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Audio-Technica ATH-M50xBT
HEADPHONES REVIEW

Usage Ratings - Version 1.2
6.6
Mixed Usage
7.4
Critical Listening
6.5
Commute/Travel
6.6
Sports/Fitness
6.8
Office
5.6
TV
5.3
Gaming
Type : Over-ear
Enclosure : Closed-Back
Wireless : Yes
Noise-Cancelling : No
Mic : Yes
Transducer : Dynamic

The Audio-Technica M50xBT are a good sounding wireless pair of headphones for critical listening. They are the wireless variant of the very popular wired ATH-M50x and perform quite similarly. They have a good audio reproduction, which isn’t as great as the wired equivalent, but their build is practically the same, making the M50xBT quite comfortable and durable headphones. They have an excellent battery life, but their compatible app doesn’t offer much, which is disappointing. They also have too much latency to watch video content, but on the upside, they can also be used passively with the included audio cable and get rid of the latency issues, even if the battery is dead.

Test Results
Design 7.0
Sound 7.5
Isolation 5.3
Microphone 6.5
Active Features 6.3
Connectivity 6.1
Pros
  • Good audio reproduction.
  • Sturdy and comfortable build.
  • Excellent battery life.
Cons
  • Poor noise isolation.
  • Long charge time.
  • Slightly inconsistent in the bass range, especially if you wear glasses.

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Black ATH-M50xBT
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7.0

Design

The Audio-Technica ATH-M50xBT are practically identical to the regular wired ATH-M50x when it comes to design, other than the fact they can be used wirelessly. They have the same studio-like look and the same dense plastic build quality that feels solid and well-made. The padding isn’t much different and is still fairly comfortable. The cups are larger to fit most ears, and the headphones don’t apply too much pressure on the head. On the wireless variant, you now get a nice and easy to use control scheme on the ear cups. You can also use the headphones wired with the provided 1/8” TRRS cable, even if the battery is dead.

Style

The Audio-Technica ATH-M50xBT isn’t very different from their wired equivalent ATH-M50x. They have the same bland studio look with an all-black design that some may like. They also still have silver accents on the ear cups around the company logo, and overall, they look good, but won’t stand out. Unfortunately, they do not come in any color variant to fit your preferred style like the wired ATH-M50x.

7.5 Comfort
Weight : 0.7 lbs
Clamping Force
:
0.8 lbs

The Audio-Technica ATH-M50xBT are built very similarly to the regular wired M50x and are as comfortable. They are larger than the ATH-M40x, which makes them a bit more comfortable and suitable for larger ears, but are on the shallow side. The headphones are fairly lightweight and don’t apply too much pressure on the head and don’t feel too tight. The padding on the ear cups is comfortable but might feel bit stiff right out of the box.

7.2 Controls
Ease of use : Okay
Feedback : Good
Call/Music Control : Yes
Volume Control : Yes
Microphone Control : No
Channel Mixing
:
N/A
Noise Canceling Control : N/A
Talk-Through
:
N/A
Additional Buttons : Voice enabled controls

Unlike the M50x, the Bluetooth variant has controls on the ear cups for on the fly functionalities. You get a volume control, play/call management button and you can also access your device voice assistant like Siri or Google Assistant with a long touch over the logo on the left ear cup. However, it is finicky and doesn’t seem to work consistently. Also, there’s no button to go into pairing mode. The headphones will automatically connect to the last known device, and if you want to connect to another device, you’ll have to disconnect manually on the first device, and then the headphones will search for available devices. There is no way to disconnect Bluetooth directly on the headphones, and this might be a deal breaker for some if you have multiple devices. The control scheme is fairly easy to use, and the provided feedback from the physical buttons is good. You also get audio feedback for track skipping, min/max volume and also play/pause music.

6.0 Breathability
Avg.Temp.Difference : 7.1 C

Like most over-ears, the ATH-M50xBT trap heat under the ear cups. These headphones are not designed to be sports headphones, and you should expect more sweat if you’re using them during your workouts. This shouldn’t be too much of a problem for casual listening, but breaks are recommended to let the ears cool off.

5.9 Portability
L : 6.0 "
W : 6.0 "
H : 3.4 "
Volume : 122 Cu. Inches
Transmitter required : N/A

The Audio-Technica M50xBT aren’t very portable over-ear headphones, but they do fold into a more compact format and can be easily stored in a bag. They also have swiveling cups to lay flat, which makes them more comfortable to wear around your neck when not using them. They also come with a soft pouch to protect them during traveling.

