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Audio-Technica ATH-M50xBT2 Wireless Headphones Review

Tested using Methodology v1.5
Reviewed Sep 16, 2021 at 09:55 am
Audio-Technica ATH-M50xBT2 Wireless Picture
7.7
Neutral Sound
6.8
Commute/Travel
7.0
Sports/Fitness
7.0
Office
6.1
Wireless Gaming
7.7
Wired Gaming
6.9
Phone Calls
Type Over-ear
Enclosure Closed-Back
Wireless Yes
Noise Cancelling No
Mic Yes
Transducer Dynamic

The Audio-Technica ATH-M50xBT2 are wireless over-ear headphones with a continuous battery life of more than 60 hours. They're the next generation of the Audio-Technica ATH-M50xBT and have a very neutral, less boomy sound profile. They also come with a few new features, including multi-device pairing and sound customization via their companion app. While the new 'Low Latency Mode' doesn't improve their Bluetooth performance very much, their latency with iOS and Android phones is low enough for streaming videos. The headphones also now charge with a USB-C connection instead of micro-USB.

Our Verdict

7.7 Neutral Sound

The Audio-Technica ATH-M50xBT2 are good for neutral sound. Their sound profile is very neutral and not as boomy or bass-heavy as the original Audio-Technica ATH-M50xBT. If you prefer a different sound, you can customize it with a graphic EQ and presets in the companion app. However, they have a poor passive soundstage performance and are prone to inconsistent bass and treble delivery.

Pros
  • EQ and presets available.
  • Well-built and comfortable.
Cons
  • Poor passive soundstage.
6.8 Commute/Travel

The Audio-Technica ATH-M50xBT2 are okay for commute and travel. They have a comfortable fit and a very long continuous battery life of more than 60 hours. However, they don't block out noises like the rumbling of bus and plane engines and have a poor overall noise isolation performance. They aren't very portable, like most over-ear headphones, but they can fold into a more compact shape and come with a carrying pouch.

Pros
  • Well-built and comfortable.
  • 61.6-hour continuous battery life.
Cons
  • Poor noise isolation performance.
  • Not very portable.
7.0 Sports/Fitness

The Audio-Technica ATH-M50xBT2 are decent for sports and fitness. They aren't intended for sports use and aren't extremely stable, so they may slip around on your head during moderate exercise or even fall off. However, they have a comfortable fit and easy-to-use controls, so they may be suitable for lower-intensity exercise if you don't mind their over-ear design. They also lack an IP rating for dust or water resistance, which is normal for audiophile headphones.

Pros
  • Well-built and comfortable.
Cons
  • Not very stable.
7.0 Office

The Audio-Technica ATH-M50xBT2 are decent for the office. Unlike their predecessor, they support multi-device pairing, so you can connect to your phone and work computer at the same time. They also have a long continuous battery life, a comfortable fit, and don't leak too much at high volumes, so your music shouldn't bother people nearby unless you're working in a quiet space. Unfortunately, they have a poor noise isolation performance.

Pros
  • Decent mic performance.
Cons
  • Poor noise isolation performance.
6.1 Wireless Gaming

The Audio-Technica ATH-M50xBT2 can only be used wirelessly via Bluetooth, so they can't connect wirelessly with PlayStation or Xbox consoles. They can be used wirelessly with Bluetooth-compatible with PCs, but even with 'Low Latency Mode' enabled, their latency is a bit too high for gaming.

7.7 Wired Gaming

The Audio-Technica ATH-M50xBT2 are good for wired gaming. They can receive audio from PCs and Xbox and PlayStation consoles if you plug their 1/8" TRS cable into a controller. However, you can't use the microphone. On the plus side, they have a comfortable fit and a well-balanced sound profile that you can customize with an EQ and presets in the companion app.

Pros
  • EQ and presets available.
  • Well-built and comfortable.
Cons
  • Can only receive audio.
6.9 Phone Calls

The Audio-Technica ATH-M50xBT2 are alright for phone calls. The integrated mic has a decent recording quality, so your voice should sound clear and undistorted if you use them to talk on the phone. It also does a satisfactory job of separating your voice from background noise, although your voice can get lost in loud environments. The headphones also don't isolate you from very much ambient sound, so if you're taking a call from a busy street, you may not be able to hear your call. Conveniently, they have onboard controls for answering and ending calls and muting the mic.

