Audio-Technica is hitting home runs with their latest Bluetooth headphones. But I’m also a fan of Pioneer’s DJ line-up. They’re super punchy and fun to listen to. My colleagues and I have written extensively about both, the HDJ-X5BT and the M50xBT here and here. This review is for those who are familiar with at least one of these models, but remain undecided. At 50 bucks apart, what makes the M50xBT more expensive, and is it worth investing the extra cash to get it? Let’s find out in this Pioneer HDJ-X5BT vs Audio-Technica ATH-M50XBT Review.
Pioneer HDJ-X5BT vs Audio-Technica ATH-M50XBT Review
Both headphones offer a really good seal and the same level of sound isolation. They also weigh about the same. But the M50xBT feels just slighter looser and more comfortable to wear.
Bluetooth Compatibility and Supported Codecs
On major factor that separates the M50xBT from the cheaper X5BT is Bluetooth compatibility. While the X5BT is stuck in the old Bluetooth 4.2 world, the M50xBT offers Bluetooth 5, which significantly upgrades the sound quality. But both headphones support the same codecs: aptX, AAC and SBC. However, the X5BT also supports aptX low latency, which ensures that there’s no lag in the sound when watching video.
There’s no competition here. The M50xBT offers 40 hours of battery life, while the X5BT will only give you 20 hours of listening time. If you do run out of juice, both headphones also come with a cable to use in passive mode.
Both headphones employ the classic DJ design. You can flip and swivel the earcups to your heart’s content. Both cans also have a super solid looking design. So, you can DJ the crap out of them. I will say the headband on the M50xBT is much more flexible, and if I had to guess which cans will last the longest, they would be the Audio-Technica.
Both headphones use a simple 3 button design on the side of the earcup to control the functions: play/pause, skip and volume. But the M50xBT gives you the added feature of being able to activate your voice assistant by pressing on the touchpad of the earcup.
You’ll get more bass impact from the M50xBT. The low end is more forward and also a bit warmer. And listening to acoustic double bass, the M50xBT show more bass extension, giving the instrument some added depth. But in terms of clarity, both headphones showed similar detail and resolve.
If you like an even and forward midrange, you’ll probably prefer the sound profile of the X5BT. Because it covers the entire scope of sound in this range, it offers a more full-bodied feel when listening to rock. The M50xBT has slightly recessed lower-mids, and it brings vocals more forward. But with respect to clarity, you’ll get much a lot more detail and separation from the M50xBT; listening to acoustic guitars, the strums were much cleaner and had more definition.
Hearing violins in this range, I got a lot more transparency from the M50xBT. Again, there’s just no competition. And playing some more pop, the high percussion instruments had much much more sparkle on the M50xBT, making the music feel a lot snappier and crisper. Certainly in this range, the differences in sound quality between these two headphones becomes abundantly clear.
The M50xBT wins again. You’ll get a more spacious feel and much more dimension on these cans than you will on the comparatively compact sounding X5BT. The M50xBT will give you more accurate instrument placement, conveying a richer and more colorful feel overall.
With Bluetooth 5 compatibility, the M50xBT will give you a much cleaner and more detailed sound. You’ll also hear some extra sparkle in the highs, as well as some serious bass to boot. And with the M50xBT providing 20 hours more battery life than the X5BT, the choice becomes a no-brainer.
You can get both headphones for the best price at: