Audio-Technica ATH-M50xBT wi-fi headphones
“Audio-Technica’s ATH-M50xBT provide studio-grade sound you may take anyplace.”
Clear, detailed sound
Heat and full bass
Wonderful battery life
Strong construct high quality
Stable noise isolation
No arduous case
Controls could be wonky
Restricted cable choice
If there have been one class of headphones with the potential to be left behind by the wi-fi audio revolution, it might be studio cans, proper? Designed for simplicity and utility above flash and comfort, these audio workhorses are supposed to be hardwired immediately right into a soundboard or headphone amp and serve up a transparent and detailed image of your mission.
But, after unbelievable demand for a wi-fi model of its standard ATH-M50x studio headphones (in keeping with the corporate’s PR agency, anyway), Audio-Technica lastly relented and minimize the twine.
Whereas wi-fi studio cans might sound counterintuitive at first, the ATH-M50xBT truly make good sense in apply — particularly for music lovers who worth substance over fashion. They provide a pleasant seize bag for listeners on the go, together with a strong design, spectacular sound and battery life, and ,after all, wi-fi comfort. Who says you may’t take it with you?
Out of the field
The M50xBT arrive in Audio-Technica’s signature plain-clothes field, full with monochromatic colour scheme and a fundamental zoom-in shot of the cans. Inside, the headphones are collapsed in a mattress of plastic that’s classed up with a satiny black shammy. The headphones really feel strong in your arms, with sturdy hinges that click on satisfyingly as you unlock the earpieces from their journey place, adjusting each vertically and horizontally on rotating hinges to suit.
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Beneath the plastic mattress, you’ll discover a assortment of equipment, together with a leatherette journey bag (we’d have cherished to see a tough case, however we’ll take it), a micro USB-to-USB charging cable, a skinny three.5mm cable with single-button mic piece, and directions.
The M50xBT join with ease, robotically setting to pair while you click on the facility swap on the base of the left earcup. Merely choose the headphones out of your supply gadget’s Bluetooth menu, and also you’re up and working as a pleasant robotic voice tells you your headphones are on and related. You may additionally wish to obtain the Audio-Technica Join app, however its performance is pretty restricted.
Whereas there’s not a lot to the M50xBT’s design in relation to affectations, that’s to not say they don’t look good. Obtainable in black and black, they actually postpone knowledgeable air, however flashes of silver on the outside caps of each the earpieces and the foldable hinges add simply sufficient razzle-dazzle to attract the attention. The full-bodied earpieces and heavy cushioning alongside the earcups and headband lean into the DJ fashion, giving the cans some sonic avenue cred.
Inside are the M50x’s signature 45mm drivers with copper-aluminum voice coils, which boast a claimed 15Hz-28kHz frequency response. Audio-Technica boasts in regards to the M50xBT’s deep bass (no argument there) and the identical critically acclaimed sound because the wired model, backed up by Bluetooth codecs together with AAC and aptX; we’d wish to see aptX HD for a pair of studio-grade cans, however at $200, we’ll give them a cross there.
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The underside rim of the left earcup hosts a lot of the M50xBT’s onboard controls, together with the facility/pairing swap and a triple-button management piece. There’s a multifunction key on the middle for play/pause and calling and quantity keys above and under that additionally enable for track skip with a two-second maintain. That final management function isn’t our favourite — it’s a bit complicated, and most wi-fi headphones allow you to skip with a double- or triple-click which is quicker. Then once more, the triple-click methodology could be inaccurate, so it’s a little bit of a pick-your-poison state of affairs.
With 40 hours of battery life, we nonetheless haven’t wanted to cost the M50xBT.
Although it’s probably not talked about within the directions, you may faucet the Audio-Technica emblem on the left earcup’s exterior to name up a voice assistant. Additionally on the left earcup are twin ports for plugging in and charging. We’d wish to complain about Audio-Technica’s resolution to make use of micro USB somewhat than USB-C right here, which makes charging slower, however with 40 freaking hours of battery life, we nonetheless haven’t wanted to cost the M50xBT after per week of use.
One miss right here is the cable, which does lock in place, however eschews the accordion/coiled design usually packaged with studio headphones, and albeit gained’t work as properly in a semi-pro setting like a house studio or podcast sales space. With only a single skinny cable full with mic piece, Audio-Technica is basically saying these headphones are meant for listeners, not audio execs. Contemplating their pedigree, it might have been good to get a mixture of each cables.
