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【PR】"The ATH-G1 is wonderful": An Interview with Mr. Soken, Sound Director of FFXIV, and the Audio-Technica Product Team.
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印刷2020/08/21 12:13

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【PR】"The ATH-G1 is wonderful": An Interview with Mr. Soken, Sound Director of FFXIV, and the Audio-Technica Product Team.

画像集#002のサムネイル/【PR】"The ATH-G1 is wonderful": An Interview with Mr. Soken, Sound Director of FFXIV, and the Audio-Technica Product Team.

Audio-Technica, a long-established audio equipment manufacturer in Japan, released its ATH-G1 and ATH-G1WL gaming headsets in July 2019. They have been well-received among gamers thanks to their excellent sound quality and acoustic localization, as well as their light weight and comfortable fit(Related articles Japanese text only).

The ATH-G1 series has gained the Official recommendation of Square Enix's MMORPG "FINAL FANTASY XIV" (FFXIV). But not only were the headsets tested and confirmed to be compatible with the game, they were highly praised by the FFXIV sound team. What, in particular, did the FFXIV sound team like so much about the ATH-G1 series? We had a round table interview at the Square Enix sound studio with Mr. Masayoshi Soken, who leads the FFXIV sound team, and specialists from Audio-Technica to find out more about the great fit between the sound of the MMORPG and the ATH-G1 series.

※この記事の日本語版はこちら

ATH-G1
Manufacturer:Audio-Technica
Contact: Support
price:$169.00 (Aug/21/2020)
画像集#003のサムネイル/【PR】"The ATH-G1 is wonderful": An Interview with Mr. Soken, Sound Director of FFXIV, and the Audio-Technica Product Team.

This article does not review or evaluate the ATH-G1 series itself. You can read the 4Gamer review of the headsets here. (Japanese text only)

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【PR】オーディオテクニカの「ATH-G1」は,高音質&優れた定位感で勝利をもたらすゲーマー向けヘッドセットだ

【PR】オーディオテクニカの「ATH-G1」は,高音質&優れた定位感で勝利をもたらすゲーマー向けヘッドセットだ

 オーディオテクニカから,ひさしぶりにゲーマー向けヘッドセットの新製品「ATH-G1」が登場した。多彩なオーディオ製品を扱い,プロゲーマーからも評価される名門オーディオメーカーが手がけたピュア・アナログヘッドセットの実力はいかほどのものか。デザインから音質,マイクの品質まで,余すところなくチェックしてみよう。

[2019/07/06 12:00]

ATH-G1 Product information - Audio-Technica



We pushed our Official Recommendation for the ATH-G1 very strongly (Mr. Soken)


4Gamer
First and foremost, could you give us a brief introduction of yourselves?

Mr. Masayoshi Soken
Masayoshi Soken
Sound director of FFXIV at Square Enix.
画像集#005のサムネイル/【PR】"The ATH-G1 is wonderful": An Interview with Mr. Soken, Sound Director of FFXIV, and the Audio-Technica Product Team.
My name is Masayoshi Soken and I am the sound director of FFXIV at Square Enix.

Mr. Yu Hirayama:
My name is Yu Hirayama from the Product Strategy section of the Audio-Technica Marketing Department. I am in charge of consumer headphones. And since we consider gaming headsets to be consumer products, I am in charge of those as well.

Mr. Yusuke Ueno
My name is Yusuke Ueno, from the Consumer Sales Division, International Sales Department at Audio-Technica. I'm in charge of overseas marketing where we listen to consumers in overseas markets to understand their needs and wants, and use that information in our manufacturing.

Mr. Kozo Ando
My name is Kozo Ando from the Product Development Department at Audio-Technica. I am in charge of housing and acoustic design of headphones.

画像集#006のサムネイル/【PR】"The ATH-G1 is wonderful": An Interview with Mr. Soken, Sound Director of FFXIV, and the Audio-Technica Product Team.
Yu Hirayama
Product Strategy section of the Audio-Technica Marketing Department
画像集#007のサムネイル/【PR】"The ATH-G1 is wonderful": An Interview with Mr. Soken, Sound Director of FFXIV, and the Audio-Technica Product Team.
Yusuke Ueno
Consumer Sales Division, International Sales Department at Audio-Technica
画像集#008のサムネイル/【PR】"The ATH-G1 is wonderful": An Interview with Mr. Soken, Sound Director of FFXIV, and the Audio-Technica Product Team.
Kozo Ando
Product Development Department at Audio-Technica

4Gamer
First off, has the FFXIV sound team and Audio-Technica worked together before the ATH-G1?

Hirayama
No, we haven't.

