Published on February 18th, 2015 | by Dan Barbera


Best Headphones Under $70? Audio-Technica ATH-M30X Review

When it comes to headphones, whether I am in the market for one, or a friend of mine is showing me their new pair, I always seem to have the same four questions in mind.

  1. How much are they?
  2. In-ear or over-ear?
  3. Are they comfortable?
  4. How do they sound?

I feel like I should start by saying I do NOT consider myself an expert in the field of audio but I do consider myself a bit of an audiophile. I am, like anyone, very picky about how I listen to music and what I think it should sound like. As you get older and listen to music more, you start to develop your own unique taste and create questions when it comes to buying a pair of headphones or speakers. Mine are listed above and with each piece of audio gear I buy, I ask myself those questions. With the “newish” Audio Technica ATH-M30x (M30x)the checklist is no different. Let’s see how they compare to each category.


Great question. For some, it’s the best question. I consider any audio gear under $100 to be relatively affordable. If you’re serious about sound and how your ears receive them, then its no secret that you will have to fork over a few bucks for that “premium” experience. Now that doesn’t mean that there aren’t good or even decent headphones out there that are cheaper than the M30x’s, but it might be a difficult task.

The M30x’s come in just under $70 on Amazon (although I am sure you could find it cheaper if you look hard enough). This price point for quality headphones is hard to come by. Sure, you can find more affordable headphones on the internet. You can even find a pair of wireless headphones for that price, but having experienced my fair share of “cheaper” headphones, the trend is that they usually don’t last past a couple of months. Although the M30x is made up of mostly plastic, it has a premium and sturdy feel to them. The headphones are also caked with leather around the headband and earmuffs that lead to our next question…

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This question is strictly based on preference. It’s hard to get a rich, quality sound with in-ear headphones. This is why I tend to buy more over-ear headphones. They can offer more sound and better quality because it completely covers your ears. In-ear headphones do have a part in my life as I use them at the gym or with any other physical activity. Over-ears tend to be more of a relaxing, movie, and editing pair. There is one drawback to MOST over-ear headphones…


With over-ears, it’s difficult to answer with anything but NO. Since they DO cover most of your ear and after awhile you might experience some discomfort or  some mild pain. I wore these headphones a lot of the past 24 hours, and I think I can safely say that these are some of the most if not THE most comfortable pair that I own. Now some people have said that I have small ears (I guess?) and these headphones do cover my ENTIRE ear. That may be the reason I find these headphones to be very comfortable. I can’t confirm that this would be the same for everyone but with the leather padding surrounding the earmuffs, I can’t imagine they aren’t comfortable with most people.


Pretty damn good. They are a little bass heavy at times which muffles the rest of the audio a little, but I prefer a little extra bass with my music. For editing video, these are a great inexpensive option too! The headphones pick up a lot of midrange frequencies that help enhance the detail in the sound. In fact, these headphones were designed to target audio/video editors. Now to the average consumer, you might not notice a difference between a few other mid-range headphones. I had my fiance try on the M30x, followed by the V-MODA Crossfade M-80’s, and she expressed “there was no difference between them”. Now there is a difference between the two pairs but audio quality is not one of them. I will say that the M30x’s are FAR more comfortable, however.


  • The cable is REALLY long (9.8′)
  • The cable is TOO long (it’s a love/hate thing)
  • The M30x’s fold up nicely and fit into the included leather carrying pouch that offers nice portability
  • 1/8 to 1/4 inch cable adapter provided
  • Does not come with coiled cable like the other models
  • Cable is non-removable

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About the Author

Dan Barbera

Obsessed with everything tech, music, and Cleveland sports. I tweet about these things. A lot. Follow me! @danbarbera.

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