Go live and discover the world’s first streaming dedicated headset in our Audio-Technica ATH-M50xSTS StreamSet Review.
Streaming has become a core aspect of the online gaming community over the last decade. Whether you’re pursuing it as a passion, streaming the latest game for your friends, or simply using it as a means of hanging out online, there’s no denying just how influential streaming has become. And with the rise of Twitch, streaming is now more accessible and approachable than ever. There’s a fair chance many of you reading this are regularly involved in streams as either a viewer or a host!
Why play games when you can watch other people play them?
But what if you’re the one in front of the camera? When you’re broadcasting yourself to the world, it’s vital to ensure you’re coming through loud and clear. That’s where Audio-Technica are here to help with the ATH-M50xSTS Streamset. This world-first headset has been designed specifically with streaming in mind, delivering crisp audio alongside a studio-quality condenser microphone for impressive clarity.
So if you’re thinking about streaming and looking to invest in some quality audio equipment, should this headset me at the top of your list? Find out in our Audio-Technica ATH-M50xSTS StreamSet review.
Audio-Technica ATH-M50xSTS StreamSet Review – Design
Audio-Technica are known for their studio-quality audio equipment, and despite being designed for streaming, the StreamSet certainly follows suit. You won’t find any flashy RGB lights or cute cat ears on this headset – nope, this looks exactly like it belongs in a professional studio. With a chunky yet sleek aesthetic, the StreamSet sports a matte black and leatherette finish, swivelling and foldable earcups, an adjustable condenser boom mic, and thick padding upon the headband. It’s a simple monochrome design that will universally suit almost any setup – gaming or otherwise.
Where many headsets feature a wide variety of controls on the headset itself, Audio-Technica have chosen to keep the StreamSet minimalist. You won’t find any volume wheel or audio balancing options on the headset – the only control is a small monitor switch that adjusts the volume of the microphone sidetone. This keeps things simple and uniform, encouraging users to instead adjust and balance their audio through their PC.
Plug and play doesn’t get any simpler than this.
The headset also features a 2m long cable ending in a USB-A connection, with an XLR/analogue model also available. This cable is permanently wired into the headset and cannot be replaced or unplugged, meaning you’ll have to take care of it. Any frays or damage to the cable could unfortunately render the entire headset unusable. So households with pets (dogs/cats/birds) who are inclined to chew on cables should be wary. Though the added advantage of a wired headset is higher audio quality, zero latency, and no need to worry about batteries.
But enough about the design – how does the StreamSet sound?
Audio-Technica ATH-M50xSTS StreamSet Review – Audio
The StreamSet really is studio quality all around, particularly when paying attention to the sheer quality of its audio. Every single videogame or music track carries incredible weight through all ranges of audio, from deep bass to crisp and clear highs. In fact, the Audio-Technica StreamSet is almost on par with the SteelSeries Arctis Nova Pro and a serious contender for best audio quality in a gaming-focused headset.
This can be attributed to the headset’s 45mm large-aperture drivers found within the earcups of the M50xSTS headphones. These drivers in particular have been purpose-built by Audio-Technica to be catered towards audio pros and as such will provide exceptional clarity across 15 – 28,000Hz frequencies and offer an earthy and impressively accurate bass response.
Although the StreamSet is designed in particular for streaming, on numerous occasions I found myself using them specifically to listen to music, or even plugged into my Nintendo Switch. The sound is just that impressive that you’ll want to use them across more platforms than just PC. Which is ideal, considering they’re compatible with consoles simply by plugging in the headset via USB.
Audio-Technica ATH-M50xSTS StreamSet Review – Microphone
This is where the StreamSet really shines, as the microphone sets itself apart from any other gaming headset on the market. Its Cardioid condenser microphone provides professional-quality articulation specifically suited to voice recording, feeling less like a gaming headset and one that might instead be used in a recording studio. If you’re looking for a headset to record your voice in supreme clarity, the StreamSet simply cannot be beat.
Adapting their popular 20-Series microphones into a more portable design, the microphone of the StreamSet is attached to a sturdy yet a flexible boom arm, allowing for ideal positioning and can easily be adjusted so that you come through clearly even when moving around. This all combines to create a rich vocal environment that’s capable of eliminating almost all background noise and keeping audio levels consistent. Just take a listen to the short recording I took as an example.
You can’t even hear the mower outside or my screaming parrot in the background.
As an added bonus, the cleverly designed microphone can also be muted quickly by flipping the boom arm into the up position. This takes less than a second and is super efficient to mute your audio completely whether you’re on stream or even using the headset on a call or in a meeting.
Audio-Technica ATH-M50xSTS StreamSet Review – User Experience
Using a headset for hours on end can occasionally become uncomfortable, and this is really the only minor downside of the StreamSet. The thick padding around the headband and soft earcups aim to alleviate discomfort as much possible, but with extended use (e.g., >3-4 hours), the pressure of the headset weighing in at 330g becomes noticeable. It’s certainly not a deal-breaker though, as the StreamSet offers other neat designs to enhance its user experience, like the ability to entirely fold up the headset into a fraction of the size.
Lastly, a couple neat inclusions in the box are added bonuses and welcome additions that I personally wish more headsets featured as a standard. The headset is initially equipped with a fabric/leather padding on its earcups, but if you’d prefer something more lightweight and breathable, an additional set of leatherette earpads is included and can be swapped out easily.
Our version was the USB model (with a 3.5mm jack model also available), and included a compact USB-A to USB-C adapter. It’s a small item, but makes a big difference when it means you can immediately use the StreamSet out of the box with pretty much any PC, Mac, or console.
The Audio-Technica ATH-M50xSTS StreamSet is quite possibly the best choice currently on the market if you stream regularly. Not only does any audio coming through the headset sound phenomenal, but thanks to its impressive condenser microphone, you can rest assured anyone watching your stream will be hearing you loud and clear. The StreamSet sets the bar for all headset microphones and will almost certainly see Audio-Technica equipment continue to feature as a staple within the streaming community.
So, why should you buy the Audio-Technica StreamSet?
- Superb studio-quality microphone ideal for streaming
- Impressive audio across all audio frequencies
- Sturdy design that becomes compact when folded
- Additional earpads and adapter are a nice touch
But why shouldn’t you buy the Audio-Technica StreamSet?
- Don’t use your mic much when gaming? These may be overkill
- You really dislike wired headsets
A review unit was kindly provided by Audio-Technica Australia for the purpose of our Audio-Technica ATH-M50xSTS StreamSet Review. If you enjoyed this review, be sure to check out more of our hardware reviews and join the official Qualbert.com Discord Server to talk all things audio!