Audio-Technica ATH-M50xBT review: Great sounding Bluetooth headphones with long battery life

Audio / Audio Hardware Reviews / Reviews
Audio-Technica-ATH-M50xBT-review

There’s no doubt the Audio-Technica ATH-M50xBT wireless headset offers fantastic sound and are easily some of the best sounding headphones I’ve tested.

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Headphones are a dime a dozen these days. From wired to Bluetooth to true wireless, there’s an option for everyone. That being said, even though Bluetooth headphones are closing the gap, wired headphones are still the go-to for professionals. Audio-Technica is one company that caters to the professional studio user, and their ATH-M50x wired headphones come highly rated.

Late last year, the company announced a Bluetooth version which claims to deliver the “same critically acclaimed sonic performance as the original ATH-M50x professional studio headphones. While we haven’t reviewed the wired version, our ATH-M50xBT review takes a look at Audio-Technica’s wireless version. On that note, over the past few years, we’ve reviewed plenty of wired and wireless headphones to make a sound judgment of audio quality. Read on for our full review!

Specifications

The Audio-Technica ATH-M50xBT Wireless Headphones have the following features and specifications:

  • Type: Closed-back dynamic
  • Driver Diameter: 45 mm
  • Magnet: Rare earth
  • Voice Coil: CCAW (Copper-clad aluminum wire)
  • Frequency Response: 15 – 28,000 Hz
  • Sensitivity: 99 dB/mW
  • Impedance: 38 ohms
  • Bluetooth Version: 5.0
  • Maximum Range: Line of sight – approx. 10 m (33′)
  • Compatible Bluetooth Profiles: A2DP, AVRCP, HFP, HSP
  • Support Codec: Qualcomm® aptX, AAC, SBC
  • Battery: DC3.7 V lithium polymer battery
  • Battery Life: Approx. 40 hours continuous use
  • Charging Time: Approx. 7 hours (for 0-100% charge)
  • Weight: 310 g (10.9 oz), without cable and connector

What’s in the box

  • Audio-Technica ATH-M50xBT wireless headphones
  • 1.0′ (30 cm) USB charging cable
  • Detachable 3.9′ (1.2 m) cable with 3.5 mm (1/8″) gold-plated stereo mini-plug (L-shaped)
  • Protective pouch
  • Quick start guide
  • Caution guide
  • Statement of compliance
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What’s in the box…

Design

As far as headphones go, the Audio-Technica ATH-M50xBT look pretty standard. Featuring a mostly black design, the headband is fairly thick and has ample padding. Covered on the top and bottom with a faux-leather finish, the Audio-Technica logo/wordmark is printed across the top in silver. At each end of the headband is a black plastic piece which is where the adjustable headband slider feeds into. The outer side is a solid silver metal piece with a plastic reinforcement piece behind it.

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The Audio-Technica branding is across the top of the headband.

At the end of the slider is another black plastic piece which is where the earcups attach. The earcups are attached by a fairly typical inverted semi-circle arm design. They rotate 90 degrees in either direction where they connect to the headband. Each earcup also folds up 90 degrees for storage and transportation. At the op of this hinge are two silver circles on each side — one on the front and back — with an L or R to indicate which side the earcup belongs on.

As for the rest of the earcup, the outer shell is the same quality black plastic seen on the hinges and headband end caps. On the outer side of the earcup is a silver metal ring inset with a black circular plate. The Audio-Technica logo is debossed in this plate, making for some subtle branding.

All the controls and ports are located on the bottom of the left earcup. Starting from front to back, you’ll find a BT/Off toggle switch, the power LED indicator, the Micro-USB charging port, the 3.5mm audio port, and finally three physical buttons: -, control, +.

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The controls on the bottom of the left earcup.

The earpads are covered with the same faux-leather material as the headband. They aren’t as thick as some other headsets I’m used to but are still nicely padded and comfortable.

When worn, the headband is angled forward slightly, which adds an extra level of comfort. Overall, the ATH-M50xBT headphones are very comfortable, even for extended listening sessions. While they aren’t the lightest wireless headphones out there, they aren’t overly heavy either coming in at a weight of 310g.

As for the included accessories, the charging and 3.5mm audio cables are your standard plastic coated fare. Both are long enough for their intended purposes, and the audio cable includes a control unit with a single button which allows you to play/pause your music or answer/hang up a phone call.

The included carrying pouch/protective bag is soft sided with black faux leather on the outside with the Audio-Technica wordmark debossed in it. The inside has a fairly normal fabric finish. The headphones, when folded, fit nicely inside and, while it won’t protect your headset from being squished by heavy books or a laptop, it will protect them from rubbing and scratches.

Ease of Use

Once you’ve charged the headset, turn it on by flipping the Off switch towards the BT icon and you should see ATH-M50xBT in the list of devices on your smartphone. Press it to complete the pairing process.

