Audio-Technica ATH-M50x ReviewDecember, 2019

Coming up at the well-deserved third place is the well-known model by the music giant Audio Technica – the ATH-M50X. It isn’t a true top 5 list of any studio gear without this brand claiming a spot in it anyway, so we decided to review one of the most successful brand models. The M50X is the headphone pair to unite everything. It can serve as the perfect mobile companion due to its compactness and mobile-friendly connectors or be the ultimate studio tool for novice musicians or home-studio enthusiasts. The gorgeous aesthetics of it combined with sturdy construction and great sound ensure the ultimate experience for all types of use. 

Our Verdict: A great pair of headphones for the casual listener and for some studio work, these Audio Technia headphones are reasonably priced, but do come with some drawbacks. Ultimately, we can’t classify these headphones as studio-worthy since they lack the type of clarity needed when mastering tracks. These headphones are a better choice for the casual music listener who needs a pair of headphones that can handle bass well without distortion or overly bright mids. Click here to get one shipped to you right now

Keep on reading to learn more about the M50X headphones.

Product Overview And Features

Audio Technica has remained a leader in the audio equipment industry, producing top of the line microphones and headphones that are a staple in many professional recording studios all over the world. The manufacturer has continued to outdo themselves with each new release of studio headphones, creating headphones that feature compact, portable, and comfortable designs that promote longer use.

Their latest studio headphones don’t offer the same type of quality that we’ve seen from Audio Technica in the past. Many producers and audio engineers will notice right off the bat that these headphones simply can’t compete with other leading models in terms of sound clarity and sound isolation is also lacking. When you’re mastering a track, you need headphones that can catch every little detail and these headphones simply don’t have what it takes to get the job done.

However, these headphones are highly portable, unlike other headphones we have reviewed, making them suitable for mobile use. Their comfortable, compact design is also another plus, especially for the casual music listener.

Often, a quality pair of headphones is defined by how it looks, how it feels on your head, how sturdy it is, and most importantly – what comes out of it. Let’s begin with some of the more distinctive features of the M50X to learn more about what you can expect regarding comfort, performance, sound quality, pricing, and more.

Design, Construction, And Comfort

Right off the bat, you see a well-designed headphone pair which isn’t by everyone’s taste but at the same time you cannot deny its style and the way it ages. One thing that makes Audio Technica products stand out is their popularity in the music world and the fact that the exterior shell barely changes from model to model. Most of us were first visually introduced to AT products when we first saw them on the heads of members of the famous band Linkin Park. 

The headband is chunky but utterly comfortable and there is a hinge at both sides for the cups (which are foldable, by the way). The design language is clear – this isn’t something to look flashy but instead it is made to handle anything you throw at it. The cups can rotate at 90 degrees apart from being foldable. Actually, this movement is crucial to their impact resistance. If they fall from your desk, that rotation will dampen most of the impact force. That feature also helps DJs use them during their sets. 

We felt the M50X as an extremely pleasant set to wear during long recording sessions in the studio. Our ears felt comfortable, the headband didn’t cause any pressure on the head nor any pain after continuous use. 

Check out what it takes to build a great home studio on our dedicated article on the topic. 

The Materials

Everything here is plastic, as you’d expect, except the headband. It has an aluminum frame inside it which further strengthens the rigid construction. The headband is highly adjustable, allowing you to get a nice, snug fit that will prevent the headphones from sliding off your head.

The metal-like circles around the outside of the ear cups are indeed metal, which makes things feel a little more premium. The synthetic leather gets scuffed up over the years but is also easily replaceable and there are plenty of parts online.

If you live in a hot climate there is a chance that the ear pads will make things a little more sweaty than you’d want but that is easily avoidable with short breaks from time to time. The low thermal performance comes mainly due to the shallowness of the cups, which actually is designed to make the pair far more comfortable and portable on your trips. 

However, despite the fact that the headphones may be uncomfortable to use in hotter weather conditions, the design itself focuses on user comfort while still providing an adjustable, secure fit, which is exactly what you need in a pair of headphones designed for studio users.

As we mentioned earlier, these headphones can be easily collapsed and stored away when not in use, despite their bulky appearance. This makes them a great choice for on the go music listening.

Sound And Overall Performance

Like its competition, the M50X handles pretty well in almost all parts of its frequency range. The sound is energetic, full of contrast and can impress even trained ears, considering the price you are paying to get your hands on these headphones. But can these headphones deliver a performance that makes them perfect for the editing process?

The bass is punchy and extra strong which is a normal thing for a portable pair of studio headphones. This, on the other hand, makes them a semi-bad choice for people who want a neutrally tuned pair. The “energy” we speak about comes from the slight boost in the upper mids, while the treble is left untouched. Combine these three characteristics and you get a sound which impresses but isn’t exactly ideal for more detailed work on instruments such as drums or even vocal mastering. Basically, an ideal pair for studio musicians but doesn’t quite cut it if you’re in for hard studio mixing or mastering work. 

When you’re mastering a track, sound isolation quality is essential. Unfortunately, the M50X headphones tend to struggle here.  The sound isolation isn’t as good as you’d expect from a closed-back headphone pair. The one on the BeyerDynamic DT770 Pro, for example, is level above at roughly the same price.

Other Features

These headphones have some nice design upgrades compared to past models by Audio Technica. With this package, they include a few cable options that add to the headphone’s versatility and usability.

Unlike the older M50 model, with the M50X you are getting a removable cable. Not only that but in your bundle you will be receiving a short cable and a long one. This further strengthens our point that these headphones are designed towards both mobile and stationary usage. There is a third long cable which is coiled. It is designed for home use or in-studio work with instruments. The lock mechanism on the cables is a twist-to-lock one. This is great but also means that you won’t be able to use other cables, and will have to find a replacement (which isn’t hard) if something happens to your original three cables. 

There aren’t really any other distinctive features apart from that, such as active noise cancellation or a DAC. 

Now, let’s find out what are the different pros and cons of the M50X:

Advantages

  • Familiar and professional look
  • Decently priced
  • Sturdy construction despite the moving parts
  • Folding mechanism for easier transportation
  • Extra cables coming with your set
  • Cables are removable
  • Well-padded earcups
  • Closed-back design helps for noisy environments

Disadvantages

  • Lack of extra special features (such as built-in DAC, wireless, etc)
  • The sound isn’t detailed enough for sound mastering work 
  • Issues with sound isolation quality
Final Words On The Audio Technica ATH-M50x

Djequipped.com Product Rating Updated December, 2019: (4.5/5)

Audio-Technica ATH-M50x

 

These Audio Technica headphones offer better than average sound clarity, compared to traditional headphones, but that doesn’t mean you should use them the next time you’re in the studio.

All in all, the M50x is a balanced pair of studio headphones with which you can be comfortable enough to take them outside from time to time. They are sturdy, good looking, decently priced, and can handle mobile usage with easy. In fact, out of all the headphones we reviewed, these are the best ones to take on a trip with you since you get a short cable with them (good for smartphones) and have a foldable construction which is compact and can fit in any backpack. The cups are shallow meaning that they will fit with your head contour nicely unlike a bulkier deeper cupped headphone pair. We gave the Audio Technica ATH-M50x a four and a half out of five stars rating. 

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