Sennheiser vs. Audio-Technica (Headphone Brands Compared)

Sennheiser and Audio Technica are two of the most respected brands when it comes to professional audio. Both have been producing headphones for a long time and are responsible for creating industry-standard models that are trusted in professional work. 

In this article, we will be pitting both of these brands against each other. We will be comparing their entry-level/sub 200 USD models, midrange and flagship models, gaming headset offerings, and consumer products. And by the end of this article, hopefully, you will have a better grasp of which brand fits your preferences better. 

Sennheiser vs. Audio-Technica

Sennheiser Brand Overview

Sennheiser is a well-established brand in the world of professional audio. They were founded on June 1, 1945, in Germany. They are known in various fields such as the headphone industry, professional audio and video production industry (lapel mics, dynamic and condenser microphones, etc.), gaming, and a lot more. 

Sennheiser is best known in the audiophile hobby for producing the HD600 and HD 800s series. The HD600 was first released in 1997. And for 22 years, it has strongly held its position as one of the most influential headphones. It has, of course, been surpassed by others. But a feat like that is very impressive and hard to match. 

They have since then released the 800s, which replaced the HD650 as their flagship. They have also released the Orpheus, which is more of a showpiece instead of an actual product.

Audio Technica Brand Overview 

Audio Technica is a well-known Japanese professional audio brand. They were founded in 1962 in Shinjuku City, Tokyo, Japan. Like Sennheiser, Audio Technica also produces a variety of products from headphones to microphones. However, they are not particularly known for their high-end models. 

This is because a lot of their models, in general, are exclusive to the Japanese market. Models like the Audio Technica ATH ES770H are highly regarded as one of the best on-ear models. The problem is, a lot of enthusiasts can’t even get their hands on these models. 

Where Audio Technica excels is in the midrange market. Their Audio Technica M50X is one of the most popular monitoring headphones in the world. Everyone from professionals to casual consumers has recommended this pair. It may have been exceeded by other technically superior models, but its popularity still stands to this day. 

Sennheiser vs. Audio-Technica Headphone Comparison 

Sub 200 USD Headphones

Audio-Technica ATH M50X

Audio-Technica ATH-M50x Professional Studio Monitor Headphones, Black, Professional Grade, Critically Acclaimed, With Detachable Cable
Audio Technica ATH M50X (Image: Amazon)

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Audio Technica M40X

Audio-Technica ATH-M40x Professional Studio Monitor Headphone, Black, With Cutting Edge Engineering, 90 Degree Swiveling Earcups, Pro-grade Earpads/Headband, Detachable Cables Included
Audio Technica M40X (Image: Amazon)

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Audio Technica AD700X

Audio-Technica ATH-AD700X Audiophile Open-Air Headphones Black
Audio-Technica ATH-AD700X (Image: Amazon)

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Sennheiser HD560S

Sennheiser HD560S (Image: Sennheiser)

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Sennheiser HD599 SE

Sennheiser HD 599 SE Around Ear Open Back Headphone
Sennheiser HD 599 SE (Image: Amazon)

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Sennheiser HD25

Sennheiser Pro Audio Sennheiser HD 25 Professional DJ Headphone, Black, 1 (HD25)
Sennheiser HD25 (Image: Amazon)

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Audio Technica is incredibly popular at the sub 200 USD price point. Their professional series, mainly the Audio Technica M40X and M50X, are arguably the most popular headphones for music production, broadcast, and content creation in this price range. 

And aside from those models, Audio Technica has many other great-sounding models. Some models, such as the Japan-exclusive ES770H, are highly regarded as hidden gems and amazing deals for their price point. 

Sennheiser also has some great offerings in this price range. The newly released Sennheiser HD560S has instantly become a crowd favorite and is set to be the new sub 200 USD reference headphone. 

Headphones such as the Sennheiser HD25 are also widely used in a lot of fields, such as in the broadcast industry, and are a favorite with professional DJs.

But aside from those headphones, Sennheiser doesn’t seem to be too focused on this price point. Their entry-level models seem to only be there to occupy that price point. They aren’t necessarily the best performs or the best value products at this price point, 

Overall, Sennheiser does have some stand out products in the sub 200 USD price point. However, Audio Technica has way too many value-oriented products for Sennheiser to compete against. 

Midrange and Flagship Headphones

ATH-R70X

Audio-Technica ATH-R70x Professional Open-Back Reference Headphones
Audio-Technica ATH-R70X (Image: Amazon)

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Audio Technica WP900

Audio-Technica ATH-WP900 Over-Ear High-Resolution Headphones, Flame Maple/Black
Audio-Technica ATH-WP900 (Image: Amazon)

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Audio Technica AP2000TI

Audio-Technica ATH-AP2000TI Closed-Back Headphones, Black
Audio-Technica ATH-AP2000TI (Image: Amazon)

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Sennheiser HD660s

Sennheiser HD 660 S - HiRes Audiophile Open Back Headphone
Sennheiser HD 660S (Image: Amazon)

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Sennheiser HD800

Sennheiser HD 800 S Reference Headphone System
Sennheiser HD 800S (Image: Amazon)

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Sennheiser HD820

Sennheiser HD 820 Over-the-Ear Audiophile Reference Headphones - Ring Radiator Drivers with Glass Reflector Technology, Sound Isolating Closed Earcups, Includes Balanced Cable, 2-Year Warranty (Black)
Sennheiser HD 820 (Image: Amazon)

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The midrange and flagship price is where Sennheiser truly shines. Their Sennheiser HD600 and HD800 series have become staples in the audiophile and professional headphone industry. The HD600 and HD650 were two headphones that set the bar for future open-back headphones to follow. 

