Now that the 3.5mm headphone jack is being relegated to technology’s history books, wireless headphones are where it’s at. And there is a lot of competition for our ears so it takes some thing pretty special to win over our eardrums – particularly when you’re looking at the $380 price range. The Audio-Technica ATH-M50xBT wireless headphones are a solid set of headphones that will satisfy most listeners.
The Audio-Technica ATH-M50xBT fit comfortably over my ears. The cups are soft and there’s plenty of adjustment in the headband to accomodate larger skulls. The ear cups swivel both vertically and horizontally so it’s easy to get a snug fit.
While the headphones are wireless – they use Bluetooth 5.0 – they also ship with a 3.5mm cable and a USB charging cable that uses micro-USB. There’s a fabric bag in the box as well but otherwise the large box is bereft of any other accessories such as a hardcore. When you’re not using the ATH-M50xBT, the cups fold so they take up little space for a set of over-the-ear headphones when packed into your satchel or carry-on luggage.
Once the headphones were paired with my smartphone – a very easy process – I used them to listen to a number of different Spotify playlists, podcasts and movies.
Sound quality was very good. Spoken voice podcasts were super clear – as you’d expect with a $300 set of headphones.
With music, I listened to some classic Aussie rock, classical and jazz. All were handled with aplomb. The headphone use proprietary 45-millimeter drivers to deliver their sound. In classical pieces, I could pick up all the different instruments and the balance between the highs and lows was excellent.
Listening to some rock, I could hear everything from the hiss in the background at the start Led Zeppelin’s Immigrant Song through to the operatic and rock combinations in the middle of Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody.
I watched some of Avengers: Infinity War as well. During the opening attack on the Asgardian ship, there are radio transmissions played. I could hear detail in those scenes I’d not picked up before in multiple viewings of the movie.
In short, everything I put through the Audio-Technica ATH-M50xBT wireless headphones sound excellent.
The one thing I didn’t like were the play/pause and volume controls. Positioned around the edge of the left cup, they are hard to find and not all that easy to use.
Battery life is rated at over 30 hours of wireless playback – an impressive duration that will cover most long-haul travellers and a week or two of commuting. It achieves that but no offering active noise cancellation – something you see in headphones at this price point. But the cups do a good job of blocking ambient sound.
At about $380, the Audio-Technica ATH-M50xBT might not boast active noise cancellation but they make up for that with excellent sound quality.