Pros
  • Decent mic performance.
Cons
  • Poor noise isolation performance.
  • 7.7 Neutral Sound
  • 6.8 Commute/Travel
  • 7.0 Sports/Fitness
  • 7.0 Office
  • 6.1 Wireless Gaming
  • 7.7 Wired Gaming
  • 6.9 Phone Calls
  1. Updated Sep 16, 2021: Review published.
  2. Updated Sep 13, 2021: Early access published.

Test Results

perceptual testing image
Design
Design
Style

Just like the Audio-Technica ATH-M50xBT, the Audio-Technica M50xBT2 look like basic studio headphones. They have an all-black design, except for round silver accents on the outside of each earcup and the brand name printed in white on top of the headband. Unlike the wired Audio-Technica ATH-M50x, they don't currently come in any other colors, but the manufacturer says an orange 'Lantern Glow' variant is coming soon.

7.5
Design
Comfort
Weight 0.68 lbs
Clamping Force
0.9 lbs

The Audio-Technica ATH-M50xBT2 are comfortable headphones. They don't feel too tight and have good padding on the ear cups. The headband also doesn't squeak when you move, which is an issue with the Audio-Technica ATH-M50x. However, some users may feel their ears coming into contact with the drivers, which can be annoying.

6.9
Design
Controls
OS Compatibility
Not OS specific
Ease Of Use Okay
Feedback Good
Call/Music Control Yes
Volume Control Yes
Microphone Control Mute/Unmute
Channel Mixing
No
Noise Cancelling Control No
Talk-Through
No
Additional Controls Voice Assistant

The Audio-Technica ATH-M50xBT2's controls are a bit different than the previous generation's. You can now activate the voice assistant with a dedicated button, which is a nice change because the previous model's touch-sensitive surface can sometimes be unresponsive. However, it's so close to the '+' button that it's easy to press accidentally. Also, the power switch is now a button located between the volume up/down buttons.

Center button:

  • Two-second press: Turns headphones on or off.
  • Click: Plays and pausse audio or answers and ends a call.

+/- buttons:

  • Click: Turns volume up (+) or down (-).
  • Hold: Skips track forward (+) or backward (-).
  • Three-second hold: If you hold both buttons for three seconds, you enter pairing mode.

Voice assistant button:

  • Click: Activates voice assistant, or mutes the mic when in a call.

Depending on what you select in the app, the voice assistant button activates either Amazon's Alexa, which is built-in, or your device's assistant, like Google Assistant or Siri. Overall, the controls are easy to use, with voice prompts and beeps for many commands. There's a voice prompt and a beep when you play or pause audio, but you can turn it off in the app if you prefer. There's no voice prompt when you reach maximum or minimum volume, but you do hear different chimes in each situation.

Note: You can't find the instructions for pairing mode and resetting the headphones in the included Quick Start Guide. Instead, you can find this information in the online user guide. If you can't pair the headphones after holding the +/- buttons for three seconds, you can reset them by holding both volume buttons and the center button for six seconds. The light on the ear cup turns red when the headphones are reset, and then you can try to pair them again.

6.4
Design
Breathability
Avg.Temp.Difference 5.9 ยฐC

The Audio-Technica ATH-M50xBT2 are acceptably breathable. Although their ear cup padding appears to be identical, they trap less heat against your ears than the original Audio-Technica ATH-M50xBT. They shouldn't make your ears feel too warm during casual listening sessions but aren't intended for sports use and may make you sweat more if you wear them during a workout.

5.9
Design
Portability
L 4.9" (12.5 cm)
W 7.2" (18.2 cm)
H 3.3" (8.5 cm)
Volume 117.34 inยณ (1,922.80 cmยณ)
Transmitter Required No

The Audio-Technica ATH-M50xBT2 are somewhat bulky over-ear headphones. Their size means they aren't very portable. You can fold the ear cups in or swivel them to lay flat, but the headphones still take up quite a bit of space in a bag or backpack. On the plus side, they come with a pouch that should protect the headphones from minor scratches when you're carrying them around.

