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Audio-Technica ATH-M50x BB By Kenny Yeo

Portrait of Tammy Strobel

Audio-Technica ATH-M50x BB By Kenny Yeo

The ATH-M50x is a legend amongst headphones. If you look up recommendations for inexpensive closed-back over-the-ear headphones, the ATH-M50x is guaranteed to turn up. Now, there’s a new limited edition called the ATH-M50x BB, where BB stands for blue-black.

In terms of design and construction, it is the same as the vanilla ATH-M50x. The frame is mostly plastic, but feels sufficiently solid and robust. Synthetic leather is used for the headband and earpads, which is common for headphones in this price range.

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The ATH-M50x BB folds away for easy transport.

However, they are known to crack and peel after prolonged use in our humid climate so you might want to consider investing in aftermarket earpads. The ATH-M50x BB is nicely packaged. It comes with a carrying pouch and not one, but three cables. There’s a single 3-meter straight cable for desk side listening, a 1.2-meter cable for portable use, and a handy 1.2-meter coiled cable. The coiled cable is my favorite as it stretches and gives me more freedom of movement around my desk. The cables all terminate in a 3.5mm jack, but Audio-Technica also provides a 6.35mm screw-on adapter.

In terms of sound, the ATH-M50x BB has a fairly even and balanced tonality. There is nothing that sticks out or sounds too wonky. Bass response is fairly warm but it is clean and tight. The midrange is recessed and the treble is a little hot. This manifests itself as vocals sounding a bit thin. Female vocalists who sing in higher registers suffer the most as they sound far too breathy.

The slightly elevated treble creates a sense of greater clarity and detail, but it also causes drums, cymbals, and synthesizers to sound too harsh, at least to my ears. Those who are sensitive to treble ought to audition carefully.

In spite of these niggles, the ATH-M50x BB remains a fairly good sounding headphone especially when you consider how hard it is to get closed-back headphones to sound right - the enclosed earcups of closed-back headphones create a lot of unwanted resonances.

All in, if you are shopping for a closed-back headphone that won’t leave a gaping hole in your pocket, the ATH-M50x has always been a good place to start, and this BB variant adds a little more flavor to the mix.


Sounds fairly good and won’t leave a huge hole in your pocket.


DRIVER 45mm dynamic driver




PRICE $248

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