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n00b ATH-M50 Impressions

post #1 of 27
Thread Starter 

 

Got a pair of these for $70 used on CL so I gave them a shot.  The guy said he used them for about 40 hours, and I've got another 15 or so on them thus far.  Most of the listening has been done on my computer, running whatever onboard sound comes with the  nForce4 chipset through a 280W Onkyo home theatre amp from the 80s.  I initially ran them through my receiver, but got zero bass out of them that way for some reason.
 
For studio headphones that retail at $200, I was expecting more.  They didn't sound $180 better than the junk headphones I'd been using before.  A lot of that impression likely came from the receiver they were plugged into – I was getting zero bass out of them and didn't understand where the reviews of them having decent bass were coming from.  I plugged them into my Sansa and got better bass out of it than I was getting out to the receiver.  It puts decent bass through the speakers plugged into it, which alerted me to the problem.  I have no idea why I'm not getting bass out of the old stereo receiver.  I get decently punchy bass out of the Onkyo amplifier.
 
For construction these are well built.  They fit comfortably over my ears which has been a challenge with some headphones in the past.  The metal headband seems extremely durable, I doubt anyone could break it without trying.  The padding under it should alleviate any pain caused by the metal.  
 
I primarily listen to eurobeat, trance, power metal and rock so have spent most of my listening to those.  For the most part my preference for using these phones for those genres of music goes in that order as well.  They do pretty well with eurobeat and do best when there is a strong contrast between the bass and treble; anything from E-Rotic demonstrates this quite well.  Male vocals are especially pronounced and sound quite good.  Teddy Boy and Dave Rodgers sound much better than they should.  There can be problems with female vocals though.  Cherry/Vanessa/Terry Gordon/Clara Moroni's 10,000 other aliases really tends to get drowned out if you don't go out of your way to reduce the bass.  On the trance side Groove Coverage sounds very good on these, and the vocals do not get drown out the way Moroni's do.
 
One thing I found surprising is that “My Immortal” by Evanescence sounds heinously anus.  I don't know to describe it in audiophile, but it's the same kind of awful sound that cheap car speakers make when they're blown.  I put the CD in my Pioneer Laserative, plugged the phones directly into it and got the same thing.  There is a similar effect at the beginning of the Sonata Arctica version of “Still Loving You” although it is not as pronounced.  The bass in “Awake and Alive” by Skillet is highly muddled, but “Monster” from the same album with considerably more bass isn't nearly as muddled, but still enough for me to complain about.  Perhaps these issues will go away as I use the headphones more.  They require anywhere from 0-100 hours burn in, based on what I've read here.
 
To really push my nerdorm, the DJ Finish Him remix of the Phantasy Star theme sounds a million  times better than it has any right to, and the bass does not get muddled in the least bit, despite being much lower than songs these phones had issues with. 
 
My rap listening is pretty minimal, just a few tracks for nostalgia purposes.  The few Eminem, Dre and 2Pac songs I put through these sounded fine.  Nothing overly muddled or overly punchy, it was just kinda there.  "Baby Got Back" and "Ninja Rap" OTOH sounded great.
 
I'll be happy with these for the money if they don't crap out in a year like every other pair of headphones I've owned.  Assuming they last I'll likely be satisfied with them in the long run.  They sound a lot better than everything I demoed at Best Buy and Radio Shack.  As long as they're $90 new on eBay it seems like the best deal going for now. 
post #2 of 27

thanks for your impressions and enjoy your new M50.

i got mine also a week ago,but in contrast to you I didn't find as much  faults as you did. they sound very balanced in the midrange and highs and only slightly amphasized in the low bass but it is far from being muddy or something like that...I think you should improve your system,by all the reviews they are very much source dependent. 

all my listening are made through my headroom ultra micro stack,no mudd there sir!

 

by the way..i don't know most music you mentioned in your thread,but evenesence don't sound so good to me anyway.


Edited by plonter - 5/12/10 at 9:58pm
post #3 of 27

Let me first say that Ive never had a pair of decent cans, so maybe this is just me.
I just bought some m50's yesterday, and i have maybe 10 hours on them. I can't find anything that i don't like about these! They're amazing! o_O
I've been listening to only bass heavy music, like: Dubstep,  electro, happy hardcore, hardstyle, etc. The bass has impressed me so much! :D Can't wait till i burn them in some more - they say the bass improves with burn-in, but i wouldn't mind if it didn't, because they sound great! The build is amazing on these, my favorite thing is the metal spring they put at the end of the chord. With my last pair of crappy headphones, i had a problem where the Jack got detached from the chord. LMFAO!  My only complaint is that they're a little plain, but, hey - maybe people like that.  oh, and nice deal man! I got mine brand new for 110$ USD.

Anyway, enjoy your new phones! I know i am...
 


Edited by erosx - 5/12/10 at 10:18pm
post #4 of 27

How does power metal you mentioned sound on them?

post #5 of 27

 

Quote:
For studio headphones that retail at $200, I was expecting more.  They didn't sound $180 better than the junk headphones I'd been using before.  A lot of that impression likely came from the receiver they were plugged into – I was getting zero bass out of them and didn't understand where the reviews of them having decent bass were coming from.

