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A review/comparison of the inexpensive Audio-Technica ATH-M2X

post #1 of 4
Thread Starter 
For comparison, I have previously owned; Sony MDR-V6, Koss PortaPro, Grado SR60 and SR80. All without any dedicated amplification usually straight out of my Optimus CD3400 cd player (raved about in Stereophile 15yrs back). Primarily listening to industrial and metal. Anything from Metallica to Nine Inch Nails to Apocalytica (heavy metal played with 4 cellos) My impressions of those headphones as best as I can recall:

Sony MDR-V6:

Nice a powerful with good bass, very clear. Probably favoring the lower range more but I don't recall it being boomy. The first headphones I was really satisfied with. I had them for a few years but accidentally snapped off one of the ear pieces. I payed about $80 at the time.

Koss PortaPro:

Found them at my local Borders bookstore. I was on a budget but wanted something decent. I didn't expect much as far as sound quality but was pleasantly surprised. Excellent bass for it's size, very comfortable, overall a more powerful (dynamic) and clear sound than I expected for the price (around $40 I think).

Grado SR60:

The first headphones that made me go "wow"! Amazingly clean and dynamic sound much better than anything I heard before. Clean and well defined bass that made other headphones sound fuzzy and bloated. (~ $60)

Grado SR80:

Much like the SR60 only better. If my first impression of the SR60 was "Wow, these are really good!" Than my first impression of the SR80 was more like "Wow, these are amazing!".(~ $80)

Audio-Technica ATH-M2X:

My first Audio-Technica headphones. I was on a budget and looking for something better than the Koss (UR-18 or UR-19 I think) I had which are in the running for the worst sounding headphones I've ever owned. The Audio-Techica's retail for about $40 but you can find them for half that price. I didn't expect much for the price but was again pleasantly surprised as I was with the PortaPro's. Nothing amazing, but very good for the price range. Gave me just a hint of a reminder of the Grados sound, not nearly in the same league, but still a reminder. Very comfortable with overall good construction. One of the best parts of this headphone; I have a bad habit of stuffing headphones into an overstuffed backpack, it's easy for cheaper plastic headphones to break which happens too often. These headphones have a break-apart design which has prevented them from actually breaking. I can just click them back together. Very awesome. An excellent value for around $20 that most stores sell them at.
post #2 of 4
thanks for some info on relatively unknown headphones!
post #3 of 4
Thread Starter 
I think it's a gem for $20 and still a good value at $40. Unfortunately I haven't owned the previously mentioned headphones in many years, so I can't go into too much detail. About the best I could do from aural memory. I'm thinking about getting an Alessandro MS2 before long when I have some money to burn. I miss having really good headphones. Grado SR80's are the best I've heard to date, never had a chance to listen to the nicer 'phones.
post #4 of 4

There's a simple mod for these which boosts them to about the detail level of Grado headphones... What you need is Blu-tack and Dynamat and plastic fibrefill (of the kind that's often used for stuffing dolls and small pillows).

 

Detach the pads with their supporting platforms (just pull them out).

 

Open the headphones up (there're 3 standard Phillips screws in there).

 

Cut out enough Dynamat strips to coat the back of the driver (tip: cut the strips in trapezoids to fit circular shape better). Coat the exposed metal back of the driver. Leave the middle hole open.

 

Cut a couple long strips thick enough to cover the side of the driver fairing. Coat the driver fairing too.

 

Now spread Blu-tack on top of the Dynamat on the back of the driver. Leave any vent holes open.

 

Glue Dynamat on the back and sides of the cup too, leaving the relief tape (the one glued over the holes) free. Coat Dynamat with Blu-tack.

 

Now get some fine plastic fibre and spread it fairly thin (not cotton-thick, on the contrary, enough to make it airy). Fill the cups with this.

 

Reassemble and marvel in awe at the detail, speed, finesse, ambience, and power of these cheap headphones.

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