Finding the ideal compromise between quality and price is the goal of many a cost-conscious gamer. The Audio-Technica ATH-M50 is a bit atypical for gaming models – primarily because it’s not technically a “gaming” headset, though the term is used loosely.
Technically speaking, it is strictly a stereo model, and doesn’t support surround-sound. However, disqualifying it by this classification alone would be a dire mistake, for any audiophile knows that a solid stereo headset can outperform many gaming varieties. More details..
The M-50’s feature a single 3.5mm coiled cable that attaches to the left earcup. Included in the box are the headphones, leatherette pouch, and screw-on 1/4″ TRS converter (for connecting to mixers and other studio equipment). As far as aesthetics go, the headset sports a black ensemble with metal accents around the earcups, and the “Audio-Technica” logo printed in white across the top of the headband.
- Highly accurate sound reproduction
- Collapsible design
- Good build quality
- Excellent price
These are sold as “studio monitor” headphones, which means they’re tuned to detect small subtleties in sound that many bass-heavy gaming models tend to drown out. This also makes the ATH-M50 extremely versatile; movies, games, and music all sounded superb, and needed no customization to achieve this.
The headphones sport 45mm large-aperture drivers and feature a closed-acoustic design, which helps with noise isolation (sound inside the headset being heard outside). The bass is punchy but never imposing, and midrange tones – like vocals and instrumentals – are warm and highly detailed. The treble is also very precise, and never sounded harsh even at high volumes.
It’s worth noting they do not have an integrated microphone, but pair nicely with any decent dedicated mic like the Zalman Zm-Mic1.
Audio-Technica ATH-M50 | The Verdict
All of this works together to create an incredibly balanced soundstage, making this ideal not only for all-around audiophiles, but gamers as well. Never during a match did we feel disadvantaged by the lack of surround-sound. Positional audio in FPS (first-person shooters) still felt as real as ever, and we even noticed enhanced ambient sounds that other gaming brands missed.
At the end of the day, this is the best bang for your buck you’ll likely find. These headphones epitomize the ideal budget buy; they’re affordable, they offer well-balanced sound, and they rival gaming models that cost twice as much. At its current price-point, the ATH-M50 simply cannot be beaten.