The Audio-Technica ATH-M50x are great sounding closed-back headphones for critical listening. They have an exceptional reproduction of the bass, mid, and treble range and they feel sturdy and durable enough to last you a while. However, their studio design only offers passive isolation from ambient noise and no audio controls, which is not ideal for loud environments and commuting.
The Audio-Technica ATH-M50x do not change much style-wise from the ATH-M40x. They have a bland design, but they're well-built, sturdy and durable. The large ear cups are decently comfortable and fit well around most ears. Unfortunately, they're not the most stable headphones and will slip off your ears if used while running or jogging. Also, they don't provide an audio cable with in-line controls, so they won't be as practical to use on the go, which is a little disappointing.
The Audio-Technica ATH-M50x have the same studio design as the ATH-M40x. They look a little bland, but the all-black utilitarian aesthetic could work for some. The flat oval ear cups add a bit more flare to the overall look of the headphone with silver accents around the logo. They look good, but you won't stand out in a crowd wearing these headphones. However, there are other available color schemes, which are more eye-catching than the all-black version reviewed.
The ear cups of the Audio-Technica M50x are slightly larger than the similarly modeled ATH-M40x, which makes them a little more comfortable. The additional space easily accommodates larger ears, and they do not feel too tight on the head. Unfortunately, the padding can feel a little stiff and squeaky, especially when moving or adjusting the headphone on the head.
These headphones do not have a control scheme and do not come with an additional audio cable with an in-line remote like some of the other wired designs (see our recommendations for the best wired headphones).
The M50x are more breathable than the Focal Elegia but they still make your ears fairly warm during long listening sessions. They have a closed back over-ear design that prevents a lot of airflow so they won't be suitable for exercising or working out. They should be okay for more casual listening but will make your ears sufficiently warm that you may have to take a break every 1 to 2 hours.
The Audio-Technica ATH-M50X are on the larger side of over-ear headphones. They fold into a more compact format and can easily be carried in a backpack but will be too large for most jacket pockets. The swiveling ear cups also lay flat which takes up less space but not as much as when they are folded.
These headphones come with a soft pouch that will protect them from scratches while in your bag but it will not protect them from falls.
Update 09/09/2019: Thanks to the detachable cable, we decided to raise the M50x's Build Quality score as it makes them more durable.
The ATH-M50x are well-built headphones. They feel sturdy and durable because of the dense plastic used for the ear cups and headband. They will be able to withstand a few drops without much damage. However, like the ATH-M40x, the joints are weak points where the headphones may be susceptible to breaking. The metal frame used to reinforce the headband is thicker than the one utilized for the ATH-M30x.
These headphones are not designed for sport, and it shows in how stable they feel once on the head. They will easily slip off your ears if you're doing high-intensity activities like running or jumping. Fortunately, they are sufficiently stable during casual use even if you're often tilting your head. The detachable cable is also a plus if you do not lock them into the ear cups while on the move.
They have a deep, thumpy, and punchy bass, an outstanding and neutral mid-range, and a well-balanced treble. They also have very good imaging and distortion performance. This makes them very versatile and suitable for almost all genres, from EDM to folk/rock and audiobooks. However, their bass delivery could vary slightly from person to person, and like most closed-back headphones, they don't have a large and speaker-like soundstage.
The frequency response consistency is above-average. In the bass range, the maximum deviation measured on our 5 human subjects was less than 5dB at 20Hz, which is decent. In the treble range, the maximum deviation below 10KHz is about 6dB, which is also decent. This means that the bass and treble delivery will remain reasonably consistent from across different users and re-seats.
The Audio Technica M50X has an excellent bass. Their LFE (low-frequency extension) is at 15Hz, which is great. Accordingly, sub-bass is overemphasized by less than 1dB. This ensures a deep bass, with just the right amount of thump and rumble. Mid-bass, responsible for the body of bass guitars and the punch of kick drums, is also flat and within 0.8dB of our target. High-bass, however, is overemphasized by about 2dB, which adds a tad boominess and clutter to the sound.
The mid-range is great. Low-mid is underemphasized by 2dB. This thins out vocals and lead instruments slightly, and instead, gives more room to the thump and punch of the kick drums. Additionally, mid-mid and high-mid are flat and within 1dB of our target, indicating a clear and well-balanced reproduction of vocals and lead instruments.
The treble of the M50X is very good. The response is rather uneven, but overall quite well-balanced. Low-treble, is above our target by 0.8dB, but mid-treble is underemphasized by more than 3dB. This will have a small but negative effect on the detail and brightness of vocals, leads, and cymbals. The 5dB peak at 10Khz, is not significant either, but could make the S and Ts (sibilances) a tad sharp on tracks that are already bright.
