With audio becoming more competitive, new options to tempt you out of your hard-earned cash seemingly pop up on the market every day. Music production is more democratized, podcasting is the best way to connect and be connected with a community, gaming requires better and better sound to pick up all the details of your surroundings, and we even listen to more audiobooks these days than we read (or maybe that’s all just me projecting and assuming).

What’s important here is that a ton of new entry-level headphones are dropping every day, and it can be hard to know which ones you should invest in. I got my hands on Audio-Technica’s ATH-M50xBT2, which are far from new but still attracting a fair amount of attention in the producer space, to see how they hold up against some other studio headphones I’ve tried and tested this year.

So before I dive into my favorite parts about Audio-Technica’s ATH-M50xBT2, let’s break down what exactly they are in the most vanilla language possible before diving into my hot takes and the one thing I wish was a bit better compared to the beyerdynamic headphones I use daily in my line of work so that you can know whether these headphones are right for you!

What Is The Audio-Technica ATH-M50xBT2?

The ATH-M50xBT2 is the second generation of Audio-Technica’s M-Series wireless over-ear headphones, designed to offer the same high-quality sound as the legendary ATH-M50x studio headphones. These headphones feature 45 mm large-aperture drivers, Bluetooth wireless technology, and premium audio-grade components, including an advanced DAC and dedicated internal headphone amp. They provide a deep, accurate bass response and transparent, high-fidelity sound, making them suitable for high-fidelity audio during commutes, conference calls, or music enjoyment.

The ATH-M50xBT2 includes dual microphones with beamforming technology for improved vocal pickup and crystal-clear call quality. Users can access built-in voice assistants like Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, and Siri and benefit from a battery life of up to 50 hours on a full charge, with a 10-minute rapid charge providing up to 3 hours of use. The headphones also feature multipoint pairing to connect to two Bluetooth devices simultaneously and come with the A-T Connect app for personalized control, including EQ adjustments, low latency mode activation, and more.

Additional features include a low latency mode for smooth streaming and gaming, buttons on the earcup for easy control of volume, music, and calls, and Google Fast Pair for quick pairing with Android devices. The headphones offer excellent sound isolation, long-lasting comfort with professional-grade earpad and headband material, and an optional wired connection with a 1.2 m cable. The ATH-M50xBT2 is compatible with high-quality LDAC and AAC codecs, ensuring an exceptional audio experience.

Alright, now, let’s get to the fun part…

Audio-Technica ATH-M50xBT2 Review – The Pros

Great Sounds For The Price!

I’ve reviewed a fair amount of headphones and found that the entry-level ones with price tags ranging from $100 to $250 (ish) are usually super hit or miss. They either try to do too much to cater to the broadest user/customer base possible or focus a lot of their attention on flashy curb appeal that only really appeals to those too new to audio to know better.

But for the $199 price tag, the Audio-Technica ATH-M50xBT2s sound incredibly good for what they’re trying to do, or at least for what I found myself most often using them for.

They have a nice boost to the upper mids and highs, meaning that vocals and lead instruments cut through cleanly on the Audio-Technica ATH-M50xBT2s, which makes them fantastic for listening to podcasts, casual listening to music, and other recreational activities. The slight boost in the low end adds a touch of warmth and roundness to the signal, which makes the signal “feel” full even though the sub, as is typical in headphones, isn’t audible until you crank up the gain.

I use the open-backed beyerdynamic headphones for studio work, and I don’t think the Audio-Technica ATH-M50xBT2s will replace them. Most of my work is in producing and mixing dance music, and there seems to be a slight drop in the 300-450hZ range on the Audio-Technica ATH-M50xBT2, which makes mixing the warm and punchy kick drums that I use in my own music difficult. That’s usually where most of the boxiness comes from in the samples I lean toward, and I need to be super meticulous about that exact frequency band to ensure my kicks are warm and punchy.

This is an incredibly anecdotal and situational gripe, which I don’t think should deter too many readers, but I figured it was worth mentioning.

Incredibly Portable

The Audio-Technica ATH-M50xBT2s have a lot going for them regarding portability and travel-friendly features, so as I mentioned above, I used them most frequently when on the go and not actually inside the studio.

The first is the sheer battery life you can get from these headphones. I’ve seen a review or two online saying that the battery life was one of the things they weren’t impressed by when using these headphones, but I could not disagree more. As a professional in pro audio, I am very conscious of the volume of music I listen to while not in the studio. Hence, I tend to have my headphones turned down relatively low, which could explain why I could get over 48 hours of playback on a single charge.

