Up until the Xbox 360, I always played video games with the game sound playing through the TV or computer speakers. About the time the Xbox 360 released I also built my first custom PC that was built specifically for gaming and shortly after came my decision to purchase my first pair of “gaming” headphones.
I remember unboxing my 5.1 surround sound Turtle Beach headphones, white with black accents, placing them on my head and thinking I had arrived. I wasn’t sure where, but I knew I had. They worked for both the Xbox 360 and my newly built gaming PC and I was in love!
Fast forward a couple years as well as two additional Turtle Beach headsets and I quickly realized that most “gaming” headphones were kinda gimicky and I wanted something more. With age comes wisdom.
The problem was though, that not only was I looking for a pair of headphones that worked great for gaming, but also wanted something great for editing videos with great sound balance yet could also be used casually when listening to music or watching videos. Oh…and it had to include wireless connectivity to connect to my phone via Bluetooth!
Oh yeah… I also wanted something that fit all that criteria while also staying under my budget of $200 USD.
Did I find them?
Let’s find out in my review of the Audio-Technica ATH-M50xBT. The BT stands for bluetooth…obviously. Model names…am I right?!?
ROLL THE INTRO!
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Alright, with the formalities out of the way, let’s dive in!
The Audio-Technica ATH-M50’s have actually been around for quite some time and they’ve been a popular pair of headphones since the mid 2000’s when they first came out. Yeah you heard that right. They’ve been selling this model for like 15 years…
This upgrade is basically the exact same pair of headphones but with bluetooth allowing them to connect wirelessly to your phone, tablet or even your PC if it offers bluetooth or you feel like buying a bluetooth adapter.
There is a reason the only upgrade to the headphones in the last 15 years is Audio-Technica adding bluetooth capabilities and that’s because because they are already great fucking headphones!
No seriously, these things sound amazing and I can tell you right off the bat that yes, these are the best headphones I’ve personally ever used, they tick every box I mentioned in the intro to this video including being great for gaming which is where I was least certain they would perform well.
The sound profile on these things are amazing. I had heard complaints from others that they weren’t bass heavy enough or the highs weren’t as “sparkly” as others, but coming from someone that always considered themselves a bass head and liked a lot of bass in my music I think they hit just the right amount. Normally bass heavy headphones or speakers in general can be so bass heavy that you lose the details. Not with these. Maybe there are headphones that have more “sparkly” highs but these things are so clear and the amount of detail out of them is unbelievable.
While technically they may not be the best when it comes to bass or highs, the mid range more than makes up for those shortcomings and I don’t think it’s an issue at all for 99% of people. Do the Sennheiser HD 600 series have better highs? Probably, but you’re talking almost double the price. In this price range, I honestly do no think you’d find a better more balanced pair of headphones that sound absolutely magical.
Now obviously, I’m hyping these headphones up quite a bit right now and honestly I’d be lying if I didn’t admit that I think these headphones are amazing, especially for the price. That doesn’t mean that there aren’t some cons to them, however, for me personally, the pros have definitely outweighed the cons.
For example, these things are built well and built from high quality material that feels like they will last for years to come without falling apart like other headphones I’ve owned.
Also, the battery life… These headphones have a whopping 40 hours playtime on a single charge. They are using the latest in Bluetooth technology, Bluetooth 5.0, which introduced much lower power consumption while also decreasing the lag Bluetooth traditionally offered. You know what I’m talking about…right?
With music, it’s never been a huge issue, but if you’ve ever tried to watch a video over Bluetooth you’d quickly notice that the sound didn’t match up with the video or with people’s mouths as they spoke which just completely takes you out of the immersiveness of the content you’re trying to enjoy!
The headset also features touch controls allowing you to adjust volume, skip songs as well as pause and play. These are tactile buttons and not touch controls like you’re starting to see on a lot of more modern headphones and I’ve heard several people complain about not liking the position of them, however, personally I’ve not had any issues with them whatsoever. In fact, I actually like the placement of them as I typically grab the entire side of my headphones when pressing a button.
They do have a touch control on the left ear cup that you can press to bring up whatever personal assistant you use, SIRI, Google Assistant, Alexa, Cortana, etc. You simply hold your finger over the Audio-Technica logo for a second or two to launch it on your device.
