Review Audio Technica is riding on the success of its iconic ATH-M50 headphones. And giving it a third lease of life with the ATH-M50xBT2 to conquer nomadic music lovers. This 2nd Bluetooth version is of course accompanied by many new features.
Audio Technica ATH-M50xBT2 Date Release
Freshly launched for the start of the 2021 school year. The ATH-M50xBT2 carries with it the heritage of the M50 line and is positioned as the standard bearer of the Japanese brand’s audio know-how with the general public on the Bluetooth mobile headset market. It is therefore not surprising that Audio Technica highlights the history of this range to stand out.
Audio Technica ATH-M50xBT2 Focusing on improvement
This “v2” does not bring any real changes on the acoustic level. All the new features focusing on improving the experience of using the headset. Multipoint connection, USB-C port, better call quality, autonomy even more generous. Compatibility with the LDAC codec, smartphone application to extend the possibilities of personalization. And all this without seeing the marketing price increase.
All the ingredients therefore seem to come together to make this ATH-M50xBT2 a very good mobile headset. And that’s what we’re going to try to check during this test.
Manufacturing & accessories
The ATH-M50xBT2 is strictly identical to its predecessors in terms of design. Capitalizing again and again on its “studio/monitoring” heritage, these headphones are therefore functional, at the risk of not being the most elegant and discreet there is.
There’s not much that can be criticized for its overall sturdiness and maneuverability. The headband resists twisting without flinching and the hinges allow both an ultra generous pivot of the ear cups as well on the horizontal axis than vertical. While allowing the latter to fold up towards the arch.
No rigid case, but a soft carrying pouch is provided to accommodate the headset. And its two detachable cables (a small USB-C to USB-A cable and a mini-jack cable of about 1.2 m).
Comfort & support
Without fundamental design changes, the ATH-M50xBT2 provides the same comfort experience as its predecessor.
Weight the helmet
the weight of the helmet (310 g) is very well balanced, as are the pressure points and pinch effects which remain discreet. The generous deployment of the notched headband of the helmet allows it to find its place on the head, large or small, without any problem.
The ear cups do not leave a monster room to accommodate his ears, but it remains sufficient in terms of width and height. The good thickness of the pads allows a pleasant contact, failing to let the ears breathe.
As we mentioned in the presentation of this test, the second version of this ATH-M50xBT is largely justified by numerous ergonomic changes which make the headphones very pleasant to use on a daily basis.
Getting started is childish. Many alerts are integrated to guide the user. Unless you are absolutely Anglophobic the voice aids being only offered in English. Beginners will have no trouble finding their way around. The headset houses a line of 4 mechanical buttons that provide access to all the essential controls, and even a little more.
The circular button is in fact dedicated to waking up the voice assistant of the smartphone. And can even serve as a shortcut to interact with Amazon Alexa. Since the headset displays advanced compatibility with this assistant. As was the case on the previous model, we can still point out the few difficulties in sometimes differentiating certain buttons from each other.
For those who want to go further, Audio Technica has some nice surprises in store thanks to its Audio Technica Connect app (iOS/Android). It gives us the pleasure of offering a whole range of relevant advanced features. And settings while maintaining a simple and intuitive interface. There are the classic indications of battery level, volume, some user guides, the possibility of locating your headphones more easily or of selecting the Bluetooth codec (SBC, AAC or LDAC when the playback device allows it) .
As if the promise of 50 hours of autonomy were not already impressive. The ATH-M50xBT2 was even more generous during our test. The headphones indeed delivered us on multiple occasions more than 55 hours of use, passing moreover by the most energy-consuming Bluetooth codec (LDAC). It goes without saying that this is an excellent score, capable of satisfying the most intensive uses.
The quality of voice capture was not the strong point of the first ATH-M50xBT. Audio Technica has therefore endeavored to improve this point on this second version.
Improving communication latency in Bluetooth was also one of the works carried out by the manufacturer for this ATH-M50xBT. Basically, the headphones are not the brightest, even if joint use with a video playback application allows you to take advantage of sufficient automatic compensation not to feel any lag disabling.
For all other use cases that could not benefit from this compensation. The headset has a “Low Latency” mode which drastically reduces the delay induced by the Bluetooth connection to less than 90 ms. The perceived sound/image shift is then much more acceptable, for playing video games on smartphones or Switches, for example.
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