For over half a century, Audio-Technica has been creating products that have brought joy and efficiency to millions, including this writer. Recently, a representative on behalf of the company contacted me with the opportunity to test its ATH-M50xBT2DS Headphones, and I was more than happy to oblige.
Audio-Technica is one of the best-known names in the audio world. Since its founding in 1962, the company’s innovative design team has created a wide range of market-leading products, including turntables, microphones and headphones, all of which have become stock items in many studios worldwide and brought pleasure into people’s homes and efficiency into workplaces.
In 2014, the company launched its ATH-M50x headphones, which have garnered many plaudits and a loyal fanbase, and seven years later, they have followed this up with the ATH-M50xBT2DS Headphones, the latest generation of its M-Series, and the subject of this review feature.
Audio-Technica is a name that has popped in and out of my life for over four decades. I can’t exactly recall the first time I learned of the brand, but it must have been in the early 1980s when I was in my teenage years. At that time, my father, who was in the British military, held the position of Technical Quarter Masters Sargeant (TQMS), and his role was to look after all manner of equipment in the stores.
Within his domain was everything from military hardware to clothing and audio-visual equipment. Occasionally, I was allowed to visit him in his workplace, and he would talk to me about his newest additions, which included, at that time, some quite mind-blowing audio-visual equipment.
In the British Army, a TQMS is pretty much a fount of all knowledge; after all, if you are allocating equipment, it helps to know how things work, and on rare occasions (with permission), some of the A/V equipment would be brought home for testing, resulting in my introduction to the Audio-Technica name.
Since those days, I have always held Audio-Technica in the highest regard. The word that first springs to mind when I think of the brand is reliability, followed by the words excellent value for money. A couple of weeks ago, I enjoyed testing the company’s ATH-SQ1TW Wireless headphones, which exceeded my expectations, and I was sure that the headphones would follow the same suit.
About the ATH-M50xBT2DS Headphones
As you’ve no doubt guessed, the ATH-M50xBT2DS Headphones bring many upgrades over its predecessor, the ATH-M50x, and it does so without changing the much-loved sonic signature.
The headphones boast 45mm large-aperture drivers with a dedicated amplifier, producing a deep, accurate bass response and superb clarity throughout an extended frequency range. As you would expect from Audio-Technica, component quality is very high with an AK4331 advanced audio DAC and dedicated internal headphone amp. Another nice feature of the headphones is in addition to SBC; they are also compatible with AAC and LDAC premium wireless audio codecs.
In the main, call quality with the headphones is excellent thanks to dual microphones and beamforming microphone technology, which produces clear vocal pickup during phone calls. The headphones use sidetone circuitry, allowing you to hear your voice when making calls on most smartphones, which does take a short while to get used to. However, according to Audio-Technica, this function makes it easier to carry on phone and video conversations.
Other features of the headphones are their ability to pair with two Bluetooth devices simultaneously, and they can be used wirelessly and wired. Another big plus point is the astonishing battery life; they can be used continuously for fifty hours on just one charge.
So much thought has gone into the design of the headphones, with something to please users of every age and audio experience. They have built-in Amazon Alexa voice assistant, a low latency mode to keep audio and video in sync and utilise Google Fast Pair, which makes using them simple. They also link to the latest A-T Connect app, which allows you to adjust EQ, and volume balance, activate low latency mode, change codecs and even locate the headphones if you misplace them!
One of the most obvious things I noticed about the ATH-M50xBT2DS Headphones is they physically feel of high quality. This is even more obvious when I compare them to the headphones I currently use, the Jabra Pro DIV010, which are much lighter and now feel rather flimsy.
The unique design of the Audio-Technica headphones took some getting used to, as on my Jabra set, the earcups are fixed in place, while the ATH-SQ1TW Wireless earcups can pretty much be moved 360 degrees.
From a design point of view, this is technically brilliant; however, when I take them out of their supplied bag, I often find the earcups back-to-front or upside down, and sometimes I am not sure which direction to turn them to put them back where they should be. Nonetheless, I am sure that over time, it will become second nature.
When listening to audio tracks, the headphones were every bit as good as I hoped, actually better, and for making calls, the ATH-M50xBT2DS Headphones performed ‘almost’ faultlessly.
I use the word ‘almost’ as I noticed that the audio sounded muffled on a couple of occasions. However, more than once, the person I talked to, without prompting, did mention how clear my voice sounded. The ‘muffled sound’ is likely to be entirely my fault, and as mentioned, it was just once or twice out of thirty-plus calls.
All-in-all, the ATH-M50xBT2DS Headphones have reaffirmed what I always knew, Audio-Technica makes products that work extremely well, are reliable, and unlike other companies, they come with a realistic price tag, one that shouldn’t have you regretting your purchase a few days later.
The ATH-M50xBT2DS Headphones come with a soft black-coloured bag and cables, with an RRP of £169.99/199€ (inc. VAT). You can read more information, including how to purchase, at www.audio-technica.com.
Read more lifestyle product reviews, guides and features here.
You must be logged in to post a comment.