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A fading standard

A Review On: Audio-Technica ATH-M50S

Audio-Technica ATH-M50S

Rated # 5 in Over-Ear
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Pros: Still decent bang for buck

Cons: Better alternatives

EDIT: The M50x update now fixes quite a few issues actually. Do check that out. This review is about the old version.


The age-old flagship "bang-for-buck" all rounder closed back ATH M50s are a good, but not great headphone. If this was years ago, it would be great. But today it struggles to compete with less expensive alternatives.


Build Quality, Design, Comfort
Heavy plastics make up a sturdy, well-built, and heavy duty headphone with a solid feel. Albeit chunky, it somehow looks both professional and fun with the "dj style" factor mixed in. 

The leather pads are very soft be designed for smaller ears considering how shallow they are. Great for using em for two hours at a time, not much more than that.

The included cable is quite excellent for a stock cable. Thicker than average. The plug is top-notch standard for a stock, just like most of Audio Technica's headphones.


Overall well built and designed, but comfort may vary.


Sound - Highs, Mids, Lows, Soundstage

The overall feel is a v-shaped signature that blends the imaging and detail retrieval of a studio monitor with the fun, punchy dynamics of a mainstream headphone. Albeit muddy and/or fatiguing at times, it is packed with fun and is my comparison standard for budget closed backs.



For this price level, the sparkle and detail of the M50s is excellent. It extends well, but can be over-sibilant and harsh at times. The highs have almost the "wow" factor; it gives off lots of mid-high energy, but is not very backed up by the lower-highs. In tracks, male voices sound sometimes thin and as a drummer myself, cymbals are unrealistic. 



A vacuumed feeling or almost sucked up feeling in this region. It is clear and feels somewhat neutral, but is severely lacking as compared to the rest of the range. 



Fantastic extension into the sub-bass region as well as a good mid-bass feel to it. Attack sometimes is slow, but the body is very detailed. In no way is it delicate; the bass is upfront. The upper bass can get muddy sometimes, but that can be ignored for such excellent extension and body at this price range.



Above-average for a closed back at this price range.

Has some width, but no real depth of any sorts.

Not much to say here.



The position of the M50s as the King of Budget is slowly fading; the series needs to be refreshed and refined. Overall it can be muddy, "raw," conjested, and harsh, but the fun-factor and its great extension in both sides still puts the M50 at a good position. No, this isn't the best for the money, but as a whole, it's still up there with the best.


I'm curious, which of your headphones do you think is a better value pick in the price bracket/
"But today it struggles to compete with less expensive alternatives."

This statement is worthless with no examples.
Other than that, good review.
Two closed backs off the top of my head.
For example, the new V-Moda M80 destroys it in all aspects of sound. Although the highs may be slightly more laid back, they have more refinement and detail compared to the ATH M50s.
The Ultrasone HFI-780 are superior; it does everything the M50 attempts, but is slightly better and maintains an excellent balance.
little bit misleading, fe about sparkling highs :D
lol good review, over-recommended and overrated, sennheiser HD 449 ftw
The M50x update now fixes quite a few issues actually. Do check that out.
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