Soken
The ATH-G1 started it all. The FFXIV sound team makes Official recommendations for sound products. Among a diverse lineup of products, the ATH-G1 was the most distinctive. So, contrary to our usual course of action, we pushed our Official recommendation for the ATH-G1 very strongly.

4Gamer
Isn't it a bit unusual to push from the game publisher side?

Soken
画像集#017のサムネイル/【PR】"The ATH-G1 is wonderful": An Interview with Mr. Soken, Sound Director of FFXIV, and the Audio-Technica Product Team.
Maybe it's not so common. There are many headsets that boast big, bold sound, but so few with the resolution to accurately reproduce all of the game's sound elements and that won't make players feel tired when playing for a long time and that are still affordable.

With the majority of headsets you can enjoy playing for short periods of time, say 20 to 30 minutes. However, those headsets are not very effective for games that are designed to be played for long periods of time, such as MMORPGs like FFXIV. The sound is altered and will have a different impression than what we intended with our sound design.
When we make the Official recommendation, we also check the headset in detail using a dummy head, but there are not many headsets [that are suitable for FFXIV].

4Gamer
That may be the case.

Soken
The ATH-G1 series performed very well, however, so I strongly pushed it and asked for the Official recommendation.

4Gamer
Have you and FFXIV's sound team been using Audio-Technica's headphones and headset products before?

Soken
I have the impression that the ATH-G1 led many people to start using Audio-Technica products. I have used their products for sound production and everyday use, but I hadn't previously used their gaming headsets.

4Gamer
Do you use different types of headphones for sound production and listening to music, and for games?

Soken
I use various headphones depending on what I'm doing. For sound production, I have to check the sound and that means my brain and ears function differently than when simply listening, so I use suitable headphones for this purpose.

On the other hand, I want to enjoy the sound when I am commuting or traveling, so I use different headphones for that. And I do use a gaming headset when I'm back home playing games and chatting with my friends.

4Gamer
Once I had an interview with young professional gamers about another Audio-Technica product (related article here), and they just loved Audio-Technica's ATH-E70 monitor earphones. I was impressed as they said, "This can be used for playing games, listening to music, just about everything!" So I'm curious what a sound professional would say.

Soken
ATH-E70
画像集#016のサムネイル/【PR】"The ATH-G1 is wonderful": An Interview with Mr. Soken, Sound Director of FFXIV, and the Audio-Technica Product Team.
I think the ATH-E70 is a unusual product. Actually, I have recently used the ATH-E70 for both work and travel. It's an in-ear earphone for monitoring but it can be used for enjoying music as well as for sound production. It's a rare in-ear. It's a bit expensive, though [laughs].

4Gamer
On the other hand, as a gamer, what's the most important thing when choosing a headset?

Soken
The point is that you can hear the game's sound information clearly, as we intended. Headphones that make V-shaped sound in pursuit of dynamism are okay as a concept, but most of the time they don't convey necessary information. You can hear heavy bass by increasing dynamism, but, for example, that would prevent you from hearing every enemy footstep.

In FFXIV, we were very particular about environmental sounds. We actually mixed certain sounds that make you psychologically understand whether you are in a wide, open space or a closed space. But you can't hear them unless the sound resolution is high.
The resolution of a 4K image and a half-HD [1280 x 720] image, for example, will be completely different if viewed on the same size of display. Similarly, sound also has a resolution. If it sounds fine and balanced, or rough but powerful, that is a completely different vector.

In constant pursuit of the best resolution, we make sounds more exciting in battles and reduce the loudness value [subjective volume felt by humans] in normal times in order not to tire the listener. Whether this can be realized or not is one of the biggest points to be checked for when making the Official recommendation for headsets.

4Gamer
There are still a lot of gaming headsets with a lot of reverberation. But, to be honest, I don't know if it's really necessary.

Soken
画像集#018のサムネイル/【PR】"The ATH-G1 is wonderful": An Interview with Mr. Soken, Sound Director of FFXIV, and the Audio-Technica Product Team.
It's something to do with surround sound, but there are not many good surround sound headphones. Since FFXIV was originally made 7 to 8 years ago, the surround was designed for 5.1ch. We made the sound so carefully and precisely so that you'd feel like you had dove into the world of FFXIV when you listened to it in 5.1ch surround.

However, 5.1ch surround is downmixed to 2ch when playing through headphones. And if it's downmixed by the coefficient of each manufacturer's hardware it will change the feeling of spread and narrowing we had intended. So we implant our own downmix coefficient [in FFXIV]. For example, in the case of a PC, if the sound device is 2 speakers, the sound of FFXIV made for multichannel is supposed to be output in stereo through the downmix coefficient of its OS. However, that coefficient is not an appropriate downmix coefficient for the sound field we aim for. So what we do is this: We bypass the downmix circuit of the OS and the sound is converted into stereo with our own downmix coefficient for output. I don't think other games do this much. FFXIV is so picky about outputting sound.

