Audio-Technica ATH-M30x vs. ATH-M50x: And Our Winner Is…

Between the Audio-Technica ATH-M30x and Audio-Technica ATH-M50x; which headphones are the best?

Here it is ladies and gentlemen. Two highly popular headphones side-by-side facing off. While each pair has its standard ups and downs, they also have their own unique benefits. Depending on what you’re looking for in a pair of headphones will determine which of these might be the best choice for you. After extensive research, personal experience, and reviews; We formulated an in-depth comparison between each one. May the battle commence!  

But first…

What Makes A Pair Of Headphones Good?

  1. Sound Quality: How good the overall audio quality of music, phone calls, or video.
  2. Comfort: The ability to remain comfortable for extended periods of time without itchiness, annoyance, or ear pain.
  3. Build Quality: The overall durability and longevity. Able to withstand harsh conditions for extended periods of time.
  4. Noise Isolation/ Active Noise Cancelling: If any at all, how well the active noise cancelling or noise isolating abilities are.
  5. Battery Life: How long the battery life of the pair of headphones is at a full charge.
  6. Added Features: A few examples of added features headphones offer can be Bluetooth capabilities, built-in AI assistant, headphone controls, built-in microphone for phone calls, flexibility, rotatable ear cups, etc.

We compared and contrasted each of these factors for the Audio-Technica ATH-M30x and Audio-Technica ATH-M50x

Sound Quality

Especially for music listeners, the overall quality of sound is a massive factor in finding your perfect pair of headphones. There are various factors that impact a pair of headphones’ sound quality.

Audio-Technica ATH-M30x
With the copper-clad aluminum wire voice coils, 40-millimeter drivers, and rare earth magnets; It provides outstanding sound quality and clarity for the low-price. Amazingly, these are one of the few headphones in this price range that sound engineers happily use. The frequencies are well-balanced throughout the spectrum with a minuscule dip in the bass. If you prefer bass-heavy headphones, these may not be the best choice. However, I’m a huge fan of the clearly pronounced midrange sound. Overall, the sound quality is very detailed and precise. Especially for an affordable price, you will be pleased. I give it an 8.5 out of 10 for sound quality.

Audio-Technica ATH-M50xBT
Audio-Technica’s 45mm drivers produce exceptional sound quality while wired. Unfortunately, in wireless Bluetooth mode, the Audio-Technica ATH-M50xBT does not sound as good. However, in wireless mode, the quality of sound is still good. Many claim they are unable to tell the difference while audiophiles and musicians say there is a difference in sound. Overall, I give them a 9.4 for sound quality while wired.

Overall, the Audio-Technica ATH-M50xBT produces better sound quality than the Audio-Technica ATH-M30x.


The ability for headphones to remain comfortable for extended periods of time without itchiness, annoyance, pressure, or ear pain. Considering many people use headphones for commute, air travel, or work; Comfort is a vital factor.

Audio-Technica ATH-M30x
Not the best, but the Audio-Technica ATH-M30x is a relatively comfortable pair of headphones. I recommend these headphones for anyone who needs to wear them for 2-3 hours at a time. After a few hours, you may need to take a break.

Audio-Technica ATH-M50xBT
These headphones are relatively comfortable. However, in my experience, they become a bit uncomfortable after a few hours. Many others claim otherwise. It really just depends on personal preference and your head/ear type. They are slightly more comfy than the ATH-M30x.

Overall, the Audio-Technica ATH-M50xBT is slightly more comfortable.

Build Quality

What good are your amazingly sounding headphones if they break in a few months? The overall durability and longevity are crucial for any investment you make. Especially for those who need headphones for commute, it’s important they’re able to withstand vigorous traveling conditions consistently.

Audio-Technica ATH-M30x
Besides the semi-plasticky feel, these headphones are robust and sturdy. Especially for the low price, you will be satisfied with its durability and lifespan. If I had to be picky, the joints are a bit weak. It has a circumaural design that easily fits around your ears. They are collapsible for more convenient travel. Overall, you will be satisfied with the build quality and they will last you a much longer time than most headphones below $100.

Audio-Technica ATH-M50xBT
The design and build quality of these headphones is superb. They are robust and tough while remaining lightweight. The materials used are much more robust than the vast majority of headphones in this price range. Overall, you will be more than satisfied with the build.

Overall, the Audio-Technica ATH-M50xBT has a better build quality.  

Noise Isolation/ Active Noise Cancelling

Don’t be confused between active noise cancelling and noise isolation headphones. They are both entirely different. Noise-cancelling technology is very unique. Unlike noise-isolating headphones, noise-cancelling headphones do not eradicate outside noise by physical insulation. Within the ear cups, they have a mini microphone that picks up the outside environmental noise. It then triggers a frequency entirely opposite to the outside ambient noise. Thus, canceling out most outside ambient sound.

Audio-Technica ATH-M30x
These headphones do not have active noise cancellation. However, it provides extremely good passive noise-isolation. It easily covers the entire ear and blocks out a great deal of outside noise once you put them on. Unfortunately, these headphones have a bit of sound bleed. People around you can hear what you’re listening to at higher volumes. Once put on, they naturally reduce outside ambient noise by 50%. Especially for the low price, the Audio-Technica ATH-M30x are overall very good noise-isolation headphones.

Audio-Technica ATH-M50xBT
These headphones do not provide active noise-cancelling. However, they have decent passive noise-isolation. They are not the best, but they are not too bad, either. Overall, I give them a 5.5 out of 10 for noise isolation.

Overall, the Audio-Technica ATH-M30x provides better passive noise isolation.

Battery Life

Battery life is an overlooked subject when speaking about over-ear headphones. Obviously, the only headphones that have a battery life are those which are wireless. Many headphones on the market do not have wireless capabilities. But for those who do, a more extended battery-life becomes a convenient factor.

Audio-Technica ATH-M30x
These headphones do not have wireless capabilities. They must be plugged in via wire.

Audio-Technica ATH-M50xBT
These headphones provide a staggering 40-hour battery life.

Overall, the Audio-Technica ATH-M50xBT is the only pair of the two with wireless capabilities.

Added Features

Here we summarize each pair headphones and talk about some of the added features.

Audio-Technica ATH-M30x
These headphones do not have wireless abilities, a built-in mic, Bluetooth, etc. However, they are a superb choice for anyone looking for clear, precise, and detailed sound quality. With a solid build, decent comfort, and good noise isolation; They are a great bang for the buck under $100. I recommend them for sound engineers, video editors, audio editors, or mixers on a very tight budget.

Audio-Technica ATH-M50xBT
These headphones give you the option to go wireless via Bluetooth 5.0. However, you still have the option to use them wired. To charge it for going wireless, you get a USB charging cable with the purchase. Added to that, the headphones also have a built-in mic for phone calls. You can also manually adjust the volume with the headphones, as well. 

Our Winner

Keep in mind that our opinion is not the end all be all. Like mentioned earlier, everyone has different needs, requirements, and budgets for their headphones. However, our winner is the Audio-Technica ATH-M50xBT due to its upgraded sound quality, build, wireless capabilities, and comfort. We believe the added price is well worth it and we highly recommend it. 

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