People who work in audio editing and mixing are probably familiar with Audio-Technica. It is a well-known brand of quality headsets and speakers. The company has recently released Audio-Technica ATH-M50XBT, which is based on the legendary Audio-Technica ATH-M50X, updated with wireless connectivity. Below, we will compare Audio-Technica ATH-M50XBT vs ATH-M50X to see if the new product is worth the money.
The discussion below will provide more information about:
– The design and comfort of each headset
– The connectivity options of Audio-Technica ATH-M50XBT
– The additional features available on each headset
– The performance of Audio-Technica ATH-M50XBT vs ATH-M50X
– The battery life of ATH-M50XBT and other considerations
– Which headset that is generally more recommended
Design and Fit
The aesthetics of Audio-Technica ATH-M50XBT and Audio-Technica ATH-M50X are mostly identical. They both are good-looking and professional. Both headsets here have hard plastic frames and earcups. The plastic construction is very solid and durable, yet without adding too much weight. Both headsets are well-padded. See also: Audio Technica ATH M50 Vs Sennheiser HD 598.
Both headsets are collapsible. You can fold their earcups in so that they become compact enough for easy storage and travel. The overall dimensions of M50XBT and M50X are pretty much similar, with only minor differences here and there.
A notable difference of Audio-Technica ATH-M50XBT vs ATH-M50X is found on their left ear cups. On M50XBT, you can find several control buttons and connection ports. The control buttons are essential when using the headset in the wireless mode. Furthermore, the audio jack on M50XBT is just a simple hole. Meanwhile, on M50X, no control buttons or connections ports are found, excluding the audio jack. The audio jack of M50X has a proprietary lock that helps to secure the cable.
Audio-Technica ATH-M50XBT happens to have a slightly tighter fit. Somehow, the earcups of this headset fit with more snug on your ears. As the effect, the headset feels more secure on your head. Also, the tighter fit helps in improving the sound isolation a bit. However, people who dislike tight headsets probably won’t find it comfortable, even though the ear pads are soft and cushy.
Audio-Technica ATH-M50X is slightly looser in terms of fit. It is still able to sit on your head without moving around, unless you bang your head so much. The earcups don’t press hard on your ears. One side effect of the looser fit is that it has less sound isolation – loud noise from the environment can easily get into your hearing – but most people find it really comfy to wear.
Wired or Wireless
Of course, the main consideration when choosing between Audio-Technica ATH-M50XBT vs Audio-Technica ATH-M50X is whether you really need a wireless headset or not. The M50XBT is indeed more versatile because it can function as both a wired headset and a wireless headset. However, if you don’t need the wireless connectivity, the M50X can be more efficient, cost-wise.
Audio-Technica ATH-M50XBT doesn’t actually come with an internal wireless adapter. Instead, it comes with a Bluetooth dongle that supports Bluetooth 5.0 and multiple audio codecs: aptX, AAC, and SBC. So, you can use it with practically any device.
You need to plug the dongle into the audio jack when you want to use it wireless. After plugging the dongle, simply press the power button to turn the headset on. It runs on battery when used wirelessly. The wireless mode is great for casual listening.
You can also use an audio cable to adapt Audio-Technica ATH-M50XBT into a wired headset. There are three cables included in the box: a short straight cable, a long straight cable, and a coiled cable. You can use the wired mode even if the battery is empty. However, the cable gets detached easily if it is pulled accidentally due to lacking a locking mechanism. There is a Micro-USB socket, but only for charging and not for audio.
Audio-Technica ATH-M50X does not have any wireless capability, so it doesn’t have a battery. There is just a single audio jack with a proprietary locking mechanism. The lock is really nice for preventing the cable from getting detached when tugged or pulled accidentally.
Audio-Technica ATH-M50X comes with two audio cables. The first one is a straight cable that measures 1.2m (3.9ft) long, handy for listening from a mobile device. The second one is a coiled cable that measures 1.2m (3.9ft) and can be extended up to 3.0m (9.8ft), great for use on your workstation.
The next difference between Audio-Technica ATH-M50XBT vs ATH-M50X feature-wise is the microphone. The Bluetooth version comes with a built-in microphone, whereas the original doesn’t have one.
Audio-Technica ATH-M50XBT has a built-in microphone which widens the headset’s functionality very well. The control buttons on the headset will allow you to answer calls easily without having to reach your phone. You can even use the headset for voice chats in multiplayer online games when necessary.