6.5 Case
Type : Pouch
L : N/A
W : N/A
H : N/A
Volume : N/A

The Audio-Technica ATH-M50xBT come with a very similar pouch to the wired variant. It should protect the headphones against scratches and very light water exposure but won’t help much if you drop the headphones.

7.5 Build Quality

The ATH-M50xBT are practically the normal M50x, but without a cable. They are made of dense plastic that gives them a durable and well-built feel. The headband is also reinforced with a metal frame and doesn’t feel flimsy. Like most of the Audio-Technica lineup, the joints seem to be the weak spots of the headphones and could be the first thing susceptible of breaking.

6.5 Stability

The Audio-Technica ATH-M50xBT headphones were not designed for sports and aren’t stable on the head. During sports and high-intensity activities, they will slip off your ears. This shouldn’t be a problem for casual listening, and since they have a wireless design, you don’t have to worry about a cable getting stuck on something and snagging the headphones off your head.

Cable
Detachable : Yes
Length : 4.1 ft
Connection : 1/8" TRRS

The Audio-Technica ATH-M50xBT come with a USB to micro USB charging cable and also a 1/8” TRRS cable for when you want to use the headphones wired, even if the battery is dead. This cable has an in-line remote and microphone. They also don't have a twist-and-lock mechanism like the wired M50x, so you can use them with any 1/8" TRS/TRRS cable.

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7.5

Sound

The Audio-Technica M50xBT is a good sounding pair of closed-back over-ear headphones. They have a deep and punchy bass, a good and well-balanced mid-range and a great treble. This makes them suitable for a variety of music genres, especially bass-heavy ones. However, the bass is a bit overemphasized and might sound boomy, the mid-range is recessed, meaning vocals and leads will sound a bit thin, while the treble is rather uneven, and some S and T sounds are going to lack detail while some sound a bit sharp. Their bass delivery can also be inconsistent, especially for people wearing glasses that can break the air-tight seal around your ears.

8.3 Bass
Std. Err.
:
2.47 dB
Low-Frequency Extension
:
10 Hz
Low-Bass
:
2.21 dB
Mid-Bass
:
2.53 dB
High-Bass
:
2.97 dB

The bass response is great. LFE (low-frequency extension) is at 10Hz, which is excellent. Also, the whole bass response is well-balanced and even but slightly overemphasized by about 2.5dB. This gives these headphones a bit of extra thump and rumble which some may like, especially fans of bass-heavy genres. However, they tend to sound a bit boomy due to the high-bass overemphasis.

7.5 Mid
Std. Err.
:
3.39 dB
Low-Mid
:
-4.0 dB
Mid-Mid
:
-3.43 dB
High-Mid
:
0.55 dB

The mid-range performance is good. The overall response is fairly flat, but with an audible dip in the low-mid and mid-mid ranges. This will make vocals and lead instruments sound thin and pushed to the back of the mix.

8.1 Treble
Std. Err.
:
3.36 dB
Low-Treble
:
0.53 dB
Mid-Treble
:
-2.98 dB
High-Treble
:
-0.02 dB

The treble performance is very good. The response is rather uneven, but well-balanced across the whole range. However, the dip around 6KHz will make vocals, leads, and cymbals lack a bit of detail and brightness. On the other hand, the peak at 10KHz could make the S and Ts sound a bit sharp on already bright tracks.

6.6 Frequency Response Consistency
Avg. Std. Deviation
:
0.72 dB

The frequency response consistency is average. In the bass range, the biggest deviation measured was 10dB at 20Hz, which was measured on the human subject wearing glasses. In higher frequencies, they seem to vary by less than 5dB, below 10KHz, between re-seats, which is good. When comparing these results to the wired ATH-M50x, consider that our human test subject with glasses wasn’t present during the frequency response consistency testing on the wired variant, and we expect both models to perform similarly.

8.4 Imaging
Weighted Group Delay
:
0.36
Weighted Amplitude Mismatch
:
0.72
Weighted Frequency Mismatch
:
1.83
Weighted Phase Mismatch
:
5.57

The Audio-Technica M50xBT have good imaging. Their weighted group delay is 0.36, which is very good. The graph also shows that the group delay is almost entirely below the audibility threshold. This ensures a tight bass and a transparent treble reproduction. Additionally, the L/R drivers of our test unit were well-matched in amplitude, frequency, and phase response, which is important for the accurate placement and localization of objects (voices, instruments, video games effects) in the stereo image.

