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Audio-Technica ATH-M50xSTS StreamSet — A Mix Real-World Review

Audio-Technica created what it’s calling a StreamSet, so we put the new ATH-M50xSTS to the test.

Audio-Technica ATH-M50xSTS Streaming Headset
THE TAKEAWAY: “Providing quality sound, solid durability and an attractive price-point, the ATH-M50xSTS delivers.”
COMPANY: Audio-Technica •
PRICE: $199
• Quality sound.
• Solid durability.
• Attractive price-point.
• Wish the mic boom was on the right side; YMMV.

New York, NY (August 07, 2023)—With the rise of content creation in recent years, perhaps it was only a matter of time until Audio-Technica created what it’s calling a StreamSet—a specialized streaming headset—with the introduction of the ATH-M50xSTS. I’ve been testing one recently with good results, and while it may be aimed at streamers, the StreamSet is likewise appropriate for podcasting, voice-overs, working from home and other applications where audio quality—both heard and created—is a top priority.

The StreamSet comes in two flavors—the digital-based ATH-M50xSTS-USB ($229), which sports a thick 6.5-foot cable terminating in a USB-A plug, and the version I tested, the analog-based ATH-M50xSTS ($199), where the cable splits to both an XLR output and a 1/4-inch stereo plug. Both editions come with two kinds of earpads—one set intended to highlight fidelity and isolation, and the other set meant to provide more breathability and comfort.

As you might guess from the name, the headset is based around the familiar ATH-M50x closed-back dynamic headphones. Thanks to their proprietary 45 mm large-aperture drivers with rare earth magnets and copper-clad aluminum wire voice coils, I found the sound reproduction to be clear and informative with solid bass response, and to be fair, it’s those qualities that have made ATH-M50x headphones a go-to for ages. Neither cheap nor a budget-buster, A-T cans have become staples in pro-audio work environments because they tend to have accurate sound, respectable durability and a coolly professional look to them. While those are key features for audio experts, increasingly they’re also important to content creators, who not only need quality sound, but often also have to be aware of what their gear looks like on camera.

MotoAmerica Goes Racing with Audio-Technica

As it happens, those content creators are usually also in the market for microphones, and Audio-Technica knows a bit about those, too. The StreamSet’s cardioid condenser mic is taken from A-T’s 20 Series, providing a 50-20,000 Hz frequency response at 3 cm. The flexible boom arm stays put—bend it in any direction and it’ll keep that shape—but if you give it a quick flip upward, it mutes the audio while also getting the mic out of your face; pull the arm back down and the mic unmutes.

In real-world testing, I discovered a few things. First of all, using the StreamSet highlighted the fact that I am fed up with my kludgy, unreliable audio interface; more than once, I regretted not reviewing the USB-based StreamSet with its built-in 24-bit/96 kHz A/D converter instead, which would have bypassed the problem altogether. That said, when the interface felt like working (a problem that had nothing to do with the actual product being tested), the StreamSet was a breeze to use—it sounded good, the cans were a comfortable fit and the mic worked well, picking up my voice with no rustles or creaks from the headset itself. While I wish the boom arm was on the right side instead of the left, as I am a right-hander, it means I can quietly drink some coffee without having to push the mic up into mute position, so ultimately, that’s still a win.

The ATH-M50xSTS passed its biggest challenge with ease. While I used the StreamSet for Zoom meetings and various projects during the review period, the real test came when I had to be interviewed remotely over Cleanfeed for an upcoming iHeartRadio podcast. I didn’t mention I was testing new gear, but nonchalantly asked at the end if the audio was okay; they responded that it sounded perfectly fine for broadcast and thanked me for staying right on the mic. To me, that said Audio-Technica had hit its intended use-case with a bullseye. Providing quality sound, solid durability and an attractive price point, the ATH-M50xSTS delivers.