These two stood at the top of the open-back headphone market for a long time and were only toppled by Sennheiser’s new flagship HD800S. But even today, the HD600 series is still a staple in the headphone market, especially with the release of Drop’s value-oriented HD6X and HD58X. 

As for their new flagship, the HD800S is one of the most successful headphones. It stands as one of the best high-end headphones thanks to its highly analytical sound and wide soundstage. It is one of the headphones that can perform similarly to high-end speaker systems. 

Audio Technica, on the other hand, isn’t quite as popular as Sennheiser in this price range. However, this does not mean that Audio Technica doesn’t have competitive mid-range and high-end offerings. 

Headphones such as the AP200TI and R70X show Audio Technica’s prowess in making great-sounding headphones. But unfortunately, these headphones aren’t well known outside of Japan.  

Audio Technica’s high-end headphones feature their mid-centric house sound. The detail retrieval and sound signature can rival competing headphones from Sennheiser. Some newer offerings are even better built and have newer driver technology compared to the like of the HD600 series. 

Overall, at this price point, Sennheiser’s headphones are the safer choice. They are industry standard options that have been tried and tested by both professionals and enthusiasts. 

Audio Technica’s offerings, on the other hand, aren’t proven to be great options. However, they are very much capable and have the potential of being great options for the right users. 

In-Ear Monitor

Audio Technica E40

Audio-Technica ATH-E40 Professional In-Ear Monitor Headphones
Audio-Technica ATH-E40 (Image: Amazon)

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Audio Technica E70

Audio-Technica ATH-E70 Professional In-Ear Studio Monitor Headphones
Audio-Technica ATH-E70 (Image: Amazon)

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Audio Technica IM04

Audio Technica ATH-IM04 SonicPro Balanced In-Ear Monitor Headphones
Audio Technica ATH-IM04 (Image: Amazon)

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Sennheiser IE40 Pro

Sennheiser IE 40 PRO, molded in ear dynamic monitors (Clear)
Sennheiser IE40 PRO (Image: Amazon)

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Sennheiser IE800S

Sennheiser IE 800 S In-Ear Audiophile Reference Headphones - Sound Isolating Ear-Canal Fit With XWB Transducers and D2CA Technology, Detachable Cable, Includes Balanced Cables, 2-Year Warranty (Black)
Sennheiser IE 800S (Image: Amazon)

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Both Audio Technica and Sennheiser aren’t most consumers’ first choice when it comes to IEMs. Their offerings aren’t bad, but they fall behind when compared to competitors such as Campfire Audio, Sony, Ultimate Ears, Fitear, etc.  But with that said, both brands feature unique offerings that are worthy of your attention. 

Sennheiser’s IEM product lineup is relatively small compared to Audio Technica. The older models, such as the IE800S, features the older bullet-style design and places more emphasis on sound quality. The newer IEMs, such as the IE40 Pro, are a lot closer to modern IEMs. They feature a universal IEM (UIEM) design and are built for professional/stage use. 

Audio Technica, on the other hand, mostly focuses on audiophile IEMs and focuses more on sound quality. Their products aim to mimic the sound of their full sound headphones in a lighter and smaller form factor. Additionally, Audio Technica has experimented on stronger proprietary connectors for their IEM cables. 

Overall, both brands offer great sounding IEMs. It will all come down to your personal needs and preferences in sound quality. 

Gaming Headsets

Audio Technica ATH G1

Audio-Technica ATH-G1 Premium Gaming Headset for PS4, Xbox One, Laptops, and PCs, with 3.5 mm Wired Connection, Detachable Mic Black
Audio-Technica ATH-G1 (Image: Amazon)

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Audio Technica ATH-AG1X

Audio-Technica ATH-AG1X Closed Back High-Fidelity Gaming Headset Compatible with PS4, Laptops and PC
Audio-Technica ATH-AG1X (Image: Amazon)

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Sennheiser GSP 300

EPOS Sennheiser GSP 300 Gaming Headset with Noise-Cancelling Mic, Flip-to-Mute, Comfortable Memory Foam Ear Pads, Headphones for PC, Mac, Xbox One, PS4, Nintendo Switch, and Smartphone compatible.
Sennheiser GSP 300 (Image: Amazon)

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Sennheiser GSP 600

EPOS I Sennheiser GSP 600 – Wired Closed Acoustic Gaming Headset, Noise-Cancelling Microphone, Adjustable Headband with Customizable Contact Pressure, Volume Control, for PC + Mac + Xbox + PS4, Pro
Sennheiser GSP 600 (Image: Amazon)

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This is the section where Audio Technica starts to fall behind compared to Sennheiser. Audio Technica doesn’t have a mature gaming lineup. Most of these headphones are simply redesigns of their existing gaming headsets. 

