the ATH-AG1x, are Audio-Technica’s top-of-the-line models. Both feature larger 53 mm drivers and a built-in supercardioid gooseneck microphone and retail for $300, though most retailers sell them for $250.

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Dusty and well-worn.
Photo: Michael Fahey

Aside from the tech and the specifications, what really sets the more expensive models apart is the headset band, or lack thereof. Instead of a traditional band, the ATH-ADG1X features a 3D wing support system. A pair of curved and padded “wings” sprout from the tops of both ear cups. When worn, these rest on either side of the head. The pads are on a swivel, automatically adjusting to whichever head wears them. There is no sliding adjustment for users to make. Just put the headset on, and it fits. Even on my larger-than-normal skull, the ATH-ADG1X finds its place and stays there.

Instead of a band clamping about my skull, it’s these soft wings gently resting atop my hy head. The velvety ear cups apply pressure to both sides, helping the headset stay perched, but it’s a very light pressure. Thanks to its open-air design, which removes extra padding in favor of thin metal grills and open space, the ATH-ADG1X stays cool and is relatively light, weighing only 10.1 ounces. It feels like it’s barely there.

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ATH-ADG1X Specs

  • Driver Diameter: 53 mm
  • Frequency Response: 5 – 35,000 Hz
  • Maximum Input Power: 1,000 mW
  • Sensitivity: 99 dB/mW
  • Impedance: 48 ohms
  • Weight: 285 g (10.1 oz), without cable
  • Cable: 1.2 m (3.9')
  • Connector: 3.5 mm (1/8") gold-plated stereo mini-plug (4 pole)
  • Accessories Included: 2.0 m (6.6') extension cable; windscreen
  • Microphone Type: Condenser
  • Microphone Sensitivity: -41 dB (0 dB=1 V/Pa, 1 kHz)
  • Microphone Frequency Response: 100 – 12,000 Hz
  • Microphone Polar Pattern: Supercardioid

It’s physical footprint is very light, but the ATH-ADG1X’s audio footprint is large and wide. The 53 mm drivers produce a rich, expansive soundstage that’s wonderful for reproducing game sounds. It does better with higher frequencies—I’d recommend the closed AG1X for richer, deeper bass—but overall the sound is nice and crisp, whether plugged into my gaming laptop or Nintendo Switch.

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There are downsides to ATH-ADG1X. It is as far from noise-canceling as a set of headphones can get. That’s fine for when I am gaming while keeping one eye on my children or listening for the doorbell, but not great when I want to lose myself in music. And for a premium-priced headset, it doesn’t come with a lot of bells and whistles. There’s an inline control for muting the mic and adjusting volume. The package includes the headset, an extension cable, a mic and headset splitter cable, a windscreen for the mic, and that’s it. Maybe that’s one of the ATH-ADG1X’s strengths, that it doesn’t need a lot to produce excellent sound. It definitely does not feel like a lot.

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About the author

Mike Fahey

Kotaku elder, lover of video games, toys, snacks and other unsavory things.