Audio-Technica Cuts the Cord on a Popular Headphone, Showcases New Turntables

Audio-Technica can always be counted on to arrive at CES with a plethora of new and interesting products, and again this year they didn't disappoint. Their list of newly arrived goodies includes a number of wireless headphones including a wireless version of its ATH-M50x, some keen turntables, and a series of phono cartridges.

The ATH-M50xBT ($199) is a wireless over-ear headphone. It is essentially an ATH-M50x, its popular pro and consumer headphone, with added Bluetooth 5.0 capability (compatible with AptX and AAC codecs). Reportedly, the sonic characteristics are unchanged (which is a good thing, because the M50 is a very good headphone); to that end, the new model uses copper-clad aluminum voice-coil wire and rare-earth magnets that are identical to the original. Whether or not your ears are keen enough to hear any degradation from the BT connection is up to you and the person conducting the double-blind listening test.

The ATH-M50xBT is a closed-cup headphone with large (45 mm) drivers; the cups are swiveling and can be folded flat. Frequency response is rated as 15 to 28 kHz. Its battery provides up to 40 hours and listening; the headphone can also be used in wired mode. Finally, a voice assistant can be accessed via on-ear touch controls.

Also new in the headphone department: The Sound Reality ATH-CKR7TW ($249) and Sonic Sport ATH-SPORT7TW ($199) wireless in-ear headphones. Also, the QuietPoint lineup made a strong appearance. These are wireless noise-canceling headphones with active ANC and a upscale sonic signature: ATH-ANC900BT ($299), ATH-ANC500BT ($99), and ATH-ANC100BT ($99).

There is an all-new turntable lineup. Look for professional home/DJ, wireless, and other models as well as a turntable/headphone bundle. The turntable lineup has technical upgrades and sleeker styling:

  • AT-LPW40WN: manual belt-drive with wood finish. ($299)
  • AT-LPW30TK: manual belt-drive with wood finish. ($249)
  • AT-LP140XP: direct-drive for professional DJ/home use. ($399)
  • AT-LP120XUSB: direct-drive for professional/home use with USB. ($249)
  • AT-LP60XHP: fully-automatic turntable/headphones bundle. ($129)
  • AT-LP60XBT: fully-automatic wireless belt-drive with Bluetooth. ($149)
  • AT-LP60XUSB: fully-automatic belt-drive with USB. ($129)
  • AT-LP60X: fully-automatic belt-drive. ($99)
Accompanying them is the VM95 series of moving-magnet phono cartridges. In all, six VM95 cartridges are available, ranging from $34 to $199.