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The Audio Technica M50 studio monitor thread

post #1 of 1428
Thread Starter 

Well, here I am, listening to The Smiths 'Strangeways Here We Come' on my ATH-M50s, FLAC> WASAPI> uDac and it really just struck me how great these cans are.

I don't think they are the be all and end all. I don't think they are perfect for everyones taste. Yes they have a slightly elevated bass response, and the mids could be a little more forward. But I love the sound, its fun, non-fatiguing, a little warm with no shortage of shiny treble, detail and PRAT. Plus you can pick em up for around a hundred buckeroos. Whats not to like?

So I decided to start an appreciation thread.

I still turn to my MS1i's a fair bit, especially for rock, such as Weezer, Ryan Adams or anything with loads of fuzzy guitars, but as all-rounder cans, the M50s always put a smile on my face.

Oh they are way comfortable, block out sound and are semi-portable (such a long lead on the S version!) Did I also mention they look great?

Hopefully the head-fi hype machine won't blow these out of proportion. But I think they're pretty great.

post #2 of 1428
Yep, loving them as well! Great sound for the price
Weird your post has so little reactions but then again the forum is full of positive things about the AT-ATH M50
post #3 of 1428
Any idea how would the M50s fair for Electronica -Progressive House/Trance music ?

Iv'e been wanting to get a pair of nice cans for myself .Can't decide between the RX700/900,MS1i and now the M50 !
Mainly looking for good punchy bass , smooth musical (slightly warm/forward) midrange and a detailed treble which isn't very bright .
Sounstage is important as well .

The can would be paired with a uDAC / HiFiMan EF2A ,if that helps.
post #4 of 1428
Originally Posted by Faheem View Post
Any idea how would the M50s fair for Electronica -Progressive House/Trance music ?

Iv'e been wanting to get a pair of nice cans for myself .Can't decide between the RX700/900,MS1i and now the M50 !
Mainly looking for good punchy bass , smooth musical (slightly warm/forward) midrange and a detailed treble which isn't very bright .
Sounstage is important as well .

The can would be paired with a uDAC / HiFiMan EF2A ,if that helps.
I'd say it's the best for the sound signature you described out of those you mentioned.
post #5 of 1428
I love mine. Listen to a little of everything.

I use mine for trance and techno while I write code. Sounds great. Don't have much reference to your other choices though.

They do feel wonderful after a month or so of wearing them. There is some noticeable burn in on these too.
post #6 of 1428
I've asked this before on another thread, but I'll ask it again, here. Any idea how it compares to a Senn HD448?
post #7 of 1428
Great, owner of my cans and owner of my possible next ones in one person!
If you don't mind, I have some questions for you.
I love MS1 for instrumanal music. The texture and forwarness of guitars is inderdible (I didn't try High-End cans). The drums, from fast kick drum, through vibrant and energic snare to detailed crash, brrr...

But I'd like another ones, for electronic music.
The presentation on MS1 (comapred to eg. UR29, HD202, EP630 and CX300) is airy which in some cases is wanted. But for me, sometimes they're not dense enough.
The bass - the largest problem. MS1 do good when track is not heavy on bass. But for music built on the pulsating bassline they're too weak.
The stage. On Alessandros it sometimes happens. This is not obligatory, but larger stage would be nice.
The highs - on mine they can be little harsh. Smoother ones would sometimes fit better.
They don't have to be approved in terms of isolation for airports, but when friend turns on TV it's hard to listen to silent music.
For home use, connected to Prodigy 7.1hifi (they have HP amp).

Rock, classic, jazz would probably still be listend through Alessandros, so I look for something which would do better in electronica.
I was thinking about ATH-M50, Ultrasones 780 or Monster Turbines.

Thanks in advance
post #8 of 1428
Originally Posted by robjrock View Post
Well, here I am, listening to The Smiths 'Strangeways Here We Come' on my ATH-M50s, FLAC> WASAPI> uDac and it really just struck me how great these cans are. .
OK, but how does it do with "Meat is Murder?"
post #9 of 1428
I too love my m50's! the more i listen to them the more i like them. Myn are paired with a uDAC and FLAC files as well but they do sound great right out of my crappy laptop jack. Switching between these and my 702 is a really different experience, i almost have to give myself an hour of separation between switching to avoid being overwhelmed by the difference, not bad just different the only slight similarity between the two to my ears is the highs. Happy listening everybody and Woot for m50's! ps. these really didnt sound up to their full potential till i reached ~100 hours burn. take it for what its worth.
post #10 of 1428
Thread Starter 
Sorry I have no idea how they would compare to the hd448. I would say they sound different from the classic 'Sennheiser sound' - the treble is lively and the mids a little recessed.

Re: MS1 & electronica. M50s are better than Ms1s for electronic music. The M50s bass isn't as big as some people claim, but it has a lot more impact, thump and rumble. But be prepared they sound very different from Ms1s. More treble, more bass, less mids. Believe it or not I find my Ms1s to have better clarity and detail in the mids, and to a lesser extent the bass. M50s win for treble detail and bass satisfaction. MS1s sound a little more natural than the M50s, which have that typical Audio Technica hint of colour. All IMO opinion of course. M50s have a less fatiguing overall sound. I suppose since thru are studio monitors they're designed to be listening to for long periods of time.

Re: Meat is Murder. One of the truely great pleasures in life is dancing around like an idiot, singing along to the Headmaster Ritual with my M50s blasting away on my noggin. True story
post #11 of 1428
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.

Electronica Rock:

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.


The M50s failed on my head. (So do the AKG K141s...)
post #12 of 1428
Out of my 3 entry level phones @ the same price SRH440, HD555 and M50, M50 is clearly the winner. Awesome bass for the price, punchy, control and not roll off at low frequencies like SRH440. Smooth high but recessed mid. Don't need an amp to sound good.
post #13 of 1428
Absolutely love my new M50s. These are great all arounders that you can wear proudly! Great amounts of oomph and clarity, so much that I wouldn't dare spend another dime on better closed headphones. That's how happy I am with them.

I am also a person who finds 99% of all headphones uncomfortable. The M50s belong with the 1%. They are absolutely the most comfortable headphones I have tried on, even more the than winged AT variants. Comfort for me is not just how they feel on the ears, but how they FIT on your head, and their ability to NOT slide around with some head bobbin'. My AD700s were so loose that they became uncomfortable. The M50s clamp isn't hurtful, and the pads feel sooo good on my head.

Until I get my DT880s (needed open headphones as a replacement for the AD700s for gaming), the M50s are definitely my absolute fave headphones.

Hell, the bass is so good that it doesn't distort with my little Fiio E5s Bass Boost. That's another win for the M50s.
post #14 of 1428
Yeppers. Love the M50s as well! Great headphone.
post #15 of 1428
I'm so freaking tempted to pick up a pair of these for portable use. My search for a new portable solution so far has left me frustrated with how over crowded the IEM market is right now. Competition is a good thing but my god.. there are so many crap IEM's and FOTM's out there.

I know this is an appreciation thread but I have to ask. Is there any other portable full size headphone worth getting over the M50's?

- Budget is $200
- Has to be closed back
- Decent sound unamped
- Build quality that will out live any IEM
- I listen to EVERYTHING so an all arounder like the M50's would be nice

Feel free to talk me into getting the M50's. Like I said, I'm pretty close to pulling the trigger on these even if they fall under my budget. AT seems to have got it right with these.
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