So only those headsets that meet our requirements can reproduce the proper sound. It doesn't have to be a luxurious one. After all, the crucial part of compatibility, regardless of the material and size of the headset, is whether it fits well with our sound design. That's why we play the game on our own in order to verify if the headset is good or bad by checking a lot of inspection items.

4Gamer
That makes sense. After testing, the ATH-G1 received a passing mark, and that was why you gave it the Official recommendation.

Soken
Far above a passing mark - it was wonderful.

Hirayama
I have only read a little in an email about the evaluation by Square Enix for the Official Recommendation Program. I am very grateful to know that you took the time and effort to evaluate it from various angles.

Soken
Unlike the image, the sound is invisible. So I think sometimes it takes courage for users to spend a lot of money to upgrade their sound device. You can easily see the difference in images if you pay more, but with sound you can't actually see it. There're only a limited number of high-quality sound devices that still affordable [for gamers]. Among them, the ATH-G1 is very good because it performs very well, and the price is reasonable. In addition, I liked that it was manufactured by a Japanese company [laughs].

4Gamer
There are not many gamers who often replace sound products. But if you finally find something that suits your ears, you want to use it for 5 or 10 years. So it could be a good idea to suggest "Why not invest a little more for better sound!"


Immersion in the game world and very subtle sound adjustments in battles are ideal for FFXIV.


4Gamer
Let's get back to the point, what made you or the FFXIV sound team fall in love with the ATH-G1?

Soken
画像集#019のサムネイル/【PR】"The ATH-G1 is wonderful": An Interview with Mr. Soken, Sound Director of FFXIV, and the Audio-Technica Product Team.
For example, in the case of FPS, "sound information" to locate enemies is extremely important. In MMORPGs, of course, the sound is designed in that way during battles, but that's not all. What we value most in FFXIV sound design is the feeling that you actually exist in that world and that the vast space is spreading around you. The point is how immersive it can be, and that's what we focus on - expressing that immersive sense with our sound design.

Actually, it's extremely difficult to create proper sound that lets gamers know where they are, what kind of space they are in. I'm not sure if this is a good example, but weather forecasts simulate a cloud flow. You can use a supercomputer to input various data including temperature, atmospheric pressure, dates, and ocean temperature, and then simulate them with humongous calculations to output a detailed cloud flow.

Similarly, you can get a very natural sound if you accumulate simulated sound calculated by a powerful computer. For example, the sound of a delicate wind, the murmur of trees, and the chirping of birds in the forest. It should be possible to reproduce the situation where these sounds happen at any time, in the 360 degrees surrounding you, up, down, left, and right. However, it's extremely difficult to reproduce it with hardware that has limited performance. From a technological perspective, playing without too much load on CPU, and minimizing the number of channels and data capacity is very challenging.

Of course, if you listen to it with multichannel speakers like in this room*, you will hear all 200-300 sounds being localized in real time, but you can't do the same with a headset. So we aim to create a sound field where you can listen comfortably for a long time with a compatible headset and the high resolution makes it easier to understand the detailed information when it is downmixed to two speakers [of the headset].
*The interview took place in the Square Enix sound production room.

In addition, since the game system is made mainly for battle content, it is crucial to get more excited during the battle. All-flat sounds just aren't enough. I want the headset to make very subtle adjustments. The ATH-G1 seems to make adjustments that are very suitable for our game. Pure and powerful. I know it's very difficult though [laughs].

4Gamer
Are there any emblematic scenes in FFXIV that are pure and powerful?

Soken
画像集#029のサムネイル/【PR】"The ATH-G1 is wonderful": An Interview with Mr. Soken, Sound Director of FFXIV, and the Audio-Technica Product Team.
I think that you can experience that with the spectacular scenes found during primal battles. For instance, you may find that the contrasting sound design is well expressed when you enter the forest after battling a primal.

Regarding the battle, an immersive feeling is a major prerequisite for battle, of course, and in addition, information about where enemies are coming from or what kind of combat technique should be performed must be known by sound. For the sound of an explosion, the amount of information changes depending on whether it is a glass-filled explosion or a water-filled explosion. And the information affects players' actions. So this is very important information for a game system.

The play style is completely different in battles, than it is in the forest, or when collecting housing and crafting materials. I think there are few headsets that can achieve both properly.

