Upon my review desk today was the newest from Audio Technica, the Audio Technica ATH-SR50BT. Especially with the release of the M50xBT, I wondered how this one would differentiate itself in their lineup. At $199, is this headphone worth the cash? Today let’s take a closer look with this Audio Technica ATH-SR50BT Review!
In the Box
-Audio Technica ATH-SR50BT
-drawstring carrying pouch
-micro USB charging cable
-audio cable (3.5mm connectors)
-type: closed back, over-ear, dynamic
-driver diameter: 45 mm
-frequency response: 5 Hz-40 kHz
-sensitivity: 98 dB/mW (when noise reduction in use), 95 dB/mW (when noise reduction is not in use)
-impedance: 150 ohms (when noise reduction in use), 30 ohms (when noise reduction not in use)
-battery life: 25 hours (when using bluetooth and noise reduction), 30 hours (when using just bluetooth), 45 hours (when using just noise reduction)
-charging time: 5 hours
-wireless codecs: aptX, AAC, SBC
The headband of the Audio Technica ATH-SR50BT is flexible and durable. It is made of thick, sturdy plastic and has metal extenders. The headband is foldable, making these a great option for those looking for a super portable set of cans. Additionally, along the top, the headband has a layer of nice padding. This foam is coated in a soft leatherette material. As a result, in combination with its easy going yet secure clamping force, the headphones are quite comfortable.
The earcups of the Audio Technica ATH-SR50BT have an oval shape and are made of plastic. They have a classy matte black finish. Their size is manageable, yet big enough to fit totally over the ear. The earcups have touch controls for adjusting playback volume, play/pause, and skipping/previous track. Additionally, the earcups have a multi-function button that flips between the noise reduction and listen-through modes. This button also puts the headphones in Bluetooth pairing mode.
The earpads of the Audio Technica ATH-SR50BT are soft memory foam. They’re coated in the same soft of soft leatherette material as the headband. Additionally, they’ll work well for folks with larger ears because the hole is tall and wide.
The Audio Technica ATH-SR50BT connected to my phone and music players quickly and easily. Its connection was secure, with no drop outs. Its connection worked best with a line of sight and within 30 feet or so.
The noise cancellation of the Audio Technica ATH-SR50BT is light, yet effective. It does the best blocking out low frequency rumbles. As a result, they’d do a great job of blocking out the noise of vehicle or plane engines.
In addition to noise cancellation, it also has a listen-through feature. This feature amplifies the world around you at the touch of a button.
The low frequencies of the Audio Technica ATH-SR50BT have a bit of emphasis in the lows right around the fundamental of many kick drums. As a result, kicks tend to sit slightly higher in the mix than normal. Additionally, the lows come through with a feeling of sturdiness.
For example, when I was listening with the Audio Technica AHT-SR50BT to the song Didn’t Cha Know by Erykah Badu, the kick contributed to the groove in a bigger way than normal because its level was a bit boosted. This bigness isn’t to say that the low end is cloudy. In fact, the headphones actually did a good job of providing weight without clouding up the low-mids.
The midrange of the Audio Technica ATH-SR50BT has a full sound. There’s a little bit of a boost in the low mids and the middle part of the midrange. Additionally, there’s a slight cut around the high-mids that is balanced with another boost at the top range of the high-mids.
For example, when I was listening with the Audio Technica ATH-SR50BT to the song Crash by Against Me, the bass guitar felt slightly louder in the mix, particularly when it played higher notes. Additionally, the vocal was slightly quieter in the mix, but maintained a sense of articulation and clarity.
The high frequencies of the Audio Technica ATH-SR50BT have a bit of a cut in the upper treble, with a boost in the lower treble and upper octave. As a result, textures are a little bit quieter in the mix than normal. However, the highs maintain a sense of clarity, attack, and directionality.
For example, when I was listening with the Audio Technica ATH-SR50BT to the song Slow Burn by Kacey Musgraves, the attack of the acoustic guitar and high hat felt clear and accented. Meanwhile, both felt slightly different than normal tonally because of the upper treble dip. Additionally, Kacey’s vocal had a pretty sense of air. The slightly occasional rasp of her voice didn’t come through as loud in the mix as usual, but her voice still sounded very clear and on top.
The soundstage of the Audio Technica ATH-SR50BT is quite good considering it is both noise cancelling and wireless. It has a nice, balanced sense of width. Additionally, the fullness of the midrange lets room mics and reverbs through clearly, creating a better sense of depth than it would have otherwise. Lastly, the sense of height also has a nice sense of contrast, contributing to the nice separation of these headphones.
For example, when I was listening with the Audio Technica ATH-SR50BT to the song Matter of Time by Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings, the wide panning of the drums, bass, guitar, organ, and horns came through clearly. While I wouldn’t necessarily describe it as accurate, it was spacious and created a good sense of contrast with the middle focused intimacy of Sharon’s voice. Additionally, I could clearly hear the room sounds and reverbs, particularly of the drums and guitars. This set the guitar and drums further back in space with a sense of nuance to it. Lastly, the sense of height had a nice contrast, especially noticeable between the bass guitar which sat low in space and the snare and high hat pattern which sat higher up.
Overall, the Audio Technica ATH-SR50BT is a great option for those that want a noise cancelling, wireless headphone that has a solid, versatile sound signature. Additionally, it will be great for those with larger ears and for those that want a headphone that is made with portability in mind.