Audio-Technica ATH-GDL3 evaluate: Open-world gaming

Audio-Technica ATH-GDL3

MSRP $129.00

“Audio-Technica proves that open-back designs aren’t only for audiophiles.”


  • Detailed audio copy
  • Vast soundstage
  • Light-weight
  • Nice microphone


  • Uncomfortable earcup materials
  • Weaker bass won’t be for everybody

Video video games aren’t nearly nailing sick noscopes, they’re additionally about storytelling in a method that is really distinctive to the medium. Together with nice gameplay, players typically count on stellar single-player adventures that immerse the participant in that world. An enormous a part of that comes from a sport’s soundtrack.

The Audio-Technica ATH-GDL3 open-back gaming headset play proper into the expectation of immersive audio and ship stellar copy that permits you to hear each observe with crystal clear constancy set in a stunning, vast soundstage.

Excellent packaging

Audio-Technica ATH-GDL3 open-back gaming headphones in their box.Jaron Schneider/Digital Developments

Earlier than we get into the efficiency of the ATH-GDL3, I would like to briefly point out the packaging. Not solely is the field attractive because of Japanese-inspired artwork that wraps round proper and onto the again, the whole lot save for a pair of plastic twine baggage is fabricated from cardboard or paper. Audio-Technica knocked it out of the park relating to sustainable packaging, nevertheless it’s unlikely I’ll toss this field anyway because it’s so good to take a look at.

Clear and light-weight

Full shot of the Audio-Technica ATH-GDL3 open-back gaming headphones.Jaron Schneider/Digital Developments

The paintings on the field doesn’t proceed onto the precise headphones, sadly, however they’re nonetheless great-looking cans. The model we had been despatched to guage is the “white” possibility, and it’s easy and options solely three colours: White, black, and silver. These will look nice as a part of a desk or PC setup that leans into the white aesthetic, however additionally they pair properly with the PlayStation 5.

The white areas of the headphones are fabricated from plastic, the black on the scarf is a silicone-like materials, and the silver appears like aluminum. The black grille over the uncovered backs of the headphones can also be plastic. The included 3.5mm headphone jack cable appears like the right size at 1.2 meters (about 4 ft — not too lengthy or brief) and feels top quality. Audio-Technica additionally features a 3-meter cable (simply shy of 10 ft) for PCs that makes use of a twin 3.5mm cut up design that’s farther away.

The open nature of the design permits you to hear your self fairly clearly even throughout intense gaming classes.

It’s value declaring that this isn’t only a 3.5mm headphone jack on each side of that cable: The aspect that plugs into the headphones is significantly bigger. I’ve by no means seen this earlier than on gaming headsets and I can’t say I can consider a specific purpose Audio-Technica needed to go this route. That enormous portion twists and locks into place to maintain it in place as properly.

Accessories included with the Audio-Technica ATH-GDL3 open-back gaming headphones.Jaron Schneider/Digital Developments

The cable solely attaches to 1 aspect of the headphones, the left aspect, which could trouble an audiophile however isn’t as massive of a deal for players. At the very least for my part, it’s fairly simple to get used to the cable’s orientation. Moreover, it’s uncommon to see the power to plug into both aspect on this form of headset.

The ATH-GDL3 options an open-back design which many, myself included, worth for the vast soundstage they supply in addition to the consolation that comes from letting ears breathe a bit greater than they do inside closed headphones. I used to be actually excited to see this form of can carried out right into a gaming headset.

They’re light-weight and, mixed with that open-back design, comfy to put on for lengthy durations of time.

That open-back additionally implies that for gaming, Audio-Technica didn’t must design a method for the headphones to pipe a portion of your talking voice again into the headphones so you possibly can truly hear what you’re saying; the open nature of the design permits you to hear your self fairly clearly even throughout intense gaming classes.

Controls on the headset are restricted to a mute swap and quantity dial The swap exhibits three settings: Off, Mute, and On, however the “Mute” and “Off” toggle is definitely a single setting and simply turns the microphone off. I’d have most popular that the mute swap be a bit simpler to toggle, as this one could be laborious to search out whilst you’re carrying them because it’s positioned alongside the bottom of the left earcup, proper above that quantity dial. The headset additionally doesn’t present you any sort of suggestions in the event you are muted, so that you’ll should listen to that to make sure that you don’t neglect its standing.

Audio-Technica leaned right into a Japanese aesthetic relating to design, so there isn’t so much past what is totally vital on the ATH-GDL3, which implies there isn’t so much to say both. I occur to just like the design alternative, however some would possibly discover what is obtainable right here a bit barebones.

Designed for consolation

Author wearing Audio-Technica ATH-GDL3 open-back gaming headphones.Jaron Schneider/Digital Developments

One in every of the promoting factors of the ATH-GDL3 is that they’re light-weight and, mixed with that open-back design, comfy to put on for lengthy durations of time. I can affirm these headphones really feel extremely mild and I had no subject there in any respect. The padding of the earcups is completely passable and the scarf rests fairly gently on the highest of my head and I by no means as soon as felt any strain there.

That mentioned, I wasn’t the largest fan of the fabric Audio-Technica selected for the earcups, which had an impact on how lengthy I might comfortably put on them.