4Gamer
I agree that there are not many headsets that are suitable both for those who play FPS and those who enjoy music and sound effects in the environment. MMORPGs used to be battle-centric games so BGM and environmental sounds were not taken very seriously. But post FFXIV, games that provide enjoyable stories up to the level of single-player games have appeared. So now a headset is required to reproduce many types of sounds, including the sound for enjoying the story, the sound for enjoying the environment, and the sound for enjoying the battle.

It's a little off the headset topic, but in the case of FFXIV, what kind of weight is given to the sound production of battle, background music, and environmental sounds?

Soken
FFXIV is an MMORPG with a huge story. When it comes to FINAL FANTASY, there are many customers who value the story. It's already a huge task to create the same sound design as an entry in the main, numbered series. In addition to that, there are three expansion packs - I think you can imagine there is a vast world in front of you.

4Gamer
There are several big updates every year and an expansion package once every two years or so that's almost on a AAA scale.

Soken
画像集#020のサムネイル/【PR】"The ATH-G1 is wonderful": An Interview with Mr. Soken, Sound Director of FFXIV, and the Audio-Technica Product Team.
No no, our expansion packs are actually at AAA level. It's an extremely massive quantity [laughs]. In terms of the number of BGM songs, one AAA game has approximately 100 songs and instrumentals. The expansion package we are producing has about the same number of songs and instrumentals. There is no difference at all. It feels like we, on the production side, have been forced into a tough challenge every time [laughs].

4Gamer
When a new MMORPG expansion pack is launched with a new setting, we want the music to express some feelings that let players experience the world of a different culture when they go to the new areas. I think it's an interesting part of MMORPGs that players can experience this not only visually but also with music: "Wow, I'm in a different world now."

Soken
I agree. I just said that the story is the main axis, and our team's main mission is to provide a game play experience as voluminous as buying a package game. Therefore, preparing a volume that you can play for 20 to 30 hours naturally means making a AAA game [laughs]. I think it's quite rare to produce a title with such effort that you essentially make one package game with each expansion.

Hirayama
I heard you won a Guinness world record?

Soken
There is a certificate just outside the room. We received a Guinness world record because there were too many BGM tracks [laughs]. It's still only a passing mark, though.

Let's go back to where we were. In the case of MMORPGs, there is another special thing. There is a certain play style where the same content is repeated over and over again in order to collect tokens, so we carefully calculate to design the sound so players won't get bored. It requires 4 to 5 times more resources compared to a normal package game, which you can play for 20 to 30 hours. Otherwise you will get bored from the sound itself. We are constantly working to prevent that.

4Gamer
During the battle, there is some background music, sound effects, sounds of attack, sounds of skills, like attack and recovery, and sounds of what the enemy is doing.

Which of these sounds is the most important one? Those that are coming from the enemy?

Soken
No, it is actually the sound of battle abilities as well as the information players can discern from these sounds. For example, the sound effect that indicates to players that their group of eight must stack together and take the enemy's attack is necessary information for players. Furthermore, the sound that plays when players are able to use a limit break the so-called 'finishing move' is also important information and can turn the tide of battle.

The enemy also utilizes special moves. When the enemy's special move transitions into a cut scene, the song will stop or switch according to the modulation or will become silent or flashy. This is very important information. We try every trick to make the experience more audible. For example, if the information is voice, you cannot hear it unless you lower the sound effects and music. That's why there's a ducking system used everywhere: the volume of the BGM track and the sound effect track automatically is lowered to a certain level when the voice sounds, then returns to the original level after the voice playback ends.

4Gamer
I see. It's certainly important that players can fight while hearing the sound and it's really unique to MMORPG.

Soken
画像集#021のサムネイル/【PR】"The ATH-G1 is wonderful": An Interview with Mr. Soken, Sound Director of FFXIV, and the Audio-Technica Product Team.
Making the battles more pleasant and uplifting while conveying important sound accurately, and letting players feel accomplished for working with others to defeat mighty enemies - I think that's where we can prove the power of game sounds, and we make a conscious effort to do so.

FFXIV provides a big version update, called a patch, about once every three months, and we add a big boss-class enemy each time. They are tough enemies that you can't beat unless eight players cooperate as a team. We do our best to create suitable sounds so that players can get energized when they gather and fight even if they don't know each other very well.

For example, the music switches at the latter half of the boss battle and becomes louder and more intense, or an impressive vocal song suddenly begins at the climax. Furthermore, a battle sequence is enhanced by having the enemy appear at the right time. We carefully create sounds to support all this. So it's a lot more than the original package game, and we are trying to create a sound design that prevents players from getting bored even if they play repeatedly.

