Published on April 16th, 2014 | by Greg0
Audio-Technica Duo: Limited Edition Blue And Tan Monitors
Styles and trends come and go, but some things remain the same. Once you’ve hit upon a winning formula, there is probably no reason to make major changes as long as it keeps working- instead, the best bet is to tweak and modify, work around the edges and find small improvements. Few headphones have had quite the streak as today’s set from Audio-Technica, another edition in their top-selling, hugely successful line of studio monitors.
The latest is the ATH-M50xBL, Audio-Technica’s new special edition blue-and-tan version. We’ve previously set our ears upon these sets in the past- their classic white is still available, and still draws compliments from passersby. The dark blue color, though, is far more stylish and versatile with a nice metallic sheen, and the tan padding offsets it nicely. It’s a good mix of casual and professional, but make no mistake- these are certainly intended for serious listening. As we said in our earlier review, “they aren’t as portable as many headphones” mostly because they are pretty large, but we love that they come with three distinct detachable cables- one coiled, one long straight, as well as a short straight cord as well.
It’s been interesting to test these sonically against a pair that’s been in use for a long time. We always let audio gear burn in for a while, and it does make a difference. After about forty hours or so of playback, they seem to settle into a groove, but even after that point we could still hear some extra warmth and slightly fewer edges on the upper frequencies from our older set. As monitors, they’re fairly neutral, not meant to exaggerate or boost bass, though with their large 45mm drivers can put out plenty of sound. The swiveling earcups serve two purposes- they make the set nicely foldable but also allow for single-ear listening (DJs, mixers, we’re talking to you). We’ve previously praised the ATH-M50s for their “excellent passive noise cancelling thanks to their closed-back cushioned ear cups, a design that made for both comfort and isolation from external sounds”, something that hasn’t changed here. Slipping these on is like sliding into the music.
Try listening to Junip through this set- acoustic music has perfect tones and clarity that makes it fun to listen through something with a bit more depth than earbuds, especially when bass isn’t trying to be upfront and personal. Solidly built, our sets have last through many trips, and we don’t expect the new color palette to be any difference. For a great sound experience at home or in the studio, this package offers a classier look but a classic sound. Available this summer, online and in stores, for around $200.