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

The Audio-Technica ATH-M50xBT2 come with a nice faux-leather pouch that closes with a drawstring, similar to the Audio-Technica ATH-M50xBT. It should protect the headphones from minor scratches and splashes but doesn't protect them from being dropped or crushed.

7.5
Design
Build Quality

The Audio-Technica ATH-M50xBT2 are well-built headphones. The yokes feel a bit less sturdy than the rest of the headphones, but overall they have a very similar build to their previous generation. The only noticeable difference is a slight change to the texture of the faux-leather padding: it has a more visible, larger flat grain texture than that used by their predecessor. You can see the two models compared here, and the M50xBT2's headband is the one on the bottom.

6.5
Design
Stability

The Audio-Technica ATH-M50xBT2 aren't designed for sports and don't have a very stable fit. They should stay on your head with no issue during casual listening sessions but tend to slip around even with lower intensity head movements and are likely to fall off your head if you use them during exercise. On the plus side, their wireless design means you don't need to worry about the cable snagging something and yanking the headphones off your head.

Design
Headshots 1
Design
Headshots 2
Design
Top
Design
In The Box

  • Audio-Technica ATH-M50xBT2 headphones
  • USB-C to USB-A charging cable
  • 1/8" TRS audio cable
  • Carrying pouch
  • Manuals

Sound
Sound
Sound Profile
Bass Amount
-0.73 dB
Treble Amount
-0.31 dB

Audio-Technica ATH-M50xBT2 have a very neutral sound profile. It's less boomy than the Audio-Technica ATH-M50xBT, but they have a bit less thump and rumble, which may not be ideal for fans of a bass-heavy sound. You can also customize their sound profile with a graphic EQ and presets in the companion app. Unfortunately, the headphones seem to emit a low humming sound when there's no audio playing, which some users may find annoying.

7.2
Sound
Frequency Response Consistency
Avg. Std. Deviation
0.56 dB

The Audio-Technica ATH-M50xBT2 have decent frequency response consistency. They're less prone to inconsistencies in bass and treble delivery than their predecessor but are still sensitive to the fit, seal, and positioning of the headphones on your head. You may notice a drop in bass if you have glasses or thick hair.

Sound
Raw Frequency Response
8.6
Sound
Bass Accuracy
Std. Err.
1.87 dB
Low-Frequency Extension
24.48 Hz
Low-Bass
-1.49 dB
Mid-Bass
1.68 dB
High-Bass
1.58 dB

The Audio-Technica ATH-M50xBT2 have excellent bass accuracy. The whole range is quite neutral, although they lack a bit of low-bass, so mixes have a bit less thump and rumble. The slight overemphasis in the mid and high-bass adds punch and warmth, but they have a more accurate high-bass range than the Audio-Technica ATH-M50xBT, so they sound less boomy.

8.4
Sound
Mid Accuracy
Std. Err.
2.19 dB
Low-Mid
-2.73 dB
Mid-Mid
0.78 dB
High-Mid
1.49 dB

The Audio-Technica ATH-M50xBT2 have excellent mid accuracy. Like the previous generation, they have a dip in the low-mid range that thins out vocals and lead instruments slightly, but it's not as pronounced. Overall, vocals and lead instruments sound present and clear.

7.2
Sound
Treble Accuracy
Std. Err.
4.21 dB
Mid-Treble
-0.25 dB
Low-Treble
-1.63 dB
High-Treble
-0.56 dB

The Audio-Technica ATH-M50xBT2 have decent treble accuracy. The low treble is somewhat underemphasized, which causes vocals and lead instruments to lose a bit of detail and presence. However, the mid-treble is very well-balanced, so sibilant sounds, like cymbals, are bright and accurate.

6.9
Sound
Peaks/Dips
Peaks
1.82 dB
Dips
2.16 dB

The Audio-Technica ATH-M50xBT2's peaks and dips performance is okay. There's a peak in the mid and high-bass ranges that adds punch and boom, while a bigger dip in the low-mid thins out lead instruments and vocals. However, a peak from the mid-mid to high-mid makes their upper harmonics more forward and harsh. There's a steep dip in the low-treble that hurts the detail and presence of instruments, and the mid-treble is uneven, so sibilants like S and T sounds can be either piercing or dull.

