It’s hard to keep up with the number of wireless headphones on the market. But the reason major brands like Audio-Technica keep releasing them is because wireless cans are getting continually better in terms of sound and functioning for for cheaper. This is certainly the case with the ATH-SR50BT. So, why is this headphone is such an upgrade from older Audio-Technica Bluetooth cans at this price? Let’s find out in this Audio-Technica ATH-SR50BT Wireless Headphones Review.
Audio-Technica ATH-SR50BT Wireless Headphones Review
IN the BOX
The SR50BT’s thick and soft ear pads make for a comfy listen. The fit was snug without being tight, and the gently swaddled feel made me want to take a nap. Or perhaps it was the 3 shots of bourbon I downed before trying them on. Either way, I felt relaxed.
The SR50BT boasts 45mm drivers and Bluetooth 5. Bluetooth 5 is a significant upgrade from 4.1, delivering a lot more clarity and cleanliness. So, even of you decide against these particular cans, make sure that your next wireless purchase has the latest Bluetooth technology.
And if you’re a sucker for touchpads, look no further. Press the earcups, swipe the earcups, cup the earcups, and you’ll be controlling a host of functions, including volume, play/pause, skip, call activation and ambient/noise reduction mode. That being said, the touch controls take a bit of getting used to, and less patient folks might smash the headphones against the wall before mastering it. Perhaps, for this reason, Audio-Technica has decided to add a pushable button that allows you to quickly switch between “noise-reducing” and “hear-through” modes. The “hear-through” mode means that ambient noise (from the outside) becomes audible. It’s a handy way to avoid walking into traffic. And it’s a rude but workable way to order coffee while wearing your headphones. To be honest, Audio-Technica’s wireless “active noise-cancelling” headphones in this price range perform no better than their “noise-reducing” ones. So don’t let the modified wording deter you. The noise-reduction mode doesn’t cancel out a tremendous amount of outside crap, but still, it’s an improvement.
With the Bluetooth function on, call clarity was good from my end. But the caller on the other end of the line said I sounded a little muffled. Using the provided cable might clean up the sound a bit.
You’ll get 28 hours of battery life with the noise reduction turned on, and even longer usage when this function is off. The charging cable uses a micro-USB to USB connection. And if you do happen to run out of juice, or you find yourself on an airplane, the SR50BT allows you to connect to your device with the included cable.
Overall Impressions: crystal clean and clear, though a little bright.
Do you think there’s too much bass in this world? If so, these cans are for you. Conservative audiophiles would call this low end “accurate.” Though somewhat restrained, the bass is tight, clean and detailed. But for some, it may just not be enough. And listening to pop, I was left feeling hungry for just a touch more oomph. And perhaps it was because the higher frequencies are so extended that the balance felt a little too biased.
Audio-Technica loves a hollowed out midrange. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. And the mids on the SR50BT are a little more present than they are on some of Audio-Technica’s other famous models. But if you’re hoping for rich and fleshy low-mids, keep looking. These cans favor the brighter side of the spectrum. That being said, vocals don’t sit too far forward, and there was no harshness in the upper-mids. With respect to clarity, the SR50BT is impressive in its performance for a wireless headphone in this price range. Acoustic guitar strums were detailed and well separated. And that playful Audio-Technica feel was ever present. Cellos sounded buoyant and fluid, while pianos had a brilliant lightness that made me feel like I was levitating off my tuchus. Certainly, if you’re a fan of folk or classical music, the SR50BT is a perfect choice.
Still, the brightness was an issue for me. Listening to Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto in B-Flat Minor, the orchestra stabs pierced my ears a bit. But the forward leaning highs worked well for string solos, which also showed a nice amount of transparency for a Bluetooth headphone. And when listening to Daft Punk, the crystal, clean funk guitars and crisp high tone percussion instruments gave the music a liveliness that made up for the missing bass impact.
For a wireless headphone, the SR50BT presents a impressively multidimensional feel, and imaging feels precise for a headphone in this price range.
Who knew that a headphone with such a shy low end could sound so fun. Certainly, the light character of the SR50BT lends itself well to intricate music, like classical and folk. At the same time, the tight and bright energy of these cans works well for funk and even some pop music as well. That being said, rock choruses were missing a bit of meat and warmth. So, the SR50BT may not be thoroughly versatile. Still, comparing the overall sound quality of these cans to other Audio-Technica wireless headphones in this price range, the SR50BT is way ahead of the pack.
I’d give it five skulls if the highs weren’t so high.
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