5.9 Soundstage
PRTF Accuracy (Std. Dev.)
:
1.98 dB
PRTF Size (Avg.)
:
3.84 dB
PRTF Distance
:
8.37 dB
Openness
:
5.1
Acoustic Space Excitation
:
4.2
Correlated Crosstalk
:
0.0 dB

The soundstage of the wireless M50xBT is sub-par. The PRTF graph shows decent accuracy and a good amount of pinna activation. However, there is not a notch present around 10KHz, meaning that the soundstage will be perceived to be located inside the listener’s head instead of in-front.

7.1 Total Harmonic Distortion
Weighted THD @ 90
:
3.565
Weighted THD @ 100
:
3.483

The harmonic distortion performance is decent. The overall amount of harmonic distortion produced is not too high, especially in the mid-range. Also, there is not a big rise in THD under heavier loads, especially in the bass range, which is good. However, the peak around 6KHz could make the treble of these headphones harsh and impure.

5.3

Isolation

The Audio-Technica ATH-M50xBT have sub-par noise isolation performance. They only block ambient noise passively since they do not have an active noise canceling (ANC) feature. This also means that they won’t block lower frequencies like plane and bus engines and won’t be a great choice for commuting. You can mask more background noise by raising your listening volume but be careful as they do tend to leak a bit and might be disturbing for people surrounding you.

4.8 Noise Isolation
Isolation Audio
:
Overall Attenuation
:
-12.75 dB
Bass
:
0.27 dB
Mid
:
-9.22 dB
Treble
:
-30.07 dB
Self-Noise
:
21.18 dB

The isolation performance is sub-par. These headphones don't have active noise cancelation and do not provide any isolation in the bass range. This means they will let in all the rumbling of engines. In the mid-range, important for blocking out speech, they isolate by about 9dB, which is average. In the treble range, occupied by sharp sounds like S and Ts, they achieved 30dB of isolation, which is good.

6.4 Leakage
Leakage Audio
:
Overall Leakage @ 1ft
:
43.02 dB

The leakage performance is average. The significant portion of their leakage is spread across the mid and treble ranges, between 400Hz and 6KHz, which is broad. However, the overall level of the leakage is not very loud. With the music at 100dB SPL, the leakage averages at 43dB SPL and peaks at around 54dB SPL at 1 foot away, which is about the noise floor of most offices.

6.5

Microphone

Integrated
:
Yes
In-line
:
Yes
Boom
:
No
Detachable Boom
:
N/A

The Audio-Technica ATH-M50xBT have an average microphone. In quiet environments, speech recorded or transmitted with this mic will sound relatively thin, noticeably muffled, and lacking in detail. The microphone is also prone to lower frequency artifacts and pops. In noisy situations, it will struggle to separate speech from ambient noise, even in moderately loud environments such as a busy street.

6.9 Recording Quality
Recorded Speech
:
LFE
:
20 Hz
FR Std. Dev.
:
5.21 dB
HFE
:
3517.32 Hz
Weighted THD
:
14.594
Gain
:
23.55 dB

The recording quality of the integrated microphone is above-average. The bump around 50-100hz indicates this mic might be prone to lower frequency noise and pops. The HFE (high-frequency extension) of 3.5KHz means that speech will be noticeably muffled and lacking detail. However, the limited high-frequency extension is a limitation of the Bluetooth protocol and is a problem with all Bluetooth microphones.

6.0 Noise Handling
Speech + Pink Noise :
Speech + Subway Noise :
SpNR
:
11.48 dB

The integrated mic is mediocre at noise-handling. In our SpNR test, the ATH-M50xBT achieved a speech-to-noise ratio of 11.5dB, indicating they are best suited for quiet environments and will struggle to separate speech from ambient noise in moderate and loud situations.

6.3

Active Features

The Audio-Technica M50xBT have great battery life but come with a lackluster app that doesn’t really give you any options to enhance your listening experience. Their 38-hour battery life will be more than enough to last you a few days, but their long charge time might be too much for some, especially since they do not have any quick charge feature. The app doesn’t offer an EQ or presets to customize the sound to your liking, which is disappointing. On the upside, they can be used passively, even if the battery is dead, and can be used while charging.

6.4 Battery
Battery Type
:
Rechargable
Battery Life
:
37.6 hrs
Charge Time
:
5.3 hrs
Power Saving Feature
:
No
Audio while charging
:
Yes
Passive Playback
:
Yes

The battery life of the ATH-M50xBT is excellent with about 38 hours of continuous playback. They should easily last you a few days even if you are an avid listener. However, they take about 5 hours to charge fully, which is above-average and might be too long for some. They also don’t have any power saving features to extend battery life. On the upside, you can still use them with the Bluetooth connection while they are charging with the USB cable. Even if the battery dies, you can also use the included 1/8” TRRS audio cable to use the headphones passively.

