(Last Updated On: February 8, 2021)

Audio Technica is killing two birds with one stone by releasing the ATH-G1 series of gaming headphones for gamers who appreciate accuracy, as well as great sound quality, while gaming, listening to music, or watching movies.

Thank you, Sonal and team from Audio Technica Southeast Asia (S.E.A) for sending me the ATH-G1 and ATH-G1WL gaming headphones. They were sent to me in exchange for my honest review and opinion.

Audio Technica has always been well-received by audio enthusiasts and professionals, be it audiophiles or those working in the studio. It is an undeniable fact that Audio Technica dominates the audio industry with their experience, expertise, and great products.

In recent years, Audio Technica expanded their target crowd, from professional studio workers and audiophiles to entry-level consumers. A good example is the launch of the ATH-ANC300TW true wireless earbuds. This is an excellent product from Audio Technica aimed at entry-level audio consumers.

The expansion of Audio Technica’s target crowd does not stop there. With the release of ATH-G1 and ATH-G1WL series of gaming headphones, which we will explore today, Audio Technica extends their expertise to the gaming industry. This industry has been booming during the current COVID-19 pandemic, because everyone is advised to stay at home, and this means there is more luxury time for gaming.

Will the well-received Audio Technica of the audio industry receive the same amount of applause in the gaming industry? Let’s find out more in this article!

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ATH-G1 Overview

Pros:

  • »Excellent build quality
  • »Good clarity
  • »Tight and accurate bass
  • »Comfortable fitting
  • »High-quality microphone
  • »Friendly towards multiple platforms (PC and consoles)

Cons:

  • »Lack of replacement ear pads as compared to ATH-G1WL
  • »Requires a gaming amplifier for an enhanced experience
  • »Cable is non detachable

ATH-G1WL Overview

Pros:

  • »Excellent build quality
  • »Good clarity
  • »Tight and accurate bass
  • »Comfortable fitting
  • »High quality microphone
  • »Stable wireless transmission
  • »3D surround mode for a better gaming and movie experience
  • »With replacement ear pads in the box

Cons:

  • »Only suitable for PC gamers
  • »Wireless transmitter is too chunky

Technical Specifications

ATH-G1

  • Form: Wired closed back
  • Price: USD$169
  • Driver type: Dynamic driver
  • Driver diameter: 45 mm
  • Frequency response: 5 – 40,000 Hz
  • Maximum Input power: 1,300 mW
  • Sensitivity: 101 dB/mW
  • Impedance: 45 ohms
  • Weight: 257 g (9.1 oz), including detachable microphone
  • Cable length: 2.0 m (6.6′)
  • Cable termination: 3.5 mm (1/8″) gold-plated stereo mini-plug (TRRS 4 pole)
  • Microphone type: Condenser
  • Microphone sensitivity: -43 dB (1V/Pa, at 1 kHz)
  • Microphone frequency response: 30 – 20,000 Hz
  • Microphone polar pattern: Hypercardioid

ATH-G1WL

  • Form: Wireless closed back
  • Price: USD$249
  • Driver type: Dynamic driver
  • Driver diameter: 45 mm
  • Frequency response: 5 – 40,000 Hz
  • Sensitivity: 101 dB/mW
  • Impedance: 45 ohms
  • Internal battery: 3.8V rechargeable lithium polymer battery
  • Battery life: 15 hours (depending on environmental conditions)
  • Weight: 297 g (10.5 oz) including detachable microphone
  • Charging Time: 7 hours (depending on environmental conditions)
  • Microphone type: Condenser
  • Microphone sensitivity: -43 dB (1V/Pa, at 1 kHz)
  • Microphone frequency response: 30 – 20,000 Hz
  • Microphone polar pattern: Hypercardioid
Audio Technica ATH-G1WL (left) and ATH-G1 (right)
Audio Technica ATH-G1WL (left) and ATH-G1 (right)

Unboxing

The packaging of the Audio Technica ATH-G1 and ATH-G1WL are almost identical – a white cardboard box with the model printed on the front. The unique selling points and technical specifications are found at the back of the packaging.

The packaging of the ATH-G1 series
The packaging of the ATH-G1 series
The unique selling points and technical specifications are at the back of the box.
The unique selling points and technical specifications are at the back of the box.

