GET­TING BET­TER WITH AGE

Au­dio Tech­nica M50x

HWM (Singapore) - - Test - by Mar­cusWong

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.

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