Audio-Technica is one of those companies that has earned the respect of the audio world, and one of its most popular products is the ATH-M50x headphones. These headphones went viral several few years ago and, as is the case with all great headphones that have a 3.5mm connector, are still going strong. But what is it about these headphones that make them so good for just about everyone? Let’s find out.
Editor’s note: this Audio-Technica ATH-M50X review was updated on March 29, 2021, to include a contents menu and add charts.
Who should get the Audio-Technica ATH-M50x?
- Students and commuters should get these headphones. If you’re always on the bus or train, the plush padding and closed-back design of these headphones do a decent job at blocking outside noise. You’ll also benefit from the folding design as you can toss them in your bag.
- YouTubers and anyone starting to get into audio production will benefit from these budget studio headphones. Whether you’re working with audio for videos or for music production, the ATH-M50x is a great all-around pick. Sure, the Sony MDR-7506 has a more accurate frequency response (which are an industry staple for audio editing), but the slight bass emphasis in the low frequencies, makes this headset fine for work or casual mixing and editing.
What’s it like to use the Audio-Technica ATH-M50x?
When it comes to build and design, Audio-Technica hit the nail right on the head with these headphones. They’re stylish enough to stand out but not so flamboyant that they draw unwanted attention. Since their initial release, these headphones have become available in a few different color options including subtle dark blue with tan leather and stealthy all-black. While there aren’t a plethora of color options, you shouldn’t have a problem finding one that you like.
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Aesthetics aside, the ATH-M50x are a pretty sturdy pair of headphones. The entire build is plastic, so don’t expect anything premium here, but combine the lightweight plastic with the plush padding and these are comfortable to wear for those long listening sessions. The ear cups also rotate 90 degrees so you can have them flat around your neck when not in use, and you can adjust them ever so slightly to get the most comfortable fit. While they’re not as comfortable as something like the Beyerdynamic DT 990 Pro headphones we reviewed with their velour padding, they’re certainly more versatile when it comes to finding a good fit.
On the downside, the ATH-M50x don’t breathe very well due to the padding, so if you’re in a hotter environment you might find that you need to take them off from time to time to avoid sweaty ears. While we had no issues with durability, it’s worth keeping in mind that these are still made of plastic so you might not want to throw a pile of books or a laptop on top of them.
How do you connect these headphones?
These came out before everyone decided that removing the headphone jack a good idea (which it wasn’t), so all three cables that are included in the box have 3.5mm jack at the end. As we mentioned above, it does come with a quarter-inch adapter so if you have an audio interface or higher end piece of gear you can just screw it on.
The ATH-M50x are wired only.
But it’s worth mentioning that Audio-Technica recently released a wireless version of these, the ATH-M50xBT. And I encourage you to go for that option over the aging ATH-M50x, not simply for the wireless upgrades, but the removal of the cable locking mechanism. By removing this, you can use any old 3.5mm to 3.5mm TRRS cable lying around should yours break. Just keep in mind that as convenient as Bluetooth is, it isn’t perfect and the quality of certain codecs is dependent on whether you’re using an Android or an iOS device.
How do the Audio-Technica ATH-M50x sound?
The Audio Tehcnica ATH-M50 is marketed as monitor headphones, but it’s more like a Swiss Army Knife of audio if you’re going just by the sound performance. Its frequency response is relatively neutral, but there is still a slight emphasis on notes in the lower frequencies that you won’t find on higher-end studio headphones. These headphones sound great when it comes to classical music, especially in the upper frequencies where string instruments lie. These headphones reproduce mids and highs with little auditory masking.
Passive isolation is okay: incidental sounds like nearby conversations and the clang of dishware is blocked out by the headphones, but these aren’t the headphones to take onto an international flight.
Should you buy the Audio-Technica ATH-M50x?
The Audio-Technica ATH-M50x aren’t going anywhere; the style, comfort, and great sound are what makes these headphones a great buy. You can often find these headphones on sale, making them an even better value. That said, if money’s no object, you should consider grabbing the Audio-Technica ATH-M50xBT instead. They’re essentially the very same headphones as the Audio-Technica ATH-M50x just wireless.
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Frequently Asked Questions
Yes, the ATH-M50x still have excellent sound quality that is up to today's standards, and they're lightweight and comfortable too. If you're looking for a more affordable pair of studio headphones, the Sony MDR-7506 are a great alternative.
Currently, the Audio-Technica ATH-M50x is available in black, Gun Metal, White, and purple. The Bluetooth version also has a black version and a purple version. Just remember, some of these color options are more expensive, if you're shopping on Amazon.
No, you don't need an amp! You can enjoy these with any source that supports the 3.5mm TRRS plug.