With the Hi-X50, Austrian Audio have added an on-ear headphone to their product range that is designed to meet professional demands. Their Hi-X55 have already proven themselves as studio headphones in our tests with their high quality and their unique sound profile, now it’s the turn of their little brother.
All You Need
The Austrian Audio Hi-X50 arrive in an elaborate cardboard slipcase. When opening it, the first thing the buyer sees is a handwritten quality certificate. This is exactly what a manufacturer’s promise should look like. Inside, in addition to the headphones themselves, there is a replacement cable, a fabric bag with a drawstring, a quick-start guide and a sticker with the Austrian Audio logo.
Like the Hi-X55, Austrian Audio Hi-X50 are headphones with sleek design throughout. Their appearance reminds me of a mixture of Mad Max and the kind of space technology seen in science fiction movies. The matt, anthracite-black colour mix of their exterior contributes to this striking appearance. Visually, the headphones come straight to the point. A metal headband and hinged arms, also made of metal, ensure durability. The ear cushions are filled with memory foam to ensure comfort through long working hours. Earpads, headband pads and cables are all interchangeable. As with the Hi-X50, the cable plugs in on one side. A plug/turn mechanism ensures a secure fit. All connectors are corrosion protected. The headphones can be folded to save space when not in use.
Drivers with a diameter of 44 mm developed by Austrian Audio give the Hi-X50 a remarkable frequency range from 5 Hz to 28 kHz. Their proprietary High Excursion technology uses a lightweight aluminium voice coil encased in copper. In combination with a comparatively strong magnetic field, it means that transients should be reproduced more precisely. The other technical specifications of these headphones correspond exactly to those of the Hi-X55. 25 Ohm impedance means that your headphone amp does not need much power. And with a maximum volume of just over 103 dB SPL, they pack a lot of punch.
Exchangeable pads, exchangeable cable and the folding mechanism as well as swivelling, tiltable ear cups make the Hi-X 50 a state-of-the-art audio tool. The handling of these headphones makes them a convenient and flexible listening companion. The two struts of the headband allow plenty of air to circulate around the head. The earpads are ultra-soft and the contact pressure is pleasant. The inner side of the ear cups is surprisingly warm to the ear. The ear cup sits comfortably and sufficiently securely on the head as long as it is not moved jerkily. Thanks to the three-metre long cable, a mixing engineer won’t have to worry about the cable popping out of the headphone amp when rolling back and forth in their chair.
Sound with contours
The sound of the Hi-X 50 is excellent. Low bass parts form a fat foundation. The bass range above is comparatively discreet. However, the strongest frequency ranges of these headphones are without question the mid and high frequencies. The middle frequency range reproduces very detailed and vivid audio signals. This also benefits the depth graduation of the reproduction. To talk of “speech intelligibility” with the Hi-X 50 does not do justice to the quality of the signal they output. If you listen to vocals with these headphones, you will hear an extremely differentiated signal in the corresponding frequency ranges. This makes listening with them great fun. Guitar music is softened by the Hi-X 50 with a significant frequency reduction of around 5 kHz.
In the super-high frequency range, these headphones offer so much reserve that their sound seems wonderfully open and almost unlimited. The underlying highs are warm and restrained. This has a positive effect when listening to Hi-Fi productions that contain noise components as they appear to be magically filtered out. Something that is great when enjoying music privately, however, it is not so desirable in the studio. If you are looking for analytical headphones, you won’t find them with the Hi-X 50 because of their contoured sound image.
The transmitted tonal depth and their fine representation of the mids alone makes listening to classical CDs with these headphones a thoroughly pleasant and impressive listening experience. A further strength of the Hi-X 50 lies in their conversion of signal dynamics. And these headphones are also suitable for recording. Due to their closed design, comparatively little of the sound from playback leaks to the outside.
The Austrian Audio Hi-X 50 are headphones that offer consistently high quality. This extends from their manufacturing standards, the extremely solid package of accessories, the interchangeability of all the pads and the practical handling to the contoured yet excellent sound image. The only thing I cannot attribute to these headphones is their suitability as a mixing tool. However, these foldable, over-ear, closed-back headphones are ideal for recording in the studio, especially for singers and speakers, who can listen to their voice very vividly with these headphones. In addition, the Austrian Audio Hi-X 50 is also a strong candidate for the enjoyment of Hi-Fi classical and jazz recordings. Either way (and at the risk of sounding like I’m giving them too much hype): these headphones are definitely worth their price.
- Ear couplingOn-ear
- Transducer principledynamic
- Frequency response (headphones)5 - 28.000 Hz
- Impedance25 ohms
- Sound pressure level (SPL)118 dB
- Weight without cable285 g
- Cable length300 cm
What's in the box
- Cable (interchangeable)
- 6.35mm stereo jack
- Carrying pouch