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ATH M50s - Not overrated at all

A Review On: Audio-Technica ATH-M50S

Audio-Technica ATH-M50S

Rated # 5 in Over-Ear
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Price paid: $115.00
Nelson Soong
Posted · Updated · 660 Views · 3 Comments

Pros: Great SQ, solid built, value for money

Cons: slightly recessed mids

I owned a pair of ATH M50s since a month ago. I have heard people saying on Head-fi that it is an overrated headphone. As I have nothing to compare it against, and being new to this world of headphones, I was initially doubtful about that, and I kept wondering if I made the right decision of purchasing M50s. Don't get me wrong, I am happy with the sound quality, but I kept wondering if it is indeed overrated, several other headphones out there must do even greater job. 


I decided to end my curiosity by trying out several headphones at a store, namely:

-Alexandra MS1i

-Grado SR80i

-Beyerdynamic Custom One Pro


I compared these few because people always make comparisons between M50s with them. Beyerdynamic is compared as the price range is similar and the salesman actually recommended that when I asked which headphone should I upgrade to.


My opinion:

I like by M50s even more ever since. In my opinion, M50s beats the other 3 headphones in terms of sound quality, built, comfort, and value for money. Alexandra MS1i and Grado SR80i both have good SQ, but I prefer the sound signature produced by M50s. Besides, I feel uncomfortable with the small cups and not-so-convincing built of both headphones. M50s has solid built, the cups fit me nicely (gets a bit heaty after prolonged listening), and the clamping force is not an issue for me. More importantly, M50s performs very satisfactorily across all genres, excels especially in electronic. The bass produced by M50s is pretty tight too. My only complaint is the slightly recessed mids in certain (not all) songs.


Beyerdynamic Custom One Pro is a huge letdown. The detail is quite bad. The bass is boomy and uncomfortable to listen to especially at highest setting. There is no comparison here. I instantly dislike it after 1-2 minutes of listening.


As for amp/DAC, IMO M50s will do just fine without an amp if you listen to music from laptop, due to its low impedence. I purchased PA2V2 amp due to the rave review but it doesn't make much difference in terms of SQ (perhaps my ears can't discern it). Not sure bout portable music player though. 


I also tried out 2 heavyweight audiophile headphones: Sennheiser HD 650 and Beyerdynamic Tesla T1 out of curiosity beyersmile.png  Both are excellent of course, but I'm not sure if I'm willing to pay that much for a pair of headphones (at least for now), not to mention the amps/equipments needed to bring out their full potential.

In conclusion, ATH M50s is really a great pair of headphones, totally worth the money. It totally deserves such high ratings, and definitely not overrated in my opinion.


I agree with your review. THough there are numerous options out there, for the money I think the M50s are a great buy, especially since they can be had for around $120+-. I think sometimes people assume a higher price means higher "quality". THough it may buy you comfort or other features, in terms of accurate reproduction of music I find these outperform many more expensive headphones. People all have their opinions, try them, if you like them, great buy for you and less time wasting not listening to music. Don't worry about the next great "upgrade" when these are better than many cans. Agree with your points on comfort and heat though, a bit frustrating.
Completely agreed. Personally, I think the M50 opens up with a powerful amp behind it but that's just me. I totally agree with you that they aren't overrated at all. I'm still very glad I bought mine for $110 a year or two ago.
-signed basshead and forward sound lover
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