Headphones are an integral part of the recording studio. When we talk about the 7 basic gears required for a home studio, headphones are of them. We can’t neglect headphones as they help us in several ways to achieve a good mix.
But, just as we can’t use normal speakers in pro audio recording (studio monitors are recommended), not all headphones are suitable for studios. There are special studio headphones what we need for pro recording.
In this article, I’m going to review this wireless studio headphone – Audio Technica ATH-M50xRT.
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But at the very first you must ask yourself, why you need a headphone for your studio? Do you need a mixing headphone or just a monitoring headphone or want an allrounder which fits all your needs?
And top of that, why you should buy Audio Technica ATH-M50xRT? Is it a good headphone for mixing? Or just for monitoring or is it capable of doing both the works? What are the extra features which make it a must buy gear?
Well, the next sections will help you to find out the answer to all the above questions.
So keep reading…
Why a Studio Headphone is Needed
Okay, let me answer the 1st question. Why a studio headphone is needed?
There are 2 main works done by studio headphones.
Vocalist, instrument player, and of course you as a recording engineer, all need to monitor the sound during the session. Generally, we use studio monitors to monitor the audio in the control room. But, what about monitoring in a vocal or instrument room where mics are used to record sound?
Obviously, we use headphones to monitor the sound in a vocal room. If you use any kind of speakers in vocal rooms the sound of that speaker also be recorded in session. In this situation, you need to use headphones.
If we go in deep, there will be a big debate between headphone mixing and studio monitor mixing. But, today we don’t discuss that debate. Here we will just discuss the basic work of a headphone in mixing. Here are some points that you should know about headphone mixing.
- With headphones, you can track stereo panning better than studio monitors. As a result, you will have more command on stereo imaging.
- With headphones, you are free of acoustic worries. As outer environment does not impact on headphone’s sound, you can mix your sessions in any environment including outside.
- They are cheaper than studio monitors. (However, exceptions are always there. There are specially designed neutral headphones which cost you more than a professional quality studio monitor)
- For more comparison between Studio monitors and Headphones, you can refer to Mixing With Headphones Or Monitors [Pros And Cons]
Enough Description of Headphones.
Now, let us review Audio Technica ATH-M50xBT
Introduction: Audio Technica ATH-M50xBT
Audio Technica ATH-M0xBT is a wireless studio headphone which crosses the boundaries of a wired headphone. Now there is no need of wired headphone when your vocalist will monitor in the vocal room.
This headphone can help you to go wireless while retaining the exceptional clarity and deep, accurate bass response.
Its available only in black colour and a near-replica of any wired Audio Technica headphone. However, there are some changes like wireless connectivity buttons etc have made to this headphone which separates it from other wired counterparts.
The hard plastic material makes its body strong so that if you accidentally drop it into the floor that will save it. Leather and metalwork make up the entire frame of ATH-50xBT very beautiful.
The swivel to the side and inward feature make it comfortable while you are not listening. You can easily hold it around your neck.
Features of Audio Technica ATH-M50xBT
There are many features of this Wireless Headphone which force you to own it. Here are a few of them.
- Wireless Feature – The very first feature which I want to introduce here is the wireless connectivity feature. With its on-the-go wireless features, you can use it anywhere whether you are performing live in a concert or in a studio room as a vocalist. Its wireless feature gives you that freedom to use it in any condition.
- Sound Quality – There are misconceptions that Bluetooth listening devices do not deliver a high-quality listening experience. Somewhere it true. But not for Audio Technica ATH-M50xBT as it is equipped with the latest Bluetooth version – 5.0 which is capable of data transfer up to 2.0 MBPS. So there is no loss in quality.
- Drivers – Audio Technica ATH-M50xBT is equipped with 45 mm big size drivers which are able to deliver the high volume and better sound. Audio Technica claims that Its large-aperture drivers are capable of delivering coveted sonic signature of Legendary Audio Technica M50x.
- Touch control – Its touch control provides you with convenient access to voice assist.
- Mobile ready design – Audio Technica ATH-M50xBT is a mobile-ready headphone so it has dedicated mic and buttons for easy handling of calls, volume adjustment and music playback.
- Frequency range – This headphone is capable to deliver the sound up to 15 – 28,000 Hz frequency range.