The company obviously knows how to maximize the strengths of their products. In addition to the capabilities above, the microphone also makes accessing Siri or Google Assistant very easy. On the back of the left earcup of Audio-Technica ATH-M50XBT, there is a touch-sensitive panel which will give you access to the speech recognition feature on your device. Simply press a finger there for about two seconds, and you can immediately use voice commands.
Audio-Technica ATH-M50X, on the other hand, does not have any built-in microphone. This is not a problem if you only need a headset for listening or tracking. If you really need a mic, you can use an attachable mic that can be put on the collar of your shirt or a tabletop mic.
Performance-wise, we can’t immediately say that one headset is better than the other. There are a few things that you need to consider. These two models have different advantages and disadvantages.
The specs of Audio-Technica ATH-M50XBT and Audio-Technica ATH-M50X are mostly similar. Each of them features 45mm drivers with a frequency response range of 15 – 28,000 Hz. However, at the same impedance and sensitivity, M50XBT tends to produce lower volume levels than M50X.
When used wirelessly, Audio-Technica ATH-M50XBT is only suitable for casual listening and not recommended for serious work. The reason should be obvious; wireless headsets typically have some delay because the signals travel more slowly and require more processing before they are transformed into sound. When you are monitoring or mixing professional audio, the delay will make it very difficult for you to work. Not to mention that the sound quality, wireless, is lower than if you use an audio cable.
The volume tends to be lower, too. It lacks soundstage, and the bass is chubby and not focused. The midrange is somewhat muffled, especially in the lower part of the range, creating a smooth and buoyant impression. The treble is present and actually quite detailed, but not very crisp. It is quite enjoyable to listen to, but you need something that is analytical for monitoring or mixing.
However, when used with an audio cable, Audio-Technica ATH-M50XBT begins to resemble the original Audio-Technica ATH-M50X more closely. There may be still slight differences, but they are not really noticeable. For sure, the original Audio-Technica ATH-M50X’s performance is really great and impressive, which is why this headset has been used by so many professionals and dedicated audiophiles.
Audio-Technica ATH-M50X has a spacious, multi-dimensional soundstage. The performance is really impressive that you can easily distinguish different instruments in the mix. The lows, mids, and highs are properly separated. Also, the headset is very efficient in its processing, so that the produced sound can have decent volume.
The bass of Audio-Technica ATH-M50X is tight, detailed, and accurate. It is not too boomy, but it still has enough presence without muffling the mids or highs. The midrange is detailed with more texture. The treble has great presence and is highly detailed and crisp.
Of course, this aspect only applies to the Bluetooth version, but we still need to know the average battery life of this wireless headset. Audio-Technica ATH-M50XBT can run continuously for approximately 40 hours, which is really impressive. You can easily get two or three weeks from a single charge.
However, this headset takes quite a long time to recharge. A full recharge from an empty battery takes about 7 hours. Well, for the extensive battery life, the long recharge time is quite understandable. You can just plug the headset to a power outlet before going to sleep and let it charge overnight.
Of course, you can also use an audio cable whenever possible to avoid draining the battery unnecessarily. When it is plugged, the headset is driven by the signals from the device.
Audio-Technica ATH-M50X doesn’t have a battery to be worried about. It is driven by the signals sent over the audio cable from the device that it is connected to. As mentioned above, since you are listening through an audio cable, the volume levels and overall performance are generally better.
Audio-Technica ATH-M50XBT vs ATH-M50X
- Wireless, on-the-go design delivers the same critically acclaimed sonic performance as the original ATH-M50x professional studio headphones
- Touch control provides convenient access to voice assist
- Mic and button controls built into the earcup allow for easy handling of calls, music playback and volume adjustment
- Proprietary 45 mm large-aperture drivers deliver exceptional clarity throughout an extended frequency range, with deep, accurate bass response
- Critically acclaimed sonic performance praised by top audio engineers and pro audio reviewers
- Proprietary 45 mm large-aperture drivers with rare earth magnets and copper-clad aluminum wire voice coils
- Exceptional clarity throughout an extended frequency range, with deep, accurate bass response
- Circumaural design contours around the ears for excellent sound isolation in loud environments
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Audio-Technica ATH-M50XBT is indeed an excellent versatile headset. It is highly recommended if you need a headset that you can use for work as well as personal entertainment. The Bluetooth connectivity is handy when you are not doing any serious work and you don’t want to fumble with cables. For professional monitoring or mixing audio tracks, you should use the audio cable for the best performance and sound quality.