Audio-Technica ATH-M50x Professional Headphones Review
Audio-Technica has been a top tier audio company that produces headphones, microphones, and lots of other audio gear that professionals all over the World have adored. The original Audio-Technica ATH-M50 Professional headphones have been used in professional setups for performers and sound engineers for many years now. They are known for their comfort, durability, and good overall sound quality. Check out our review to see if the new ATH-M50x can live up to the old standard.
American Musical Supply is the
Official Pro Audio Retailer of DJBooth
Review Video & Demo
Setup & First Impressions
Audio-Technica has recently released the updated ATH-M50x headphones which don't stray far from the tried and true aesthetics and sound properties, but adds slightly better materials and three removable cables for even more versatility. Audio-Technica also saw it fit to release brand new versions of their other monitoring headphones as well to please DJ's and Producers across different performance needs and cost levels. There is the ATH-M20x, the ATH-M30x, ATH-M40x, and the ATH-M50x. We will take a look at the top-of-the-line ATH-M50x headphones for this review in order to see how they work for DJ’s inside and outside of the DJ booth.
The Audio-Technica ATH-M50x headphones have an over-the-ear design and they also have the ability to swivel and fold for easy transport or storage and for one-ear-on/one-ear-off monitoring capability. The ATH-M50x has an almost completely plastic construction with only a bit of metal in the headband for the earcup extensions. Even though the ATH-M50x is made of mostly plastic, it still feels like it will last for a decent amount of time if they are cared for properly. I’ve never actually owned the original ATH-M50 headphones so there won’t be any true comparisons in this review, but we will touch on the quick differences between the new and the old models.
The construction and build quality of the Audio-Technica ATH-M50x are somewhat of a mixed bag… The headphones are made up of almost all plastic including the hinge and swivel points. This is my biggest gripe with the ATM-50x and I know from 20 years of experience that it’s just a matter of time before these all-plastic components break and fall apart. With that being said, the plastics used in the construction of the ATM-50x are of really good quality and they feel like they will hold up to some punishment just as long as the user is careful not to drop them or to protect them when in transit or in storage. The ATH-M50x has an almost identical appearance to the original ATH-M50 headphones with the mostly black finish with silver accents around the earcup AT logo and on the hinge to identify the Left and Right earcups.
The place where the headband meets the earcup is all plastic (except for the metal headband extenders) and there is a swivel joint that allows the headphones to rotate outwards/inwards 180-degrees or fold into different listening positions for one-ear monitoring or easy storage and transport. The ATH-M50x headphones are very lightweight and comfortable due to their all plastic construction. The ATH-M50x headphones can literally be worn for hours without any issues of fatigue or discomfort which is one of the reasons people have been using the originals for monitoring needs for years and years. The headphones don’t wobble or shake much when not in use and they stay rigid when they are in place on the head. The earcups are relatively large ovals that are positioned at an angle that completely covers the ears.
The new ATH-M50x headband has adequate padding underneath that is soft and covered by synthetic leather material. The headband is black and it is made of this a squishy-like material that can bend and flex without any signs of cracking or breaking. The top of the headband has the AT Logo written out across the padding. Below the headband is a small plastic joint that houses additional metal extensions that allow bigger heads to fit nicely. Moving down from the headband is the plastic hinge that connects the headband to the earcups. The earcups can be independently moved for easy one-ear monitoring on either side. The outsides of the swivel has an L or an R printed in black over the silver stud to let the user know the earcup side at a glance.
The ATH-M50x has very plush and comfortable synthetic leather earpads that fit perfectly over-the-ear and provided really great sound isolation for monitoring. These earpads look to be removable and replaceable if they can be found on the AT website for replacement. The sound leakage on these headphones was very, very low even at the higher volume levels. We tested the Audio-Technica ATH-M50x headphones for a four-hour long mega-DJ session and multiple hours of use with other media devices such as computers and smartphones. During these tests, the ATH-M50x headphones were very comfortable and never caused any fatigue with use. The bigger over-the-ear size would make one think that these headphones would be a literal “Pain-in-the-neck” to wear for extended periods of time, but this is not the case. The force of the earcups on the head is also just right for my needs meaning they were tight enough so that I could jam out to the mix without them falling off my head and they didn’t squeeze too tight to cause issues.