- Battery life – The one important thing is to consider with any wireless headphone is battery life. Audio Technica ATH-M50xBT has a running time up to 40 hours. That means you can use it continuously up to 40 hours which is great. The charging time is 7 hours, that is I think annoying when you are travelling outside.
- Codec compatibility – It is compatible with aptX and AAC codecs.
Well, these are a few features which are I thing amazing if you are searching for a wireless headphone. Now let us take a look at how it performs outside and what are the applications you can take advantage of it in them.
Audio Technica ATH-M50xBT: On The Go
As it is a wireless headphone, it would be a primary choice when you want a headphone for outside applications.
Whether you are listening to music on your iPhone, monitoring live sessions with your iPad or using it in your studio for vocal room monitoring, Audio Technica ATH-M50xBT fits with all sort of applications.
The added noise isolation feature makes it perfect for outside use. The closed-back design is very effective in outside noise isolation. These closed-back earcups can block out most ambient noise coming from outside.
When you want some quiet time while travelling in a crowded place such as train bus and other public places, this headphone can help you with that. Just wear it and play your favourite music.
It does not only help in general applications but also effectively used in vocal chambers. The closed-back design makes it far quite than other open back headphones so its an ideal for vocal applications.
You can record your condenser mic without gating the noise coming from the headphone.
The voice assistance is not as powerful as other headsets as enabling this feature is quite frustrating. The touch interface doesn’t recognise the command several times and makes it frustrating to enable this feature.
However, in recording, we don’t need this feature so it’s neglectable.
DJ Vs Studio Applications
Well, Audio Technica ATH-M50xBT is built for any application, you can use it in both DJ and studio applications. In fact, in a DJ environment, it performs better than wire headphones.
You feel more freedom wearing Audio Technica ATH-M50xBT rather than wearing ay wired headphone.
The comfortable leather and foam cups make you feel better while you are working for a long time.
Note: A closed-back headphone is not recommended for a long working time as it can damage your hearing permanently. So take small breaks during every 20-minute session. Otherwise, use open or semi-open headphones.
Refer to this article.
In studio applications, you can use it with vocal monitoring in the vocal cabin by vocalist, instrument monitoring, as well as for monitoring in the control room when recording an acoustic device in the control room. Its a great multi-purpose headphone for home studios.
Is Audio Technica ATH-M50xBT Built for Pro Mixing?
In one word, no.
There are some reasons behind.
Bluetooth – However, it is equipped with 5th generation Bluetooth connectivity which can be able to deliver up to 2MBPS data transfer rate there is some signal loss during the transmission for various reasons including the environment. So it’s not an ideal headphone for Pro mixing.
If you use the given stereo connectors then you get better sound then wireless, but even with connectors, it’s not ideal for Pro mixing.
Here is why?
Closed-Back feature – The closed back feature makes it noise isolated headphone. But on the other hand, these closed backs don’t work well in Pro audio mixing. Check out this article if you want to know why closed backs are not ideal for pro audio mixing.
Frequency response – Frequency response is the most important thing when choosing a pro audio gear especially a studio monitor or studio headphone. The frequency response of the device must be flat or nearly flat to get the original un-treated audio signal.
Unfortunately, however, the company claims that Audio Technica ATH-M50xBT delivers flat frequency response, it’s not true.
There are many reasons why it can’t deliver a flat frequency response. Some of them are wireless connectivity, closed-back earcups which reflect the inner audio signals, driver quality etc.
However, if you are searching for a multipurpose headphone, it is a great product for you.
Pro and Cons of Audio Technica ATH-M50xBT Studio Headphone
I know you are eager to know the good and bads of this headphone before pressing the buy button on your shopping cart. Let us look at pros and cons of this wireless studio headphone.
Well, in this article you will get some goods and some bads of Audio Technica ATH-M50xBT. Now its time to wrap up this article with my opinion.
However, it’s upon you if you wanna own this headphone or not. In my opinion, if you want a multipurpose headphone which you could also use in your home studio, then this headphone is a perfect fit.
But if you are finding a dedicated studio headphone, especially for mixing purpose then I don’t recommend this to you.
If you already have this Audio Technica ATH-M50xBT then comment below about your experience with this headphone, so that others could benefit from your precious comment and take the right decision.
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Take a time to read this useful Headphone buying guide
Gautam Roy is a recording engineer and a blogger from India. He loves music, writing and travelling. He is also an active investor and a successful entrepreneur.