Once paired, press the middle control button towards the back to play or pause the music. Pressing and holding the + or – button for 2 seconds will play the next or previous track. Pressing the same buttons briefly will increase or decrease the volume.

You can answer or end a call by pressing the middle control button while holding it for about 2 seconds will reject a call. The ATH-M50xBT also supports Siri and Google Assistant. You can activate it by pressing against the center of the left earcup for about two seconds.

In addition to using them over Bluetooth, you can also use the included cable to use in wired mode. This is a useful fallback as well in case your battery dies while out and about and you want to continue listening to your tunes until you can get to a charger.

Software

You can also use Audio-Technica’s Connect app for iOS or Android. When connected to your smartphone wirelessly, the app will display current battery remaining and the current track being played with the option to play/pause it.

You can change the Audio Codec used (aptX, AAC, SBC, or auto), disable/enable Voice Prompt, and view the Quick Guide and Product Information for the ATH-M50xBT headset.

To be honest, though, you can really do without it. One thing I did notice was lack of a firmware update featured although the firmware version is listed under the headset.

Sound Quality

As mentioned in the opening paragraph, we haven’t had a chance to review the ATH-M50x yet. As a result, we can’t really compare the wireless version with it’s wired counterpart, but we’ve been around the block a few times with regards to wired and wireless headsets here at Techaeris.

On that note, the sound quality of the ATH-M50xBT is outstanding. The headset is very nicely balanced, as one would expect from a product targeting professional studio users. We put the headset through a few of our favourites like Massive Attack’s “Unfinished Symphony.” The mids, highs, and low bass on that track were all exceptional and it was so easy to close my eyes and just get lost in the tunes. Another favourite playlist of mine from Spotify is called Late Night Vibes. With tracks by everyone from The Postal Service to Mazzy Star and Broken Social Scene, the laid back tracks really shone with this headset.

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Nice plush faux-leather wrapped earpads.

In addition, the usual rock, EDM, Top 40, and hip hop tracks sounded great as well. In short, no matter what music I piped through the headset via Bluetooth, it all sounded great and nothing was distorted or muddied at any volume level. My only real complaint, and it didn’t really come into play that much, was when listening on higher volumes above 75%, you start to hear a slight hissing. On that note, 50-60% was plenty loud to be able to enjoy my music, whether in a quiet or louder space.

I did mention we haven’t reviewed the wired counterpart but Audio-Technica does include a 3.5mm audio cable as well. When plugged into a device for wired listening, I was hard-pressed to tell the difference between the wired and wireless sound quality.

Reception/Call Quality

Reception is great. Audio-Technica claims the standard 10m/33′ and we were able to easily achieve these, even through walls and around corners.

As is the case with most Bluetooth headphones, you can take and receive calls with the ATH-M50xBT headset. I’m personally not a fan of this but it did work during our test call, although, like most offerings, I did find I had to speak a bit louder for the other party to hear me clearly.

Battery Life

As far as battery life is concerned, the company claims up to 40 hours of continuous use with this headset. During our testing, we were able to hit that mark several times. The downside of this, however, is that the headset takes about 7 hours to fully recharge once dead. On that note, this headset will surely last you through a week with average listening and you can always plug it in to charge overnight. As mentioned above, you can also use these in wired mode should the battery fail you mid-listen.

Price/Value

With an MSRP of US$199, the Audio-Technica ATH-M50xBT is decently priced considering the sound quality, build quality, and battery life that you get from them. They are also currently on sale at Amazon for $178.99, which adds even more value.

Wrap-up

There’s no doubt the Audio-Technica ATH-M50xBT wireless headset offers fantastic sound. While I’m no studio professional, these are easily some of the best sounding headphones I’ve tested, especially given the price.

Even though they scored a 9 overall, the software score definitely brings these down a bit. Don’t let that fool you though, without that, these would have easily scored a 9.4 and are well deserving of a Top Pick Award for their sound quality and price.

*We were sent a sample of the Audio-Technica ATH-M50xBT Wireless Headphones for the purposes of this review. In some of our articles and especially in our reviews, you will find Amazon or other affiliate links. Running a website does take money, along with time. Any purchases you make through these links often result in a small amount being earned for the site and/or our writers.

Audio-Technica ATH-M50xBT

US$199
9

Design

9.0/10

Ease of Use

9.5/10

Software

7.0/10

Sound Quality

9.5/10

Reception/Call Quality

9.5/10

Price/Value

9.5/10

Nailed it

  • Comfortable design
  • Decent build quality
  • Fantastic sound, wireless or wired
  • Easy to use controls
  • Reasonably priced

Needs work

  • Pretty standard design
  • No tactile feedback when pressing the left earcup for voice assistant
  • About 7 hours to recharge
  • Basic software, can really do without
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