Audio-Technica is one of the most well-known names in the headphone and mic business. They’ve developed a reputation in the professional recording world for deliver high class products that not only sound great but stand up to real-world use. But what happens when a company like this makes gaming headset? We’ve looked at the audiophile-grade (and priced) ADG1X. Today, we’re taking on the ATH-PG1 Premium Gaming Headset. Priced at $129, should it be your next headset?
- MSRP: $129
- Type: Closed-back dynamic
- Driver Diameter: 44 mm
- Frequency Response: 20 – 20,000 Hz
- Maximum Input Power: 1,300 mW
- Sensitivity: 96 dB/mW
- Impedance: 38 ohms
- Cable: Three detachable cables: 1.2 m boom mic cable, 1.2 m smartphone cable and 2.0 m extension cable
- Connector: 3.5 mm (1/8") gold-plated mini stereo, L-type
- Type (Microphone): Condenser
- Sensitivity (Microphone): -40 dB (0dB=1V/Pa, 1kHz)
- Frequency Response (Microphone): 100 – 10,000 Hz
- Polar Pattern (Microphone): Omnidirectional
- Accessories Included: 2.0 m (6.6') extension cable with two 3.5 mm (1/8") gold-plated mini stereo plugs
- Weight: 245g (without cord)
The first thing I noticed about the PG1 is just how lightweight it is. At 245g, it’s more than 100g lighter than the Audeze Mobius I’ve been using as my daily driver. I was concerned that this would reflect on quality but the headset is reinforced in the areas it needs most, which laid a lot of my concerns about durability to rest. The headband is metal and wrapped in a leatherette material, so you don’t have to worry about it cracking over time and the earcups use two reinforced hinges to keep them secure. I wouldn’t be rough on it, but with care, I could see the PG1 lasting a long time.
The weight also makes it perfect for use over long gaming sessions. The Mobius and my alternate Sennheiser GSP-600 headset (nearly 400g), both wound up making the top of my head feel sore after a couple hours of use. The PG1s, on the other hand, don’t at all, even over four and five hour sessions at the computer. The padding on the headband isn’t overly thick, just enough to let it ride comfortably even when used as a normal pair of headphones out of the house.
The cushioning on the ears is far more lush and trimmed with a glossier version of the leatherette. They work great for sound isolation without making it impossible to hear what’s going on around you, though, they do need to be vented every now and then. As a gamer with small kids in the house, I need to be able to hear when they need me. Equally, though, I don’t always want them to hear what’s coming out of the headphones. These seem to strike a good balance between sound isolation and sound leak that works well for me as a parent.
Inside the box, you’ll also find a pair of cables, as well as the microphone. The smallest of these is a four-pole combined cable with an in-line remote for using the headset with a phone or tablet. The microphone has its own 1.2m cord, also ending in a four-pole header but if you’re computer doesn’t support the combined jack, the 2m extension cable also acts as a splitter and will give you plenty of length to reach the back of your case. If you’re plugging into an amp or front panel jacks, you might find a bit too much cord; however, so it would have been nice to see the mic capped in dual-heads from the start. Thankfully, aftermarket splitters are cheap and plentiful if you’re in that situation.
I’m a big fan of the understated design on these that doesn’t scream “gamer.” Audio-Technica clearly wanted these gaming headphones to travel and be used in your day to day. They’re a mix of matte and gloss black with gold accents in the lettering and around each housing. They look great. If they scrubbed the word “gaming” from the sides, you wouldn’t never know they were gaming headphones once the mic is detached.
Soundwise, the PG1s feature a 20-20000Hz frequency response range, making it fairly standard for this price point. Lower quality headsets often suffer from distortion as the drivers push the ends of the that spectrum but I found these to be surprisingly good in my battery of frequency tests and are definitely better than many of the headsets currently available in the hundred dollar range.
As a gaming headset, the bass presence is obviously pushed. It’s a bit higher than I tend to prefer but makes the “big” sounds in games really feel large. The mids and highs are well represented but there’s a cinematic push with the audio on these that makes them suited for content with a rumble. Big action movies, music with big bass lines and booming drums, really make them shine. I tweaked my EQ to bring out the highs and mids a touch more and was rewarded with a rich full sound.
Lastly, we have the microphone. It provides a clear capture that really captures the natural bass in your voice. In this way, it’s actual far better than most gaming headsets. The treble-qualities of your voice are dropped a bit. Overall, the capture isn’t the most natural but definitely feels more “broadcaster” than most headsets we’ve reviewed.
The Audio-Technica PG1 Premium Gaming Headphones remind me a lot of my M50Xs, one of my favorite headphones of all time. The design is very similar if not a little more eye catching and the PG1s actually shed 40-grams of weight. For long gaming sessions, they’re some of the most comfortable I’ve worn, and if you’re looking for a pair of headphones you can use for more than just gaming, they’ll definitely fit the bill there too. For $129, they’re on the upper end of quality headset pricing, which may throw some off, but for those who take the dive, I suspect they’ll enjoy what they find.
- Very lightweight and comfortable over long stretches
- Full stereo sound with nice positionality
- Good sound isolation
- Mic does a good job capturing low-end of your voice
- Somewhat expensive
- Some mic hiss, sensitive to plosives (no windscreen)