Audio-Technica has a full range of wired headphones and is gradually adding Bluetooth models, apart from their turntables. We have been able to test their most recent model, the ATH-M50xBT which are nothing more than a wireless version of the already popular ATH-M50x . For the 200 euros they cost, they offer great battery life and excellent Bluetooth coverage. Let's see how these closed, “ear-muff” headphones are presented, made and how they work in practice.
In the box
In the compact box with which these headphones arrive we find the usual thing. A good detail is that the interior is lined with a textile cloth that avoids marks with the Audio-Technica. It would not be the first time that it happens to us in devices whose packaging rubs against the product and the vibrations of transport leave their mark. That fabric gives its luxurious touch, moreover, well received at this level.
The headphones come to us folded and come with the basics: charging cable (micro USB) and a carrying case . In addition, the connection cable if we prefer (or should) use them that way, which includes a microphone and button. All very normal, well done but no frills, although the cover is made of synthetic leather (not fabric).
The Audio-Technica ATH-M50x (without BT) have become a reference for many fans . They are headphones that cover the ears but of a relatively compact size, let's say portable. Its design has a “professional” touch (those for studio use) and although they are made of plastic, they are robust. The skin of the headband and especially the ear pads is soft: never uncomfortable. They also press just enough to not move, without pressing or overwhelming too much (or on a large head).
Well, these ATH-M50xBT are not misleading by name: they are identical in everything. The cups are only slightly larger to house the Bluetooth circuitry, connections and controls, but nothing more. In fact it would be easy to confuse one another , that is to say the already popular wired model, with these new ones. Something that is different are the colors: for now, Bluetooth is only available in black. They can be folded to carry them occupying a more compact space.
The headphones themselves, remember that closed and just outside the ears, they mount internal 45 mm speakers . It is a good diameter, which ensures good bass. To lighten the membranes, coils with aluminum wire, covered with copper, are used. And they use powerful magnets (rare earths, that is Hiero-Neodymium surely).
Bluetooth or cable
The cable that comes in the box is correct and as we said it includes a microphone and a control button. The good news is that the headphone jack is a standard 3.5mm stereo jack. This means that we can use any cable terminated in that way (very common) when we want or need it. Although the purpose of this Audio-Technica model is to get rid of the cable, remember that with it the battery is not a problem. Yours, or that of the mobile to which we connect them.
As for the Audio-Technica Bluetooth connectivity, almost nothing has been left. They support version 5.0 being fully compatible with the previous ones (many devices remain in 4.2). They also support aptX, the protocol that improves the quality of transmitted sound (if the mobile is compatible). They do not support NFC although they connect very easily to any device. That's their only weak point: they don't connect to multiple devices. When we connect them, they look for their last "partner" and if this is not available, they will have to be unpaired to connect another. I suppose it happens more to us when we are trying to try things. But it is not so rare to go from mobile to computer for example ... With the ATH-M50xBT that will be less comfortable. A good detail is its coverage or range: better than normal, both in direct view and with walls or doors. When other devices start to cut off the sound,the Audio-Technica are still perfectly "covered", bravo.
Controls and loading
Precisely that inconvenience comes from not having a button to activate the pairing of the headphones. In the left cup we have the cable connection, the micro USB charging and the control buttons. There are three buttons, easily recognizable to the touch, and with functions that are also uncomplicated. The two of the ends are used to raise or lower the volume, both when listening to music and if we are talking. If we keep them pressed they go from song, forward or backward.
The central button is used to answer calls, or (with music) to stop or continue playback. There's also a slide switch that turns the headphones on or off (Bluetooth streaming actually). And there is one more button, invisible: the left cup itself hides a touch button . Supporting your finger for two seconds, launch the voice assistant (Siri or Google Assistant) of the linked mobile. The microphone they carry is effective and allowed us to have conversations (mobile or Skype) very, very well: remarkable.
Micro USB input and switch
In terms of charging, the micro USB connection takes a long time (up to five hours) to fill the battery. But there is a good reason: it is a very capable battery, or perhaps the very efficient internal electronics. Audio-Technica announces 40 hours no less of autonomy. We were not able to check if it lasts that long, but we spent several days using them without seeing the load drop much. Of course, it is a strong point of this model: we can almost forget about its battery.
And how can we know how the battery is if no LED indicates it? Well, for this and some other things (although not many more) the Audio-Technica application itself is useful . Available on iOS and Android, we tested the latter. The connection (once the headphones were linked to the mobile) was fast, and thanks to this application we were able to choose the mode. By default it is in "automatic" but our mobile accepted aptX and surprisingly it had not been activated. It had to be done manually: the headphones turned themselves off and on, and more clarity in the sound appeared.
On the other hand, this App keeps us informed about the charging status of the headphones. That is, it allows you to check how slowly it goes down despite the days and hours of use. We found it a bit annoying that to activate it required to activate localization or access to multimedia content. The location is used to know where they were the last time we had them active (and linked, of course). It does not include a player (only a link to the one that is active) or any other control, equalization ... nothing else. Essential to configure the connection, then, but useful for little else (battery aside, but it lasts so long that it is not a problem).
Music and comfort
The cups of the Audio-Technica are not very big but we were just outside the ears: otherwise they would not be comfortable. In our case, as we say, it was not like that and they did not bother us , but we did notice that they trap heat. In summer they may be less comfortable and we need breaks from time to time.
The sound profile of these headphones is undoubtedly on the warm side, with slightly enhanced bass. They do not get so swollen as to stand out too much, and hide details of other frequencies. But they will be well received for marching music, drums, rock … That bass gives depth to all kinds of music anyway, and it doesn't overwhelm. Speaking of depth, the soundstage of these ATH-M50xBTs is remarkable. We will appreciate a greater amplitude than expected in closed headphones, and it will be easy to locate each musician or performer. In mids they are good (voices) but their highs again stand out, not because of excess brightness, but because of good detail. It is not a typical "V" profile but it is a bit of that tendency, which helps to appreciate the music without needing a lot of volume.
We found few objectionable things in the Audio-Technica M50xBT, the truth. Using the micro USB connection to charge them is already a bit anachronistic (why not USB-C?). Your application is not very bright either, but it is necessary to activate the (ideal) Bluetooth aptX mode. Everything else is positive, and it is a lot. Keeping a design and sound profile identical to that of the model without Bluetooth is already a good achievement. A dynamic sound, with good bass (a bit swollen) and clear highs without shrillness. The two key aspects of their portability score very high: the battery lasts forever and they have a very good range. In use for calls they were outstanding, both for how they reproduce voices and for the microphone itself. They are comfortable, and although they do not insulate much despite being closed, they are well balanced.
|Type||Closed, wired Bluetooth earphones|
|Internal speakers||45mm diameter dynamic drivers|
|Coils||CCAW (copper clad aluminum wire)|
|Frequency response||15 Hz to 28 kHz|
|Sensitivity (liabilities)||99 dB / mW|
|Impedance (passives)||38 Ohm|
|Battery||Polymer Lithium 3.7 V|
|Load||up to 7 hours|
|Bluetooth||V5.0, A2DP, AVRCP, HFP, HSP protocols. AptX, AAC, SBC support|
|accessories||USB cable (30 cm), connection cable (1.2 m 3.5 mm jack), cover|