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Challenge: M60

post #1 of 28
Thread Starter 

So, I've been lurking on this site for quite some time but decided to break radio silence. The reason is the Audio Technica ATH-M50 headphone. It seems it is working it's way into every recommendation of sub 200$ closed headphones (quite a big category, mind you). It is referenced in reviews and talked about by my friends.

 

At first I was impressed, I listened to them at a friends place, and they sound great. Balanced in all/most aspects and not too pricey.

Now I'm almost annoyed at how perfect they seem to be.

 

My question is: Are the M50's the end all/be all headphone in its class? Is it impossible to find similar all-round qualities, punch, soundstage without paying 5 times as much for t5p or Edition 8?

 

Is there nothing in between? Please help me, lead me to that unfound "m60" smily_headphones1.gif

post #2 of 28

Many would recommend the SRH840 as an alternative. They have their qualities and are a fair bit more 'neutral', not as warm and coloured as the M50, but to my ears, not as enjoyable either.

The AH-D2000 is another alternate, especially if you are looking for something even more 'U' shaped in FR.

 

Of course you can probably find the D5000 for under 5x the cost of the M50.

 

(BTW... I assumed you want a 'closed back' alternate)

post #3 of 28

M50 is a decent headphone for the price. In that price range, I personally prefer Shure SRH440 and M-Audio Q40. If you don't mind in ear headphones, then the $79 Hifiman RE0 is several leagues above M50 in sound quality.

post #4 of 28

Quote:

Originally Posted by shane55 View Post

The AH-D2000 is another alternate, especially if you are looking for something even more 'U' shaped in FR.


The AH-D2000s sound more neutral to me than the M50s, which had more bass and harsher highs. In fact, I'd say the D2000s are a step up from the M50s in almost every way.

post #5 of 28
Thread Starter 

Oh, really didn't think about the Denon range redface.gif I guess AH-D2000 would be a considerable mid-end upgrade.

I have my doubts about the SRH840 - Haven't heard them but it seems to me there is an overweight of people thinking the M50 bests it by a margin in most aspects.

Yesterday I was pointed in the direction of the TMA-1 . It seems they challenge the overall capabilities of the m50 - albeit with an even denser/warmer sound signature.

http://www.head-fi.org/forum/thread/526956/head-to-head-aiaiai-tma-1-vs-audio-technica-ath-m50-tma-1-review

 

Maybe I should just be happy for Audio Techninca that they made such a succesful product, and happy for us consumers that there is in fact a lot of value/sq to be had for the price range.

Thanks for the replies guys.

post #6 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pianist View Post

M50 is a decent headphone for the price. In that price range, I personally prefer Shure SRH440 and M-Audio Q40. If you don't mind in ear headphones, then the $79 Hifiman RE0 is several leagues above M50 in sound quality.



The RE0 is nowhere near as fun as the M50 either.

post #7 of 28

I like the Q40 better as well.  Basslines are too prominent on the M50.  There's too much focus on the lower mids and lower frequencies on the M50, such that it disrupts the spectrum.  The Q40 has better staging as well, IMO.  I'm listening to both right now, on a track with a female singer.  The focus should be on the vocals as it's a romantic type of song, but that damn electric bass guitar won't get out of the way.  At the same time, the vocals are pushed too forward.  There are other instruments (piano, drums, etc.), but I hear mostly the vocals, the lower resonances of the voice, and the bass guitar plucking away.  I need to concentrate to hear the other parts.

 

With the Q40, everyone backs up about 5 feet with better tonal balance.

 

In your price range there is also the K271 and the DT660, but they are on the brighter side of things.

post #8 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mad Lust Envy View Post

The RE0 is nowhere near as fun as the M50 either.