8.7
Sound
Imaging
Weighted Group Delay
0.37
Weighted Phase Mismatch
3.5
Weighted Amplitude Mismatch
0.78
Weighted Frequency Mismatch
1.2

The Audio-Technica M50xBT2 have an excellent imaging performance. The weighted group delay falls below the audibility threshold for most of the range. Some peaks in the bass range may be audible but shouldn't be noticeable for most users with regular content. The L/R drivers are very well-matched in terms of amplitude and frequency response. Their phase response is slightly mismatched at some frequencies, but for the most part, objects like instruments and voices are accurately placed within the stereo image. However, these results are only valid for our unit, and your experience may vary.

5.1
Sound
Passive Soundstage
PRTF Accuracy (Std. Dev.)
1.78 dB
PRTF Size (Avg.)
3.11 dB
PRTF Distance
6.23 dB
Openness
5.5
Acoustic Space Excitation
3.3

The Audio-Technica ATH-M50xBT2 have a poor passive soundstage performance. Their sound is likely to seem to come from inside your head rather than from speakers in the room around you. The soundstage also seems less open and spacious than that of most open-back over-ear headphones.

0
Sound
Virtual Soundstage
Head Modeling
No
Speaker Modeling
No
Room Ambience
No
Head Tracking
No
Virtual Surround
No
7.7
Sound
Weighted Harmonic Distortion
WHD @ 90
0.354
WHD @ 100
0.120

The Audio-Technica ATH-M50xBT2 have a good weighted harmonic distortion performance. There's some distortion present in the treble range at normal listening volumes, but it shouldn't be noticeable for most people with real-life content, resulting in mostly clean and pure audio reproduction.

Sound
Test Settings
Firmware
1004
Power
On
Connection
Bluetooth 5.0
Codec
SBC, 16-bit, 48kHz
EQ
Off
ANC
No ANC
Tip/Pad
Default
Microphone
Integrated

These are the settings used to test the Audio-Technica ATH-M50xBT2. Our results are only valid when used in this configuration.

Isolation
4.4
Isolation
Noise Isolation
Isolation Audio
Overall Attenuation
-11.93 dB
Bass
0.29 dB
Mid
-9.54 dB
Treble
-27.39 dB

The Audio-Technica ATH-M50xBT2 have a poor noise isolation performance. They block out virtually no sound in the bass range, so they don't isolate you from noises like rumbling bus and plane engines. They also do a mediocre job of reducing mid-range noise like ambient conversation. That said, they block out a decent amount of higher-pitched sounds, like humming A/C units.

7.1
Isolation
Leakage
Leakage Audio
Overall Leakage @ 1ft
38.94 dB

The Audio-Technica ATH-M50xBT2 have a decent leakage performance. The leaked audio sounds relatively full, but it's not very loud. You should be able to listen to your music at a high volume in a moderately loud environment like an office without worrying too much about bothering people nearby.

Microphone
Microphone
Microphone Style
Integrated
Yes
In-Line
No
Boom
No
Detachable Boom
No
7.2
Microphone
Recording Quality
Recorded Speech
LFE
257.68 Hz
FR Std. Dev.
2.23 dB
HFE
7,034.64 Hz
Weighted THD
0.942
Gain
0.23 dB

The integrated mic has a decent recording quality. If you use it to talk on the phone, your voice sounds fairly clear, open, and less muffled than when using the Audio-Technica ATH-M50xBT. However, it may not sound very full-bodied.

7.1
Microphone
Noise Handling
SpNR
12.77 dB
Noise Gate
No
Speech + Pink Noise Handling
7.5
Speech + Pink Noise Audio Sample
Speech + Subway Noise Handling
6.5
Speech + Subway Noise Audio Sample

The mic has a decent noise handling performance. It can separate your voice from moderate ambient noise, but the mic struggles more with louder sounds. While you shouldn't have a problem taking calls at the office, your voice may be drowned out in a louder environment like a subway station.

