Austrian Audio Hi-X50 Review (The Best Closed-Back Headphones?)

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Austrian Audio Hi-X50 Professional Headphones
VERDICT
The Austrian Audio Hi-X50 headphones are a stellar choice for all audio engineers. These cans are sure to become a new favorite in production circles thanks to their supreme comfort and overall clarity.
Build Quality
10
Sound Quality
8
Features
9
Comfort
9
PROS
Light and comfortable
Remarkable 5 Hz to 28 kHz frequency response
Replaceable cable
CONS
Slight "bumps" around 500 Hz and 1.2 kHz
9
OUR SCORE
CHECK PRICE

The Hi-X50 is Austrian Audio’s new on-ear, 44 mm dynamic driver circumaural headphones for studio monitoring and tracking. It follows in the footsteps of its bigger brother, the Hi-X55 headphones.

They can be an ideal solution for many home studios that seek professional headphones they can trust to monitor, check, and track a mix.

Austrian Audio Hi-X50: Verdict?

The Hi-X50 offers immense value for the price. The midrange is brutally honest, making it an excellent reference for spotting masking issues and pinpointing resonance control, making it a great choice for general studio work. The bass response is present, but not overhyped, and the highs perform similarly. The plush earcups are non-fatiguing and are a great choice for those that get quickly tired of listening or working with headphones.

Just so we’re clear, if you’re looking for a pair of headphones for casual “bass boosted” listening, these aren’t going to be for you.

Austrian Audio Hi-X50
$299.00

The Austrian Audio Hi-X50 professional closed-back on-ear headphones deliver the sound quality, durability, and features you’d expect from a company whose engineers are responsible for some of the most acclaimed transducer and headphone designs ever produced.

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04/21/2021 03:42 am GMT

Build Quality (10/10)

The first thing you’ll notice when unboxing these headphones is the handwritten quality certificate. Besides the headphones, you receive a replacement cable, a felt fabric bag with a drawstring, and a quick start guide.

They feature a padded aluminum headband that is sturdy but malleable enough to bend without the fear of the headband snapping. There’s a slit down the middle of the headband, which I assume is to help with air circulation and comfort.

They are fairly lightweight, but don’t give the impression that they were cheaply made.

The ear cup adjustment sliders are firm, with only slight indentations that hold in place. The overall ear cups swivel on well-constructed pivots with metal hinges and fold inward for convenient and compact storage. When in use, the headband is positioned slightly forward on your head, a feature that makes it feel nicely balanced and aids long-term comfort.

It’s worth noting that the 44 mm drivers use a ring magnet system moving a copper-clad aluminum voice coil with a reportedly strongest-in-class magnetic field. This combination makes for fast and accurate voice coil movements with minimum wobbling. Theoretically, this also mitigates unwanted coloration and distortion.

Sound Quality (8/10)

The Austrian Audio Hi-X50 doesn’t intend on catering to the casual listening market, and the brutally honest sound contour confirms that. But that doesn’t mean you’re left with a pair of headphones that lack bass response, either.

While it’s not overly pronounced, it’s present enough for you to mix modern music.

The mid-frequency range is where the headphones shine in my opinion, allowing you to pinpoint problematic frequency areas, such as masking issues between distorted guitars and vocals.

These headphones are also highly suited for long recording sessions due to their closed-back design, and those plush, comfortable earcups.

Features (9/10)

One thing that really stands out about the Hi-X50 headphones is just how good they look. They have a sleek, almost space-age design throughout, featuring a metal headband and hinged arms. I’m a big fan.

This model features a remarkable frequency response of 5 Hz to 28 kHz, and 44 mm drivers developed by Austrian Audio. They state that based on their measurements, the laws of science, and listening tests, 44 mm is the optimum size for this design as it ensures professional performance by moving a lot of air and eliminating wobbling of the diaphragm. What this does is basically dampen the driver mass, which is where the membrane shows the results of being ultra-stiff while reducing unwanted resonance.

Their proprietary High Excursion (hence the Hi-X name) technology employs a “lightweight aluminum voice coil encased in copper”. When combined with a comparatively strong magnetic field, the transients on this headphone are reproduced more precisely.

These headphones feature 25 Ohm impedance. The maximum volume of these Austrian Audio cans is just over 103 dB SPL, making them quite powerful.

The earpads are removable and replaceable, and the 3-meter cable that attaches to the base of the left ear cup can also be switched out.

They come with a detachable cable, so if need be, you can easily replace the cable yourself. This should have been a standardized feature for headphones a long time ago, so it’s nice to see Austrian Audio take this approach. The inclusion of a 1/8″ to 1/4″ adapter was also a welcome addition.

Comfort (9/10)

No complaints here. They are incredibly comfortable, I’d go as far to say that they are more so than my usual daily driver (the Beyerdynamic DT-770 Pros). They balance nicely on your head with great weight distribution and no particular pressure points. They’re reasonably snug on my fairly small head, however, I do find myself using them with the cups retracted all the way.

Another feature that greatly aids comfort is that the ear cushions are filled with memory foam. This combined with the cushion that sits right below the metal headband makes for a very comfortable listening experience without being fatiguing across long sessions.

Summary

Austrian Audio started as a company in 2017 but it has roots that go back decades. They were founded by 22 former AKG employees when the legendary mic company permanently closed its offices in Vienna.

The Austrian Audio team has since been producing and developing microphones and headphones with a deep knowledge that dates back years of AKG expertise and top-notch quality.

As headphone and microphone technology have much in common, it comes as no surprise that Austrian Audio has focused its efforts so far on these products. The Hi-X50s employ the same high excursion 44 mm moving-coil driver used in the Hi-X55 (Austrian Audio’s previous release) and therefore their specifications are almost identical. With a nominal impedance of 25 ohms and a sensitivity rating of 118 dB SPL for a 1V input, they’re easy to use across most of your devices.

In summary, they’re a great choice for most everyday roles in the studio, and they will do a great job of monitoring and tracking, offering superb quality at this price point. If you need trustworthy and truly comfortable closed-back cans for studio use, then the Hi-X50 is a strong choice.

Austrian Audio Hi-X50
$299.00

The Austrian Audio Hi-X50 professional closed-back on-ear headphones deliver the sound quality, durability, and features you’d expect from a company whose engineers are responsible for some of the most acclaimed transducer and headphone designs ever produced.

Check Price On Amazon Check Price On Sweetwater
04/21/2021 03:42 am GMT