Audio-Technica ATH-M50x Studio Headphones
If you’re looking for a studio workhorse set of headphones that will also perform well for everyday use then you’ll want to take a look at the Audio-Technica ATH-M50x. These are an extremely popular set of closed-back studio headphones that are competitively priced as an entry level product but have proven themselves for critical listening in modern music production.
- Type: Dynamic
- Design: Closed-back
- Frequency range: 15Hz – 28kHz
- Sensitivity: 99dB
- Impedance: 38 Ohms
- Incredibly versatile
- Interchangeable cables included
- Great bass
- Impressive soundstage for closed-back headphones
- Competitive price
- Lacking some crucial mid range
- A bit heavy
- They don’t come in an open-back version (lol)
Though they are not completely flat they surely have a respectable audio reproduction with very little harmonic distortion. And though closed-back in design with a significant amount of noise reduction, they have a surprisingly wide soundstage, likely due to their bright top end and rather large 45mm drivers. This added sparkle is totally pleasant and runs no risk of becoming fatiguing after hours of use.
The bass is punchy, tight, and great for working with low frequencies. There is a slight valley at about 60Hz but the bass really doesn’t roll off until 20Hz. A little harmonic distortion presents itself at 90dB SPL, and at 100dB SPL this harmonic distortion stays consistently under 1% of the input.
We hear a fairly broad peak at 100Hz up until about 350Hz where we then find a valley along a significant portion of the mid range up until about 600Hz. Now this may not seem idea for critical mixing decisions, but again, you’re not going to want to do significant amounts of your mixing in closed-back studio headphones. So if you’re listening back to a mix in these, then this will explain where your guitars went.
Moving up into the upper mids things stay relatively flat until we reach 5.5kHz-20kHz where we see plenty of narrow peaks and valleys. This is where their “sizzle” comes from and again, it is not overly sibilant or harsh. It balances well against the strong bottom end and produces a very clean and lively sound.
You’re likely to see the Audio-Technica ATH-M50x often in public as they are a hit with the consumer market as much as they are music producers. DJ’s love them for their 90 degree swivelling ear cups and foldable design for easy packing. They are certainly durable with their flexible metal headband and sturdy assembly. What’s more is they come with an option of 3 interchangeable cables: 2 straight (1.2m & 3m) and 1 coiled (3m), and a carrying case as well.
One of the strongest cases for the Audio-Technica ATH-M50x is that so much of their reputation has been word of mouth. These headphones have been suggested to me from jazz musicians to DJs and it’s pretty clear why. They offer versatility and a truly fun playback, great for tons of music production applications.
To help you out on your quest for the right set of cans, we’ve included links below to detailed reviews of a few models that feature similar characteristics to the Audio-Technica ATH-M50x.
We’ve put together The Ultimate Guide to Studio Headphones for Music Production that will teach you about different types of headphones, the applications they serve best, and a long list of great candidates for your home studio.