The ATH-M50x headphones come with three different removable cables. The removable cable is probably the main upgrade from the original M50’s since the original cable was always permanently attached. This meant that when the cable was broken, so was the headphones and a replacement would be in order. Now the cables on the M50x are detachable and can be replaced if they ever get yanked or smashed. There is a straight cable is about 3ft long, another straight cable that is 9ft long, and a coiled cable that is about 12ft long when stretched. These cables are all thick and durable and look to be of higher quality than ordinary consumer-grade headphone cables. All three cables have a twist lock-plastic groove in the end that connects to the left earcup only so that they won’t get disconnected accidentally through a performance.
The headphones come with a synthetic leather soft pouch that fits all of the cables and headphones nice and neatly. The pouch won’t protect your headphones much, but at least it gives the user a nice place to store everything in one spot. It would have been nice to get a hard case for these headphones, but at the $180 price point, it may be asking for a bit much.
I am honestly surprised and heavily impressed with the overall sound quality of the Audio-Technica ATH-M50x headphones. The ATH-M50x have excellent sound quality with accurate but slightly elevated mids, crisp and clean highs with thumping bass on the low end. The ATH-M50x headphones aren’t really known to be a bass-heavy headphone, but the bass on the ATH-M50x is really deep and it does create a slight rumble right where it is expected. They don’t rumble and shake to the bass artificially, but it gives a great sense of the deepness. This level of bass never drowned out the highs and the mids which make these an EXCELLENT headphone for production studio use as well as DJ use. The ATH-M50x headphones have a great balance when it comes to the three EQ bands and this was true for DJ use as well as with other smart devices.
The sound isolation was also great! The M50x over-the-ear cups fit very snug to the head creating a great seal for both inside and outside the earcups. The isolation/leakage is so good on these, that it could easily rival other headphones with active noise-cancelling technology present.
Conclusion / Recommended For
In conclusion, the Audio-Technica ATH-M50x Professional headphones are a serious professional monitoring solution both production studios and for the DJ in the mix. The ATH-M50x are very lightweight and comfortable with plush synthetic leather earcups and headband. The ATH-M50x can swivel, rotate, and fold for easy transport, storage, and one-ear monitoring. The ATH-M50x also comes with three high quality removable cables to suit all performance situations. The ATH-M50x also exhibits the same great sound quality of the originals with crispy highs, slightly elevated mids, and deep booming bass. The ATH-M50x also have some of the best Isolation and sound leakage protection for any non-actively noise cancelling models on the market.
The only real gripes that I could find with the ATH-M50x was that they are made up of mostly plastic in the hinge and connection points which will eventually lead to breakage; and the headphones only have one earcup output on the left side instead of giving the user the option to connect to either earcup like on some other popular headphone models. If these aren’t sticking points for you and you’re in the market for a new set of Professional Grade over-the-ear headphones for both the studio and for the DJ Booth, then the Audio Technica ATH-M50x should definitely be a worthy choice.
Pros & Cons
- Lightweight & Comfortable Over-The-Ear Design & Construction
- Can Swivel, Rotate, and Fold for Easy Transport/Storage and One-Ear Monitoring
- (3) High Quality Removable Cables Included (short-straight, Long-straight, coiled)
- Great Sound Quality: Crisp Highs & Slightly Elevated Mids; Deep Booming Bass
- Great Isolation and Sound Leakage Protection
- Almost Completely Plastic In Construction
Written by djblaze on 07/2/14
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Official Pro Audio Retailer of DJBooth
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