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Audio-Technica ATH-M50x Professional Studio Monitor Headphones

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Introduction

When it comes to headphones, you’re looking for three factors to come into play. Build quality, sound quality and features. Will the latest offering from Audio-Technica measure up to the competition and provide value for money?

Build Quality & Design

Audio-Technica has delivered a durable, built-to-last set of headphones that will be one for the ages. They responded to customer feedback and updated their ATH-M50 with detachable cables, allowing the cable to be replaced without affecting the overall headphone performance, plus a refined sound range that is modified in line with recent research into listener preferences.Designed for lengthy studio use and mixing sessions, the ATH-M50x are a bit heavier than some of the other over-the-ear headphones on the market, weighing in at 10 ounces.Impressively, unlike some of the other studio headphones on the market at the moment, they require no batteries and no amplification. The sound is like a PA around the ears, even when playing from a lower end mp3 player.

The build is plastic, with professional-grade synthetic leather around the ear pads and headband that deliver a comfortable feel with a great look. These are smaller headphones and fit a bit too tight on some people, but most users will find these headphones beyond luxurious.I’ve also noted that some people are reporting having to remove their glasses when using them, but this will depend on the shape of your head and most users are reporting extreme satisfaction with their comfort-factor.The ear-pieces wrap entirely around your ears, and rotate 180 degrees for single ear listening.They are foldable, allowing for easy storage, and the detachable cables mean that if the cable is ripped or broken, you can simply replace them.

The headphones themselves are built to withstand studio conditions, so you can count on them to keep on delivering, year after year.It comes with three cables, a long 3-meter cable, a short 1-meter cable, and a coiled cable.In the event the weakest part of the headphone system, the cable, breaks, they are easily replaceable with a new cable.Audio-Technica stands by their product, and they come with a two-year warranty.

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Sound Quality

For the audiophiles out there, the ATH-M50x sound output follows a U-shape, with emphasis in the high trebles and low bass. The bass bumps beautifully, and the higher notes are detailed – count on hearing new details in favourite songs with this series.Some users have complained about the lower flush in the upper mid-range audio, but I was only impressed with the sound. Listening to a couple of my favourite metal and electronic songs, I found new subtleties that didn’t come across in previous headphones.

Compared to the higher-priced Beats by Dre, the ATH-M50x are a work of technological wonder. Again these are top-notch studio-quality headphones at a mid-range price.It is worth noting that this sound profile is updated from the ATH-M50 model, in line with recent research about what listeners enjoy hearing, with the aim of a better listening experience. Again, count on hearing new details in your favourite songs.There is no noise-cancelling feature and it requires no battery, but it works powerfully even on a smartphone.

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Studio Quality

Let’s look at what Audio-Technica means when they describe the ATH-M50x as a studio- quality headphone. They are designed for sound engineers working in insulated studios. What does this mean for us?There is no noise-cancelling feature, and they are not the best option for someone looking for headphones to use on their daily commute to work. If your travelling environment is quite loud, they may not do the same kind of job that noise-cancelling headphones would.

They are well padded and this provides natural sound insulation. They would make them a good option for office headphones, or for using whilst relaxing at home. They’d also do just fine on airplane flights, but they were designed with studio use in mind primarily, and this is worth bearing in mind.With the headphones all the way over the ears, there is no sound leak, and sound intrusion is minimal, but it does still happen.The ATH-M50X is built on a natural sound curve, with accentuation in the treble and bass regions. Not the best choice if you’re looking for a subwoofer, but for a natural sound that works with all genres of music, these are a fine choice.

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Verdict

I believe you would be hard-pressed to find a quality pair of headphones of a similar level anywhere near this price range. The studio-quality design means the ATH-M50X is a professional level device without the price tag usually associated with a product of that type.Audio-Technica took the already legendary ATH-M50X, updated the sound profile in line with recent research findings about what listeners prefer, re-modelled the sound input to allow for easily replaceable detachable cables, and delivers it all at what amounts to a bargain.

These would be a great choice for the at-home listener, or a set of work headphones, but are not ideal for on-the-go use such as exercising or a bus commute. They don’t have the noise-cancelling feature but the ear pods seal well enough to eliminate normal outside sounds.All-in-all these are a go-to set for someone looking for top quality sound, particularly at this price level.

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Specifications

 

Frequency Response 15- 28.000 Hz.
Driver Size 45 mm.
Sensitivity 98 dB.
Maximum Input Power 1600 mW.
Impedance (ohms) 38.
Collapsible Yes.
Earcup Swivel 90° Both Directions.
Cable 9.8′ straight / 3.9- 9.8′ coiled / 3.9′ straight.
Weight 10 oz.

 

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Review :8.9

BUILD QUALITY 9/10.

SOUND QUALITY 9.5/10.

COMFORT 8.6/10.

FEATURES 8.8/10.

PRACTICALITY 9/10.

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PROS

  • – Mid-range price, yet suitable for professionals.
  • – Battery-free.
  • – Detachable cable.
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CONS

  • – Tight feel for some people.
  • – Quite heavy, so not ideal for on the go listening.
  • – No specific noise-cancelling features.

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