The ATH-M50xBT2 are the second generation of Audio-Technica’s critically acclaimed M-Series wireless over-ear headphones. Now with the LDAC Bluetooth codec, users can enjoy wireless Hi-Res audio!
Building on the vaunted ATH-M50x headphones’ sonic performance, the ATH-M50xBT2 use the latest Bluetooth technology and offer the equivalent studio-quality sound in a wireless package. The 45mm large-aperture drivers deliver profound and precise bass response for an enjoyable listening experience, while the internal AK4331 advanced audio DAC/amp from AKM provides excellent clear, high-fidelity sound.
Does this latest model exhibit the same greatness as the ATH-M50x? Or perhaps they are even better? Let’s find out more in this article.
Founded in 1962, Audio-Technica is a worldwide group committed to designing, manufacturing, marketing, and distributing problem-solving audio equipment. Audio-Technica started its journey in the audio industry with its well-known, state-of-the-art phonograph cartridges.
The company did not stop there. Audio-Technica now produces high-performance microphones, headphones, wireless systems, mixers, and electronic products for home and professional use.
From critical government installations such as the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate to significant broadcast music events like the GRAMMY Awards and the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremonies, Audio-Technica products are chosen because of their reputable track record!
- Form: Wireless closed-back over-ear headphones
- Drivers: Single 45mm dynamic driver
- Frequency Response (Hz): 15 – 28000 Hz
- Sensitivity (dB): 99 dB/mW
- Impedance (Ohm): 38 Ohms
- Removable Cable: Y
- Bluetooth Audio Codec: SBC, AAC, and LDAC
- Bluetooth Multipoint: Yes
- Battery Life (hrs): 50 hrs
- True Wireless: N
- Bluetooth Version: 5.0
- Mic: Y
The ATH-M50xBT2 come in typical Audio-Technica packaging – a white paperboard box with the logo and photo of the headphones. The specifications and some unique selling points of ATH-M50xBT2 are printed for reference on the back of the box.
In the box
- ATH-M50xBT2 Bluetooth headphones
- 3.5mm TRS to 3.5mm TRRS analogue cable for wired connection
- USB Type-A to Type-C charging cable
- Storage pouch
Despite being Bluetooth headphones intended for wireless use, the ATH-M50xBT2 can be connected to your music source with the provided analogue 3.5mm cable.
The ATH-M50xBT2’s physical appearance is exactly the same as my 6 year old pair of ATH-M50x. The ear pads and headband are made of synthetic leather and they are well-padded.
Control buttons, charging port, and the analogue input are located on the left ear cup. The ear cups are adjustable so that the headphones can be placed flat on a table or in a bag. Besides that, the ATH-M50xBT2 can be folded, which helps to significantly reduce storage space.
Comfort was always an issue for me when I used the ATH-M50x. The ear pads are too shallow and they constantly press on my ears. However, this can be easily solved by getting a pair of deeper ear pads from brands like Dekoni or Yaxi.
The well-padded headband does not have any pressure hotspots and I can wear them for hours without feeling any pain on my head. However, due to the material selection, the synthetic leather on the headband is extremely vulnerable to sweat and humidity. With the weather conditions in Singapore, my ATH-M50x’s headband started to peel off after around a year. I still do not know of an easy replacement solution.
The ATH-M50xBT2 are powered by 45mm dynamic drivers, exactly the same as the ATH-M50x. Armed with Bluetooth version 5.0 technology, the ATH-M50xBT2 support multipoint connection, which is very welcome for someone like me who has multiple devices on my work desk. I can simultaneously connect them to my laptop for short conference calls and to my phone for music playback.
The biggest improvement in this variant as compared to the ATH-M50xBT is the inclusion of support for the LDAC codec. The LDAC enables Bluetooth signal transmission up to 990kbps, which is approximately a 24bit/96kHz audio file. With this implementation, the greatness of the legendary 45mm dynamic driver can be fully unleashed and they offer users the best listening experience.
50 hours of battery life is amazing!
With a single charge, I can use the ATH-M50xBT2 for almost 2 weeks for daily commuting and lunchtime listening. Even if the internal battery is dead, just connect them with the included cable.
Besides the long battery life, the ATH-M50xBT2 can be controlled and adjusted through the Audio-Technica A-T Connect smartphone application. Features like equalizer and low latency mode can be adjusted swiftly through the application.
The ATH-M50xBT2’s sound quality does not vary significantly when I switch the audio connection between wireless and wired. In fact, I find the internal DAC and amplifier of the ATH-M50xBT2 are well-tuned to present a slightly more accurate and precise sound, as compared to the wired connection.
The sound from the wireless connection is well-balanced and has a very typical sound signature for a pair of studio headphones.
I find the ATH-M50xBT2’s sound slightly different from the original ATH-M50x. The original ATH-M50x have more focus on the bass and they are more musical. As a comparison, the ATH-M50xBT2 are actually a better candidate for studio usage as the overall sound is more balanced.
The ATH-M50xBT2’s bass is accurate and precise and I find that the bass response is more accurate compared to the original non-wireless ATH-M50. This is not solely caused by the internal amp and DAC. I compared the wired connection for both pairs using the same source and ear pads and they sound different.
I always found the ATH-M50x’s bass response to be a little bloated, bleeding towards the midrange and coloring it. In the new version, this issue has been solved. The sub-bass has sufficient rumble to avoid being overly technical or analytical. The mid-bass is more controlled and it decays faster leaving more space for transition to the midrange.
Thanks to the more accurate bass response, the midrange is more transparent and clear in the ATH-M50xBT2. In the past when I listened to ATH-M50x, I found the lower midrange to be colored and smoothened. The lower midrange of the wireless version is free from bass coloration, and gives users the cleanest performance.
Also due to the improvement in bass response, the midrange now has more space to flex its muscles. It is spacious and I did not observe any congestion, even with complicated rock tracks. I can clearly listen to each instrument and the vocals present in the track. The positioning, staging, and layering have been done accurately too. It is effortless for me to identify the position of each element.
The ATH-M50xBT2’s treble exhibits the ATH-M50x’s greatness – it is well-extended and comfortable to listen to. The ATH-M50x are one of the headphones that I find most easy to listen to, even though the treble presence is significant.
When a lot of headphones are tuned the treble to be more forward, the treble becomes too piercing. These headphones hit the sweet spot between being too recessed and too sharp. This is a reason why the ATH-M50x are still so well-received after so many years.
The ATH-M50xBT2’s treble performance is airy. Cymbal crashes are never too “stiff” – it is like a breeze hitting your eardrum. “Stiff” treble can be understood as a needle piercing your eardrum. The roll-off or decay of the treble has been well-handled too. There is no unwanted sparkling or noise from the very high-frequency region. This well-handled decay keeps the overall performance clean and neat.
Where to Buy
The ATH-M50xBT2 have a lot of great features such as long battery life, LDAC Hi-Res wireless codec support, and multipoint pairing. Besides that, sonic performance improvements have made the ATH-M50xBT2 even better headphones than previous versions. Coming from ATH-M50x, I greatly appreciate all the efforts made by Audio Technica in improving this legendary model.
Now, I can have studio-grade headphones with me anywhere and anytime, without the restrictions of wired DAPs and amplifiers. Everywhere in the world can be a studio for me!