Audio Technica ATH-M50X Headphones Review
Audio-Technica is a huge player in the pro audio market. So as you would expect, their headphones are worth talking about.
They are great for DJs and come in a medium price range. But don’t let the price fool you. They are of high quality. A quality much like, or actually even better than the original $300 Beats by Dre Studio (which has since been replaced by an updated Beats Studio).
Actually, one of the reasons Audio-Technica’s ATH-M50 headphones gained popularity was because they were a sort of anti-Beats.
But there was one little problem. There was no inline remote/microphone. And a lot of people were using them while on the move.
The ATH-M50X, at first glance, appears to be that much needed mobile-oriented version. It comes with improved padding on the earcups and a new detachable-cord design but there’s still no integrated microphone and remote included.
But make no mistake. It is still excellent in its own right.
The ATH-M50X comes with a slightly higher price tag that its predecessors – at about $169, but it includes some great extras.
The ATH-M50X comes in the same look and feel as the older ATH-M50s.
The M50s were best known for their classic design. Audio-Technica did a great job at adopting design elements from the 70s and 80s while keeping the overall design current.
With the ATH-M50X, that classic design remains. The only difference is the removable cable. Though the socket is of a standard 2.5mm size, the kicker is that there’s a twist-to-lock mechanism- meaning you can’t just go ahead and use any 2.5mm cable.
But you don’t have to worry about this. The box comes with three cables. You get a long 3-meter (9.8-foot) straight cable, a short 1.2-m (3.9-foot) straight cable, and 1.2-meter – 3.0-meter (3.9-foot – 9.8-foot) coiled cable.
The coiled cable gives you some freedom to move around a little bit.
As mentioned earlier, none of the cables come with an inline remote. A sad affair for those of you who would like to use these headphones with their smartphones.
In general, the well-built and sturdy design of the ATH-M50X looks and feels durable. Though some headphones try to be sleek with expensive-feeling materials like aluminum and leather, these ones here simply make use of plastic.
The thick, padded earcups swivel on two axes. There’s a tiny ring of metal carefully placed inside them. The headband, on the other hand, is reinforced with a band of steel.
These headphones come in different colors.
Included in the package is a locking ¼” stereo plug adapter for use in connecting the headphones to amps, mixers, amplifiers and receivers. The adapter attaches to the 3.5mm headphone jack on each of the longer 3.0m cables.
The ATH-M50X headphones are great for prolonged use. That being said, it’s worth noting that they don’t clasp your ear, but rather, sit around the ear. This makes them comfortable to wear.
And their weight is not an issue. They are light enough.
A challenge, however, would be that sometimes air can get trapped between the ears and the pads. But it’s nothing that a minor adjustment can’t solve.
A great design feature with these headphones is that they fold flat to make storage easier. The simple soft case they come in is really just a bag – one that packs the set really well when you need to move about. But if you need to keep the headphones in tip-top condition, we suggest you purchase a hard case.
The ATH-M50X is a great choice if you are looking for high-end sound at a reasonable price.
The tonal balance is top-notch, the dynamic impact is perfect and the stereo imaging is spacious.
Audio-Technica has, for a while now, claimed that there’s hardly any difference between the sound of the original ATH-M50 and the upgraded version, but if you ask us, we think the ATH-M50X model carries a clearer sound. It boasts a more detailed bass, midrange, and treble.
When comparing it with the V-Moda M-100, we noticed some crystal clear differences. The M-100 headphones brought out the treble and had a slimmer overall balance. The ATH-M50X, on the other hand, sounded fuller and the bass sunk deeper.
It’s obvious that both models are great but if we had to choose, we’d go with the ATH-M50X headphones. They sound great with all music genres.
They are technically “studio monitor” headphones, meaning they are meant to reproduce music as accurately as possible with minimal additional flavor, unlike what Beats, V-Modas and other big, over-the-ear headphones do.
But the general feeling is that they are better at listening for enjoyment rather than for a more professional application that the ATH-M50s were associated with.
Here’s the thing. The bass is a little bit punchy. Not so much that it becomes a distraction to the overall sound quality but a bit too much for times when you are listening to spoken things like audiobooks.
In terms of blocking out sounds, these headphones don’t do a great job – particularly with bass-heavy sounds like bus motors and plane engines. They, however, keep chattering to a minimum especially in an office setting.
When it comes to distortion, you don’t need to worry. The ATH-M50X headphones are great at staying below what is considered the acceptable level. This basically means that you will not hear any distortion that wasn’t already on the recorded track.
These are a great pair of headphones that are really hard to fault.
It’s true they don’t include a cable with a controller and microphone and isolation could be better but they are everything you want in a moderately priced pair if over-ear headphones.
It’s true they are pretty much a carbon copy of the ATH-M50. But they include some great updates.
The stellar performance, slightly more comfortable fit and the removable-cable system including the extra cords, make the ATH-M50X a great buy.
Of course, spending even $150 on a set of headphones seems a bit much for some people. This is why the ATH-M50X is frequently on sale for as low as $120.
Are there better sounding headphones out there? Definitely.
But for this price, we are happy to point out that the ATH-M50X lives to the hype.