Guess who just paid $16.25 in customs fee for his pair of M50s?
My impressions are as follows, and is directly copied and pasted from my post at HardOCP.
Oh man I just saw my post, and the thing looks like ass thanks to my choppy paragraphing. Sorry, mates. I'd go back and edit, but OH GOD FLUID MECHANICS EVERYWHERE OH GOD ITS ALL OVER ME OH MAN THAT'S GROSS I GOT REYNOLD'S NUMBER UP MY NOSE AND KINEMATIC VISCOSITY DOWN MY PANTS GOD DAMN.
Quote:Originally Posted by Udo
M50 are not very comfortable, they have tight clamping force and small-ish ear cups for a circumaural headphone, padding is weak too. Seriously, trust me. SHURE 840 are far more comfortable. If you go to headfi.org you will see the owner of the site (Jude) reviewed the Shure 840 and he said they have the best soundstage of any closed headphone he has heard before. I don't know if that is true but that is what he said. He mentioned that because he said he generally is not a fan of closed headphones but he said he liked the 840 because they don't really sound like a closed headphone. They are good and probably the best new kid on the block headphone at that price point.
You can get the M50 for cheaper than the 840, and both are significantly superior to the 440 (which is incredibly uncomfortable due to the shallow earpads and hard plastic grill).
I found the 840 to be much more neutral than the M50. The M50 on my head right now is bassier than the A700 by an order of magnitude (exaggeration), and I think the sound stage is smaller. As far as sound stage goes, I think the A700 is pretty good already, especially for a closed can.
Comfort, of course, is not on the same level is the A700 or any of the Audio Technica designs with the 3D Wing. The clamping force isn't significant for me, but I don't exactly have a huge head either. If you're 6'4" and play handegg/tackleball/American football, they might not be the best choice for you. The earpads are much smaller and so is the hole for your ears. The hole itself is 2.5"x2", with a 2cm wide pad. You can see the shape in pictures. The pads aren't exceptionally thick, but they're enough even for my sideways-sticking ears. The material is what I believe to be a nice, soft pleather, that feels durable enough to be poked at by glasses. The top of the headband is "padded" but not sufficiently so; if you wear the headphones tight to your head, you'll feel it pressing on you up at the top. The cups get kind of hot but that might be the clothes I'm wearing combined with the weather here starting to warm up (since February actually). Isolation is pretty standard, and better than the A700 due to the tighter clamp. Leakage is minimal. The cool thing is that you can press the ear pads together, and that'll pretty much block any sound coming out.
In comparison, the 3D wing design has a large, spacious, and thick earpad, combined with little clamping force, and the padded pads at the top are just enough to keep the headphones on your head.
The M50 comes with a leatherette bag, and a screw on 1/4" adapter. The strain relief is a 1" long spring around the jack and is highly effective, I feel. My version is the coiled version, with an 5 ft cord (approx) that stretches up to 10 feet (by specs). The M50 can fold up to be shoved into that bag, and is on par in terms of compactness with most DJ phones that fold up (SRH840). The 840 does come with replacement ear pads and cable, on top of the bag and 1/4" adapter. Some say that the SRH840 offers little difference between the 440 other than comfort and nicer pads (all we know is that it's called the Stig).
The Shures typically go for about $150 USD. The M50s can be had for $90USD. Shipped to Canada, it was $110 CAD, plus another $16 in customs fee. Those wankers.
Keep in mind everything below is first impressions; I haven't had time to go between my A700s, MS1s, and assorted earphones (particularly the RE0) in depth nor between my sources. All music was at normal listening levels and roughly volume matched. Roughly.
The M50 has more bass than I expected; only a bit less than a pair of Westone 3s. Where the A700 was punchy but lighter without a lot of the boom, the M50 has a bit of both, and might overwhelm anybody but a bass head on heavy bass electronica. On one particular song with a heavy bass line, it feels like I'm standing next to those idiots with the Civics and a pair of 12" subwoofers in the trunk. With the trunk lid open. However, songs with a more moderate bass line sound just fine where the bass doesn't intrude (too much?) into the mids. Bass drums have a much more defining thump to them now, whereas with the A700 I'd hear a little "bmp". Bass guitar is easier to pick out now, but I find it can be mixed up with the bass drum depending on the song.
For some reason, the Auzentech Prelude was incredibly bassy on some songs. It wasn't so bad with the Clip or D2 Boa.
The mids are forward of the A700, which puts them to about normal if only a
little recessed. This makes it good for rock songs involving vocals, and guitars are a bit better. This doesn't affect electronica, I feel, as much. This section is a bit short because I haven't got much to comment here, as I feel mids are so varied it's hard to know what to compare it to.
Highs aren't as sharp as the A700s, which keeps the M50s away from what I like to call the sibilance point, where poorly mastered music likes to tear at your ears. Not that they can't; I've got a few songs where sh and ch sounds sound sharp, but not nearly as bad as on the A700. As a result, however, the cymbals aren't as clear in some songs.
Classical: Shamisen, Violin, Cello, Oboe concertos. No large scale pieces.
The first thing I'd like to note is that the Prelude made Vivaldi's Cello Concert in A minor 1 Allegro (RV420) sound incredibly bassy.
Now that I'm on my D2 Boa, it's no where near as bad. The cello is much louder on the M50 than the A700, and while it's nice to hear more, I'm not sure how accurate that is. On cello concertos, it's a little disconcerting, but on other concertos, it's nice to have the cello louder because I feel it lends to a greater sense of space which partially makes up for that loss of soundstage.
Violins stand forward much more than compared to A700 where you'd hear them, but upon hearing a headphone with forward mids, you could tell the A700 was lacking in the mids. I don't think the M50 is any where near the AKG K271 in terms of mids though. When I demoed a pair, the first thing that struck me was how the mids were so forward and the violins sang. However, when I demoed them, I had yet to hear a pair of M50s. Oboe, like the violin, becomes more forward and pronounced.
I don't really have anything that has highs in the classical/baroque genre.
In conclusion, the M50 is a fitting choice for studio work (which it is designed for) and for casual listening not for its neutrality, because it isn't, but for its naturalness, which is what I like to look for in headphones. I'm not exactly a bass head, but I'm not those hard wired neutral-seekers Head-Fi tends to breed. I just want a natural sound, and neutral is not that. If there's one complaint, it's that the bass is a little boomy for my tastes, and I'd like to tone that down a notch and add back some punch.
If you want a more detailed review with pictures, too bad. I might write one up in the summer along with my other headphones, especially if I build my Gamma1/CK2III. You'll probably find it on Head-Fi if I do write it. I'm considering cross posting this post to Head-Fi as well.HEAD FI EXCLUSIVE TEST: THE PUTIN TEST
The M50s failed on my head. (So do the AKG K141s...)