I’ve come to expect certain things from Audio-Technica headphones and earphones. First, the company has a warm, soothing sound profile that’s easy to listen to for hours at a time. Usually good, but not necessarily excellent, although the company usually combines it with a solid overall experience thanks to its features and performance. All this is true : a wireless headphones with active noise cancellation (ANC) and a set of useful tools that compete with more expensive competitors. Some work better than others, but while the ATH-TWX7 lacks one key element, the company has done well to expand its capabilities over the years.
Despite the sticbud look, the ATH-TWX7 looks sleeker than most similarly priced headphones. Audio-Technica chose a mix of black and silver (or white/silver or grey/silver) that makes the headphones look like high-end headphones. The main body is quite small, which translated into a more comfortable fit on my ears. The case also features a unique teardrop shape that allows the earbuds to sit at an angle while charging instead of standing up or lying completely flat. There’s no real benefit here, but it’s a departure from the norm worth noting.
Audio-Technica Audio-Technica ATH-TWX7
- Warm and attractive sound profile
- Compact and convenient design
- Lots of onboard controls
- Useful in-app call test
- Some genres are a struggle
- No automatic pause
- Transparency mode does not affect your sound
Audio-Technica has done something for the onboard controls on the ATH-TWX7, which is rare in headphones. It uses both touch and physical buttons to invoke playback, calls, voice modes and voice assistant. Usually you see this on headphones where the playback controls are a touch and the noise canceling and transparency modes are assigned to one button, but I don’t recall seeing both on headphones before. Granted, I’ve been reviewing audio gear for several years now, so I hesitate to declare Audio-Technica the “first” to do so.
To help you find the ideal fit, Audio-Technica includes two different types of ear tips. One is labeled “soft” and is meant to be more comfortable, while the standard option is meant to offer a more secure fit. I was expecting the “soft” version to be foam, or at least partially foam, but they’re pretty much the same. One is slightly thinner, but they both look like the same silicone material you see in most headphones, and neither feels softer than the other.
The last thing I’ll mention in terms of the ATH-TWX7’s design is its ingress protection (IP) rating. These are only rated IPX4 against splashes and are not built to withstand spray jets or submersion. That’s probably enough for workouts, and while that’s about average for mid-range headphones, slightly more expensive models get into IPX7 territory.
Software and features
When I review In late 2019 headphones, Audio-Technica’s implementation was so limited that there was no reason to launch it. Apart from installing a firmware update, it didn’t offer anything useful, and even on-board control customization was limited. I’m happy to report that this is no longer the case, as the AT Connect software now offers more robust settings and a reconfigurable list of tools than before.
The main screen of the program is dedicated to options for changing the music codec, EQ and sound mode, as well as displaying the battery life for each earbud. Tapping on the ATH-TWX7 image takes you to detailed settings, divided into Audio and System sections. It’s all standard fare with access to everything the on-board controls have to offer in the app, including the ability to change the touch and physical buttons to your liking. But while it lets you set an auto-off timer when there’s no sound, the ATH-TWX7 don’t have an automatic pause when you take them out of your ears. In 2024, when almost every set of wireless headphones does this, this is a huge mistake.
I’ll mention a few things that are fairly new. First, under the Call Microphone settings, Audio-Technica goes a step further with an in-app call test so you can hear how you’ll sound before you make a call. This is in addition to features like Natural mode for quiet locations or Noise Reduction mode for windy or loud environments. The latter is not very original, but it will still be useful. You can turn off the touch controls and rely on the small physical buttons on the earcups. A bit innovative is the ability to adjust the sensitivity of those panels, set to medium by default with low and high options as you need them.
Both touch and physical button input allow you to Many flexibility in how you set them up. Everything on the ATH-TWX7 is reconfigurable, meaning you can move things from buttons to touchpads and vice versa, or add things that aren’t there by default. In addition to playback, calls, voice assistant and noise cancellation settings, you can check Talk, Low Latency mode and Battery level. Audio-Technica hasn’t reinvented the wheel in terms of what these headphones can do, but greater customization gives you more options to set tasks in the way that makes the most sense for you.
Sound quality and noise cancellation
Almost every Audio-Technica headphone and headphone I’ve ever tested has a similar sound profile. It’s a warm, inviting tone that’s a pleasure to listen to for hours, mainly because the dynamics aren’t tiring. The ATH-TWX7 is more of the same, for better or worse, with some exceptions.
