GETTING BETTER WITH AGE
Audio Technica M50x
Audio Technica’s ATH-M50 has long been held as a standard for audiophiles seeking quality sound on a budget, serving up quality sound with big 45mm drivers, over-ear isolation, solid construction and unbiased sound reproduction for under $300.
It seems that for the most part, Audio Technica has stayed the course with the ATH-M50x. Design is almost exactly the same, though there is now a new blue and gold limited edition version you can order. Also new, is the provision for detachable audio cables that is something fans of the original have been asking for.
Audio Technica has generously provided three cables in the box – a short 1.2m for portable use and two longer 3.0m cables for studio use—one straight cable and one coiled cable which allows a variable length. Also included is a quarter-inch adapter plug which screws into the threading of the plug for a more secure fit and a soft carry case.
‘Measured’ is a term that comes to mind when trying to place the M50x sonically. Imaging is very good, and its ability to render detail certainly lives up to the stated frequency range of 15-28,000 Hz, but while it only has an impendence of 38 ohms, we found that it definitely benefits from the use of an amp or at least a good source.
Compared to the original M50, we thought the M50x provided better separation between vocals and their backing instruments and better clarity to the vocals. The upper bass to lower midrange registers can be a tad bloomy though, as experienced on the intro of the Red Hot Chili Pepper’s Under the Bridge. But overall, this set of headphones performs with great clarity in treble notes; tracks were more clean-sounding with greater detail in the higher registers whereas the M50 was slightly more airy and perhaps a little gritty sounding in comparison.
Overall, we must say the ATH-M50x offer excellent performance for their sub$300 price tag. The level of detail the headphones are able to resolve is impressive, and you really can’t fault them for sounding too clinical if the emphasis is on being accurate. Add to that the fact you get pretty really good passive noise cancelling and superior comfort from the plush ear cups, and you have a set of that will probably stay on your ears for a long while.
The ATH-M50x now offers detachable cables.