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Sony WH-1000XM2 (2017)
Audio-Technica M50xBT (2018)
See Top Ranked Closed-Back Headphones

Sony WH-1000XM2 (2017) vs Audio-Technica M50xBT (2018)

Analysis:

The Sony WH-1000XM2 (2017) and Audio-Technica M50xBT (2018) make for very strong choices and are great Closed-Back Headphones for their respective $279 and $179 asking prices. Depending on how much you're willing to spend, either of these options will serve you well.

Two highly trusted sources that perform well-thought-out in-depth testing consider the Sony WH-1000XM2 (2017) to be a great product - it earned the "Best All-around" title from SoundGuys and "Great noise cancellation meets even greater sound" from Tom's Guide in their respective Closed-Back Headphone roundups, which is a good indication of it being a notable product.

As for the Audio-Technica M50xBT (2018), it was really well-received by reviewers at SoundGuys, a reliable source that's known for conducting its own, high-quality, in-depth testing. It performed great in its "Best Audio-Technica headphones" roundup and was named its "Best all-around", which, on its own, makes it a product that warrants a closer look.

To get a better idea of how they fare when compared directly to each other, we analyzed review scores of sources that tested both. Pocket-lint, What Hi-Fi?, Digitaltrends, TrustedReviews, Techradar, Head-fi, SoundGuys, CNET, The Verge, and Rtings, for example, preferred the Sony WH-1000XM2 (2017), while Tom's Guide rated both of them the same.

We also took a look at which sources had the best things to say about them. We learned that the Sony WH-1000XM2 (2017) got reviewed the highest by Pocket-lint - it gave it a rating of 10, while the Audio-Technica M50xBT (2018) most impressed reviewers at AVForums, which gave it a score of 9.

Lastly, we averaged out all of the reviews scores that we could find on these two products and compared them to other Closed-Back Headphones on the market. We learned that both of them performed far better than most of their competitors - the overall review average earned by Closed-Back Headphones being 7.4 out of 10, whereas the Sony WH-1000XM2 (2017) and Audio-Technica M50xBT (2018) managed averages of 8.9 and 8.1 points, respectively.

Due to the difference in their prices, however, it's important to keep in mind that a direct Sony WH-1000XM2 (2017) vs. Audio-Technica M50xBT (2018) comparison might not be entirely fair - some sources don't take value for money into account when assigning their scores and therefore have a tendency to rate more premium products better.

Comparison of expert ratings
Highly Recommended
Recommended
Mentioned
Not Mentioned
SoundGuys
Tom's Guide
HomeTheaterReview.com
Rtings
PCmag
AVForums
Wirecutter
Techradar
CNET
TrustedReviews
Tech. Specs Comparison
Sony WH-1000XM2 (2017)
$279
Audio-Technica M50xBT (2018)
$179
Higher than average expert review score
Highly recommended by trusted experts
SoundGuys
Highly Trusted Source
Depth of
analysis
Yes
In-house
Testing
Best Overall
in “Best headphones at Target: Trust the red polo shirts” 
Last updated: 17 Oct 2018
Tom's Guide
Highly Trusted Source
Depth of
analysis
Yes
In-house
Testing
Great noise cancellation meets even greater sound
in “Best Sony headphones 2020: Top wireless and wired Picks” 
Last updated: 21 Aug 2019
Techradar
Trusted Source
Depth of
analysis
Yes
In-house
Testing
The best headphones
in “Headphones, speakers, and soundbars: the best audio tech we heard at IFA 2019” 
Last updated: 7 Sep 2019
SoundGuys
Highly Trusted Source
Depth of
analysis
Yes
In-house
Testing
Best Overall
in “Best audio gifts for grads 2018” 
Last updated: 5 May 2018
Techradar
Trusted Source
Depth of
analysis
Yes
In-house
Testing
Ranked #3 out of 10
in “The best Sony headphones 2020: 10 models to appeal to your inner audiophile ” 
Last updated: 27 Jan 2020
Good Housekeeping
Trusted Source
Depth of
analysis
Yes
In-house
Testing
Mentioned
in “The Best Wireless Headphones for Quality Sound” 
Last updated: 22 Aug 2018
Recommended by trusted experts
SoundGuys
Highly Trusted Source
Depth of
analysis
Yes
In-house
Testing
Best Overall
in “Best aptX Bluetooth headphones” 
Last updated: 1 May 2020
Android Authority
Trusted Source
Depth of
analysis
Yes
In-house
Testing
Best Overall
in “Best Bluetooth headphones (March 2020)” 
Last updated: 23 Mar 2020
Techradar
Trusted Source
Depth of
analysis
Yes
In-house
Testing
Best Overall
in “The best Audio-Technica headphones: our top 5 audiophile earbuds and over-ears” 
Last updated: 27 Jan 2020
Expert Reviews
Trusted Source
Depth of
analysis
Yes
In-house
Testing
The best under £200
in “Best Bluetooth headphones 2020: The finest wireless in-ear, on-ear and over-ear headphones to buy in the UK” 
Last updated: 10 days ago
Laptop Mag
Trusted Source
Depth of
analysis
Yes
In-house
Testing
Ranked #5 out of 6
in “Best Wireless Headphones” 
Last updated: 21 Dec 2019
SoundGuys
Highly Trusted Source
Depth of
analysis
Yes
In-house
Testing
Best Overall
in “Best Audio-Technica headphones” 
Last updated: 29 Apr 2020
SoundGuys
Highly Trusted Source
Depth of
analysis
Yes
In-house
Testing
Best Overall
in “Best Bluetooth headphones under $200” 
Last updated: 17 Apr 2020
SoundGuys
Highly Trusted Source
Depth of
analysis
Yes
In-house
Testing
Best Overall
in “Best wireless headphones of 2020” 
Last updated: 14 Apr 2020
Wirecutter
Highly Trusted Source
Depth of
analysis
Yes
In-house
Testing
Mentioned
in “The Best Bluetooth Wireless Headphones” 
Last updated: 13 Apr 2020
TrustedReviews
Trusted Source
Depth of
analysis
Yes
In-house
Testing
Mentioned
in “Best Wireless Headphones 2020: 14 great Bluetooth headphones” 
Last updated: 19 days ago
Android Central
Trusted Source
Depth of
analysis
Yes
In-house
Testing
Mentioned
in “Best Bluetooth Headphones for Samsung Galaxy S10 in 2020” 
Last updated: 6 Mar 2020
Expert Reviews
Trusted Source
Depth of
analysis
Yes
In-house
Testing
Mentioned
in “Best over-ear headphones 2020: The best Bluetooth, noise-cancelling and wired headphones in the UK” 
Last updated: 12 Mar 2020
Android Central
Trusted Source
Depth of
analysis
Yes
In-house
Testing
Mentioned
in “Best Bluetooth Headphones for Samsung Galaxy S10 in 2020” 
Last updated: 14 Jan 2020
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