That's debatable. I personally find M50 quite bland and schematic sounding. I find RE0 to be much more resolving, cleaner, more refined, more neutral, faster, and more natural overall than M50 by a good margin. M50 has a deep bass presence that RE0 lacks, but that is not critical for me since I don't listen to much bass oriented music. For acoustic/instrumental, classical, jazz, rock, pop and blues I find RE0 very much superior to M50 in just about every way.

post #9 of 28

I liked the RE0, but I thought it was too bright and not enough bass.  It was just tilted towards the treble a little.  Though it was done in a very linear and natural way, it didn't seem peaky at all, just leaning upwards so to speak, like a diagonal line. 

post #10 of 28

Quote:

 

Originally Posted by hans030390 View Post


The AH-D2000s sound more neutral to me than the M50s, which had more bass and harsher highs. In fact, I'd say the D2000s are a step up from the M50s in almost every way.


I disagree, The D2000 I owned is even more U-shaped than the M50 and had harsher highs and more cavernous bass. The D2000 are an improvement over the M50 in some areas, but certainly not balanced tonality. I still prefer the M50 due to my preference for a less U-curved headphones. 

 

The M50 is NOT a perfect headphone. If you think it's perfect, it is because the hype and frequent recommendations make you think so. The beauty of the M50 is its fairly balanced and very versatile sound, but can be easily argued that there are better headphones depending on listener's preference, such as Shures, HD25, D2000. 

 

The M50 is also outclassed by many properly amped $200+ headphones. Some of my friends who love the M50s to death upgraded to HD650 or HD600.

post #11 of 28

Quote:

Originally Posted by glac1er View Post

Quote:

 

Originally Posted by hans030390 View Post


The AH-D2000s sound more neutral to me than the M50s, which had more bass and harsher highs. In fact, I'd say the D2000s are a step up from the M50s in almost every way.


I disagree, The D2000 I owned is even more U-shaped than the M50 and had harsher highs and more cavernous bass. The D2000 are an improvement over the M50 in some areas, but certainly not balanced tonality. I still prefer the M50 due to my preference for a less U-curved headphones. 


Interesting that you think that. I was about to go compare the frequency response graphs of the headphones from Headroom, but for some reason the D2000 graph has disappeared! However, I remember that the M50s have a bigger bass boost on the graph than the D2000s do, which are extremely flat up until 1Khz or so. Either way, they both have a slight mid-range dip, and if my memory recollection is correct, the M50s have a bigger dip in the grand scheme of things. I know the graphs aren't everything, but it mimics what I've heard.

 

I wonder what might be contributing to the differences we've heard in these headphones. At times, the D2000s can be brighter than the M50s, but the M50s always had metallic sounding treble to me. The D2000s sound smooth, like what I hear from a silk vs aluminum tweeter. The M50s always had more bass for me, though. I was honestly expecting a bloated bass-monster when I got the D2000s, but I have yet to experience that. Maybe it's my source(s)? I've only listened to them out of my S:Flo 2 and X-Fi HD USB external sound card. I've heard the source and amping can really change the D2000s sound for the better, but it seems like the M50s don't benefit nearly as much as the D2000s with really nice sources and amps (FWIR and personal experience). They sounded more or less the same out of my iPod, S:Flo 2, Xonar DX, etc.

 

It could also be the version of the M50s I had. I've heard they went through a revision, and I don't know if I had the older or newer model. Either way, as a whole the D2000s sound more natural and balanced than my M50s ever did. They also have a nice soundstage and good imaging, where as the M50s sounded more claustrophobic/congested in comparison. The D2000s also just have more depth/texture/layering to the sound than the M50s as well. At least, this has been my experience, and that's all that really matters when it comes to personal audio equipment!

post #12 of 28

hello all!....first post!...just received a pair of M50 after much reviews i decided to take the plunge...not disappointed a bit...yoyo ma never sounded this good...fit is perfect, very comfortable...two thumbs up!

post #13 of 28

I forgot to mention the Beyerdynamic DT150.  They are my favorite closed phone so far, and I believe they are $200 to fit the criteria.  I have not heard the Shure SRH-840.  The DT150 have good balance and soundstage.  They are not perfect, but they are very good.  Fit is a bit awkward, but otherwise good.

post #14 of 28

The DT 150s are stupidly good.  But the D2000s are also good.  Their brother, the D5000s, are a bit warmer.

post #15 of 28

D2000 are OK.  A bit lacking in the midrange, but aside from that, they are over $200.

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