4Gamer
Earlier you talked about the explosion. The fighting is supposed to sound different on stone pavement, on soil, and on a floor flooded with water. But if a game can't allocate sufficient resources to the sound, it's just unable to produce those sound details. On the other hand, FFXIV does care about those details.

Soken
Yes. There are a wide range of characters a player can create that are from different races and sizes from pint sized to that of a large beast. On top to that there are thousands of monsters. Their feet are all different, and naturally the sound of all of their footsteps are different.

That said, resources are limited. So instead of creating an unlimited number of sounds, we use different techniques to get a variety of sounds from a small overall load. In this vast, expansive world, different sounds according to the floor/ground material or how the sounds reverberate in space are included in all of the maps.

Then, you can put hundreds or even thousands of items in the game, including furniture in a house, a pond in the garden, etc., and all of them are followed by sound effects. We have a bowl of soup as one of our in-game items, and you might be surprised to know that we even have a splashing sound effect that plays when a small toy falls in it. I guess we are way too picky [laughs].

4Gamer
You don't have to, but you can't help doing it.

Soken
It's my spirit. Sometimes those small additions are discovered by players and they are astonished: "Wow, that's unbelievably detailed!"

4Gamer
I don't really get into the details while I'm playing and just following the story. But there is often a new discovery when I look back later or try again with another character.
I think sounds tend to make a strong impression in those moments.

Soken
I agree. I think it's totally different. There are many occupations called "jobs" in FFXIV, and the set of sound effects changes depending on what the player chooses. There is a huge sound variation.

Well, it's hard work [sigh and laugh]. I do it because I'm already on board. But I'll definitely refuse if I'm told, "Let's make another MMORPG" [laughs].

4Gamer
Nowadays, the direction tends to be towards esports titles, especially when it comes to headsets for PC gamers. I get the impression that the most crucial thing about headsets is the accuracy of the sound that tells you where the enemy is and who did what and where.

However, in MMORPGs, I want music as well as sound effects like environmental sounds when entering a new city or castle, or cutscene sounds when a new person is introduced. I think esports-oriented headsets may have trouble reproducing this type of material. What about the ATH-G1?

Soken
画像集#022のサムネイル/【PR】"The ATH-G1 is wonderful": An Interview with Mr. Soken, Sound Director of FFXIV, and the Audio-Technica Product Team.
There are many gamers on the FFXIV sound staff. We play FFXIV at home, but also really enjoy FPS. I'm super bad at Apex Legends [laughs], but I play it hard and, though it may seem surprising, I use the headsets officially recommended by FFXIV to enjoy these other kinds of games, too.

Because, no matter how much we say, "It's the official recommended product of FFXIV," we believe it should also be suitable for other games as well. For example, regarding a mic on a headset, if it has poorer sound quality than a voice heard on the radio and you can't communicate effectively during the play, we remove those headsets [from our Official recommendation consideration]. The reason is we are gamers. As gamers, we don't recommend any headset that can't provide the necessary information to play games.

Having said that, the ATH-G1 has no problem at all when used for FPS. Rather, we think, "We can win if we use this". Of course, it is an important evaluation axis that it works perfectly in FFXIV. But whether it can be used in other games or not is also an important part of our evaluation. I hope you can trust us on this score [laughs].


Mr. Soken uses the ATH-R70x open-back reference headphones for production.


This may be a bit off topic, but there was a short conversation during this roundtable about Audio-Technica's ATH-R70x headphones, which Mr. Soken uses for sound creation. We have included this since it is also an interesting story.

ATH-R70x
Manufacturer:Audio-Technica
Contact: Support
price:$349.00 (Aug/21/2020)
画像集#010のサムネイル/【PR】"The ATH-G1 is wonderful": An Interview with Mr. Soken, Sound Director of FFXIV, and the Audio-Technica Product Team.

4Gamer
ATH-R70x is an open-back headphone. What kind of product is this?

Ueno
The slits in the ATH-G1 series' headband are inherited from ATH-R70x.
画像集#028のサムネイル/【PR】"The ATH-G1 is wonderful": An Interview with Mr. Soken, Sound Director of FFXIV, and the Audio-Technica Product Team.
This is what we call "reference headphones" made for sound professionals. The headband is lightweight with slits cut out to provide comfort during periods of prolonged use. The ATH-G1 has the same lightweight construction.

4Gamer
So it's kind of an ancestor product?

Hirayama
Yes, it was launched in 2015.