A agency match
Like different headphones we’ve auditioned from Audio-Technica, together with the ATH-MSR7, the M50xBT are a bit comfortable for bigger heads, particularly while you first put them on. After carrying them for per week, although, a traditional line from Wayne’s World got here to thoughts: “At first they’re constrictive, however after some time they change into part of you.”
That Garth was speaking about new underwear shouldn’t undercut the quote, and the M50xBT observe swimsuit, easing their clamping pressure over time. It’s a pattern we count on to proceed because the cans put on in, and whereas the headphones’ hefty weight of slightly below 11 ounces is a bit onerous, the wholesome padding does properly to maintain them from carrying in your ears or head.
The M50xBT serve up a full and comparatively balanced sound signature that’s extra energetic than what you’d count on from studio headphones, particularly in relation to their revved-up bass response. The result’s a transparent and interesting sonic expertise that pours out loads of element with out ever falling into the type of medical sound that’s typically related to studio gear. Frankly, we’re undecided we’d wish to combine with them, however listening at residence or on the highway is a pleasure.
Audio-Technica’s signature higher register is on full show, providing brilliant and clear element with a kind of nickel-metal colour to cymbals and different high-percussion sounds that may often remind you of jingling change — in a great way. It’s clearly not as refined because the hovering excessive frequencies present in Audio-Technica’s high-end gear, just like the $2,000 ADX-5000, nevertheless it’s paying homage to that taste. The M50xBT do a pleasant job carving out nuance and subtleties for his or her value level, with out including biting sibilance to devices like wailing big-band trumpets.
Riley Younger/Digital Traits
The M50xBT’s readability leads to some beautiful musical moments, particularly for extra natural devices like acoustic guitar. Nickel Creek’s Out of the Woods gives a stunning showcase for the M50xBT’s abilities, with a energetic taste to every guitar-string pluck and a buttery end to Chris Thile’s mandolin. Equally, Fleetwood Mac’s Landslide is carousel of tactile, brassy guitar, with Stevie Nicks’ voice wrapped in candy and smoky element on the middle of all of it.
A transparent and interesting sonic expertise that pours out loads of element.
As talked about, the M50xBT’s bass response is spectacular as properly, and whereas it bought a bit too huge for its britches on just a few tracks, it’s principally properly balanced with a agency assault and musical resonance. Even when the decrease register does get a bit beefy on tracks like Ween’s Bananas and Blow, it hardly ever masks the higher frequencies, and that additional contact of efficiency performs properly on songs that decision for a heavy beat like The Weeknd’s Starboy.
Important listeners may even be impressed with the M50xBT’s Bluetooth 5.zero connection, which is impressively pure, with no audible connection noise or video lag, and pairs properly with aptX-ready telephones to boost audio high quality. The headphones’ tight match additionally gives strong noise isolation, although we nonetheless missed having some fundamental noise cancellation on public transit.
Whereas the M50xBT are designed rather more for the road than the studio, their mixture of nice sound, a agency and strong match, and a full work week of battery life makes them a superb addition to the wi-fi headphone pantheon, and properly price contemplating at their $200 value level.
Is there a greater different?
Not that we’re conscious of within the wi-fi studio realm. The one actual competitors in that area of interest market that we’ve auditioned could be Pioneer’s HDJ-X5BT-Okay wi-fi DJ cans, that are cheaper, however merely don’t sound as clear and have decrease battery life.
There are, after all, tons of choices within the wi-fi over-ear headphone market, together with some crazy-affordable noise cancelers like Taotronics’ TT-BH060, which value slightly below $70. However if you need high quality noise-cancelling choices with a equally high-quality construct and efficiency, you’ll possible have to leap in value to not less than $250 to $300 for fashions from Sony, Bose, and others. The M50xBT occupy a considerably distinctive value level proper now, with a powerful assortment of options for the cash.
How lengthy will it final?
Whereas there’s maybe extra plastic onboard than we’d like for a pair of perpetually cans, it’s very strong plastic, and on condition that they’re developed from studio headphones, the M50xBT are anticipated to final via lots of heavy use.
Do you have to purchase it?
Sure. Should you’ve bought $200 to spend on a top quality pair of wi-fi cans, and sound high quality is of excessive import, the M50xBT are a superb possibility.