Koss UR20 vs Audio-Technica M20X Mini-showdown

Great question, thanks!

The UR20 is a $17 headphone with the comfort and bass response of a $100 headphone, whereas the M20X is a totally okay $50 headphone with no real standout features.

It’s not super fair to compare headphones with such disparate price points, but let’s do it anyway.

The M20X has a smoother sound signature and slightly better materials used in its frame construction…but I like everything else about the UR20 more, from the soundstage width down to the material of the cable. The UR20 has larger, softer ear pads with much more room for your ears inside, a suspension headband that’s very light on the head and absurdly flexible, and a better bass response than the Audio-Technica model.

And again, the UR20 is ~$17 vs the $50 price tag of the M20X. You could buy almost three UR20’s for the price of one M20X.

So yes, as far as the raw sound goes, the M20X comes closer to industry-standard sound targets, whereas the UR20 has a bit of a v-shape to it that will need some EQ if you like neutrality. But the UR20 makes up all of that lost ground with its flexible build, supreme comfort, and fun bass.

At least, for my personal tastes.

If I had a theoretical $50 budget, I’d much rather own a $17 Koss UR20 and a $30 Koss KPH30i (review coming soon) than an M20X.

I sold my M20X’s a few months after finishing my review. They’re a nice pair overall, and they’re good for pro studios that need some acceptable tracking headphones, but the weird springy headband and slightly withdrawn sound meant I didn’t want them to stay forever in my personal collection.

In contrast, my UR20’s and KPH30i’s aren’t going anywhere unless they break and need warranty repair. The UR20 fits so well on my head, and it’s a great “working in a loud coffee shop” headphone. For their bargain price it’s a miracle that they’re not made from tissue paper. And they have a bass that’s as pleasant and satisfying as any nicer headphone I’ve heard.

Coincidentally, I’m wearing my UR20’s right now. They’re my favorite headphone to throw in my working bag and take out to write with. I’ve kept using them regularly since the review. Their flexibility, light weight, and cheap replacement cost mean I’m not worried about shoving them in a bag. And so far they’ve held up well!

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I do radio voice work by day, and write by day and night. I studied film and production. I love audio, design, and music. Also video games.

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