Soken
The attached cable on the ATH-R70x is approximately 3m(10feet) long, suitable for professional use.
画像集#011のサムネイル/【PR】"The ATH-G1 is wonderful": An Interview with Mr. Soken, Sound Director of FFXIV, and the Audio-Technica Product Team.
This [ATH-R70x] is amazing. At the final stage of making music, we listen to it out loud with speakers instead of with headphones, which we call the "mix". This final check on which instruments are well-balanced and sounding good in the low to high range can't be done without vibrating the air with the sound. We listen to it with speakers instead of the headphones to see if the necessary information can be heard properly, and then make the final balance adjustment. We make a lot of promotional videos and do the same.

However, as always, everyone's schedule is so tight and sometimes this production room is not available. Even in such a situation, I can still work wherever I am if I have these headphones with me. It's amazing that I can monitor the sound as if they were played through speakers. So, when I make music, I use it from the beginning to save time.

An image of the production scene at Mr. Soken's desk. Using the ATH-R70x effectively saves time during the sound check.
画像集#013のサムネイル/【PR】"The ATH-G1 is wonderful": An Interview with Mr. Soken, Sound Director of FFXIV, and the Audio-Technica Product Team.

4Gamer
Shortening the work time is quite important for a professional, isn't it?

Soken
Seriously, I can't work without these headphones.

Ueno
I've heard some stories about overseas musicians living on a tour bus. They travel around for the tour and have no time to go into studios. So they use a Mac with the ATH-R70x as speakers to produce songs on the bus during the tour.

Soken
画像集#023のサムネイル/【PR】"The ATH-G1 is wonderful": An Interview with Mr. Soken, Sound Director of FFXIV, and the Audio-Technica Product Team.
Open-back headphones are so awesome [laughs]. I haven't used them until recently and I wish I would have known before! Because I keep saying "wow" in the sound room. Now my colleagues are interested and come to me to try. Then they also keep saying "wow" so it's getting popular around me and spreading. It's a great pair of headphones, very suitable for sound production. I seriously think those guys who made them are geniuses. It's really amazing.

Ando
It's made in Japan, in Naruse [Audio-Technica Naruse Plant], and my boss was in charge of it.

Hirayama
Before this, open-back headphones were commercialized for high-fidelity home audio. An innovation occurred from our accumulation of knowledge that enabled us to make open-back headphones for studio monitoring. Previously, we only had closed-back.

Soken
I have used closed-back headphones before and found that they do sound like so-called monitor headphones. But the ATH-R70x really makes me feel like I'm listening to speakers. They are awesome.

Ando
I heard an opinion during our overseas study tour: "It would be enough [to make a gaming headset] just to attach a microphone to this." [laughs]. It'd be expensive, though.

Soken
Perhaps, the presence* would not be enough for gaming.

*A frequency band near 2kHz to 4kHz determines the "presence" of sound.

Ueno
I agree. The powerful sound you mentioned earlier.

Soken
画像集#012のサムネイル/【PR】"The ATH-G1 is wonderful": An Interview with Mr. Soken, Sound Director of FFXIV, and the Audio-Technica Product Team.
We, as a specialized group dedicated to sound, can work with such presence. I think that's because we only hear the sound. Gamers, however, mainly play games, so such presence may be a little narrow when it's experienced as sub information.
There is a solid presence in the ATH-G1, and the sense of localization is also different from other products.

ATH-R70x Product information - Audio-Technica



Output the creator's sound accurately. A subtle emphasis on the bass sound for prolonged use.


4Gamer
画像集#009のサムネイル/【PR】"The ATH-G1 is wonderful": An Interview with Mr. Soken, Sound Director of FFXIV, and the Audio-Technica Product Team.
I would like to ask Audio-Technica some questions now. 4Gamer has posted a review of the ATH-G1, but this is the first time we get to hear about product planning.
We would like to know, what goals and concepts you were pursuing in reshaping your gaming product line, starting with the ATH-G1 series?

Soken
I also want to hear that.

Hirayama
We have been making gaming products for a long time. With the ATH-G1 and ATH-G1WL, we are starting over again and firmly working on product development and marketing.
There is not much difference from what we have done before, in terms of producing sound. Our engineers have always designed headphones that deliver incoming sounds to customers' ears with as little loss as possible. Nothing has changed there, and we will never cut corners on it.

In addition, the ATH-G1 series offer feather-light weight, especially important considering the play style of gamers such as comfortable fit and weight for long listening sessions. The ATH-G1 is not only lighter in weight, but there's also a lot less clamping force, and the tightness around ear is reduced.

4Gamer
It's difficult to know the clamping force just from trying a headset at the store. After purchasing headphones and using them for a while, you may find out, "This causes pain after 3 hours..." We also try to point that out in our review at 4Gamer.

Soken
May I ask a question? Why did you decide to start over for this product? You've already been making [headsets for gamers].

