Audio-Technica ATH-M50x Headphones


Almost ideal.  That’s my take after a few weeks spent with the Audio-Technica ATH-M50x Professional Monitor Headphones.  These are, arguably, the best sounding, most well built circumaural headphones in their price range.  I’ve used them for audio editing, gaming, and listening to everything from classical and jazz to electronic and hip hop, all with great results for a sub-$200 set of headphones.


These headphones weigh in at 10 ounces without the detachable cable and the build quality is excellent.  They have a sturdy metal headband with comfortable padding on the inside.  The cushions on the ear cups are very comfortable; I’ve used the headphones for hours at a time with little fatigue.  The ear cup swivels over a 180 degree range to lie flat with the speakers facing up or down.  The swiveling components on the headphone are made of plastic, but they are beefy and appear sturdy.  The ear cups also fold up into the headband, offering a compact package for storage or traveling.


The ATH-M50x’s come with 3 different cables: a short 1.2M straight cable for portable device use, a longer 3M straight cable and a coiled 3M cable.  This offers a lot of flexibility, so you can use the short cable with your phone for your commute, then pop in one of the long cables at home when you’re on your PC.  One thing to note is the connector for these cables uses a proprietary attachment mechanism, which will preclude you from using any other cables with these headphones.


The ATH-M50x are promoted as monitors, and they perform admirably in this role, reproducing sound with a more neutral profile compared to other commercial speakers on the market.  Overall, the sound profile offered is very well balanced, offering deep bass, a rich mid range and articulate highs.  While not absolutely neutral, this tonal balance is ideal when mixing music and editing audio.  Being closed back headphones, the sound stage is not enormous, but it is pleasantly wide and open.


The bass response is pleasantly extended and full, yet remains it tight and controlled and doesn’t muddle the higher frequencies.  The mid range is rich and vibrant, delivering clear vocals through all genres of music.  The treble is detailed and articulate, offering precise reproduction of sounds throughout the high-end range without any sudden rolloff or sibilance.


Whether you are listening to your favorite song, fighting through a game level or adding the finishing touches to your latest audio creation, the Audio-Technica ATH-M50x headphones have you covered.  Offering light weight, a sturdy build and a balanced sound profile for less than $200, these headphones are an easy recommendation.