The wireless version of the incredibly popular studio headphone M50x von Audio-Technica has plenty to offer. Enticing features include a 40 hour battery life, 3-button remote with integrated microphone, not to mention voice control via Touch Control. What’s more, individual settings are easily achieved thanks to the free Connect app.
These over-ear headphones boast an incredibly flexible design that allows for tilting, swivelling and folding of the earpieces. These ear cups are not circular as you’d expect from most headphones, but instead have an oval design that sits at a slight angle. The soft faux leather padding feels great pressed against the ears which, combined with the flexible suspension, provides high levels of comfort. The fit is firm and snug, but never too tight and offers plenty of reassurance and support when you’re on the go. Even during long listening sessions, there’s no need to worry about pressure problems, while the snugger fit also improves shielding to ensure the media you’re listening to doesn’t intrude upon the surrounding environment. However, the closed system suffers from a distinct disadvantage of heat build-up, with warm ears something you’ll need to accept if you’re not providing yourself with the occasional break. Although these are made primarily of plastic, they have a very premium look and finish that radiates robustness. Workmanship is also impeccable, resulting in a product that looks like it’s built to last. Only the remote control buttons on the left side of the headphones let things down a little in terms of aesthetics, unfortunately.
Energy is supplied via a lithium-polymer battery that delivers a respectable runtime of approximately 40 hours. When used with iOS devices, battery status is shown via display next to the Bluetooth symbol. Since a full charge can total approximately seven hours with the included USB cable, a 3.5 mm audio jack is also included for your convenience. You can also turn to wired operation as a Bluetooth alternative, which a mini jack cable with gold-plated plugs and 1-button remote is on hand to help with.
The M50xBT Over-Ears support Bluetooth 5.0, offering stable ranges of up to ten metres in practical tests carried out with a range of Android and iOS devices. Once the system is switched on using the slider switch, pairing mode is instantly triggered automatically. Once a Bluetooth connection is established, the central remote button can be used to start/stop playback, as well as accept and end telephone calls. Plus and minus buttons are available so you can control volume with ease, with these buttons doubling up as title navigation buttons. All you need to do in order to jump back a track is hold down the minus button for longer. To jump forward, do the same with the plus button. It’s all very intuitive and works well in practice for the most part. However, things are let down a little by the fact these buttons look almost indistinguishable from one another and also lie incredibly close to each other. As such, it’s easy to accidentally hit the wrong button and trigger an unwanted command. In addition to these buttons, the remote element is expanded with a touch control element integrated into the left earcup shell. By simply touching this, you can trigger the voice control function of the device. The microphone, an omnidirectional condenser one, ensures good levels of speech intelligibility for telephoning and Skyping. This shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise. Audio-Technica are known for their manufacturing of studio microphones, with their investment in premium quality showing through.
You also have the option to download the Connect app to your iOS or Android device to enhance your control and setting options for your headphones. In addition to a tracking function that can help you hunt down your headphones should you ever lose them, the app offers a media player, a battery level indicator, codec information and a practical quick guide. There’s also further information on all manner of headphone spec and further details. These headphones support aptX, AAC and SBC. If you encounter any interference with the radio connection or see a lag between audio and picture when using them for viewing and listening, a manual switch to the Bluetooth standard SBC is made possible thanks to the app. In most instances, this will quickly resolve such problems.
These over-ear headphones have good reserves and allow for listening at very low levels. Powerful bass tuning delivers driving basses with plenty of bounce, extending right into the low bass range. The main presence can be felt in the upper basses and the fundamental ranges, however, giving a powerful punch and ensuring assertive sound. A counter is formed by more open trebles, which are also present and relatively neutral here. When it comes to the mids, things are somewhat more under-represented. All in all, there’s a clear and detailed sound character to devour here, with a warm character that makes the perfect partner to electronic music. A more direct approach and lively dynamics bring plenty of fun to your listening, with pop, soul, R’n’B and hip-hop productions all well served. On a more analytical level, these headphones definitely exhibit their studio roots. Background noises on productions are more evident with these headphones and finer detail becomes more present, but there’s also the downside of errors in original mixes and recordings becoming far more obvious. Another point that needs commending is the structured stereo stage. It might be compact, but it’s got extensive depth gradation.
When using these headphones in Bluetooth mode, the resolution seems to be a little weaker. When you use them with conventional cables, the sound comes to life a little bit more, with finer dynamics. Playback comes across as more centred and present, delivering impressive sound that can still be savoured when you’re in the midst of noisy environments. With cables, the focus is more reserved for music listening, with the sound level increasing noticeably. This however does not mean the headphones aren’t up to scratch without cable connection, just that you can expect something more rawer when operating Bluetooth. With cables, what you get is more like a studio sound quality.
In my opinion, with the ATH-M50xBT, Audio-Technica have successfully combined analytical studio headphone prowess with the dynamic, bass-driven sound of a DJ headphone. With enviable qualities from both inspirations, the resulting headphone model scores highly when it comes to fun, but also reassures those looking for longevity with a robust design and stable construction. Comfort isn’t forgotten about either, with the headband offering a great fit. It’s only the artificial leather covering of the earpieces that might cause some minor complaints with users, with internal heating sometimes meaning the material becomes a little too warm during extended listening sessions.
- Ear couplingOver-ear
- Transducer principledynamic
- Frequency response (headphones)15 - 28.000 Hz
- Impedance34,4 ohms
- Sound pressure level (SPL)103,19 dB
- Pressure averaged from big and small head652 g
- Weight with cable334 g
- Weight without cable312 g
- Cable length120 cm
What's in the box
- Cable with mini jack
- USB charging cable
- BT version: 5.0
- BT profiles: A2DP, AVRCP, HFP, HSP
- BT codecs: aptX, AAC, SBC
- 45mm drivers with neodymium magnet system and CCAW voice coils