If you are looking for a gaming headset, the Audio-Technica ATH-M50x is not your guy. The ATH-M50x is very much consumer headphone, great for every music listening, DJing and audio production.
The fact that the ATH-M50x has been around for so long (since early 2014) yet remain some of the highest rated consumer headphones is testament to their solid design and performance. Let’s take a closer look at why these veteran headphones are still making waves in the saturated headphone market today.
|Voice Coil||CCAW (copper-clad aluminum wire)|
|Frequency Response||15 – 28,000 Hz|
|Maximum Input Power||1,600 mW at 1 kHz|
|Weight||285g (10 oz), without cable and connector|
|Cable||Interchangeable cables: detachable 1.2 m – 3.0 m (3.9′ – 9.8′) coiled cable, detachable 3.0 m (9.8′) straight cable and detachable 1.2 m (3.9′) straight cable|
|Accessories||Protective carrying pouch, 6.3 mm (1/4″) screw-on adapter|
Build & Design
The ATH-M50x is designed for portability. The ear cups fold up into the headband which means they can be made really compact and be transported easily in your bag. They even come with their own leather carry pouch.
In addition to the earcups’ folding capability, they also swivel 90° which mean they lay nice and flat when worn around the neck. This swivel also comes in handy when you want to wear the headphones on one ear.
The headband is fairly chunky, but this bulk here is balanced out by the shallow earcups, which sit closely to the sides of your head for a more subtle look while out and about.
The headband is also flexible which is great for the more big-headed among us. This flexibility as well as the folding and twisting ear pieces make the ATH-M50x very durable – so you can drop with careless abandon, safe in the knowledge that they will (probably) bounce right back!
The ATH-M50x does hug your head pretty snugly so while you need not worry about them falling off your head, this can mean that you feel the squeeze a little after prolonged wear.
The padding of the ear pieces is a smooth, comfortable synthetic leather. This faux-leather covering is durable, but replacements can be bought if you do see any wear and tear.
But what about the look of the ATH-M50x? The casing is black plastic with circular aluminum accents on the earpieces which make for a somewhat simplistic but sleek design that has stood the test of time and will surely continue to do so.
It is safe to say the M50x not the most stylish headphones on the market, and are a little blocky compared to other headphones such as the Beats range, but they are still one of the better-looking headphones out there, especially for the price – you can pick up the ATH-M50x for just under $150.
At first glance the ATH-M50x look pretty similar to their predecessor, the ATH-M50, but the main difference between the two is in the cabling. While the M50 came with just one long cable attached, the M50x actually comes out of the box with no cables attached at all.
You’ll find three detachable cables in the ATH-M50x’s box – a standard 3-foot cable, a longer 10-foot studio cable and a coiled cable. This pick and mix cabling provides a versatility that was not offered by the M50.
The cables have a twist-to-lock mechanism so you can’t use any 3.5mm cable with these headphones. However, just like with the earpads, you can find cable replacements online should you need them.
All in all, the features of these headphones aren’t going to blow your mind. They don’t have Bluetooth wireless or active noise cancellation – but Audio-Technica have released a new, wireless option in the form of the ATH-M50xBT (available for around $200) which may be more suitable for those who have fully embraced cord-free life.
Don’t let the lack of zippy features put you off though. If anything, it is quite refreshing to see a pair of headphones that are pretty no-frills in terms of design and features. Why? Because this can only mean one thing – that Audio-Technica have put their best efforts into the most important part of any set of headphones – the sound quality.
While you can find less chunky designs out there, you’ll be hard pushed to find a better sound quality in a pair of headphones in this price range.
Audio-Technica refer to the M50x as “professional studio monitors” and, while these headphones are no doubt of a professional level, they may not be quite neutral enough for those who want to use them for a home studio. Even though it’s not completely flat, the frequency response is still pretty neutral when comparing to other consumer headphones.
What we do get with the M50x is a punchy sound that is balanced, rich and exciting. Vocals are crystal clear and, thanks to the 45mm drivers, the bass is high without being overwhelming.
Add to this clear mids and bright, well-defined highs and you’ve got yourself a fantastically rich soundstage that proves why the M50x has enjoyed such longevity in its popularity. This well-balanced and perky soundstage makes for cross-genre suitability – so whatever your music taste, the M50x will do it justice.
While the audio detail of the M50x is of a level rarely found in consumer headphones, the flipside of this is that it can come across a little harsh and piercing to the untrained ear. That said, the M50x is well worth a try if you want to dip your toe in the pool and get a taste of high-end audio at an affordable price.
While the M50x isn’t perfect, for $150 you will struggle to find a more energetic, vivid and impactful sound. When it comes to sound quality, the M50x is second to none for its price range.
Thanks to its longevity, the already affordable ATH-M50x has decreased in price over time while continuing to offer largely unrivalled quality. If you are committed to the world of wired headphones and want a professional-feeling item for an affordable price, you can’t go far wrong with the ATH-M50x.
Our verdict? The ATH-M50x delivers style and substance. The design is classic, simple and subtly stylish – If a little chunkier than some of its peers. What’s more, the impressive sound quality not only sets the M50x apart from headphones of the same price range, but also allows it to stand proudly among much more expensive items.
With the M50x Audio Technica brings us a stylishly designed product that bridges the divide between studio and everyday use. $150 well spent.
What We Loved
- Great value
- Portable and versatile
- Classic design
- Interchangeable cables
- Sophisticated soundstage
What We Didn’t Like
- Powerful bass can be a little harsh
- Quite chunky compared to other portable headphones
- Prolonged use can lead to a tight feel on the head
Audio-Technica ATH-M50x Review
- Overall - 9.2/109.2/10
The ATH-M50x has enjoyed consistent popularity since its release and it’s not hard to see why. It is highly portable and delivers an energetic and varied soundstage and powerful bass paired with a classic, sleek yet comfortable and functional design. This is a fun product that offers high-end sound at an affordable $150.