Before reading my review, know that I'm not a professional by any means. I mostly listen to music, podcasts, I watch videos and movies on my MacBook Pro laptop. I'm an average, basic consumer. I know very little about the specs and the technicalities of headphones. I mainly judge a pair headphones by trying them on. If I like how they sound, how they look, how they feel, and if they fit my current needs, I buy them. Also, I wear spectacles (eye glasses) all day everyday, which I think is an important, yet often omitted, detail when reviewing headphones.
Since 2019, I was using a pair of wireless Bluetooth earbuds only. Last week, one of the earbud stopped working completely. So, because I spend a lot of my time sitting down streaming and listening to media online, I figured it was time to look for a higher quality pair of headphones in the €150 range. I don't need the wireless feature anymore, because I don't commute to work anymore. I work from home which means I can be "wired in" most of the day, and that means I can enjoy higher sound quality that Bluetooth/wireless headphones can't offer.
In the past week or so, I've tried the Sony MDR-7506, the Sennheiser HD-25, the BeyerDynamic DT-770 and DT-880, and finally the Audio-Technica ATH-M50x. By far, the Audio-Technica ATH-M50x were my favorite headphones as soon as I hit the play button. I now know what people mean when they say "good neutral sound".
I've been using an EQ application on macOS called Boom 3D, and it sounds absolutely amazing with the right presets on the ATH-M50x. I can't believe all the details I was missing from my favorite songs before. I've already spent hours just laying down on my couch listening over and over again to my favourite songs.
# Positives of the ATH-M50x for me:
- Very good neutral sound out of the box.They have a tiny touch more of bass compared to the other headphones that I've tried.
- They cancel the outside noise just well enough for me. They're not ground breaking amazing at that, but I personally like to be able to still hear my surroundings while wearing headphones. As an example, I can't hear my neighbour's baby crying and yelling when wearing them, which is nice enough for me.
- Build quality is very good. They feel heavy, but not too heavy. Although they're mostly made of plastic, they look and feel very well built. They definitely look professional, if that makes any sense.
- The accessories that are provided are useful; A big black leather-like pouch with soft material inside of it for transport, 3 high-quality different sized cables, including a coiled one, and an adapter for bigger headphone jacks.
- The ability to unplug/disconnect the cable from the headphones directly is really nice to have and it has a very good secure/locking mechanism that prevents the cable to be unplugged easily.
- The headphones fold nicely, which allows them to be transportable. They don't take a lot of space in a backpack. The cups can also independently flip and rotate 180°, which I personally like a lot.
- I wear glasses 24/7 and this is the first pair of headphones I don't have an issue wearing my glasses with. No loss of sound quality, no issue with comfort.
- The adjustment sliders on the headband (for the size) are resistant and do not slide easily. You have to use a bit of force to expand them and they stay "locked-in" well.
- They look good! They are matte black with a silver ring detail on the sides.
- Price is really good for what you get.
# Negatives of the ATH-M50x for me:
- For me, comfort is only good for 3 hours, 4 hours max. After that, the headband that rests on the top of my head starts hurting my scalp. The weirdest design decision ever for me is that they've decided to put foam on the TOP of the headband where nothing rests on it, but no foam on the BOTTOM of it where it rests on the head... Like, why?? As a result, the hard plastic rests directly onto the head when you wear them. There's no cushion at all between the headband and the actual user's head. Why would they not put even a small amount of foam for comfort? Why put foam on the top where it's not needed at all??
- The cable that connects to the headphones is located on the left side, but the headphone jack on all of my computers (laptop and desktop) are located on the right side. So, the cable crosses my desk and gets in my way often. I have to use the longer cable provided to make it go behind my monitor(s), so then it comes from the left side of my desk. I wish they had designed it so we could plug the cable in the headphones either from the right side, or from the left side. Small inconvenience, but still one that exists for me.
I chose to buy from Thomann because the price was a lot cheaper, 40€ less expensive than other retailers.
Also, the shipping was really quick and the customer service experience was awesome. I ordered on 29 December, late at night. The package was shipped a few hours later on the early morning of 30 December. UPS tracking services said it was to be delivered on 3 January, which I expected because of the New Year's Eve week-end. Instead, it was delivered on 31 December in the morning! So, the package was shipped and delivered in less than 36 hours. Really appreciate it. And the returns process for the other headphones were super easy and efficient, too.