The ATH ADG1X, for example, is based on the AD700X. The ATH G1 is arguably based on the M series (M40X and M50X). 

This isn’t necessarily bad. The headphones that they were based on are excellent sounding headphones that can easily compete with the best gaming headsets in the market. However, these headphones do not present a lot of innovation. 

Sennheiser was also in the same boat a few years ago. The Sennheiser Game One and Game Zero were redesigned models from the HD5XX series. However, Sennheiser has developed original headphones specifically for gaming. 

This gave birth to the GSP series, which were optimized for comfort, had a sound signature that specifically fit competitive titles, and had one of the best sounding microphones. 

They continuously improved and expanded this line with other offerings, such as the wireless GSP 670

Aside from Sennheiser’s gaming headsets, they have also created innovative products that make their headsets sound even better. One of the best-known examples is their gaming DAC/Amp, the GSX1000

Overall, Sennheiser is clearly the better brand when it comes to gaming products. They cover everything from gaming headsets to gaming DAC/Amps. Audio Technica’s offerings aren’t bad. However, they need to deliver something truly unique to compete with the likes of Sennheiser. 

Consumer Headphones and Earbuds

Audio-Technica ATH-CKS5TWB

Audio-Technica ATH-CKS5TWBL Solid Bass Wireless in-Ear Headphones, Blue
Audio-Technica ATH-CKS5TWBL (Image: Amazon)

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Audio Technica ATH M50XBT

Audio-Technica ATHM50XBT Wireless Bluetooth Over-Ear Headphones, Black
Audio-Technica ATHM50XBT (Image: Amazon)

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Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 2

Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 2 - Bluetooth in-Ear Buds with Active Noise Cancellation, Smart Pause, Customizable Touch Control and 28-Hour Battery Life - Black (M3IETW2 Black)
Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 2 (Image: Amazon)

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Sennheiser Momentum Wireless 3 

Sennheiser Momentum 3 Wireless Noise Cancelling Headphones with Alexa, Auto On/Off, Smart Pause Functionality and Smart Control App, Black
Sennheiser Momentum 3 Wireless (Image: Amazon)

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Both companies have branched out to the consumer market. They have similar offerings, with each product having a counterpart in both companies. However, the approach of these two companies is completely different. 

Sennheiser’s consumer lineup seems to be completely detached from its audiophile and professional lineup. Their audiophile lineup has a very strong emphasis on sound quality, which has helped them reach the top. However, their consumer lineup seems to be the exact opposite. 

Most of Sennheiser’s consumer products have a sound tuning that is optimized for the casual market. The low frequencies are boosted, and the high frequencies are recessed. Most of these products are made to sound fun and non-fatiguing. 

Audio Technica’s approach, on the other hand, does not completely abandon its audiophile roots. A lot of their wireless products look very similar to their audiophile lineup. And while most consumer products also have a fun tuning, Audio Technica makes sure that sound quality is still preserved. 

One proof of this is that Audio Technica offers a wireless version of the M50X. Sennheiser does not have a wireless version of any of its notable closed-back headphones. 

At this point, it would seem that Audio Technica is the clear winner. However, Sennheiser has a clear advantage in the consumer market. The implementation and product design of their products are superior to the rest of the competition. 

Sennheiser was one of the first brands to make premium true wireless earbuds. They were also one of the first audiophile brands to adapt ANC on their headphones. And the technology they use to make the functionality of their products better rival even the best consumer brands such as Apple. 

Unfortunately, a lot of Audio Technica’s products do not have the same tech or optimizations found on Sennheiser’s products. And while they do have some stand out products, Sennheiser has the clear edge when it comes to the design and functionality of their consumer products. 

Conclusion: Sennheiser vs. Audio Technica – Which is Better?

These two companies have been around for a long time and are very experienced when it comes to headphones. Both Sennheiser and Audio Technica also have standout products that have revolutionized the headphone market. That is why it is incredibly hard to pick a clear winner. 

But based on the categories that we have discussed, Sennheiser has the edge. They may not have the best entry-level and sub 200 USD offering, but they come out on top when it comes to high-end headphones, gaming headsets, and consumer products. 

However, that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t consider Audio Technica’s products. As mentioned earlier, they are the kings of the sub 200 USD price point. Additionally, almost all of their products have a reliable build and have received the attention to detail that Japanese manufacturers are well-known for.

Overall, if you want a safe and reliable brand, then you should go for Sennheiser’s products. But if you are willing to go with less known products that are guaranteed to have a great build and sound quality, then you should give Audio Technica’s products a go, 

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