Active Features
8.4
Active Features
Battery
Battery Type
Rechargable
Continuous Battery Life
61.6 hrs
Additional Charges
0.0
Total Battery Life
61.6 hrs
Charge Time
3.3 hrs
Power-Saving Feature
No
Audio While Charging
Yes
Passive Playback
Yes
Charging Port USB-C

The Audio-Technica ATH-M50xBT2 have an excellent battery performance. We measured 61.6 hours of continuous playback, well above the advertised 50 hours and roughly 24 hours longer than the original Audio-Technica ATH-M50xBT. However, battery life varies with real-life use, so you may have a different experience.

The headphones charge with a USB-C connection, which is a change from the ATH-M50xBT's micro-USB charging cable. They now recharge more quickly and have a new quick charge feature. The manufacturer says they can provide three hours of use from 10 minutes of charging, but we don't test for it currently. Unfortunately, they still lack a power-saving feature, so the battery continues to drain if you forget to turn them off before putting them away.

8.0
Active Features
App Support
App Name Audio-Technica Connect
iOS Yes
Android Yes
macOS No
Windows No
Equalizer
Graphic + Presets
ANC Control
No
Mic Control Adjustable Level
Room Effects
No
Playback Control
Yes
Button Mapping No
Surround Support
No

The Audio-Technica M50xBT2's companion app is great, and offers more features and options than the previous generation. You can adjust their sound profile with a five-band EQ or by choosing a preset: 'Original', 'Bass Boost', 'Clear Vocal', 'V-shaped', or 'Treble Enhance'. You can adjust the L/R balance of your audio, set the amount of mic side tone you hear during phone calls to 'High' or 'Low', turn 'Low Latency Mode' on and off, and change the voice assistant to Alexa or your device's assistant, like Google Assistant or Siri. In addition, you can play/pause audio, skip tracks forward and backward, adjust your audio's volume, and choose whether you hear beeps or voice cues when you register a command with the buttons on the headphones' earcup. Also, like the previous generation, you can use the app to find your headphones if you misplace them and select the audio codec.

Connectivity
8.7
Connectivity
Bluetooth
Bluetooth Version
5.0
Multi-Device Pairing
2 Devices
NFC Pairing
No
Line Of Sight Range
334.65 ft (102.00 m)
PC Latency (SBC)
212 ms
PC Latency (aptX)
N/A
PC Latency (aptX HD)
N/A
PC Latency (aptX-LL)
N/A
iOS Latency
3 ms
Android Latency
33 ms

The Audio-Technica ATH-M50xBT2 have excellent Bluetooth connectivity. Unlike the Audio-Technica ATH-M50xBT, they support multi-device pairing. They also have low Bluetooth latency with iOS and Android devices when you use the default codec, so they're suitable for watching videos on your phone. Unfortunately, they have high latency with PCs.

These headphones also have a 'Low Latency Mode' that you can turn on or off in the app. With 'Low Latency Mode' enabled, we measured 160 ms of latency with PCs. However, it's still somewhat high, so you may still notice a slight delay if you use them to game or watch TV on your computer. 'Low Latency Mode' doesn't improve their latency with iOS devices, though, as they have 22 ms of latency. It lowers their latency with Android phones, but we measured -40 ms, so they have a better performance with 'Low Latency Mode' turned off. However, some apps and devices seem to compensate for audio lag, meaning that you may have a different experience with real-life use.

Unlike the M50xBT, they don't support aptX codec, but using the app, you can choose between a few audio codecs: LDAC, AAC, SBC, or Auto. However, we don't currently test the LDAC or AAC codecs.

0
Connectivity
Non-Bluetooth Wireless
Non-BT Line Of Sight Range
N/A
Non-BT Latency
N/A
9.5
Connectivity
Wired
Analog Audio
Yes
USB Audio
No
Detachable Yes
Length 4.10 ft (1.25 m)
Connection
1/8" TRS
Analog/USB Audio Latency
0 ms

The Audio-Technica M50xBT2 come with a detachable 1/8" TRS cable that allows you to receive audio when the battery is dead, although you won't be able to use their mic. There's also a USB-C to USB-A cable to charge the headphones.

