Audio-Technica ATH-M50 Review

A Review On: Audio-Technica ATH-M50 Studio Monitor Headphones

Audio-Technica ATH-M50 Studio Monitor Headphones

Rated # 52 in Over-Ear
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Price paid: $120.00
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Pros: Great All Arounder!

Cons: Minor Setbecks. Keyword: Minor

Impressions/Mini-review after 1 Month of usage


Sources: PC, Laptop, A/V Receiver, iPod Video 5.5G (30GB)

Amps: Fiio E7, A/V Receiver

Other headphones: Sennhesier HD 555

Files: FLAC, MP3 320 CBR, CD


After about one month with the M50, I can say I am satisifed and impressed with its sound.


Like others have stated, these are not the be all and end all of headphones. You could even say they are FOTM, much like the Sennheiser HD 555 were back in its heyday, but the M50 is a very solid headphone considering its price point and sound output.


Here are some positivies:


- Good bass response: the bass extends pretty low, and hits hard. The bass is not as tight as other headphones, but can decently output enough bass to satisfy most ears.

- Clear treble: initially the treble is pretty bright, but after some burn in it definitely relaxes and isn't as harsh on the ears. Vocals sound very good for a closed can!

- Mids: slightly recessed, but after some burn in and the foam mod, they have improved. Further improvement can be made by adjusting EQ as needed. Not a dealbreaker considering you can address the mids with a variety of options.

- Comfort: Very comfortable considering its clamp force (slightly strong initially) and the pleather pads are decent. I come from the comfort of HD 555 with its velour ear pads, so it does take getting used to pleather. That said, the pleather pads are very comfortable and are necessary to provide a good seal for this closed can.

- Overall: I don't think you can find a significantly better headphone at this price point. The M50 certainly does not put other headphones to shame, but I feel that the M50 is good all around choice. Other headphones will address other needs for specific listeners - I'll explain below.


Some negatives:


- Mids: slightly recessed, but I emphasize that this can be addressed by the foam mod and adjusting EQ as needed.

- Bass: good response, goes very low but is slightly muddy and confused. I like all kinds of bass and the M50 is no slouch in this matter, but I want a different style of bass ouput which prompted me to look at other cans. Think of the bass response as a subwoofer; ported, closed, passive, active, front firing, down firing. These all have different characteristics and present bass differently. Unfortunately the M50 can't satisify all bass styles, so I went looking for another pair of cans.


So after a month of listening and burn in, I find myself quite happy with the M50.


I listen to many genres: trance, techno, house, EDM/electronica in general, J-Pop, J-Rock, J-Metal, Visual Kei, pop, hiphop, rap, and sometimes acoustic/classical music. I love the M50 - it's a fun headphone that made me rediscover my music collection. My musical mood changes frequently so there are time when I listen to trance exclusively for weeks/months at a time, and then I go onto to J-Metal.


During my listening sessions with the M50, I was listening to a lot of Tokyo Nights (deep house), deadmau5 (electronica), Dir en Grey (J-metal), Luna Sea (J-Rock), and various pop artists.


I discovered I am a basshead at heart, as I yearned for more bass. The M50 have a decent bass response, but I wanted something tighter and more accurate. After some research and help from head-fi users, I decided on the Ultrasone HFI-580 as a sort of horizontal upgrade.


Still waiting on the 580s to arrive, but I intend to give another follow up review/post after spending quality time with both headpones.




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