Originally published 12/31/14
- 3/30/22. Article revisit.
Greetings friend and Welcome aboard!!
Before we get into the Audio Technica ATH M50x review, grab a snack, sit back and relax because…
You’ve come to the right place!!!
Table Of Contents
At A Glance
In The Box
Audio-Technica ATH-M50x Closed-Back Monitor Headphones (Black)
Coiled Cable (3.9 to 9.8′)
Straight Cable (9.8′)
Straight Cable (3.9′)
1/4″ Screw-On Adapter
Limited 2-Year Warranty
- Price: Check Amazon! | Check Sweetwater! | Check eBay! | Standard replacement pads: Here!
- Earpiece Swivel: Yes, 90°
- Foldable: Yes
- Type: Closed Back
- Driver: Dynamic
- Fit: Circumaural (Over-Ear)
- Impedance: 38 Ohm. What is Headphone Impedance?
- Sensitivity: 99dB
- Frequency response: 15 – 28,000 Hz
- Maximum Power Handling: 1600mW
- Material: Plastic, Faux Leather, Metal
- Color: Black
It’s hard to believe I first put these on my head all the way back in 2013.
At that time, there was no M50x. It was simply the M50.
The difference is that the 50x improved upon the treble issue present in the original but also added a removable cable, a choice of different colors, and contoured ear cups that seal tighter for improved isolation.
I did get a chance to demo the 50x around 2014 but never owned one. My friend Thomas had just bought a pair and I got a chance to try them at his pad. They were all the rage back then and in many ways still are.
I can confirm that the treble was handled much better which only improved upon an already fantastic product.
I still feel that way today.
It’s the type of headphone you’ll either love or hate, but I’ve never understood the pushback it’s gotten over the years.
Build & Comfort
First off, these are built deceptively well, and certainly better than their M40x counterpart. The M40x had issues at the hinge because it didn’t fully rotate around.
In other words, it snapped under pressure like Henry Hill in Goodfellas.
The M50x’s hinges do fully rotate, however.
I’m still impressed with how tough these things are. They certainly went through a lot in the 5 years that I owned them from 2013 – 2018.
Anything you can think of I’ve probably experienced with them. They’ve been dropped, tossed, stuffed in book bags, the chord has been pulled and run over more times than I’m comfortable admitting, but they still somehow always asked for more like Mick Foley.
They were heavy enough to where I didn’t get worried about breaking them but light enough to remain portable.
The build is mostly plastic, but it’s a rugged variety similar to an HD280 but not quite as bulky as that one. The headband adjustments are metal and make a satisfying clicking sound.
The earcups are made of faux leather which brings me to my first complaint: They will crack, peel, and harden after a couple of years, so users beware.
Fortunately, thy are replaceable so it’s still a good investment regardless as most cups will break down in some form or fashion over time.
The headband padding will also come off, but there’s enough of it, and doesn’t dig too hard into the top of your skull though you will feel it from time to time.
The protective coil
One of the most unique and impressive things about these is the stainless steel coil that protects the cable from damage. It appears on the end near the 3.5 mm jack and has probably prevented these from having to be replaced numerous times.
Over the years, many companies have copied Audio Technica’s design and it’s easy to see why.
Comfort is hit and miss. In other words, about average to maybe slightly below.
Back when I was younger and mixing into the wee hours of the morning, I kind of just accepted it. It’s like a “grin and bear it” type of thing.
The pads tend to dig into your ear lobes and they will get hot/sweaty after a while. Not all that surprising, really.
These are marketed as Circumaural (Around-Ear) and barely fit that moniker.
As with the MDR-7506, I find them to be a cross between Supra-Aural (On-Ear) and Circumaural as they kind of envelop your ears but kind of don’t.
If this is your first foray into the world of audiophiles, and you’ve never experienced anything other than low-grade dog food, these will sound pretty remarkable.
Heck, they sound great regardless of what any of those snobs say.
The problem with the internet is someone with influence says something, then everyone else parrots it.
So go ahead, parrot what I just said. xD
No really, the M50x hate is completely out of control in my opinion.
If you put a DT770 graph side by side with an M50x, you’ll start to wonder why the former has been essentially placed on a pedestal while the latter is mocked and ridiculed into oblivion.
It really doesn’t make any sense. The 50x has been accused of being “horribly unbalanced”, but which of the 2 is actually more V-shaped?
If you guessed DT770, you guessed correct.
The 50x opts for a 5dB shelf across 20Hz – 200, but it sounds really good and in no way bloated or artificial.
This in my mind is what sets it apart from other bass head offerings.
You’ll love the weight and impact that it has, but it really never sounds out of control or overdone like your mom’s meatloaf.
When we talk about colored headphones, it simply means they have an added warmth to them and aren’t quite neutral. They are a bit more forward in sound and provide an enjoyable experience rather than a critical one.
The only thing that prevents the M50x from being a true reference headphone is the bass response. It isn’t neutral in the slightest. It is tight and accurate but also hits really hard. This also happens to be one of the M50x’s best qualities.
When you first put these on, you may finally realize what you were missing all those years. The sound is tight, controlled, and accurate, but also has a touch of warmth/color to it.
As mentioned before, the bass is their bread and butter. Hip hop heads will love the deep, tight, and accurate response. The low end never becomes too boomy, bloated, or artificial. It also somehow manages not to drown out the other frequencies.
The low mid-range is a bit pushed back around 300Hz, but other than that, what exactly are audiophiles complaining about?
The highs sparkle, and again are much improved over the overly bright/sibilant M50.
You will start to hear things in your music that were previously absent. Very subtle details will start to emerge, and the best way I can describe it is that the sound envelops and completely takes you away. They aren’t noise-canceling but isolate very well.
I was honestly floored when I first put them on and can remember vividly how I felt throughout that specific day.
For a closed back model, these deliver quite the experience. For those that don’t know, sound-stage simply means how lively the music feels, and if you perceive the music to be outside of you rather than in your head.
With open back headphones, it’s more prominent because the sound has room to breathe (Some of it literally escapes through the backs of the headphone).
Have you ever thought you heard a noise while you were listening to music and subsequently taken off your headphones and looked around?
That’s what I mean. Good headphones can sort of fool you into thinking that you are right there with the band. What is Soundstage?
As good as the sound is here, the downside is that they can become exhausting after a while.
Being that these are closed-back, the music can get trapped in your head and you may have to take frequent breaks if you tend to listen for long periods of time.
- Deep, tight bass response, with crisp highs.
- Extreme and vivid clarity between each instrument.
- Great Soundstage for a closed-back model.
- Great for hip-hop/rap (a bass-heads dream).
- Sturdy build quality, not too heavy, not too light. They can really take quite a bit of abuse.
- They contort in a myriad of different ways for added flexibility.
- The earpads are prone to cracking, peeling, and hardening over time.
- Comfort can be problematic.
At 38 Ohms, none!!
The M50x is a great pair of headphones for bass heads but also works for most genres and even does okay as reference headphones in a pinch. Comfort is hit and miss, but the build quality and longevity here are excellent at the price point and easily make the best headphones for hip-hop list.
I loved the M50x back then and still love it today. It’s not a perfect headphone by any means but still deserves a look even despite a barrage of headphones flooding the market in recent years.
All in all, an excellent set of headphones that will last you a very long time…
Well, that’s about it for today my friend! Hope you enjoyed this Audio Technica ATH M50 Review.
Questions? Comments? Requests? Did I miss the mark on something? Please let me know down below or Contact me!!
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