If you’re after a dependable headphone brand that regularly delivers the music-focused headphones goods, you can’t go wrong with Audio-Technica’s cans, delivering solid build quality and musicality in audio performance.
But, in the gaming realm it’s a slightly different story, with Audio-Technica sometimes overlooked in favor of the likes of SteelSeries or Razer, despite great efforts like the ATH-ADG1X.
The wired ATH-G1 is Audio-Technica’s latest attempt at winning over the frag-happy masses, and revels in a musicality that other gaming headsets rarely match. However, the relative lack of features makes the asking price seem a bit steep for what’s on offer.
Price and availability
The Audio Technica ATH-G1 gaming headset is available now, with an MSRP of $169 / £159 (about AU$250). That’s close to being the most-affordable of Audio Technica’s “premium” headsets, but that’s on the pricey side for a wired gaming headset that lacks surround sound capabilities or audio-tuning profile options.
They are however compatible with virtually every gaming device you can think of, from PS4 and Xbox One console controllers to a PC or on-the-go Nintendo Switch by virtue of their 3.5mm wired headphone connection.
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There’s a welcome industrial look to the Audio-Technica ATH-G1, its large cans combining steel struts and dividers with matte black plastics and foam padding. With firm metal sliders letting you click the headband to a size appropriate for your head, they feel solid and well constructed.
The only durability worry is with the flourish of some black and white exposed wiring, running from one ear cup, under the headband and to the other. We wouldn’t want to see that getting caught when being removed from our heads.
Each ear cup can rotate, allowing the headset to more comfortably sit flat in a bag for safer transit. It also shows off the blue detailing in the design, with an electric blue circle going around the edge of the outer side of the cup, with each interior to the ear pieces matching with that blue with a fabric covering. With liberal padding and generously sized ear-enveloping cavities, the ATH-G1 belies are comfortable for extended sessions, feeling lighter than their 257g weight would suggest.
A generous 2m (6.5ft) cable runs from the left ear cup and ends in a 3.5mm dual audio and mic jack, meaning you should be able to hook it up as easily to the back of a gaming PC as a console controller in your hand. But, note that it’s a fixed cable and cant be replaced, so you’re going to want to be careful how you store it. About a third of the way down the cable is the volume dial and a physical mic-mute switch, which rattles around a bit annoyingly.
What is detachable, however, is the boom mic, which sits on the end of a flexible arm that you can shape to where you want it to sit in front of your mouth. It’s an appreciated option to be able to pull it out entirely for solo – or private – play.
Sound and chat
The Audio-Technica ATH-G1 is a warm and precise headset when it comes to gaming audio, with a more dynamic range than some similarly-styled gaming headsets. If you like detail and cinematic precision in your gaming sessions, as opposed to game “enhancing” features like meatier low-ends or highlighted highs for picking out sneaking enemies, then you’ll love what’s on offer here from the 45mm drivers.
Whether wandering the wilds of New Hanover in Red Dead Redemption 2, or listening to the visceral gut-spilling Fatalities of Mortal Kombat XL, the Audio Technica ATH-G1 picks out ricocheting gunshots or nauseating eviscerations with delight. While only a stereo headset, its soundstage gives a great sense of space too, with the movement between the two earcups matching the onscreen action with accuracy. It won’t give you the advantage that a 5.1 or 7.1 simulated configuration can achieve – but you won’t be left feeling like there’s an empty space behind your head, either.
Where the ATH-G1 excels is with dialogue-heavy titles in particular. Diving into a multiplayer session of the RPG Divinity: Original Sin 2 with a friend sees the headset perfectly balance the cinematic score and reams of dialogue present in the game. Being a game that required a lot of communication between my party members, it also highlights the high quality of the mic – audio delivered is crisp and clear, letting my pals know exactly what the plan is in any given gaming situation.
The Audio-Technica ATH-G1 is however lacking in any sort of audio-tuning option. If you’ve a game that would have a benefit from dialing up the higher frequencies for instance (like in competitive shooters) you’re out of luck. And, without a surround environment being produced, your spatial awareness, at a competitive level at least, will be diminished.
What they lack in core gaming-focussed features however, they make up for with musicality, making the ATH-G1 a delightful headset for listening to music on, too. The relatively calm tuning of the headphones makes them well suited for a wide range of listening scenarios, from diverse genres like classical to rock, with enough bass impact to keep dancier tracks pumping too, not to mention the clarity they afford podcasts. Pull out that boom mic, and the laid-back design means you won’t look like an idiot using them on the bus to listen to your favorite tunes, too, making them a bit more versatile than some in-your-face brands’ wares.
The Audio-Technica ATH-G1 feels like a “grown-ups” gaming headset. It prizes accuracy and detail over bombastic tuning, likely coming closer to delivering what the sound engineers in a gaming studio hoped you as a gamer would hear. As a result, they’re versatile enough to make for a solid pair of headphones for other sorts of listening sessions too.
They are, however, limited in the gaming-specific features that they offer the competitive gamer, which will limit their appeal to some areas of their potential audience, given the price tag. But if you’re looking for a balanced, natural-sounding accompaniment to your more cinematic gaming adventures, the Audio-Technica ATH-G1 will fit the bill nicely.
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