Next is that they’re Bluetooth headphones, which I love when I’m on the go. The Bluetooth, with its high-quality codecs, connects super fast and is pretty damn responsive, which was great to see.

The final thing that plays into the Audio-Technica ATH-M50xBT2’s portability strengths is its small and low profile. While I’m not a fan of the size of the cups when it comes to studio work, and I’ll get to that in a second, the smaller profile and collapsibility of the headphones make them easy to break down and throw into a commuter bag when I’m on the run or even just walking my toddler and need to store the headphones in the stroller.

All in all, I think the Audio-Technica ATH-M50xBT2’s portability and ease of bringing them anywhere is undoubtedly one of its best features.

They’re Flexible

Frizzy hair day in the studio…

Alright, anecdote time…

When I was in college and first committing to taking this whole “music thing” seriously, I picked up a pair of KRK RKT 5 monitors, and it was one of the best decisions I could have made. These workhorse monitors could handle my bedroom producing, DJing the house parties we threw, and casual listening. This memory taught me that the best entry-level gear should be workhorses, full stop.

Professionals have the luxury of affording specific pieces of gear to serve specific purposes. Still, newer artists and producers need something cheap that can do many things for them, and that’s precisely what the Audio-Technica ATH-M50xBT2s do.

As I said before, they are fantastic for casual listening. Still, they’re equally good for DJing, passable for newer producers to mix on, and can even take voice calls (although the noise-canceling isn’t perfect, it’s good nonetheless). If you’re a newer producer or want an approachable set of headphones you can constantly use for anything, the Audio-Technica ATH-M50xBT2s, despite having a name that’s a mouthful to say out loud, is a great pickup.

…The Cons

Smaller Cups Than I’m Used To

Beyerdynamic’s open-back headphones, which I’ve been using for about a year now, have a massive cup on the ears, which makes them incredibly comfortable over long studio sessions. I think it’s because I’m so acclimated to that bigger feel that the ear cups on the Audio-Technica ATH-M50xBT2s felt a bit restrictive when worn in the studio for any more than an hour.

I didn’t feel this way on longer walks – my walks around town with my son in the stroller typically last about 90 minutes – but that’s likely cause I’m walking, moving, and interacting with the world instead of just sitting in my DAW mixing and making tunes.

Again, this is another reason I loved these headphones for on-the-go situations, but I will still return to my beyerdynamic for studio work.

Who Is The Audio-Technica ATH-M50xBT2 For?

Casual Music Fans

I think this is where these headphones really shine, as they are a fantastic price point for the quality of sound they deliver and offer a lot of flexibility. And I don’t just mean that regarding everything I mentioned above in the section dedicated to these headphones’ flexibility! The fact that you can use an accompanying app to dial in the EQ curves and other sound profiles for these headphones makes them able to adapt to how you listen to music, whether you want more of a flat curve, a bass-boosted one, or something with a boosted upper mid-range for better clarity while listening to your favorite podcast.

Entry-Level DJs/Producers

These are pretty solid headphones if you’re also looking to make your first purchase of headphones.

They’re a great price point, not that I need to say that again, but they sound decent enough to mix your first few year’s music on (I’ve been mixing music for ten years now, so don’t let my gripe about having some difficulty hearing what-type-of -EQ-scoop-do-I need-on-my-kick-drums-while-wearing-these-headphones note from earlier deter you if you think the sound and price is right on these.

The portability aspect makes them super easy to throw into a DJ gig bag, making them great for entry-level studio work and playing at your local club.

Everyday Consumers

Overall, the ATH-M50xBT2s sound great – what more do you want?! – and have a handful of quality-of-life features that make them a solid choice for anyone. The Bluetooth boasts low latency, the microphone is decent enough as long as you’re not trying to host the call on the subway, and the companion app lets you adjust primary EQ curves to whatever you need these headphones to do…

The list goes on and on.

The only reason I would not recommend these headphones is if you’ve been producing for years and need a new set of primary headphones or a new pair of reference headphones; if you’re getting into the weeds with it all, different headphones can serve these specific purposes quite well and will have a higher price point to match. But if you need an on-the-go pair of headphones that makes music and podcasts fun, the ATH-M50xBT2 are about as good as they come at this price point.

Where To Go From Her

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The post Audio-Technica ATH-M50xBT2 Review: 3 Ways They’re Great For Casuals (…Despite Something Important) appeared first on Magnetic Magazine.