Audio Technica ATH-M50x Review: Still Great in 2023

52860 105811 IMG 3134

AppleInsider may earn an affiliate commission on purchases made through links on our site.

The Audio Technica ATH-M50x is a now classic and well-performing set of wired over-the-ear studio headphones that come in at under $200.

Audio Technica covers everything from microphones to headphones and turntables for quality audio experiences. Their headphone collection alone ranges from a affordable $30 to a whopping $1,999.

The ATH-M50x fits comfortably within that range at $169 retail, appealing to those wanting to try studio-style headphones for a consistently enjoyable listening experience, or others looking for an upgrade.

52860 105812 IMG 3144

Audio Technica ATH-M50x – design and use

Out of the box, the headphones come with a carrying case, a quarter-inch audio adapter, a 1.2-meter to 3-meter coiled cable, a 3-meter straight cable, and a 1. 2 meters for different connection ways.

In the context of Apple’s ecosystem experience, we find these details contrast with Apple’s heavy USB-C or Bluetooth preference. The audio jack remains (mostly) universal at least for computers, and the M50x can be plugged into a Mac without issue.

These headphones recently turned nine, so to keep up with the times, Audio Technica is now selling a Bluetooth version of the ATH-M50x for $199.

The M50x are closed over-the-ear headphones, contributing a fair amount of natural noise isolation. However, this is nowhere near headphones with dedicated noise canceling features.

Lightweight and portable, you can pack up the M50x quickly or tailor it to your needs. The ear cups rotate ninety degrees, the headphones lay flat and the cables are detachable.

The lack of inline controls can conflict with portability or listening on the go, reinforcing our view that headphones like these are better when you’re sitting at a computer.

The large size and the adjustment band make it suitable for most head sizes. On a similar note, the lightweight nature of the headphones coupled with the comfortable earpad and headband material make them comfortable to wear for extended periods.

Minimal wear of the ear cushions, even after a few years of use.

As for build quality, the mostly plastic construction will save it from a few drops, and two years of use have shown little wear, in contrast to the shorter life of the ATH-M40x, which we have broken in past experiences. This, as well as the audio quality, makes the $50 difference worth it in our eyes.

Audio Technica ATH-M50x – sound quality

Driven by 45mm diameter drivers with a sensitivity of 99dB, the headphones create a smooth and immersive experience.

Anyone trying studio headphones for the first time will be surprised by the lack of rousing bass characteristic of many popular modern headphones. However, the M50x have good bass, but it’s balanced along with the clean mids and distinct highs to make for a good all-round listen.

The M50x comes in metallic colors, giving it a clean look.

The M50x comes in metallic colors, giving it a clean look.

Our experience with voice calls, many genres of music, TV, and movies with the M50x has been satisfactory.

The vocals come through clearly in rap anthems like Metro Boomin’s Superheroand the sound neutrality enhances genres such as electronics and jazz. We found Miles Davis Milestones to be a good example of this.

The lack of base can be disappointing when it comes to movie watching, but we never felt that bass was disproportionately low for most experiences. For casual listeners who value neutral listening, it’s a great pair of headphones, not having specific audio-specific features but with depth and quality.

Audio Technica ATH-M50x – reliable headphones in studio monitor style

The M50x appeals to musicians, music enthusiasts and aspiring audiophiles alike. They’ve certainly stood the test of time in the audio and tech communities over the past nine years.

Most of the M50x’s features take quality and comfort into consideration, but the “built for the studio” nature of the headphones makes them ideal for stationary Mac or MacBook setups, leaving them at home to favor your earphones or headphones favorite wireless.

Audio Technica ATH-M50x professionals

  • Compact
  • Decent value
  • Great balanced sound

Audio Technica ATH-M50x vs

  • Heavy plastic construction
  • It may not keep up with modern needs

4 out of 5

Where to buy the Audio Technica ATH-M50x