Audio-Technica ATHADG1 Open-Back Gaming Headset Review

Editor rating

4.2/5 on January 10, 2016 Reviewed by: Peter Alexander

User’s rating

96 reviews


  • Huge soundstage
  • Great instrument separation
  • Impressive design
  • Comfortable even after a long time of use


  • Lack of bass
  • Problems with sibilance


he Audio-Technica ATHADG1 Open-Back Gaming Headset is going to appeal to a relatively limited number of gamers. The open design produces an incredible soundstage but fails to provide sufficient noise isolation to allow for gaming in louder environments. Their price tag is more akin to what you see in true audiophile headphones, and we are certain that most gamers would rather invest their money into a hardware upgrade. The small number of those who wouldn’t be rewarded with the best soundstage in this class of headphones and a high audio quality in general.

Audio-Technica is known for their excellent high-fidelity open headphones with some of the best acoustic properties you will ever stumble upon. The ATHADG1 open-back gaming headphones are a direct result of their attempt to translate their audio philosophy into the world of gamers. Let’s find out how they stand out against the barrage of closed gaming headphones that is currently available on the market.

Design and build

The open-backed ATH-ADG1 over-ear headphones feature large 53 mm drivers Bobbin-wound CCAW voice coils. The combination of open design with CCAW voice coils produces an excellent soundstage that it is as wide as it is clear.

Your comfort is guaranteed thanks to a pair of soft earpads and a big automatically adjusting 3D headband. The headphones feel much lighter on the head than they do when you hold them in your hand. It’s entirely possible to put them on and catch yourself forgetting that you actually have something on your head. The headband applies just the right amount of clamping force to hold the headphones steadily in one place without causing any discomfort at all.

A non-detachable microphone extends from the left earcup. It can be rotated up to 100 degrees, and it comes with a manual mic mute switch, which allows you to quickly give yourself some privacy without messing around with in-game settings.

Sound quality

Like most other open headphones, the Audio Technica ATHADG1 Open-Back Gaming Headset is characterized by its spacious soundstage, great audio positioning, and the ability to place you right in the middle of the action.

The low end is similar in sound to non-gaming headphones from Audio-Technica. You certainly won’t be greeted with the same bass-heavy sound signature as you find in so many other gaming headsets. Instead, the ATHADG1’s bass is tighter, more controlled, and less powerful. Coupled with the sharp treble boost, the resulting sound shows every little detail that you would otherwise miss and makes for a pleasant, non-fatiguing listening experience. Depending on your source of music, you may encounter some sibilance, but it’s nothing you couldn’t get used to.

What’s in the box?

Despite its very high price tag, the Audio Technica ATHADG1 Open-Back Gaming Headset doesn’t come with any carry case. We understand that these headphones are meant to stay at home, but we think that it would still be nice to see at least a soft pouch included with the headphones. Fortunately, the ADG1 come with a 2m cable extension and a capable USB DAC. The DAC is perfect if your computer doesn’t have a decent sound card.