The imaging of the ATH-M50x is great. Their weighted group delay is at 0.3, which is good. The GD graph also shows that the group delay doesn't really cross the audibility threshold, except for a tiny bit around 50Hz. This indicates that for the most part, the bass of the M50x is quite tight and fast, and their treble transparent. Additionally, the L/R drivers of our test unit were very well-matched, ensuring accurate placement and localization of objects (instruments, footsteps, voice) in the stereo image.
The soundstage of the Audio-Technica M50x is sub-par. The PRTF graph shows that headphone's response doesn't follow our reference very closely. In general, there doesn't seem to be much pinna (outer ear) activation present, and these over-ear headphones interact with the pinna more like an on-ear. On the up side, the notch at 10KHz is pretty decent, which could help a bit with pulling the soundstage out of the head and bringing it to the front.
The Audio-Technica ATH-M50x, like the ATH-M40x, are not active noise canceling headphones. The ear cups can passively isolate high-frequency noise because of the tight seal they create around most ears. However, the lack of active noise canceling will let the low rumbles of trains and planes seep into your audio and potentially affect your listening experience. If you need a more passively isolating headphone that sound as good as the M50x, then consider the Sennheiser HD 598 Cs. Unfortunately, their leakage level is more audible than the M50x, which will be more of an issue at higher volumes.
The isolation performance of the Audio-Technica M50x is sub-par. In the bass range, important for reducing the rumble of airplane and bus engines, they do not achieve any isolation. In the mid-range, important for blocking out speech, they achieve about 9dB of isolation, which is mediocre. In the treble range, occupied by sharp S and T sounds, the achieve about 28dB of isolation, which is good.
The leakage performance is above-average. The significant portion of their leakage is between 500Hz and 4KHz, which is a relatively broad range. This means their leakage sound fuller than that of in-ears and earbuds, but not as full-bodied as that of open-back headphones. However, the overall level of the leakage is quite low, when the music at 100dB SPL the leakage barely reaches 50dB SPL at 1 foot away, which is lower than the noise floor of most offices.
These headphones do not have a microphone and therefore, the recording quality has not been tested.
These headphones do not have a microphone and therefore, the noise handling has not been tested.
These headphones have no active features and therefore do not require a battery. They also do not have a dedicated app or software for added customization options.
These are passive headphones with no active components and no battery.
The headphones do not have a dedicated, compatible app for added customization.
The Audio-Technica ATH-M50x only have a wired connection. This means they have practically no latency for watching movies and videos but do not have the convenient range of a wireless headphone.
These headphones are wired and do not have a Bluetooth connection. If you want a good Bluetooth headset for more casual use check out the Plantronics BackBeat Pro 2.
These headphones have practically no latency since they have a wired design. Unfortunately, this also means that they're limited by the range of the provided cables.
These headphones come with 3 audio cables with no in-line remote. This means they will provide audio when connected to your PS4 or Xbox One controller but do not have a microphone for voice chat.
The ATH-M50x does not have a dock. If you need a headset with a dock that also has a wired connection for gaming or watching movies, then consider the SteelSeries Arctis 7.
The Audio-Technica ATH-M50x are above-average closed-back critical listening headphones. They have an excellent, and well-balanced audio reproduction. They feel sturdy, and the large ear cups fit comfortably over most ears. They're simple and straightforward headphones for enjoying your music. However, this also means their studio design won't be as practical for every day casual use as some of the more feature-packed headphones compared below. They have no buttons or control schemes and only isolate passively from ambient noise, which is not ideal for commuting or traveling. Overall, they're one of the most popular closed-back headphones for music, the best DJ headphones, and the best headphones for studio use.
The Audio-Technica ATH-M50x are better headphones than the Sennheiser HD 280 Pro in pretty much every category. They are better-built, noticeably more comfortable, and have better sound quality. The HD 280 Pro also get very hot and aren’t breathable. Overall, the ATH-M50x offer better value and are one of the best critical listening headphones we’ve reviewed so far.
The Audio Technica ATH-M50x are very similar to the Audio Technica M40x, but they have a slight edge over them. They feel a bit sturdier and better-built than the M40x, and their audio reproduction is slightly more accurate and neutral. Also, the M40x have elevated distortion, so they might sound a bit impure at high volumes, while the M50x will sound cleaner. Both headphones will give you great sound and are also great options for critical listening, but the M50x offer one of the best values on the market due to their great price-to-performance ratio.
