Wires, cables and cords, whatever you may like to call them, are a no-go. Wireless is the way forward, be it for headphones, or earphones, large headphones included. There is always the lingering feeling that audio doesn’t sound as good over a Bluetooth connection, as it does when a physical cable is connected. However, it was only going to take the boffins in test labs to overcome this limitation. The Audio Technica M50xBT comes four years after the Audio Technica M50x, with Bluetooth connectivity. The Japanese company has retained pretty much the same brilliant audio hardware, which means the M50x could actually be a steal at the price tag of Rs 9,499 (headphonezone.in) at present and you can pick the M50xBT for around Rs 18,000 depending on the deal you get.
If we are to keep the Audio Technica M50xBT and the M50x side by side, you’ll be hard-pressed to tell us which is which. That is because the materials, the design language and the chassis have all been retained. The only way you can tell the difference is if you peek a glance at the left earcup, which hosts the power key. Speaking of which, this is actually a slider, and is placed forward on the outside of the earcup, which makes it quite cumbersome to operate. Chances are, you will either slide this to switch on the power before wearing the headphones and slide this to turn off the power after taking the Audio Technica M50xBT off your head. That gripe aside, the design of the M50xBT has a certain personality of seriousness to it. The quality of plastics is good, the earcups and the headband are well padded and yet this headphone doesn’t feel uncomfortable or heavy.
There is no active noise cancellation in the Audio Technica M50xBT, but with the right fit, this can block out a significant amount of ambient noise too. On the left earcup is the touch sensitive area that lets you access Google Assistant or Siri, depending on whether you are using this with an Android device or an iPhone or iPad.
Setting this up takes a couple of seconds if you are pairing this with Bluetooth. We tried this with an iPad, a Microsoft Surface Go and a Huawei P30 Pro, and the experience of setting this up was seamless across platforms. There is the Audio-Technica Connect app (free for Android and iOS) which you can download to further tweak some functionality of the Audio Technica M50xBT. It really doesn't get much simpler than this.
In each earcup are 45mm audio drivers, Neodymium magnets and frequency response with the 15Hz - 28,000Hz range. You can pair this via Bluetooth with the source music device, or use a 3.5mm headphone cable to go via the tried and tested wired route.
Sound preferences usually depend a lot on the music that you usually listen to. My choice would always be a headphone that offers easy listening and a sound signature that is balanced and comfortable. Usually, Bose and Sennheiser headphones tick off most of those boxes. It is therefore great to report that the Audio Technica M50xBT can be safely added to that list as well. You will probably immediately notice how rich and vibrant the sound really is. The mids are very well defined, which is perhaps the biggest reason why this sounds so good. Vocals are never too sharp or too subdued, and bass is never overpowering or subdued. Be it On My Way by Alan Walker, Sabrina Carpenter & Farruko, Hello My Love by Westlife or Untethered Angel by Dream Theater, the Audio Technica M50xBT got it just spot on with a variety of genres.
The soundstage is wide, with very minute details getting reproduced which you may have missed on the same tracks on other headphones. It takes some doing to deliver such a perfect sound balance, and the Audio Technica M50xBT delivers on that with absolute ease. Be it for a lot of trance music tracks, songs which rely on vocals or even a generous dose of the 80’s classic rock, the flexibility of sound is just quite amazing to experience—nowhere does the Audio Technica M50xBT struggle or not match up to the expectations from what is essentially a large headphone.
If you are in the market for powerful headphones, but don’t want to splurge a lot of money at the same time, this really could be your calling. The Audio Technica M50xBT does not exhibit any of the compromises that you may have to contend with if you consider buying its rivals—including getting stuck with a bass-heavy sound or a sound signature that isn’t as vibrant. The Audio Technica M50xBT just gets it spot on, with pretty much everything on the checklist.