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We recently put out a call to action for our readers to test out some Audio-Technica ATH-M50x studio monitor headphones. After all the entries were screened, we chose three studio testers to put these cans through their paces – one dedicated musician who’s a master of vocal arrangements, one professional photographer who’s entrenched in a/v production for his clients, and a gamer/streamer who lives online, where premium sound reproduction is a necessity to make it. Here are their stories…
I’m no stranger to Audio-Technica, and over the years have added a number of their microphones to my treasure trove as I find their products pro-quality, versatile and at a price point that’s hard to resist. I was thrilled to receive two pairs of the ATH-M50x’s, as I’ve noticed them popping up in recording sessions and studio videos online. I work in music and audio production both as a musician/arranger and an engineer, so to aptly jump between roles I need my gear to be both detailed and clinical, but also musical and inspiring. I find these headphones do quite a good job at covering both spectrums. Editing and mixing, I have the clarity and intelligibility that I need to make subtle, detailed moves. Tracking is surprisingly pleasing and motivating, where previously I had been fighting with sterile-sounding cans I can now turn off my analytical left-brain and focus on the creative side. Aided by the fact that these headphones are very comfortable, I can wear these puppies for hours without much fatigue. Click bleed is a minimal issue, scoring another point in their favor.▼ Article continues below ▼
Sonically they are slightly “colored” with a boost in the high harmonics and a bump in the bass, but once I got used to this I had no trouble translating mixes from my studio monitors, to my headphones and to my car. I’m a firm believer that you can make a good mix on anything providing you know it well enough, and so far, I’ve found these headphones complement my Dynaudio BM6A’s quite nicely. I’m working on different genres of music every day and I’ve found that these headphones suit a wide range of styles. They come with a nice little bag and some extra accessories which makes them easy to travel with, and being able to separate the cable from the headphones is a really nice design feature.
It’s safe to say these headphones are going to see a LOT of use, thank you Audio-Technica and Performer Magazine!
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As the saying goes, “The best laid plans…”
Upon first glance of my Audio-Technica ATH-M50x headphones I vowed that these cans would only be used for editing video and nothing else. This plan lasted for a few days, and then I wore them while listening to Avalon by Roxy Music and my plans went out the door.
The ATH-M50x headphones effortlessly fold into themselves, allowing for a nice fit in the included travel pouch that offers easy storage and convenient travel. Audio-Technica includes three cables and an 1/8” to 1/4” adaptor, which leads to one of my favorite features of this product: the detachable cable. I’ve lost many sets of headphones over the years due to frayed connections. This is a thoughtful addition to an already solid set of headphones.
The M50x’s are comfortable, too. In the past, I’ve felt tension headaches due to poor headphone design. The ear pads are soft and after hours of editing video or listening to music for my own enjoyment, I’ve been pleasantly surprised to take off the headphones and not feel like they are still on my head.
I work in a shared studio space, and while the M50x’s do not completely block out the surrounding sound, they do block out enough extraneous noise to keep me focused while I edit. The flat frequency response offers a great starting point for mixing and even at loud volumes the sound is clean with minimal distortion. After listening to audio on different sets of speakers, the mix was consistent across the board.
So, back to the saying…what I initially assumed would be a valuable tool that would live only at my studio, my Audio-Technica ATH-M50x headphones have quickly earned a place in my bag and on my ears for both work and enjoyment.
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I’ve really enjoyed my experience with the ATH-M50x headphones over the last few weeks. It’s easy to see (or hear) why these are the most critically acclaimed model in the M-Series line. I was initially greeted with classy and professional packaging, which was a pleasant surprise and certainly a good start. Included with the headphones are three interchangeable locking audio cables: 1 coiled “studio” cable which goes from 1.2 meters to 3 meters, a straight 3-meter cable, and a more portable 1.2-meter straight cable. I’ve found myself using the coiled cable in my studio and the short straight cable when I’m out and about listening to music on my phone. Also included is a nice protective carrying pouch and the standard quarter-inch audio adapter as a bonus.
The build quality is exceptional; they don’t feel like cheap plastic. As I twist and swivel the earcups around 90 degrees to adjust for one ear listening, they’re perfectly sturdy and ready for abuse. Did I mention they’re foldable?
One of the most important things I’m looking for in a nice pair of headphones is clarity and definition, and that’s a category where the M50x’s really shine. This is achieved by the extended frequency range of 15 Hz to 28,000 Hz and deep, accurate bass response which I find to be punchy without sounding too “boomy.” I also appreciate the flexibility of being able to use them as studio headphones while I’m mixing and editing, pwning some n00bs while capping B flag, or lying in bed watching a movie trying not to wake up my other half. I can’t stress the importance of sound isolation enough for that last one!
If I have anything critical to say about these headphones it would be that I would love to swap out the standard earcup pads for velour instead for an even softer, comfier feel. Overall, these are solid cans to add to your setup, regardless of the project you’re working on, or just for listening to your music collection.
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