Internally, there are some differences between the ATH-G1 and the ATH-G1WL. Most notably, the ATH-G1WL is the wireless version of the ATH-G1. So, a 2.4GHz USB transmitter is in the ATH-G1WL box.

There is an additional USB Type-A to micro-USB charging cable in the ATH-G1WL box to charge the wireless headphones. There are also a pair of additional replacement ear pads for the ATH-G1WL in the box. The ATH-G1 does not come with the replacement ear pads.

Accessories included in the box is printed at the side of the box
Accessories included in the box is printed at the side of the box

The ATH-G1 is connected with a 2.0m non-detachable cable terminated with a 3.5mm unbalanced TRRS jack (with microphone). For those who are using separate audio and microphone ports on their computers, Audio Technica includes a splitter in the box of the ATH-G1.

Other than what is noted above, the included accessories are the same for both:

  • ATH-G1 (with non-detachable cable) / ATH-G1WL
  • A detachable boom microphone
  • Windshield for the boom microphone
The accessories of the ATH-G1
The accessories of the ATH-G1
The accessories in the ATH-G1WL
The accessories in the ATH-G1WL

Design

The primary difference that can be spotted between the ATH-G1 and the ATH-G1WL is the non-detachable cable on the ATH-G1. Other than that, the physical appearance is essentially the same for both models.

The overall design of the ATH-G1 series is modern and sturdy, with a metal headband. The ear cup’s size is almost the same as the legendary ATH-M50x (which I bought more than 5 years ago). I believe the replacement ear pads provided in the ATH-G1WL can be used on my ATH-M50x too.

Audio Technica ATH-M50x (left) and ATH-G1WL (right)
Audio Technica ATH-M50x (left) and ATH-G1WL (right)
Metal headband with leather cushion
Metal headband with leather cushion

The volume and microphone controls of the ATH-G1 is on the cable. The microphone can be muted from the control panel on the cable.

For the ATH-G1WL, the controls are embedded on the left ear cup. Besides the volume control and mic mute function that are found on the ATH-G1, the ATH-G1WL has 3D surround sound mode and mic monitor mode.

Mic monitor function lets users to monitor their speech on the mic. This function helps to improve communication while gaming.
The control panel on the ATH-G1
The control panel on the ATH-G1
The control panel on the ATH-G1WL
The control panel on the ATH-G1WL

The boom mic for both models are detachable. The windscreen provided in the box helps to block a certain amount of surrounding noise, which ultimately yields quieter speech. The position of the boom mic can be adjusted according to personal preference as it is flexible.

The detachable boom mic of the ATH-G1 and ATH-G1WL
The detachable boom mic of the ATH-G1 and ATH-G1WL

Audio Technica chose to use “hybrid” ear pads for the ATH-G1 series. A hybrid ear pad is an ear pad where the inner side’s material is different from the outer side. The outer side is leather which can improve isolation and enhance the bass response. The inner side is velour, which has a good level of breathability to reduce the heat from accumulating in the ear cups.

The hybrid ear pads of the ATH-G1 series
The hybrid ear pads of the ATH-G1 series

Comfort

In terms of weight, the ATH-G1WL is heavier than the ATH-G1 (by 40g) due to the battery and wireless receiver modules embedded in the ATH-G1WL. Despite being heavier, the comfort of the ATH-G1WL is not compromised at all. Thanks to the breathable headband cushion and ear cups, I can wear them for hours without feeling discomfort or pressure on my head.

Internal

Both models utilize 45mm dynamic drivers, which are the same size as in the ATH-M50x. The ATH-G1WL uses 2.4Ghz wireless transmission, which is more suitable for gaming. 2.4Ghz wireless transmission has extremely low latency and great stability as compared to conventional Bluetooth transmission.

However, I felt that the wireless transmitter on ATH-G1WL is too chunky. Because of its length, it might be accidentally hit when you are moving around your PC.
The wireless signal transmitter of the ATH-G1WL
The wireless signal transmitter of the ATH-G1WL

Besides that, there is a dedicated DAC and amplifier in the wireless version to decode the signal transmitted from the source. The embedded DAC and amplifier also enable the 3D surround mode. If you wish to do this in ATH-G1, you will need a dedicated gaming amplifier, such as Sennheiser GSX1000.

Sound

Despite being from the same series, the sound signature of the ATH-G1 and ATH-G1WL have significant differences. This is likely due to the embedded DAC and amplifier in the ATH-G1WL. The sound signature of the ATH-G1 is heavily dependent on the source.

