Pros: Great SQ, solid built, value for money
Cons: slightly recessed mids
I owned a air 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:
-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.
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 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.