March 27, 2017 2 Comments

Today, we have two audio companies who aim to produce Professional-grade monitor headphones that deliver flat true-to-life audio. The Sennheiser HD 461, from the legendary German audio brand and the Audio-Technica ATH-M30X from Japan-based Audio-Technica, are well-known for designing and manufacturing professional microphones and other audio equipment.

Both these headphones are well-acclaimed among music enthusiasts and audiophiles for their detailed audio. Here is an in-depth comparison between the two headphones that will help you make the most suitable choice. 

"Both the headphones are Over-ears and are great entry level studio monitors. The Sennheiser HD 461 delivers serious audio quality. It also comes with an in-line mic and remote, however, is bulky, making potability an issue.

The ATH-M30X from Japanese brand Audio-Technica has a high impedance. Thus, it is best driven by an external amplifier."

-Raghav Somani

Sennheiser - HD 461




DESIGN: Sennheiser HD 461 vs Audio-Technica ATH-M30X


The Sennheiser HD 461, flaunts a design that is proudly Sennheiser. The over-ear earcups sit on your ears to completely cover them. The black design is devoid of any frill and fancy. The silver ring on both the earcups does good and adds a little quirk to the otherwise boring design. 

The ruffled texture on the earcups, are welcome and do Save the headphones from looking like utterly boring studio monitors.

The large circum-aural headphones are built entirely from plastic. Clearly plastic through and through, they do look a little cheap. We wish Sennheiser had taken more efforts into making these over-ears look more expensive and durable. All being said, the headphones are very lightweight, thus taking away from the pressure you feel while listening to music for long hours. 

A good feature, the headphones come with a detachable cable. Considering that most headphones become useless over time due to damaged cables, with the HD 461, the cord has to be merely replaced. 


The ATH-M30X is an upgrade to the ATH-M30 and thus sports a slightly upgraded design as well. The black ATH-M30X is mostly made of plastic and has oval-shaped earcups unlike its predecessor, the ATH-M30, which has a distinctly round shape.The M30X has all that can grab the attention of budding audio enthusiasts in a budget. 

On the design end, the ATH-M30X features a stern design true to its aspects and does not aim at turning any heads. We can't help but love the placement of Audio-Technica's logos on each Ear-Cups though. A rather large Audio-Technica logo runs along the headband which is quite putting off. The rexine cushions on the earcups are soft and cover the ears completely. Even the flexible headband has the same rexine material. Making them wearable on hours to go.

The Sennheiser HD 461 and the Audio Technica ATH M30X are both flexible, thus, you can easily port them wherever you go. The latter also comes with a nice little pouch to put them in. The only thing you miss is being able to take the cable out of the bottom, which you can easily wrap around the headphones themselves instead.

USABILITY: Sennheiser HD 461 vs Audio-Technica ATH-M30X


The Sennheiser HD 461 comes with an impedance of 32 Ohms, lower than that of the ATH-M30X, and hence it can easily be driven by you smartphone of any other low-end devices. This is great of you do not want invest in buying an additional amplifier. 

When it comes to the fitting, the HD 461 gives you the best fit. The headphones sit on your head like they are crafted for perfection. The earcups and the headband are heavily padded and completely engulf your ears. The ear cups also twists just the right amount, making them fit very smoothly. 

The cable features a smart in-line mic and remote. This means that you can take calls and control your music with ease. The headphones also come in two variants, one that is compatible with android devices and the other that is compatible with iOS devices. 


We need to consider that the ATH-M30X is being made as professional monitor headphones, and hence have a high impedance rating. While such high impedance rating can help increase clarity, it is not easily derivable with low-end devices like your smartphones and iPods. Thus, you will need a suitable Amp to power it in full capacity.  

The 3 m long cable has a thick outer covering, that covers the copper aluminum wire, making it quite sturdy. Audio-Technica also bundles a 6.3 mm adapter which snaps onto the 3.5 mm jack making the  ATH-M30X work with a wide range of audio equipment. The M30x is also flexible, and the ear cups can be swiveled 90-degrees, allowing forsingle-ear monitoring.

When comes to warranty, the Sennheiser HD 461 comes with 2 years of warranty, while the ATH-M30X comes with a standard 1-year warranty. 

SOUND: Sennheiser HD 461 vs Audio-Technica ATH-M30X


The sound is where the Sennheiser HD 461 shines. These over-ears are definitely focused towards the bass but do not over do. They are extremely smooth and do not blast the lows, which is especially important when considering studio monitors.

We love the ton of detail that the HD 461 delivers. The presentation is extremely open and clean, offering an excellent sense of space and a wide sound stage. The wide and spacious imaging that ensures a superb experience.

The highs and the lows stay consistent, without getting muffled or distorted by an overpowering bass. The vocals are crisp and edgy, nowhere getting under the loud sonic signature. The HD 461 is incredibly loud and maintains the same level of detail, even at varying volumes.

There are no bright edges, and while the bass is booming, every little note can be experienced. Sennheiser's years of experience in the world of the audio comes clearly through, in the depth of the quality of audio. 



When it comes to the sound, the ATH-M30X sounds very soft and muffled when not used with an Amp or any other high-end device. Amp it up and you will immediately notice a stark difference.

Considering that they are made with studio monitoring in mind, ATH-M30X is not meant for folks who like drama in their sound definition.In fact, it produces a flat sound with absolutely no distortion. When used perfectly, the headphones get really loud and produce crystal clear sounds. They are also able to handle bass and treble perfectly.

The sound stage is good, but do not expect the level of that of high-end professional grade studio headphones. Owing to the fit, the passive noise isolation is enough to suppress most ambient sounds with ease. Bass is nice and punchy and does not overpower the vocals and instruments, which are also well reproduced for the most part.


Sennheiser HD 461

  • Bass Heavy Sound with Crisp Vocals
  • 2 Year Warranty
  • In-line Mic & Remote
  • Flexible Bulky Design
Audio-Technica ATH-M30X

  • High Impedance, To be Driven by an Amplifier
  • 1 Year Warranty
  • No Remote & Mic
  • Flexible Sleek Design


The Sennheiser HD 461 are classic headphones that have been built to primarily do one thing- produce great sound. If you are looking for a more serious audio experience, these over-ears make the cut.

Whereas, Audio-Technica ATH-M30X is for someone who wants entry-level studio monitoring along with being portable and sleek.

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What is going to be your pick? Let us know in the comments section below.

2 Responses


September 02, 2017

Hey Sethu, the Sennheiser HD 461 is more an audiophile headphone for beginners and can also be used for home and casual listening. Speaking about the amplification part, it has a 32 ohm impedance. It factually does not require an amp, but using one is recommended to get optimum output.
The perfect portable DAC/Amp for your headphone to be used with your phone would be the Chord Mojo or Oppo HA2SE.
For further help, please get in touch with us.
Thank you.


September 01, 2017

I bought sennheiser hd 461 after reading this article.. Sennheiser hd 461 is good, more clarity, wider sound stage. Am using it with redmi note 3. I feel volume level and bass is very low. Doest it require amp?if so suggest me a budget dac/amp. Please make my headphone worth the money.. Am. Not satisfied with its performance.. Sony xb 950ap is performing good with my phone at this price.

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