Overall, the sound signature of the ATH-G1 series can be considered neutral.

In terms of soundstage, they are better than most closed-back studio monitor headphones. This is advantageous because the amount of signal delivered during gaming sessions is abundant, and good staging can reduce congestion and preserve clarity.

The soundstage of the ATH-G1WL can be further expanded by toggling on the 3D surround sound mode. I use this mode a lot when gaming or watching a movie. You feel like the sound is all around you in the 3D surround mode.

For music monitoring, disabling the 3D surround sound mode will give you a better focus on the music.

This 3D surround sound mode makes the ATH-G1WL an omnivore – delivering different audio modes for gaming, movies, and music.

The ATH-G1WL
The ATH-G1WL

Bass

Before reviewing the ATH-G1 series, I have some experience with gaming headphones such as the Razer Kraken and JBL Quantum series. Typically, gaming headphones tend to have a lot of emphasis on bass quantity. Indeed, a good amount of bass quantity can deliver a better gaming experience to users, especially in action scenes. You can feel the sub-bass rumble when there is a gunshot or explosion.

The ATH-G1 series takes a different approach. Instead of simply pumping up the bass quantity, Audio Technica focuses more on giving fast and accurate bass response to users. Comparing the Razer Kraken side by side with the ATH-G1 series, the latter have a more precise bass response.

Do not get me wrong, you can still get deep rumbles from gunshot or explosion scenes from the ATH-G1 series. Audio Technica condense and concentrate the bass quantity, punching your eardrums and giving you an eargasm!

Eargasm is a metaphorical “orgasm of the ears” due to hearing something immensely satisfying or having a good ear cleaning, etc.
The ATH-G1 with Lotoo PAW S1 on Gaming mode
The ATH-G1 with Lotoo PAW S1 on Gaming mode

Mids

Thanks to the precise bass response of the ATH-G1 series, the midrange is not compromised. As I mentioned in the previous section, typical gaming headphones like the Razer Kraken focus more on the low frequency, and the midrange is often “overshadowed” by the booming bass. This is not the case with the ATH-G1 headphones.

Watching movies like Avengers: Endgame, the dialogue remains crystal clear even if there is an explosion in the background. The ATH-G1 series can handle complicated scenes like shooting or explosion scenes in gaming or movies.

The performance of the midrange is further enhanced by toggling the 3D surround mode on the ATH-G1WL. The overall headroom is more spacious, and the mids have more space to flex their muscles. Watching movies using this mode is almost no different from watching a movie in a cinema.

Turn on Netflix, get yourself a popcorn, the ATH-G1WL is going to bring you to a “virtual” cinema tour with its 3D surround mode!

The ATH-G1 with wireless transmitter at the back connecting to my gaming laptop
The ATH-G1 with wireless transmitter at the back connecting to my gaming laptop

Highs

The ATH-G1 series’s highs are true to the AT house signature – well-extended, energetic, and sparkling. This actually helps to improve the overall synergy of their performance. I still remember when I first tried the ATH-M50x, I was impressed by the highs. The ATH-G1 series exhibit the same characteristics that originally impressed me.

For those who have a lower tolerance of high frequencies, be not afraid; the ATH-G1 series will not pierce your eardrums. Despite being energetic, they have a very smooth treble peak. The overall presentation is comfortable. You can safely choose them as your gaming, movie and music companion without worry.

Paired the ATH-G1 with iFi Zen Can for casual music listening
Paired the ATH-G1 with iFi Zen Can for casual music listening

Where to Buy

The ATH-G1 retails for USD$169, while the wireless version ATH-G1WL retails for USD$249. You can purchase them from the Audio Technica official website or Amazon (from the links above).

Verdict

The ATH-G1 series from Audio Technica is, indeed, a good expansion on their current lineup. It addresses the needs of a new group of consumers: discerning gamers! The series introduces the precision of studio monitors to gaming headphones. It is definitely a brave move, and I have to say Audio Technica got it right.

You can have the enjoyment of sub-bass rumble while preserving clarity and precision with the Audio Technica ATH-G1 series.

For those who do not have a gaming amplifier and mostly game on PC, I highly recommend you grab the wireless version because the 3D surround mode on it is totally worth the price difference you pay. If you are going to use this pair of headphones on different consoles, then the wired ATH-G1 might be a more feasible solution. The choice is yours!