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5 reasons why I’d buy Audio-Technica headphones over Sony studio headphones

Key Takeaways

  • Audio-Technica beats Sony in value & variety of affordable, quality studio headphones.
  • Audio-Technica offers more headphone options than Sony, meeting specific needs.
  • Audio-Technica’s brand identity as an audio expert shines with its focus on headphones.



There’s a wide variety studio headphones on the market to choose from, but not all of them are made equally, or for everyone. Audio-Technica and Sony are both big names in the studio headphones market, and while both companies make great headphones, which you should commit to really depends on your needs, and the companies have different merits. If you ask any individual musician or podcaster which headphones they prefer, almost all of them will have a different answer, making it even harder to make a decision based on consensus.

So, as a musician and tech journalist, I’m here to tell you why you might want to choose Audio-Technica over Sony when you put the money down for a pair of studio headphones in order to get what suits your needs the best.


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If you are considering buying Audio-Technica headphones over Sony studio headphones, there are a few reasons you might want to go ahead with that decision, ranging from financial considerations to the finer details of the headphones. So, as a musician and tech journalist, I’m here to tell you why you might want to choose Audio-Technica over Sony when you put the money down for a pair of studio headphones in order to get what suits your needs the best. There are even more companies out there that make studio headphones, which only complicates the decision-making process, but if you’re between these two very popular options, you can narrow it down now.


1 Pricing levels for every budget

Audio-Technica is a lot more budget-friendly than Sony

The Audio-Technica ATH-M30x with the whole cable and 3.5mm jack visible


If you have a tight budget, Audio-Technica simply has more options in a wider price range than Sony does when it comes to studio headphones. Sony has a very limited range of studio headphones, with the MDR-7506 being the most well-known and the most affordable at $99. Meanwhile, Audio-Technica has a wide range of studio headphones ranging from $69 to $479, making it easier to find something that fits your budget, and cheaper than Sony overall. The affordability also doesn’t come at a cost to quality, since Audio-Technica is known for its high quality studio headphones as part of its larger reputation in the audio market.

The affordability also doesn’t come at a cost to quality, since Audio-Technica is known for its high quality studio headphones as part of its larger reputation in the audio market.


Not only does Audio-Technica have the most affordable option at regular price, you can frequently find the most affordable studio headphones, the ATH-M20x, for even cheaper on sale. Being that affordable and performing great as studio headphones makes the ATH-M20x more worth it for more people, and ideal for amateur podcasters and musicians looking for entry-level gear.

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2 Audio-Technica has more options to choose from

Sony just doesn’t have as expansive a range

Sony mdr-zx110 on a table sitting on their side

Audio-Technica simply has more options to choose from than Sony when it comes to studio headphones. So, if you have specific needs for your ideal studio headphones, Audio-Technica is more likely to meet your needs. For example, if you have a tight budget, the ATH-M20x is a great option. If you want a removable cable, you can go up to the ATH-M40x, and if you want open-back headphones, there’s the ATH-R70x.


Meanwhile, Sony has the MDR-7506 at the lower end of the range at $99, and it doesn’t have a removable cable, and next step up is the MDR-MV1, which are open-back and cost a whopping $540. The lack of options and range from Sony are really limiting, so if you have more specific needs that the MDR-7506 can’t fulfil, you’re out of luck.

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3 Brand identity and authority in audio

Audio-Technica soley focuses on audio

The Audio-Technica ATH-M30x being held by a hand with the logo showing

There’s a good reason why Audio-Technica would have more options than Sony in its studio headphone selection: Audio-Technica is an audio product company primarily, while Sony covers a lot more bases in the tech world. In this way, Audio-Technica can be seen as more of an expert and authority in manufacturing studio headphones, since that’s such a big part of their brand identity and trust.


Brand authority certainly isn’t everything and isn’t necessarily an indicator of quality, but Audio-Technica does deserve the reputation it has as a reputable manufacturer of headphones, particularly studio headphones. While many studios do have the aforementioned Sony MDR-7506 on hand as a standard pair of studio headphones, Audio-Technica is still well-loved by many musicians, producers, podcasters, and audiophiles, and is more focused on this specific area of audio tech than Sony is.

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4 Longer warranty length

Audio-Technica’s limited warranty is twice as long as Sony’s

The Audio-Technica ATH-M30x being held by a hand, showing the ear cups close up


While both Audio-Technica and Sony have limited warranties, Audio-Technica has a two-year warranty period, while Sony only covers one year. So, if a manufacturer defect becomes apparent in your Audio-Technica headphones, you’re covered for twice as long as you would’ve been had you bought Sony headphones with a manufacturer defect.

Audio Technica’s longer warranty gives you more time to discover defects not immediately apparent, but doesn’t mean you can damage the headphones to get a free, new pair.

In any discussion about warranties, it’s important to note that both of these, like most other warranties, only cover manufacturer defects. This means you can only get a replacement or repair on a product under the warranty if the issue with the headphones originated in the materials or construction during the manufacturing of the headphones, and won’t cover damage done to the headphones after that point, or any regular wear and tear. Audio Technica’s longer warranty gives you more time to discover defects not immediately apparent, but doesn’t mean you can damage the headphones to get a free, new pair.


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5 You want a bit of a bass boost

The more affordable models of Audio-Technica’s headphones all lean bassy

The Audio-Technica ATH-M30x on a midi keyboard

The Sony MDR-7506, the only reasonable pair of studio headphones Sony makes, have a very neutral frequency response, making them ideal for production, mixing, and monitoring in a studio. However, if you do want a bit of a bass boost, every model from the ATH-M50x and cheaper have a bit more bass in their frequency response, but nothing too wild or unsettling. So if you want to have a pair of studio headphones that do have that boost (which you can EQ if you really need a neutral frequency), Audio-Technica headphones might be a better option for you. More expensive models like the ATH-M70x have a more neutral response than even the Sony MDR-7506, so if you want that, the option is still available.


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FAQ

Q: Do any of these headphones have microphones?

All of the above-mentioned studio headphones do not have microphones. Chances are, most if not all studio headphones won’t have a microphone, since that’s just not what most people will be using them for, and will use an external microphone for recording.

Q: Are Audio-Technica headphones water-resistant?

Audio-Technica’s wired headphones are not water- or dust-resistant. In general, small bits of water won’t harm headphones that arent water-resistant, but you should be avoiding getting any of these wet to make sure your headphones last as long as possible.

Q: Does Audio-Technica or Sony sell replacement parts?

You can purchase replacement ear pads and cables from Audio-Technica’s website. Sony’s website doesn’t list any replacement parts for their wired headphones, but they may be able to send replacement parts if you email them.

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