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Very simple ATH-M50 'balance' mod (less bass, more mids)

post #1 of 63
Thread Starter 
Hi y'all,
I've posted a bit here and there about some experimenting I've been doing with my M50s. They're great cans at $99 (ebay) but I don't think anyone can deny, they are a little heavy on the bass and a recessed in the mids.

So basically, I slipped off the pads, had a poke around, tried a few different things & this is what I've come up with:

I tentatively call it the 'M50 Balance Mod'

This mod is fully reversible.



Start by removing the pleather pads. They are pretty easily removed, but I guess the one risk here is you might stretch the pads a little. Its hard to say whether thats happened to mine, I don't think so, but unless I had a stock pair to compare it to, its difficult to be sure.

Anyway, just hook a finger inside the pleather bit and 'scoop' it out. I usually work from the top, narrow part.



So this is what you'll see. Those little holes around the driver? Well, to cut down the bass a little and bring the mids forward, all we do is cover a few of those holes with a little masking tape. The more you cover, the less bass you'll have.

This is the combination I liked best.



I'd say it has about 5% less bass and 10% more mids (vocals really)

Don't worry about damaging the plastic, the masking tape seemed to leave no residue I could see.

And thats it! Pop the pads back on and enjoy!

***

BTW, I did a little experimenting with adding extra dampening material behind the driver (see pic below) but I didn't really like the sound too much, I thought the bass wasn't hitting as low. I'm guessing the Audio Technica engineers got the volume of the earcup perfect, they just ported too much bass in through the small holes.

post #2 of 63
very cool! i will try this and report back
post #3 of 63
Good detective work modding there! Personally ATH-M50 are my go-to out door bass cans so doubt I'll keep this but will definitely be giving it an experiment.
post #4 of 63
Thread Starter 
Yeah actually I kind of like the bass, I just find the mids a little too recessed, especially compared to my other headphones. I tried it with all the holes covered & the bass really did mellow out a lot, but I missed the bass "oomph". Covering every 2nd hole instead sounds like a good compromise to my ears
This mod also adds a bit more intimacy to vocals too.
post #5 of 63
Nice work. I would have never thought to do that. I like the bass in mine, but I might try it just to see how I enjoy the mids. Thanks for the post.
post #6 of 63
interesting to see the ATH-M50's also have angeled drivers.
post #7 of 63
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by nullstring View Post
interesting to see the ATH-M50's also have angeled drivers.
As do the AD900s, which I used to own.
post #8 of 63
I'm really liking the angled drivers of my ad500's. Seems to add to the transparency.

Cool mod options!
post #9 of 63
awesome mod, thanks! enjoying)
post #10 of 63
Looking at the inside of my ATH-M50 I see the holes there are already masking taped, from behind (I take it that is the same with everyone?) so the masking taping mod is double masking taping...

This leads me to think... what if I took off the tape from the back... would I create a monster? I'm scared to try!
post #11 of 63
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by EddieE View Post
Looking at the inside of my ATH-M50 I see the holes there are already masking taped, from behind (I take it that is the same with everyone?) so the masking taping mod is double masking taping...

This leads me to think... what if I took off the tape from the back... would I create a monster? I'm scared to try!
Yep, I did notice that. I guess it alters the sound the ports through the holes (makes it bassier) but is also there to get the sound levels right - i'd think if it were removed the bass would be bigger and flabbier.

The idea of 'double taping' as you say is to prevent too much bass from porting through the holes...
post #12 of 63
Yeah I get that

Even though I love the stock balance of the ATH-M50 I am filled with an irrepressible urge to pull off that tape and see what happens.

I have a feeling the bass might be so strong it leaves the headphones and takes over the world, leaving me to regret the part I played in the bass-apocalypse.
post #13 of 63
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by EddieE View Post
Yeah I get that

Even though I love the stock balance of the ATH-M50 I am filled with an irrepressible urge to pull off that tape and see what happens.

I have a feeling the bass might be so strong it leaves the headphones and takes over the world, leaving me to regret the part I played in the bass-apocalypse.
I think the bass might shatter some important bone structures around your upper jaw...
post #14 of 63
C'mon Eddie, you know you want to shatter upper jaw bones. Give it a try, that way I dont risk ruining mine lol. Sounds interesting. Thanks for the mod ideas. Im actually loving mine though, but Ill give this a try anyhow.
post #15 of 63
I sat there with both sides opened, the tape just willing me to pull it off, but in the end I couldn't bring myself to do it. If it aint broke why fix it?

I think any more bass would unbalance the ATH-M50 unfavourably, so why do it just for the sake of it?

The bass-pocalypse will have to be triggered by another user I'm afraid, I'm keeping my jawbone the way it is.
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