The Beyerdynamic DT 990 PRO are better headphones than the Audio-Technica ATH-M50x, especially if you listen in a quiet room where you can take advantage of their open-back design. They are also better-built and feel sturdier thanks to their metal frame. On the other hand, if you need good critical listening headphones for your commute or if you like to listen to music in quiet environments like a library, the closed-back M50x will be a better option since they isolate more and leak less, thanks to their closed-backs.
Both headphones have a similar design and performance, but the Audio-Technica ATH-M50xBT are better mixed-usage headphones than the regular wired Audio-Technica ATH-M50x which are better for studio use. The M50xBT are wireless, which makes them more convenient to use, and they have a decent control scheme on the ear cups, while the wired model doesn’t have any. On the other hand, the regular M50x have a more balanced audio reproduction, and you don’t have to worry about latency issues or battery life, but the 38 hours of playback time you get with the M50xBT is excellent.
The Audio-Technica ATH-M50x and the Sennheiser HD 599 are two great sounding headphones but should be used in different situations. The ATH-M50x pack a bit more bass, which is due to their closed-back design. They’ll be a better option than the HD 599 if you’re looking for great sounding headphones to bring on the go. On the other hand, the open-back design of the HD 599 will be better-suited for quiet listening environments, and they are very comfortable for long listening sessions.
The Audio-Technica ATH-M50x are better headphones than the V-MODA Crossfade M-100. They are more comfortable and have a better sound quality, which makes them better for critical listening. On the other hand, the Crossfade M-100 feel sturdier thanks to their metal frame. They also have an in-line microphone for calls, which the M50x lack. Overall, the ATH-M50x will be a better option since they offer better value than the V-MODA Crossfade M-100.
The Audio Technica ATH-M50x and the Beyerdynamic DT 770 PRO have very similar performance, but some might prefer the better build quality of the DT 770. Their metal frame feels sturdy and the soft padding fabric feels nice on the skin. However, they can be tight for some, especially if you have a larger head. They might also sound a bit sharp for some, and don’t come with as many cable options as the M50x.
While the Audio-Technica ATH-M70x are more comfortable than the Audio-Technica ATH-M50x, they might not be the better choice for most people. The M50x have better audio reproduction on top of being more affordable, meaning they’ll offer great value for most people. The two headphones are very similar and the extra investment necessary for the M70x might not be worth it.
The Audio-Technica ATH-M50x are slightly better headphones than the Sennheiser HD 598 Cs due to the great value they offer. Their sound quality is really good, and they are slightly better-built than the HD 598 Cs. Both headphones perform similarly, but the HD 598 Cs also have a microphone for calls if you need one. Also, the Sennheiser’s cups are larger and may feel more comfortable for some, especially since they aren’t as tight as the M50x.
If you prefer a closed-back design for your critical listening, then the Audio-Technica ATH-M50x will be the better option. If you want an open design, then go for the Sennheiser HD 600. The Audio-Technica have a deeper bass that some will prefer. Also, since they have a closed-back design, they're a bit more versatile to use outdoors. They're suitable for commuting and the office since they do not leak as much as the HD 600 and block more noise. On the other hand, the HD 600 have a more spacious-sounding audio reproduction. They also have a more accurate representation of the mid-range.
The Bose QuietComfort 35 are the better option if you want to go wireless, but for a wired design, the Audio-Technica ATH-M50x sound a bit better. The Bose QuietComfort 35 are a lot more comfortable than the M50x. They're also wireless and noise cancelling, which make them a lot more versatile to use outdoors, in noisy environments, and at the office. The ATH M50X, on the other hand, are a more critical listening-focused headphone, with a better-balanced sound and a wired design that has no latency. This makes them slightly better than the Bose for recording, watching videos, and even gaming if you do not care about having a mic.
The Audio-Technica ATH-M50x are better critical listening headphones than the Sony MDR-7506. They’ll be more comfortable to wear during long listening sessions and they feel better-built. Their sound is very good and more accurate than the Sonys, especially in the treble. Apart from that, the headphones are fairly similar, but you might be able to find the MDR-7506 at a cheaper price point, so they might offer better value.
For gaming, the Astro A40 TR + MixAmp Pro 2017 will be a better option than the Audio-Technica ATH-M50x thanks to the boom microphone and its dock, which offers plenty of controls. The Astro are also more comfortable and have a good app that lets you EQ their sound profile. The Astro are open-backs, so they’ll feel more open-sounding, and won’t be great for everyday casual use, while the M50x are very versatile. Also, if you have a stand-alone microphone, the ATH-M50x can be a good choice for gaming, thanks to its very accurate audio reproduction.