You possibly can hear each element in a online game world with unbelievable accuracy.

I are inclined to choose leather-like earphone cups, which really feel cooler on my head than cloth ones. Audio-Technica selected a material earcup, which implies that, after some time, the ATH-GDL3 began to really feel heat on my head regardless of the airflow offered by the open-back design. In consequence, I discovered that my restrict for carrying these cans was about three hours.

I’m totally conscious that this can be a private desire which may not be shared by all — just a few of my pals choose the material earcups on their headphones. However since Audio-Technica doesn’t present one other cup possibility within the field and it isn’t tremendous clear to me the right way to swap these out in the event you desired to go along with a distinct materials, it’s one thing to bear in mind.

Nice audio expertise for each events

Audio-Technica ATH-GDL3 open-back gaming headphones being held by a hand.Jaron Schneider/Digital Developments

Once I first placed on these headphones, it was clear to me that they had been made by an organization with huge expertise making cans for a discerning ear. The standard of the audio is outstanding.

Open-back headphones typically commerce a deep, resonant bass for a large expansive soundstage and readability, and the ATH-GDL3 do precisely this. You possibly can hear and luxuriate in each observe of music performed via these headphones and listen to each element in a online game world with unbelievable accuracy. Conventional music, in addition to online game scores, have a crisp readability to them that may be very uncommon in headphones designed for gaming.

These headphones additionally do an excellent job balancing gaming sound with chat audio — one other big win relating to aggressive gaming.

However that readability does come at the price of richness, so some would possibly say that music sounds hole or too medical for his or her tastes. I in contrast the standard of those towards my Sony Pulse and the Metal Collection Arctis 1 headphones and each are far much less correct in how notes are rendered than the ATH-GDL3s, however each even have higher roundness to the lows.

That’s to not say that the Audio-Technica cans can’t produce greatness within the lows: They completely do. The rolling drums in Aloy’s Theme from Horizon Forbidden West are available in spectacularly, as do the horns in Future 2’s The Witch Queen theme. So whereas the lows aren’t the main focus, they’re rendered simply in addition to the mids and highs.

Close-up of an earcup on the Audio-Technica ATH-GDL3 open-back gaming headphones.Jaron Schneider/Digital Developments

In brief, the expertise from the ATH-GDL3 headphones may be very balanced and flat, which is what I actually have come to count on from headphones of this fashion. If you happen to like a little bit of rumble in your headphones, these received’t present it, but when you must hear each element of each observe rendered precisely and evenly, they’re nice.

I additionally suppose that the element offered by this headset is massively helpful for aggressive gaming the place every audio cue is so essential for getting a win. Footsteps, for instance, are crystal clear via the ATH-GDL3s and I by no means discovered myself stunned by an opponent as a result of I didn’t hear them coming.

These headphones additionally do an excellent job balancing gaming sound with chat audio and are capable of cleanly present each with out both changing into too muddled — one other big win relating to aggressive gaming.

On that observe, it’s value discussing the microphone: it’s superb, however maybe a bit too delicate. Out of the field, the microphone picks up so much and I really feel as if I actually have to place it about an inch farther away from my mouth than I’d with different microphones. If I didn’t, my audio would peak from the attitude of my pals on the opposite finish of the road. It additionally picks up plenty of different sounds from my workplace, like my arms on the keyboard, joysticks, and even me fidgeting in my workplace chair. My pals had by no means complained about my squeaky chair earlier than I used the ATH-GDL3 headphones.

Sensitivity apart, the mic renders my voice thoroughly and with extra nuance than different headphones I’ve used. Principally, my voice via this microphone sounds very near my precise talking voice, sans a little bit of the low-end. It’s not fairly podcasting mic high quality, nevertheless it’s darn good and your teammates will have the option to listen to your voice very clearly. What extra might you ask for?

Our take

The Audio-Technica ATH-GDL3 open-back headphones are made for players who take pleasure in music with readability. Some would possibly discover the sound high quality to be a bit too medical, however I actually loved how they render sound so precisely particularly relating to first-person aggressive shooters the place I would like to listen to each cue with a purpose to react to a altering battlefield.

For $129, I’m truthfully actually impressed with these headphones. Even in the event you don’t sport, they’ve an exquisite soundstage and are nice for music as properly.

Is there a greater various?

If you happen to’re in search of the same fashion headset that has a bit extra emphasis on the lows, you may need to contemplate the SteelSeries Arctis 1. That headset additionally options cloth earcups, however they’re fabricated from a softer materials that doesn’t really feel fairly as uncomfortable because the ATH-GDL3. Audio-Technica additionally makes a closed-back model of the ATH-GDL3 referred to as the ATH-GL3, which can also be value contemplating for individuals who choose that fashion.

How lengthy will they final?

Audio-Technica presents a two-year restricted guarantee, however there isn’t a ton that may break on the ATH-GDL3. Odds are fairly excessive that in the event that they work for the primary 12 months, they’ll work for the following 10 because of an easy design and well-made elements.

Do you have to purchase them?

Sure. The ATH-GDL3 have excellent readability and accuracy throughout the lows, mids, and highs packaged into a light-weight and straightforward design.

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