 

I know headphone is so subjective but your statement is the weirdest one I've seen. No offense by any mean. It's just totally different from 99.99% other people, including me, often say about M50

post #6 of 27

Exactly, if this isn't bass oriented......

 

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I think Newb must of got a defective pair tbh. Even bright sounding recievers can't mask a bass oriented headphone that well.

post #7 of 27

No matter how you amped the M50, saying it don't have bass is like saying Kim Kardashian don't have butt.

post #8 of 27

and i'm a (b)ass man. 


Edited by TheWuss - 5/13/10 at 12:36am
post #9 of 27

Give burn-in a chance (psychological and/or physical), and if you're not already doing this do use higher quality (aka lossless) audio files...

Unlike you and sharing similar experiences with many other m50 owners I was very happy with my m50s out of the box, and to my pleasant surprise they sound considerably better for me after approx. 50+ hours burning-in (tighter, more controlled bass etc).

Your case sure is a rare one, the first where I heard someone finding so many faults at first listen. Perhaps a defective pair indeed.

 

Ultimately though, trust your own ears. No amount of superlatives can make you enjoy a pair of headphones that your very own ears cannot agree with

post #10 of 27
Thread Starter 

Most of the power metal sounds really good.  The vocal disc from Nightwish's Dark Passion Play album is incredible, but I had to turn the bass down on the amp.  The original recording seems to have a lot of bass in it already.  Their older stuff with the first lead singer is even better.  "End of All Hope," "Ever Dream," and "The Phantom of the Opera" are off the charts awesome.  Most of the Sonata Arctica stuff I played came out all right, "Tallulah" really shines.  Even their subpar cover of "Over the Hills and Far Away" sounds great on these.  Other power metal favorites of mine that sound quite good are "Emerald Sword" from Rhapsody (ungodly amazing if you're listing from the CD), "Freedom" from Stratovarius not to mention "Glory Tonight" and "Far Away" by Power Quest.  I don't have many full album CDs from Sonata Arctica to compare, but based on how their MP3s sound it seems like they're pretty hit-and-miss with these headphones.  Aside from that, which is letdown as a big fan of theirs, these seem fine for power metal.

 

No offense taken SillyHoney.  My disappointment could also come from unrealistic expectations.  I hate Bose, people here hate Bose.  I hate Dre headphones, people here hate Dre headphones.  Based on that, anything people here say is awesome I assumed would completely blow me away, not being a trained hardcore audiophile by any means.  I was probably expecting the sound that actually comes from $500 headphones because I would assume audiophile standards to be much stricter than mine.          

post #11 of 27
Thread Starter 

More posts came in while I was typing.  I didn't mean to imply that it doesn't have any bass, the bass hits a lot harder now that it isn't plugged into that receiver.  It just doesn't make sense that I wasn't getting bass out of a the receiver, and since it went on for about 5 hours before I isolated that as the cause it left a bad taste in my mouth.  It certainly has bass plugged into the home theatre-style amp and Sansa.

 

For testing purposes I've been using CDs, with the exception of the Skillet songs which are 320kbps MP3s.  

 

post #12 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by Newb View Post

More posts came in while I was typing.  I didn't mean to imply that it doesn't have any bass, the bass hits a lot harder now that it isn't plugged into that receiver.  It just doesn't make sense that I wasn't getting bass out of a the receiver, and since it went on for about 5 hours before I isolated that as the cause it left a bad taste in my mouth.  It certainly has bass plugged into the home theatre-style amp and Sansa.

 

For testing purposes I've been using CDs, with the exception of the Skillet songs which are 320kbps MP3s.  

 

Do you get bass out of that receiver when using your old phones?
 

post #13 of 27

Are the M50 fussy about higher impedance headphone outs?  It could be an impedance mismatch misinteraction going on that is taking away the bass.

 

Older (and some new) integrated amps would run the headphone jack from a resistor network from the main power amp.  That kind of setup usually results in a rather high output impedance at the headphone jack.  The output impedance could be 120 ohms or more.  Maybe the M50 don't like that with the particular impedance curve of your integrated amp.

post #14 of 27

Very strange. While I do agree that the M50s do sound a bit like a cheap car sub setup -- quite congested, minimal soundstage -- they shouldn't sound horrible with anything, and I threw everything I had at these cans for the whole year I had them. They are a very good set especially at the ~$100 price point. Hard to beat for a closed portable under $100 actually.

post #15 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ham Sandwich View Post

Are the M50 fussy about higher impedance headphone outs?  It could be an impedance mismatch misinteraction going on that is taking away the bass.

 

Older (and some new) integrated amps would run the headphone jack from a resistor network from the main power amp.  That kind of setup usually results in a rather high output impedance at the headphone jack.  The output impedance could be 120 ohms or more.  Maybe the M50 don't like that with the particular impedance curve of your integrated amp.


I can confirm that the M50s are perfectly fine with high impedance headphone outs. Was using them on a Marantz 1090, a set that runs 300 ohm cans like the HD650 perfectly.

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