The ATH-S220BT is Audio-Technica’s latest addition to their renowned line of wireless headphones. At $59, these are one of Audio-Technica’s more budget-friendly offerings. Headphones at this price can be a gamble in terms of quality, regardless of how reputable the manufacturer is. Today, I’m going to see if these can live up to Audio-Technica’s legendary reputation.
What’s in the Box
3.5 mm adaptor cable
USB Charging cable
Look and Feel
Right out of the box, the S220BT has a very minimal and inviting look to them. They have a set of buttons for track navigation and volume control, a 3.5mm jack, and a USB-C charging jack. The headphones themselves look sleek and sport the Audio-Technica logo on both earcups. They feel durable and incredibly light, perfect as an on the go pair of headphones. I personally found the earcups to be a bit small and had some slight discomfort initially, but the padding made up for that.
The S220BT features 40mm closed-back dynamic drivers. They have a battery life of 60 hours from a full charge and around 3.5 from a 10 minute rapid charge. The Headphones can be used either via a wired connection or a bluetooth connection. The bluetooth functionality is simplified, utilizing only pause/play/track navigation, digital assistant activation, and Low Latency Mode, which ensures videos sync properly with audio at the cost of greater battery life. At this price point, it makes sense that there wouldn’t be bogged down with all of the other bells and whistles that come with bluetooth headphones, and I found it refreshing to not have to navigate through things like noise cancellation and EQ settings.
I did occasionally find the bluetooth to drop in quality and resolution compared to the wired connection, but the difference wasn’t too noticeable and for the most part didn’t impact my listening experience. If I was using these on the train, I wouldn’t notice a difference between the bluetoooth and wired connection, but I do in a quiet room.
The ATH-S220BT has a frequency response of 5 Hz – 32 kHz and an impedance of 32 Ohms.
The soundstage on the S220BT has a nice feeling of separation to it. Sometimes headphones at this price point tend to have bleed that blurs the stereo field, but these didn’t suffer from that. While the soundstage isn’t the most complex thing I’ve heard, it still does justice to mixes and provides the appropriate width and dimensional space to whatever you’re listening to. They do feel a little close at times, but that’s all a matter of preference. For this price, these have a fairly average soundstage that doesn’t distract from your listening.
The lows on these sound great. In terms of low-boosted headphones, these are more tame and sound better as a result. Subs have a nice hum to them and I rarely felt the mix getting overpowered by bass parts. While they could get muddy in some instances, it was rare and brief.
Audio-Technica handled the midrange very well on these. Lead instruments feel great and take the lead well, especially vocals. There’s a noticeable recession in the low-mids that takes away some power from the bass parts, but that also opens the spectrum for other textures, which I find come through very well. I noticed some distortion and resonances at times, but not distractingly so.
The highs are where the S220BT starts to show its price a bit. The highs are there and on some songs they sounded great, however some songs lost their shine and detail. Things like breaths on vocals sounded great and sibilance sounded smooth, but sometimes cymbals, reverbs, and transients lacked a certain level of dimension at times. I’m not saying the highs sound bad by any means, but they could use improvement in some areas.
Audio-Technica knows how to make a wide range of products to fit your needs, and the ATH-S220BT is no exception. As far as budget headphones go, these are definitely a great option and can make anything you listen to sound good. While it has some flaws, they’re minor flaws and you can’t go wrong with their price. If you’re looking for a solid pair of easy listening headphones, I’d highly suggest the ATH-S220BT.
You can buy the ATH-S220BT here