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Audio-Technica ATH-GL3

Audio-Technica ATH-GL3 review: "Sounds so good and is so lightweight"

(Image: © Audio-Technica)

Our Verdict

The Audio-Technica ATH-GL3 offers great sound and a great look for a great price - plus it's surprisingly lightweight.

Pros

  • Great, clear sound quality
  • Sleek, elegant design
  • Detachable mic
  • Very lightweight

Cons

  • Feels slightly cheap/fragile
  • Open back model has sound leakage

GamesRadar+ Verdict

The Audio-Technica ATH-GL3 offers great sound and a great look for a great price - plus it's surprisingly lightweight.

Pros

  • +

    Great, clear sound quality

  • +

    Sleek, elegant design

  • +

    Detachable mic

  • +

    Very lightweight

Cons

  • -

    Feels slightly cheap/fragile

  • -

    Open back model has sound leakage

The Audio-Technica ATH-GL3 gaming headset is as pretty as it is powerful. This shouldn't come as a surprise - though Audio-Technica isn't as well-known in the gaming peripheral space, the company is iconic to audiophiles. This brand knows how to make headsets, and its ATH-GL3 and ATH-GDL3 certainly rival some of our PC headsets for gaming, as well as make for great contenders for our guides to the best PS5 headsets and best Xbox Series X headsets.

GamesRadar was sent both the Audio-Technica ATH-GL3 and the ATH-GDL3, which are very similar save for one is a closed-back model and the other is open back, and the latter is more expensive. This review will focus more on the ATH-GL3 but we'll fold in some info about the GDL3's where necessary so you can get the best idea of which headset is right for you. 

The Audio-Technica ATH-GL3 boasts some seriously punchy audio in a surprisingly lightweight build that is comfortable for hours upon hours of gaming. With a wired connection that can be used across multiple devices (PC, PlayStation, Xbox, Nintendo Switch, and even your phone) and a price sitting nicely at just under $100, we'll happily add these to our list of best gaming headsets. Here's everything you need to know about the Audio-Technica ATH-GL3 gaming headset.

Design & Features

Essential info

Connection: 3.0m cable with 3.5mm mic and headphone plugs for computers (GL3); 1.2m cable with a 3.5mm TRRS plug for gaming consoles (GDL3)
Microphone: Detachable
Compatibility: PC, PS5, PS4, Xbox Series X, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, Mobile
Drivers: 45mm
Frequency response: 10 to 35,000 Hz

The Audio-Technica ATH-GL3 and its open-back sister the GDL3 are nearly identical in design, though you can choose between an all-black or a black-and-white colorway for both. A rubber strap rests on your head protecting you from the thin metal headband that connects the ear cups - yup, there's no cushion whatsoever on the headband, which may surprise you. The closed-back GL3 features matte-black or matte-white plastic ear cups with cushy leatherette ear cushions that are detachable for easy replacement.

Bright blue cords and a bright blue interior ear cup make for a lovely pop of color. The open-back GDL3 are almost identical save for a metal grate on the ear cups signifying the open-back design, and slightly thicker cushions thanks to a deeper-recessed driver.

All of the controls are on the left ear cup, with a volume dial and mute button, both near where the 35mm AUX cable plugs in. A flexible and detachable boom mic also inserts into the left ear cup. The headset is incredibly light, which is really lovely, but as such can feel a bit flimsy, especially across the headband.

The Audio-Technica ATH-GL3 features 45mm drivers that boast a frequency response of 10 to 35,000 Hz, with 98dB/mW sensitivity. Keep in mind that Audio-Technica makes headphones for audiophiles, so there's some impressive stuff at play under the hood. And at less than eight ounces this is one of the lightest headsets I've ever held in my hands, so you may be shocked upon first removing it from the box.

Audio-Technica ATH-GL3

(Image credit: Audio-Technica)

Performance

The ATH-GL3 sounds great when plugged into the best gaming PC or the best gaming laptop, and when used as a headset for listening to some tunes. It easily plugs into my Xbox Series S controller, although I notice it needs a bit of a wiggle where the cord inserts into the headset in order to play sound clearly in both ears. This could just be an instance of the cord or internal plug getting damaged, but it happened shortly after I started using the headset, so keep an eye out.

The ATH-GL3 are incredibly lightweight and flexible. Despite the 45mm drivers requiring pretty large earcups, the headset never feels heavy or tight on my head. This thing is comfortable for hours upon hours of playtime, and as a glasses wearer, I can attest that they don't pinch at all - which is a miracle. The AUX cable isn't quite as long as I'd like, but you can easily swap this out with a longer one if you need to. 

As far as sound goes, you expect an Audio-Technica piece to sound good and the ATH-GL3 delivers in spades. Playing back-to-back rounds of Overwatch helps show off the various levels at play here, as the GL3's have booming bass and a nice full midrange sound. Footsteps and directional audio cues are crisp and direct, offering me ample opportunities to wheel around and pick off a flanking enemy player. Listening to Lady Gaga's Chromatica album while doing work is incredibly satisfying and easy (I literally unplug the headset from my controller and plug it into my AUX port on my laptop) and sounds amazing - the thumping bass that persists throughout the album never rattles or threatens to blow out. 

Audio-Technical ATH-GL3

(Image credit: Audio-Technica)

It's important here to note the major difference between the closed-back ATH-GL3 and the open-back (and more expensive) ATH-GDL3. A closed-back setup means the exterior of the ear cups are closed off, which prevents sound leakage and helps block out exterior sounds. This kind of design is ideal if you're playing games in a loud house or next to a sleeping partner and want to ensure as little exterior sound comes in or game sound leaks out. 

However, the open-back GDL3's offer a more clear sound that lends itself better to the immersiveness of an open-world game. As an avid shooter player, I lean towards the ATH-GL3s when playing Apex Legends and Halo Infinite as I get little to no exterior sound distracting me and I can hone in better on footsteps and other directional sounds. Choosing between the two is really dependent upon your level of audiophilia, your at-home setup, and your budget, because while they are very similar in look and feel, they sound quite different to the trained ear. 

Overall - should you buy it?

If you're looking for a multipurpose gaming headset that's under $100 bucks, then you should seriously consider the Audio-Technica ATH-GL3 gaming headset. This headset looks and sounds amazing and is incredibly comfortable during lengthy gaming sessions. It's wild how something that sounds so good could be so lightweight. 

It's hard to justify spending the extra $30 for the ATH-GDL3 unless you're really fussy about your audio, as the differences in sound (while noticeable) aren't enough for me to shell out the extra cash. Plus the closed-back ATH-GL3s are great for competitive shooters and for those of us who game in loud places. However, if you love audio and want the more open, immersive soundscape of an open back set, consider the GDL3s. It's all about your personal preference and budget here, but both Audio-Technica headsets are absolute phenoms. 

The Verdict
4.5

4.5 out of 5

Audio-Technica ATH-GL3 review: "Sounds so good and is so lightweight"

The Audio-Technica ATH-GL3 offers great sound and a great look for a great price - plus it's surprisingly lightweight.

More info

Available platformsPC, Xbox Series X, Xbox One
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Alyssa Mercante is an editor and features writer at GamesRadar based out of Brooklyn, NY. Prior to entering the industry, she got her Masters's degree in Modern and Contemporary Literature at Newcastle University with a dissertation focusing on contemporary indie games. She spends most of her time playing competitive shooters and in-depth RPGs and was recently on a PAX Panel about the best bars in video games. In her spare time Alyssa rescues cats, practices her Italian, and plays soccer.