Another thing I’ve heard people mention not liking about the headphones was the built in mic when using it in bluetooth mode, however, once again, it’s not something I’ve had any issues with. In fact, when testing it thoroughly with my wife, I went outside with traffic around, walked up to things like air conditioner units, etc and unless I was standing right next to something, my wife couldn’t hear anything other than me coming through on her phone.
In fact, when I first called her to test out the feature for the first time, the first thing she said was, “Wow! You’re voice sounds amazing!”
I’m not sure if they’ve updated the mic or it’s ability to suppress background noise over time as even this particular model of the Audio-Technica M50’s has been out for about 2 years now. Whatever the case, in all my testing with my wife and calling other people, there have been zero complaints.
The one downside to the Bluetooth mic is if you’re using an aux cable to connect them to your device which is how I use them when I’m gaming. When using them with an aux cable the Bluetooth mic doesn’t work and you have to use a cable with an in-line mic built in which the headphones do come with, however, the cable is quite short and I immediately replaced it with a longer cable. This isn’t actually an issue for me since I personally use a separate professional XLR mic with my computer when gaming and livestreaming anyways.
Speaking of using an AUX cable, another great thing I noticed is that whether I’m using an AUX cable or the Bluetooth connection I notice no difference in the sound quality from these things which is not something you can say about a lot of other headphones that offer Bluetooth. Now, admittedly, I’m not an audiophile expert so maybe there is a slight difference, but it’s definitely not something 99% of users will notice.
Now, as I said, even though I don’t think the cons outweigh the pros to these headphones and think they are definitely worthy of their cost, there are a couple things I’d love to see them change in future iterations.
These headphones do not have active noise cancellation. While this isn’t an issue for me and in most cases I actually don’t like active noise cancellation it would still be nice to have it as an option to turn on or off. For the most part, I wouldn’t use it, but there is just one case where I know I absolutely would. Traveling via plane. I travel via plane quite often for work and if you ever have, you know planes can be loud as fuck!
Other than that, I’d personally never use it as I actually like to hear my surroundings a bit and also active noise cancellation drastically decreases battery life.
Another thing I’d love to see them add is multiple Bluetooth connections support. Currently you can only have these headphones paired to one device at a time which means switching between different devices isn’t the best. Especially because it doesn’t have a pairing button.
Instead, you have to manually disconnect the headphones from the device you are currently using before you can pair them to another device. There is another option which is to hold down both volume buttons as well as the control button, the pause/play button, for 8 seconds which will then cause the headphones to go in to pairing mode, however, it would be much simpler if they just added a pairing button or better yet, multiple device support.
Lastly, and this is probably more of a personal thing as I’ve heard some people say they have zero issues with this while many others claim they do, the ear pads on these things kinda suck in my opinion. The cushioning in them wasn’t enough and I’d get a headache quite quickly when using them. You can of course change the ear pads which is what I ended up doing. The ones I choose was recommended by a lot of people and are the Brainwavz Hybrid Memory Foam Earpads, however, any time you switch from stock earpads it will change the sound pattern slightly. With the Brainwavz, it was actually quite mild and wasn’t something that bothered me but it’s definitely something you should be aware of!
Over time as you wear the headphones and they “stretch” out a bit, you may be able to go back to the stock pads if you choose, but I’ve been loving the Brainwavz and definitely think it was worth of the extra $20 bucks for them. If you’re interested in those, I’ll leave a link down in the description to them on Amazon.
In closing, for $179.99, I don’t think you’ll find another pair of headphones that sounds as good as these ones do in that price range. Also, in regards to specifically using these for gaming as that was my primary reason for purchasing them they sound great. In fact, they’ve now become my daily use headphones and not just for gaming. I hear sounds in games that I’ve been playing for years that I’ve never noticed before. I notice things like footsteps more easily because they are well balanced and nothing get’s “drowned out” by anything else. In my opinion, if you’re looking for a more professional style headphone for gaming, I think they’re a great buy and like me, they may just become your everything headphones because they’re that good!
If you want to pick them up, I’ll leave a link to them as well as the earpads I purchased for them as I said down in the description below. Using my link helps support the channel but doesn’t cost you anything extra and allows me to keep making videos like this one!
With that said, thanks so much for watching, if you found this video helpful, don’t forget to smash that like button and if you want more videos like this one consider hitting the red subscribe button below as well as ring the bell next to it to be notified when I post new videos!
Also, if you have any additional questions about these headphones that I didn’t answer, I livestream over on Twitch every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday evening. Link for that will be down in the description as well!
And until next time… Peace out everybody!