6.0 App Support
App Name : Audio-Technica Connect
iOS : Yes
Android : Yes
Mac OS : N/A
Windows : N/A
Equalizer
:
No
ANC control
:
N/A
Mic Control : No
Room effects
:
No
Playback control
:
Yes
Button Mapping : No
Surround Sound : N/A

The companion app for the Audio-Technica M50xBT is lackluster. The app lets you know the last known location of the headphones, the battery life and the option to choose the codec connection. You do not get any customization options to enhance your listening experience, which is disappointing. Also, we had trouble with the Android version of the app, which would take several seconds, even minutes, to connect. It kept searching for a device and restarting the app seemed to solve the issue sometimes.

6.1

Connectivity

The Audio-Technica M50xBT are Bluetooth headphones that can also be used wired with the included 1/8” TRRS audio cable. They support Bluetooth 5.0, so you might experience better range and connection reliability than what we measured. Also, they have excellent wireless range, but unfortunately, they don’t support NFC and can’t connect to 2 devices simultaneously. Latency is also high, but this is common with Bluetooth headphones, and you can use the headphones wired to get rid of latency issues.

6.0 Bluetooth
Bluetooth Version
:
5.0
Multi-Device Pairing
:
No
NFC Pairing
:
No

The Audio-Technica ATH-M50xBT headphones support Bluetooth version 5.0, so you could get better results in wireless range than what we measured on our test bench which currently only supports Bluetooth 4.2. Unfortunately, they do not support NFC and can’t connect to multiple devices simultaneously. Also, there’s no button to go into pairing mode. The headphones will automatically connect to the last known device, and if you want to connect to another device, you’ll have to disconnect manually on the first device, and then the headphones will search for available devices. There is no way to disconnect Bluetooth directly on the headphones, and this might be a deal breaker for some if you have multiple devices.

9.1 Wired
OS Compatibility
:
Not OS specific
Analog Audio
:
Yes
USB Audio
:
No
PS4 Compatible
:
Audio + Microphone
Xbox One Compatible
:
Audio + Microphone
PC Compatible
:
Audio + Microphone

You can use the provided 1/8” TRRS cable to use the ATH-M50xBT passively, which will also get rid of latency issues. You can also use the headphones wired when the battery is dead which is very convenient. The in-line remote works with consoles and PC and the headphones have audio and microphone support.

0 Base/Dock
Type
:
N/A
Optical Input
:
N/A
Line In
:
N/A
Line Out
:
N/A
USB Input
:
N/A
RCA Input
:
N/A
PS4 Compatible
:
N/A
Xbox One Compatible
:
N/A
PC Compatible
:
N/A
Power Supply
:
N/A
Dock Charging
:
N/A

The Audio-Technica ATH-M50xBT do not have a base/dock. If you want a versatile headset with a base that you can also use wired, check out the SteelSeries Arctis 7.

9.5 Wireless Range
Obstructed Range
:
69 ft
Line of Sight Range
:
174 ft

The Audio-Technica ATH-M50xBT have excellent wireless range, especially when obstructed. We measured one of the longest distances we’ve had so far when the source was obstructed, which means you should be able to leave your desk or your phone at one place and move around with the headphones without hearing audio cuts. They also have a great line of sight range with 174 feet. You shouldn’t have any issues, especially if you keep your audio source on you during workouts.

1.6 Latency
Default Latency
:
224 ms
aptX Latency
:
198 ms
aptX(LL) Latency
:
N/A

Like most Bluetooth headphones, the ATH-M50xBT have fairly high latency, which means they may not be suitable for watching videos and gaming. They support aptX, which helps lower latency a bit but not by very much. That said, some devices and video content apps offer some sort of latency compensation, so you may not be affected by audio latency depending on the device and streaming app you use. You can also use the headphones passively with the included 1/8” TRRS cable to completely eliminate latency.

In the box

  • Audio-Technica ATH-M50xBT headphones
  • Carrying pouch
  • 1/8” TRRS audio cable
  • USB to micro USB charging cable
  • Manuals

Compared to other Headphones

The Audio-Technica M50xBT are good wireless headphones for critical listening. They have a good and well-balanced audio reproduction, suitable for a wide variety of music genres. They are the wireless equivalent of the very popular wired ATH-M50x, and their good build quality is practically the same. They also have wide and well-padded ear cups that should fit most ears. They have controls on the ear cup and can also be used wired with the included audio cable, even if the battery is dead. See our recommendations for the best wireless headphones, the best studio headphones and the best headphones under $200.

Audio-Technica ATH-M50x

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.

