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Review of Audio-Technica ATH-M50x headphones w/removable cable w/lots of pics!!!

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By vectron, XDA Ad-Free Senior Member on 9th June 2014, 02:30 AM
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This is a review of Audio-Technica ATH-M50x over-ear headphones.

Before receiving M50x, I thought my review of this new updated version of a legendary M50 model going to be just a basic short comparison since the main advertised change was a removable cable with everything else remaining the same. Once I received it and had a chance to spend some time with it, I feel this pair of headphones deserves a full review - all over again! I really do feel Audio-Technica guys were a bit too modest downplaying the changes since beside the cable I can also hear sound improvement. Let's take a closer look at what I found.

I always start with a packaging because I find presentation of the product very important and always imagine if it would capture my attention if I see it on the shelf in the store. With M50x model the packaging was completely redesigned where instead of open view display now it's a sealed slick box with a main focus on the high quality image with a detachable cable. I can only imagine how much feedback AT received to push them over the edge to update their best selling model with this small, yet very significant change while leaving the rest of the design details the same. Typically a cable attachment is a weakest point in a design due to stress at the joint to earcup. Adding detachable cable extends the longevity of the headphone and adds flexibility for different replacement cables.

Audio-Technica included 3 different cables to make everybody happy. You get a straight 1.2m cable, a straight 3m cable, and a coiled cable which extends from 1.2m to 3m. Since the later two are intended for a more professional use, their 3.5mm connector side which goes to the audio source has a threaded connector for 1/4" adapter, included with accessories. On the other side attached to a left earcup, you have 2.5mm connector with a groove for interlocking twist connector. It is proprietary, but I'm sure it won't be too long before we going to see an aftermarket cable, perhaps even with in-line remote/mic. I have found myself using M50 while watching movies on my smartphone quite often in the last 6 months since I got it, so being able to pickup a call might be a good option as well.

In addition to 3 removable cables and 1/4" adapter, a storage drawstring pouch was also included which is a perfect size when M50x folded inward for the most compact storage. For those who would like a better case to protect your M50/M50x headphones, I would highly recommend Slappa Hardbody Pro Headphone case ( which is even more convenient to use now since you don't have to bend a cable and can just disconnect it for a long term storage or when traveling. Alternatively, you can place M50/M50x folded inside with a room for your DAP or DAC/amp.

Regarding the overall design, it remained the same - if it ain't broke, don't fix it! The headphones are build like a tank, though most of the material is quality plastic. Thanks to a double-joint connection mechanism between headband and y-fork two-point connection to earcups, these can swivel and rotate 180 degrees to accommodate any head shape, to wear in DJ-style, to keep them around your neck with earcups flat, or to place them flat on any surface. The headband adjustment still has a precious click. Also, it's still has a very compact inward fold which significantly reduces a footprint for storage. The headband has a soft inner padding for comfortable extended period of time wear, and a decent clamping force which doesn't put too much pressure while still providing good passive noise isolation. Now, here comes something new. The earpads have been redesigned and now have a much softer pleather with a thicker padding feel. Another change I noticed was "ATH-M50x" label being stamped on y-fork of each side instead of being printed outside of earcups shell like with M50.

At this point, I would have concluded my review saying M50x has the same neodymium 45mm dynamic drivers, with the same frequency response and impedance and max input power rating. All of this looks the same on the paper, but once you start listening and doing A/B comparison between M50 and M50x you will quickly hear that a tuning is slightly different and improved! It's still a well balanced warm sound with a great bass response which extends down to fast mid-bass punch and low sub-bass layer - great in both quality and quantity. It still has a nice upper mids details and clarity, and crisp treble without being too bright and harsh, and without a hint of sibilance. But when compared very close to M50, the sound is less veiled and the bass is more detailed. Keep in mind, this is just a relative comparison since M50 is great to begin with, but M50x sounds brighter and more clear to my ears which I found to be a nice bonus in addition to removable cable and new earpads. Both still have a wider than average soundstage, and in general great for non-fatigue extended listening.

Overall, I was very impressed with this update and completely justify price difference between M50 and M50x models considering improved design with a set of 3 removable cables, a more comfortable earpads, and an improved sound signature tuning. Sometimes it's a risk to take a winning formula and try to change it or to update it, but in case of ATH-M50x this change was a definite success!

Here are the pictures.

With Slappa case.

24th December 2014, 03:03 AM |#2  
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Review of Lunashops replacement cable for ATH-M50x
This is a review of Lunashops replacement 7N OCC silver-plated cable for Audio-Technica ATH-M50x headphones.

When it comes to full size headphones, there isn't too much you can do to fine tune the sound unless you find replacement pads (not always available) or go for a higher quality replacement cable. Typically OEM chord uses a standard copper or OFC wires. To improve sound quality, you have to look beyond copper wired cables where silver-plated wires is a great alternative. Those cables don't magically improve the sound, but rather a higher purity of silver-plated wire in comparison to a regular copper will improve conductivity and reduce degradation of the signal. The level of such improvement will vary depending on purity of the wire and quality of the connectors, but sometimes you don't need to spend hundreds of dollars for super-duper wires to get a benefit of noticeable sound improvement.

I have tested a lot of lunashops replacement silver-plated cables, and always find the same consistent improvement in performance which brightens the sound, makes it more detailed in upper mids/treble and a bit tighter at low end, and slightly widens a perception of staging as a result of brighter sound. With M50x this replacement cable introduced the same level of sound improvement. But you might ask, what makes this cable special? We are talking about 7N (99.99999% purity) OCC silver-plated quality cable that will actually improve a sound of M50x, not some cheap ebay cable with a color jacket to use as an accessory for your headphones. It is thin and flexible, and has a great build quality

Overall, for under $40 you get a durable replacement cable with a very high quality and purity silver-plate wiring to be used with ATH-M50x twist-on connector. The obvious benefit is a sound improvement, though it will come at a cost of some microphonics when cable is rubbing against your cloth, but a benefit of sound improvement outweighs it.

Here are the pictures.

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30th August 2016, 12:20 PM |#3  
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And one year later they look pretty much ****ty. It's a pity that such good headphones are so badly built.
31st August 2016, 01:20 AM |#4  
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Originally Posted by lion_sta

And one year later they look pretty much ****ty. It's a pity that such good headphones are so badly built.

What do you mean? Pictures please! If it's earpads, you can get replacements If it's a cable - replace it. Even so I only use ATH-MSR7 now, M50x been holding up pretty good! These are build for studio use to toss them around.
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