The softer, acoustic-based stylings are excellent, with crisp details on the drums and guitars lending texture to tracks like Zach Bryan’s “Heavy Eyes” and Charles Wesley Godwin’s “Family Ties.” The ATH-TWX7 also works well with jazz and synth-heavy pop, rock and instrumental tunes. Hip-hop is also great, but headphones start to struggle with hard rock, metal and more chaotic, bombastic genres. Better Lovers’ “30 Under 13” is still the gritty, raspy hard I’ve come to know and love, but everything sounds flat and has less energy than other headphones. The sound on this album and other metal selections like Gojira’s Durability it’s more condensed than other genres, with less room for things to unfold – especially the guitars flying around your head.
Like many ANC headphones, the active noise cancellation on the ATH-TWX7 works well with constant noise, but struggles with things like human voices. This model had no trouble dealing with the roar of a noisy heater in my Las Vegas hotel during CES, and the same goes for white noise machines and fans at home. It’s not Bose-level sound blocking, but it’s definitely above average.
The sound quality in Hear-Through or transparency mode is also quite good. There’s a nice, natural element that doesn’t seem compressed or muted like some of the competition. However, the ATH-TWX7 doesn’t hug your voice like the AirPods Pro, so the overall effect isn’t like you’re not wearing headphones at all. I assumed that the Talk-Through feature would help with this, but instead this tool simply reduces the volume or mutes the content. Confusingly, while it offers two options for inserting surround sound, this tool doesn’t just let you pause. This isn’t really a useful setting for quick chat, Adjacent Hearing is. Because your voice doesn’t reach your ears, you’ll still feel the need to speak, meaning you’re more likely to scream if you’re not careful.
Props to Audio-Technica for the easiest way to test call performance on the ATH-TWX7 yet. Thanks to the in-app call test, you can get an idea of how you’ll sound before answering or making a call, which is better than hoping you sound good to the caller. I’ve found this helpful in judging what’s best for where I am at the time, even when I’m at home.
The noise reduction mode lives up to its name, but it also sacrifices some sound quality. Natural mode sounds best, but it picks up background noise easily. If you’re in a quiet space, the ATH-TWX7 gives you an above-average sound performance that’s noticeably clear of the typical dynamic-like quality offered by most headphones.
The ATH-TWX7 also struggles a bit with auto-switching via multipoint Bluetooth, but only when it comes to calls. Whether I was hopping from my phone to my laptop for music or other audio, the transition was quick and seamless. However, if I was listening to something on my MacBook Pro and received a call, there were a few times when the headphones struggled to change it. Since this is the most likely scenario in which I would need automatic switching, this was disappointing. The best case scenario would be for me to tap to switch the volume from the iPhone to the ATH-TWX7 after answering, but that’s not really an ideal workflow.
Audio-Technica promised up to 6.5 hours of work on the headphones themselves with two additional charges. It doesn’t indicate whether this is due to ANC being on or off, but during my tests I had no trouble hitting the specified number while blocking out background noise. It’s a mix of music and calls, occasionally switching to Listening mode for a few minutes and leaving the ATH-TWX7 to automatically turn off twice. I could use 30 minutes more than the company claims, and a few extra minutes is always a good thing.
There’s a decent comparison for the ATH-TWX7 in the $200 price range . An honorable mention for us Listed, these have similar battery life and the same IPX4 rating, but are more comfortable to wear and have some trademark Sony features. These include support for DSEE Extreme scaling, along with Quick Focus Mode, which is handy for quick chats at the office, coffee shop or airport. Plus, LinkBuds S can automatically pause when you’re talking, and adaptive sound mode can be configured to change settings based on activity or location. Plus, they’re available at full price for $200.
iPhone owners will be more than satisfied On the ATH-TWX7. Currently available for less than $200, the 2022 version of the headset is the best choice if your life is intertwined with iOS, iPadOS, and macOS. New features like Adaptive Audio bring automatic adjustments to your day, and Apple’s mastery of transparency mode continues to be the best in the business. Finally, they are more comfortable for longer periods of time than the ATH-TWX7.
There’s a lot to like . A powerful set of features brings a lot of convenience to your day. But some of these tools could still use some fine-tuning, and the lack of an automatic pause in 2024 is a head-scratcher. Still, the sound is mostly good, if inconsistent at times, and the transparency mode is better than most. Add in solid call quality and an in-app sound test, and the ATH-TWX7 is a decent idea, especially at this price. Unfortunately, it falls short of being the more complete package that some of the competition offers for a slightly larger investment.
Gallery: Audio-Technica ATH-TWX7 review | 6 Fig
Gallery: Audio-Technica ATH-TWX7 review | 6 Fig