Published on April 17th, 2014 | by Greg0
Audio-Technica Duo: Leap Into The Game With The ATH-AG1 Headset
Audiophiles need- and appreciate-great sound. And it certainly makes sense for higher-end audio brands to appeal to music professionals, like those in the studio mixing, or DJs, or musicians themselves. But there is another specialized audience that has grown rapidly, one that major brands are starting to catch on to and aim towards: gamers. Video gamers and PC gamers alike, from the three major console brands to the hardcore computer enthusiasts, now make up a pretty large consumer group, one with plenty of disposable income they are willing to use in pursuit of a better experience.
And it’s not just a superior game- better audio can result in improved results too, thanks to being able to more easily track down snipers or follow other audio cues. Audio-Technica is no stranger to making great headphones- we checked an excellent set out yesterday- but this is a fairly new field for them, and we were thrilled to see them leap in with their ATH-AG1 High-Fidelity Gaming Headset. Like most gaming headsets, it’s a wired model for better performance and lower latency, and if you felt kind of like they took a set of their excellent ATH-A900 series and stuck a microphone on, you’d be forgiven. The overall look is classy, and they offer plenty of bass and more volume than you’ll need.
Plus, they stand out from the pack, at least partially because of that very same microphone. It’s probably the best microphone on a gaming headset that we’ve seen, and that’s saying something. We’ve tried most major gaming headsets out there, from brands like Turtle Beach to gamer-focused companies like MadCatz and Tritton (now part of that same family) and pro-gamer favorite Astro Gaming. One of the most comfortable recent models is from SteelSeries, but major audio brands you know from their other gear, including Plantronics and even the stellar Sennheiser, have been getting into the gaming… um, game. The price points and feature sets can vary widely, but we’re certainly seeing the audio picture improve thanks to the new focus from some of these companies.
At this level, competition is fierce. Which is why we’re happy that the ATH-AG1s play nice with others, offering a fairly comfortable and adjustable fit, and a nice color and design scheme that screams “audio” rather than “gamer”. But it’s the 53 mm drivers and solid isolation that make this one of our new favorite weapons of choice. They include a little USB soundcard, which can be handy if your computer or laptop doesn’t offer a decent one, but is optional. The microphone can flip out of the way (if not completely hide like some others) and is nicely bendy so you can place it in the perfect spot. Voices are rich, clear and crisp and never clipped, and Audio-Technica included a nice extension cable for those who need it, taking the one meter long cord ideal for PC users and adding an extra two meters for easy gaming at a TV. These are a little heavier than many, at 310 grams, but we didn’t really notice the weight during sessions of Age of Wonders III or Infamous: Second Son. Available now, online and in stores, expect to spend around $300- a bit spendy, but certainly in line with others and totally worth it if you’re a gamer and an audiophile- they’ve been ideal for late night gaming and daytime music listening.