One of the most important pieces of equipment for a Music Producer is a pair of studio headphones. This helps them to concentrate on their music by blocking out all external noise. However, studio headphones do not come cheap but since the release of the Audio-Technica ATH-M50x, it has grown in popularity due to its accessible price.
Many people had been skeptical on the quality and build of this product but soon found the audio quality to be very impressive and even better than a few of the well-established and popular brands on the market today.
I will look into the features, sound quality, comfort and build of this pair of headphones for readers to decide whether it will be worth the price or if they should spend a bit more on a more popular brand.
The ATH-M50x has a great bass depth that is not too overpowering as it has a 15 – 28,000Hz frequency response. I found this to be particularly great when playing games or watching action movies. It’s ideal for all types of music genres due to the mixes of the bass with the smooth trebles and detailed mid range. The clarity on these headphones is exceptional.
Unfortunately there is no noise cancellation feature but when I put these on, the ear cups formed a tight seal around my ears which blocks out external sounds.
This gives an excellent and uninterrupted listening experience but there is still a very small amount of sound bleed. It is barely noticeable though. I find that other studio headphones with an active noise cancellation feature will still have minor sound leakage anyway.
Some people have found that other headphones tend to produce sharp tones at higher levels but the M50x has a smooth tone throughout all levels.
This prevents any sound distortions even when I tested it at the loudest volume. It does get very bassy at the loudest volume though so it’s not ideal if your ear drums are quite sensitive. But it’s perfect for checking the sound quality of your beats.
Design & Build Quality
The headphone is made with plastic materials but is well constructed and solid. It’s a nice change from other headphones that use expensive materials such as leather and aluminum which contributes to the high costs of headphones.
There’s no squeak when you open or close the headphones which shows the materials used are sturdy. All movements of the headphones are smooth and have a good feel to it. The feel is far from plastic. It is quite light as well as it only weighs 10 oz.
You’ll find that the design and branding on the Audio-Technica ATH-M50x is very minimal with the logo embossed on the outside of the ear cup and the small model name just above the ear cup. A ring of silver lines the outer edge of the ear cups on the outside. It is quite a simple design but the real focus is on the sound of the headphones.
The headband is padded and reinforced with steel which is flexible so it stretches quite wide to fit all head shapes and sizes. It is also adjustable. My head is quite small but this fit well and stayed put even when I turn around. The ear cups are made with a soft leather and padded which rests around your ears but luckily these are not overly big nor does it stick out as much as other studio headphones.
Like most headphones, the ear cups have a circumaural design which fits snugly over my ears. The ear cups swivel 90 degrees on either side which allows for one ear monitoring. On the left ear cup at the bottom is a 3.5mm port for the cable to plug into.
Ordinary headphones tend to come with the cables attached on but the studio headphones ATH-M50x offers detachable cables. Three cables were included in the box:
- A cable measuring 1.2m
- A long coiled cable measuring 1.2m
- A long straight cable measuring 3m.
Due to this feature, cables can be used at home, in the studio or for when you’re out and about. The cable plugs in and twists to lock in place which ensures the cable will not get pulled out easily if tugged. However, other cables cannot be used for this headphone because of the twist and lock mechanism. There is also no integrated remote or microphone on any of the cables.
For easy portability, the headphones can be collapsed and folded as the ear cups will fold upwards by 180 degrees and fit under the band. This can be stored in a black faux leather pouch that also comes included. I found the pouch a bit flimsy and it doesn’t offer much protection but I didn’t worry too much as the headphones won’t get damaged as it is very sturdy.
There’s a good range of colors available for this headphone. It comes in white, orange/blue combination, black or dark green/black combination colors along with matching cables.
The circumaural design of the ear pads are quite spacious so it fits over the earlobes instead of squashing them like some headphones I have used before. With the soft leather and thick padding, this makes the headphone very comfortable to wear for long periods of time.
However, I did find my ears got a bit heated and sweaty after a while. Some people avoided using the headphones during warmer months.
The headband has a medium grip and as it is padded, it sits comfortably on top of my head without any pressure. Although the weight of the headphones is relatively light, I did start to feel the weight after a while but it was not uncomfortable. Users with larger head sizes mentioned that the headband does tend to slip upwards a bit after being on their head for a long time.
Are These Studio Monitor Headphones For You?
A lot of people highly recommend the Audio-Technica ATH-50x and I am joining in with them to recommend this. These headphones provide excellent sound and comfort overall with a simple design that is well constructed despite using plastic materials.
At the price it is currently going at as well, it is money well spent especially ideal for people who are just starting out in music production and keeping costs low. Don’t think that because of the lower price, these headphones won’t be as good as other brands that are selling at twice the price. That’s not the case at all. In fact, it beats most of these rivals and at a better price too.
If you want to start making beats or become successful at it, then you're going to need some great music production equipment to enhance your skills. Take a look at the following: