Decisions decisions. You want to be wire free. But you also value quality sound. Bluetooth headphones have yet to match wired headphones in terms of transparency and detail. So, do you want honesty or liberation? My colleagues and I have already written extensively about both, the wired and wireless versions of the M50x here and here. But for those of you who are already familiar with these models and can’t decide which one to marry, this comparison should help you out. So, let’s find out which Audio-Technica is for you in this Audio-Technica ATH-M50x vs Audio-Technica ATH-M50xBT Review.
Audio-Technica ATH-M50x vs Audio-Technica ATH-M50xBT Review
In terms of fit, the main difference between these two headphones is the level of snugness and and sound isolation. The wired M50x is a looser fit, and therefore, cancels out less outside noise than the than the tighter M50xBT. That being said, the M50xBT is not uncomfortable by any means, and the earpads actually feel a little more cushiony. In fact, I prefer the swaddled baby feel of the wireless M50xBT. The M50xBT is also slightly heavier, but if you have a neck, it should be fine.
In terms of aesthetics, these can are identical. But what about technical specs? Both headphones house 45 mm drivers and share the same frequency range of 15 – 28,000Hz. Although the impedance and sensitivity are the same on both headphones, (at 38 Ohms and 99dB), the wired M50x reaches a higher max volume.
So, if you tend to listen at loud volumes, you’ll want to go with the classic M50x. Like most Bluetooth headphones, the M50xBT does not reach explosive levels. But protect your ears, kids. Have you seen “A Star Is Born”? Tinnitus can lead to suicide.
With respect to the M50xBT, we didn’t notice much difference in sound between the wired and wireless connection (except for soundstage). So, if you’re hoping to get the original M50x sound by connecting the BT to a wire, you’ll probably be disappointed.
Overall Impressions: The tight and detailed M50x vs the smooth and levitating M50xBT.
In this frequency range, the wired M50x is tight and determined, while the M50xBT is the chubbier, less focused brother. You’ll sense a fatter or more diffused bass on the M50xBT, which gives some songs a bit more warmth in the low end. And this worked well for a lot of pop songs, like Bruno Mars’ “That’s What I Like.” But listening to a little Snoop, the wired M50x delivered a lot more impact. And the wired M50x does a much better job at conveying detail and resolve, especially with acoustic bass instruments. To put it simply, the wired M50x clearly shows superior skill in this frequency range.
Both headphones have slightly recessed midranges, which lightens the instrumentation and pushes vocals a bit forward. But listening to string instruments in this range, the wired M50x conveyed more detail. It had more texture and grip. On the the other hand, the M50xBT had a buoyancy and smooth airiness that was really pleasing to the ear.
The high frequencies are quite present on both headphones. But again, you’ll get more detail in in this range on the classic M50x, while the M50xBT presents a smoother, less nuanced sound. And going back to pop, I preferred the crispier percussion hits on the classic M50x. It had more snap. On the flip side, because of the slightly less extended highs on the M50xBT, it was an easier listening experience in the top registers. So, folks with ears that are very sensitive to high frequencies might prefer the more muted sound of the M50xBT.
There’s no competition here. The wired M50x has the more spacious and multidimensional soundstage. BUT, my little colleague made an interesting discovery. Once you connect the wireless M50xBT to the included cable, it starts to more closely resemble the soundstage of the wired M50x.
While the classic M50x might be the more talented headphone, the M50xBT is no slouch. Okay, it is a bit of a slouch, but it’s also a really good time. In terms of sound, you’ll just have to choose between clarity and detail of the M50x and the light smoothness of the M50xBT. And if sound isolation is a priority, you’ll definitely want to go with the M50xBT.
You can find these headphones for the best price at:
Audio 46: Audio-Technica ATH-M50x Headphones
Audio 46: Audio-Technica ATH-M50xBT Headphones