Connectivity
PC Compatibility
Analog
Audio Only
Wired USB
No
Non-BT Wireless
No

The Audio-Technica ATH-M50xBT2 can be used with Bluetooth-enabled PCs, although their latency is a bit too high to recommend them for gaming or streaming videos on your computer. They can also receive audio from PCs using their 1/8" TRS audio cable, but you can't use the microphone in that case.

Connectivity
PlayStation Compatibility
PS4 Analog
Audio Only
PS4 Wired USB
No
PS4 Non-BT Wireless
No
PS5 Analog
Audio Only
PS5 Wired USB
No
PS5 Non-BT Wireless
No

The Audio-Technica ATH-M50xBT2 can be used with PS4 and PS5 by plugging their 1/8" TRS cable into a controller. However, you can only receive audio.

Connectivity
Xbox Compatibility
Xbox One Analog
Audio Only
Xbox One Wired USB
No
Xbox One Non-BT Wireless
No
Xbox Series X|S Analog
Audio Only
Xbox Series X|S Wired USB
No
Xbox Series X|S Non-BT Wireless
No

Audio-Technica ATH-M50xBT2 are compatible with Xbox consoles by plugging their 1/8" TRS cable into a controller. However, you can't use the microphone.

0
Connectivity
Base/Dock
Type
No Base/Dock
USB Input
No
Line In
No
Line Out
No
Optical Input
No
RCA Input
No
Dock Charging
No
Power Supply
No Base/Dock

Differences Between Sizes And Variants

The Audio-Technica ATH-M50xBT2 Wireless come in one color: Black. The manufacturer says a 'Lantern Glow' variant with an orange color scheme is coming soon. You can see the label for the unit we tested here.

If you come across another variant, please let us know in the discussions, and we'll update our review.

Compared To Other Headphones

The Audio-Technica ATH-M50xBT2 are the second generation of the Audio-Technica ATH-M50xBT, which are the wireless variant of the Audio-Technica ATH-M50x. Their mic has a better recording quality than their predecessor, they have a longer continuous battery life, and there are several new features, like multi-device pairing, built-in Alexa voice assistant, 'Low Latency Mode', and sound customization options in the companion app.

If you're looking for other options, check out our lists of the best over-ear headphones, the best wireless Bluetooth headphones, and the best Audio-Technica headphones.

Sony WH-1000XM4 Wireless

The Sony WH-1000XM4 Wireless are better than the Audio-Technica ATH-M50xBT2 Wireless for most purposes. They isolate you from much more noise, thanks to their ANC feature, and they're much more comfortable and well-built. On the other hand, the Audio-Technica headphones have longer continuous battery life. Also, some may prefer their more neutral sound profile to the Sony's bass-heavy sound, although both pairs have sound customization features in their apps.

Audio-Technica ATH-M50xBT

The Audio-Technica ATH-M50xBT2 Wireless offer some improvements over the Audio-Technica ATH-M50xBT. Their continuous battery life is longer, they offer sound customization options and multi-device pairing, and they have an integrated mic with better recording quality. They also have a less boomy default sound profile. However, unlike their predecessor, they don't support the aptX codec. Some may also prefer the ATH-M50xBT's more bass-rich sound.

Audio-Technica ATH-M50x

You may prefer either the Audio-Technica ATH-M50x or the Audio-Technica ATH-M50xBT2, depending on what you're looking for. The ATH-M50x are wired headphones with much better build quality and a similar but more neutral sound profile, which some users may prefer. However, the ATH-M50xBT2 are more versatile Bluetooth headphones with long continuous battery life. They have an integrated microphone and a great companion app with sound customization features, unlike the wired version.

Anker Soundcore Life Q30 Wireless

The Audio-Technica ATH-M50xBT2 Wireless and the Anker Soundcore Life Q30 Wireless have different strengths, and you may prefer either pair. The Anker have an ANC feature and block out much more ambient sound, so they're more suitable for purposes like commuting. On the other hand, the Audio-Technica have longer battery life and lower latency with iOS and Android devices over Bluetooth. Their sound profile is also much more neutral, which some may prefer to the Anker's bass-heavy sound, but you can customize both headphones' sound profiles in their companion app.

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