Hirayama
画像集#024のサムネイル/【PR】"The ATH-G1 is wonderful": An Interview with Mr. Soken, Sound Director of FFXIV, and the Audio-Technica Product Team.
Yes. Most of our previous gaming products were home audio headphones with a microphone attached. Although they were launched as gaming headsets, they were really a gaming version of headphones for enjoying stereo at home.

But with this product, the case and driver were all planned and created as a gaming headset from scratch.

Soken
Oh, I get it. That's why it works so well for games.

4Gamer
So, in making the ATH-G1, which characteristics did Audio-Technica think a gaming headset needs and doesn't need?

Ueno
画像集#025のサムネイル/【PR】"The ATH-G1 is wonderful": An Interview with Mr. Soken, Sound Director of FFXIV, and the Audio-Technica Product Team.
As Mr. Soken said, the ability to emit the creator's sound as it is, without adding extra adjustments, is always on our minds, not only for gaming headsets but also for other music headphones. That principle was carried over to the ATH-G1. Also, it's not necessary to have extra functions, like some other companies do, that add coloring to the sound or to have LEDs that glitter. It's not our thing.

In the end, the user should be able to use it for many hours and hear the sound just as intended by the creator. That is what we care about.

4Gamer
I think headphones for listening to music and to home theaters, and monitor-oriented headphones with high resolution go in different directions. The ATH-G1 isn't necessarily just for games, is it? We are interested in where the emphasis was placed for gamers and what kind of balance was chosen.

Hirayama
Basically, we want to reproduce both music and other sounds. It doesn't mean that the music doesn't matter as long as the other sounds are reproduced. We take all the input sound information and output it unaltered.
The basics are the same as with monitor headphones: the sound rises quickly and disappears smoothly when there is no more information. But there are some elements adjusted for gamers, which we think adds to the enjoyment.

4Gamer
What exactly are those enjoyable elements?

Ando
画像集#026のサムネイル/【PR】"The ATH-G1 is wonderful": An Interview with Mr. Soken, Sound Director of FFXIV, and the Audio-Technica Product Team.
The bass is very slightly increased with this product. We already talked about the reduced clamping force. Earpads become loose when you wear headphones for long hours because the human face is stronger than the headphones and that ultimately lets the sound leak, especially the bass. So we aim for the music to be in a good state when you play it for 30 minutes or 1 hour, by making the bass sound a little stronger for the first 5 to 10 minutes.

For gamers, it's normal to play 1-2 hours, sometimes even 7 hours. I heard this when I visited the gaming event PAX Australia in Melbourne, Australia. So we made that arrangement in order to make the direction different from conventional headphones. Some people may feel it is "powerful", while others may judge it to be "bass-emphasized".
As Hirayama said, many of our previous gaming products were experimental, since those were existing headphones with an added microphone. The ATH-G1 is a product with a completely different concept.

Hirayama
Made from scratch for gamers. Not converted from existing products.

4Gamer
I don't see many audio manufacturers attending PAX Australia. That's unique.

Ueno
Our sales team in Australia sells the greatest number of gaming products. They insisted that Audio-Technica should make gaming headsets.
Normally, our industry goes to the United States for overseas exhibitions, but we heard that Australian gamers were demanding more gaming headsets than American gamers.
So our engineers also flew to PAX Australia to listen to people there, and Mr. Ando incorporated all their needs and wants into our product's technology.

4Gamer
I've also been to Sydney to join an esports event, and I got the impression that there are just so many enthusiastic gamers despite the small population of the country.

Ando
The ATH-G1 series earpads have a hybrid structure, the surface is made of fabric and the periphery is made of synthetic leather.
画像集#014のサムネイル/【PR】"The ATH-G1 is wonderful": An Interview with Mr. Soken, Sound Director of FFXIV, and the Audio-Technica Product Team.
In addition, as to ATH-G1 earpads, the surface that touches the ears is made of fabric, which is a bad idea for normal headphones.

4Gamer
They are often made of synthetic leather.

Ando
It is better for sealing around the ears completely, in order to hear footsteps in FPS, for example. But it makes you sweaty after a prolonged period of use. Using fabric [on the earpads] enables moisture to escape, but also allows low-range bass sound to leak out, making the sound less dynamic. So the only thing I did was add some very subtle adjustments to cover the weak spot.

4Gamer
Absolutely.

Soken
I'm a gamer and my job is a sound engineer. From the viewpoint of a sound engineer, one of the characteristics of Audio-Technica products is that they have pure, flat, and straightforward sound.
They said they added some bass adjustment for the gaming headsets, but it's so delicate and subtle, we can't even call it an adjustment. I personally think that these headsets take advantage of the typical Audio-Technica characteristics and reproduce game sound in a very Audio-Technica way.