Sony WH-1000XM3 Wireless

The Sony WH-1000XM3 Wireless are better headphones than the Audio Technica ATH-M50xBT. They have a great noise cancelling feature that is suitable for loud environments like your daily commute, and they are also more comfortable to wear for long periods of time. They also feel better-built than the M50xBT and their sound profile can easily be EQ’ed inside their app, which the M50xBT don’t have. You’ll also get more battery life out of the Sonys. On the other hand, the M50xBT have a better default sound profile right out-of-the-box and some may prefer their physical button control scheme to the touch-sensitive one of the XM3.

Sennheiser HD 4.50 BTNC

The Sennheiser HD 4.50 are better headphones than the Audio-Technica ATH-M50xBT. They have a decent noise cancelling feature that the M50xBT lack. Also, even if their treble range is slightly recessed, they are compatible with a great app that lets you EQ the sound signature to your liking and can connect to 2 devices simultaneously, which is convenient. However, the ATH-M50xBT have almost twice the battery life, a better microphone for calls, better wireless range, and are slightly more comfortable. They do take a lot more time to charge overall.

Sony WH-CH700N Wireless

The Sony WH-CH700N are slightly better headphones than the Audio-Technica ATH-M50xBT. They are compatible with the Sony Headphones Connect app which allows lots of sound customization options, while the Audio-Technica app lacks features. Also, they are noise cancelling headphones, but this feature doesn’t actually seem to perform well. The Sonys are also very sensitive to glasses. On the other hand, the Audio-Technicas are better-built headphones and have better wireless range thanks to the Bluetooth 5.0 support.

Bose SoundLink 2 Wireless

The Bose SoundLink Around-Ear II are better headphones than the Audio-Technica ATH-M50xBT. They are one of the most comfortable headphones we’ve tested so far, and they have a more neutral sound signature. On the other hand, the Audio-Technicas have better wireless range and are better-built than the Bose. They also have a great battery life but take much more time to charge fully. While the Bose SoundLink supports an earlier version of Bluetooth and therefore has worse wireless range, it can connect to 2 devices simultaneously, which the ATH-M50xBT can’t do, but they support Bluetooth 5.0.

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Conclusion

6.6 Mixed Usage
Average for mixed usage. The ATH-M50xBT have a good and well-balanced audio reproduction that is suitable for a wide variety of music genres. They don’t block ambient noise well so they might not be the best option for commuting but can be a decent option at the office since they don’t leak too much at moderate volumes. The over-ear design isn’t recommended for sports and while they are comfortable for long movies or gaming sessions, their latency is too high for these use cases unless you use the included audio cable to use them passively to get rid of latency.
7.4 Critical Listening
Good for critical listening. The Audio-Technica ATH-M50xBT have a good audio reproduction with a flat, but slightly overemphasized bass range, even mid-range, and well-balanced treble. Unfortunately, their companion app doesn’t have any presets or even an EQ for additional customization options to find the best sound signature for you. They aren’t better than the wired model for this use case but are still good sounding and versatile wireless headphones.
6.5 Commute/Travel
Average for commuting. Their isolation performance isn’t the best, especially since they don’t have any noise canceling feature. The Audio-Technica ATH-M50xBT practically don’t isolate noise in lower frequencies, where engine rumble sits. They also leak a bit at higher volumes, so you shouldn’t blast your music through these headphones if you don’t want to bother people surrounding you. On the upside, they are comfortable for long trips and their 38-hour battery life is more than enough for flights.
6.6 Sports/Fitness
Okay for sports. Over-ears aren’t recommended for sports since they trap heat inside the ear cup and could experience more sweating than usual. Also, they feel fairly loose on the head and move around during physical activity. The cumbersome over-ear design might also be too bulky for certain gym exercises.
6.8 Office
Above-average for the office. If you’re looking for background music while working, they don’t leak too much at moderate volumes and can reduce an average amount of ambient chatter. Their long battery life will last you a few work days without a problem and will be comfortable for long listening sessions.
5.6 TV
Sub-par for watching TV. While they have great wireless range and are comfortable for long watching sessions, their latency, even with the aptX codec, is too high and what you hear won’t match what you see. You’ll need a cable extension if you want to watch TV from your couch without latency issues and enjoy their great audio reproduction.
5.3 Gaming
Sub-par for gaming. While the Audio-Technica ATH-M50xBT are comfortable, their latency is too high for gaming. If you plan on using them with the included audio cable to get rid of latency, you can expect a better microphone performance than the integrated one that was measured. However, they won’t be as customizable as other gaming headsets we’ve reviewed.

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