The Audio-Technica ATH-M50x are a better-sounding headphone overall than the the Audio-Technica ATH-M60x. The M50x have a slightly more durable build quality and a more comfortable over-ear fit. They also sound a bit better balanced with a warmer sounding mid-range and more bass than the M60x. However, the M60x are a bit more compact with a modern on-ear look that some will prefer when compared to the M50x. They're also a bit more lightweight and better sounding than most on-ear designs.
The Audio-Technica ATH-M50x are a better headphone than the Sennheiser Momentum 2.0 On-Ear. The ATH-M50x have a more comfortable over-ear fit than the Sennheisers. They're also better built and have a much better sound quality that delivers a more powerful bass without drowning instruments and vocals or sounding boomy and cluttered like the Sennehisers. On the upside, the Sennheisers are a bit more portable and easier to carry around. They also come with an in-line remote which makes them a bit more suitable to use with your phone while commuting, even if their isolation performance is not great.
The Beyerdynamic DT 1770 PRO are better-built critical listening headphones than the Audio-Technica ATH-M50x, but they come at a much steeper price. The sound quality is about the same, but the M50x have less sound consistency issues than the DT 1770. On the other hand, the padding of the Beyerdynamic headphones is softer and feels more comfortable, but they are tighter on the head than the M50x. The DT 1770 also isolate passively a bit more, but they leak more than the Audio-Technicas. The more low-profile design of the M50x might be better for outdoor use.
The Audio-Technica ATH-M50x are a better value and better-sounding critical listening headphones than the Sony MDR-7520. The Sonys have a better more premium and durable build quality when compared to the M50x. They also have a lower profile on your head and an understated look and feel that some may prefer over the slightly plasticky design of the Audio-Technicas. On the other hand, the M50x sound more balanced. They have a deeper bass and better high frequencies that make them sound more exciting without losing too much detail in instrumentals and vocals. The M50x are also a bit more comfortable.
The Sennheiser HD 820 are a slightly better closed back critical listening headphone than the Audio-Technica ATH-M50x, but not by much considering their price difference. The HD 820 have a much better and more premium build quality. They also have more spacious and well-padded earcups that are breathable enough to wear for much longer than the M50x. They come with more high-end cables and accessories and would be the superior headset if their sound quality was a bit more consistent. Here, the ATH-M50x have the advantage. They have a slightly more balanced mid-range and a more pronounced bass but do not have the soundstage of the Sennheisers. The Audio-Technica are also a bit lighter and easier to use with mobile devices.
The Audio Technica ATH-M50x are better headphones than the Focal Elegia, and they are a fraction of the price, too. They have better and more neutral audio quality to reproduce tracks accurately. However, the price difference shows in build quality and comfort, as the Elegia are superior in those categories. The cups of the Elegia are bigger and deeper, which will also fit most ears better.
Average for mixed usage. They have a sturdy and durable design, a decently comfortable fit, and an excellent sound quality. They're also wired which makes them a decent option for watching video content. However, they won't be as convenient as wireless headphones for everyday casual use, and they're not as feature-packed as some of the other headphones we've tested around their price range. They won't be the ideal headphones for commuting or traveling and they're a bit too bulky for sports. But on the upside, they're a well balanced and great sounding headphone for critical listening.
Great for neutral listening. The Audio-Technica M50X offer a well-balanced audio reproduction with the right amount of bass. They have decently balanced mid-range that reproduces the instruments and vocal accurately, and their treble doesn't sound too sharp or recessed. However their closed-back design might limit a bit their soundstage, but their sound quality will not disappoint.
Below average for commute and travel. They only block noise passively which will not be enough for the noisy environments involved in commuting. They're also a bit bulky to carry around on your person at all times and have no control scheme to change tracks on the go.
Below average for sports. They have a decently comfortable design but they're a bit too bulky and unstable for sports. They also come with a thick audio cable with no control scheme to change tracks while working out. And they make your ears fairly warm under casual conditions so they will make sweat more than usual during more intense activities.
Mediocre for office use. The Audio Technica ATH-M50x do not leak too much but will be audible to the people around you at higher volumes. Unfortunately, they also do not block enough noise to use in noisy environments so you will hear the ambient chatter of a lively office.
Subpar for gaming. The M50x have a good sound and a low latency wired connection but are not as convenient or as customizable as most gaming headsets. Also, they don't have a microphone. However, if you do not need voice chat, then they could be a decent option for consoles and PCs.