Hirayama
画像集#030のサムネイル/【PR】"The ATH-G1 is wonderful": An Interview with Mr. Soken, Sound Director of FFXIV, and the Audio-Technica Product Team.
It's a bit awkward to speak about our own company's story. We have accumulated a tremendous amount of skill and technique in producing analog transducers, but the basic idea remains unchanged.
There are various things such as microphones, headphones, and cartridges [for analog record playback] that are important to engineers like Ando, but the most important thing is adding nothing and pulling out nothing. It's very difficult to achieve 100%, though.

Soken
It's super challenging, isn't it?
A normal headset tends to make sound flat by adding things to smooth it out. My first impression of this headset, however, was that it didn't do that kind of thing. Everything seemed flat from the beginning, which I thought was just great.

4Gamer
It's not only with headsets. Unfortunately, adding too much tends to happen when making anything new. It's easy to add things one after another. Many PC products tend to be "added on" products. It's always difficult to promote products with "nothing added on".

Soken
It's super difficult.

Ueno
It was the same with us. There were quite a few voices wanting to add this and that in the early stages of development. Various ideas came out with a stereotyped image that "gamers must be this way". So I sought opinions from gamers and people in the industry and found out it wasn't like that. For example, they'd say, "I don't need glittering LEDs. Something lightweight is the most important". As a consequence, the ATH-G1 series became what it is from taking these voices into account.

Still, it's hard to point out the characteristics of the product since all of the strengths are so common [to Audio-Technica]. We don't do flashy marketing about whatever kind of surround system.

Ando
As Mr. Soken said, the game sound is made with a unique algorithm when converting from 5.1ch to 2ch. So it would be inappropriate to add sound effects again within the headphones.

Ueno
The creator's intentions would not be conveyed.

Ando
The ATH-G1WL has a virtual surround sound function, but there was a discussion about if we needed it or not right up to the very end [laughs].

Hirayama
In the game, we think that the sound comes out as if it was heard in stereo, and that is the highest priority. We haven't changed the sound to make it sound better in surround. The priority is stereo reproduction.

Soken
画像集#027のサムネイル/【PR】"The ATH-G1 is wonderful": An Interview with Mr. Soken, Sound Director of FFXIV, and the Audio-Technica Product Team.
This ATH-G1 series has excellent stereo, so we want you to listen in stereo. I think this kind of headset is unusual.

In the first place, there are only a few Japanese audio equipment manufacturers making a full-scale entry into the gaming market. We often get questions from them about the current state of the gaming sound market. I think audio products have been well spread among users in the audio market. Everyone who needs one already has one.

On the other hand, even though there is a huge number of users out there called gamers, I think it's unfortunate that there are only a few Japanese companies making products for them. I hope Japanese audio equipment manufacturers come into the gaming industry and make better use of their audio technologies and the knowledge that has been accumulated over the years. Sounds do a lot more in games than in movies, so it's sad to us that there aren't enough products that can output our sound well. I really want more audio manufacturers to come to this giant market and steadily create products that deliver good sound.
Moreover, it's easy to interact with Japanese manufacturers [laughs].

4Gamer
You can communicate directly when you have a request, and it's easier to talk face to face.

Soken
Japanese manufacturers are good at meticulous work and creating fine products with uncompromising quality. Gamers are usually very picky, and I think Japanese manufacturers are able to satisfy their needs. I hope these wonderful products will spread more and more.

4Gamer
Thank you everyone for your time today.

画像集#004のサムネイル/【PR】"The ATH-G1 is wonderful": An Interview with Mr. Soken, Sound Director of FFXIV, and the Audio-Technica Product Team.

関連記事

【PR】オーディオテクニカの「ATH-G1」は,高音質&優れた定位感で勝利をもたらすゲーマー向けヘッドセットだ

【PR】オーディオテクニカの「ATH-G1」は,高音質&優れた定位感で勝利をもたらすゲーマー向けヘッドセットだ

 オーディオテクニカから,ひさしぶりにゲーマー向けヘッドセットの新製品「ATH-G1」が登場した。多彩なオーディオ製品を扱い,プロゲーマーからも評価される名門オーディオメーカーが手がけたピュア・アナログヘッドセットの実力はいかほどのものか。デザインから音質,マイクの品質まで,余すところなくチェックしてみよう。

[2019/07/06 12:00]

ATH-G1 Product information - Audio-Technica


  • 関連タイトル:

    audio-technica

  • 関連タイトル:

    ファイナルファンタジーXIV

  • この記事のURL:
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