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What can a ATH-M50 user can expect from upgrade?

post #1 of 4
Thread Starter 

What can a ATH-M50 user can expect from upgrade?  I'm currently, very happy with my music coming out of M50 from iPad.  To my ears, it's at least matching Harman-Kardon system I used to have, although not quite to the level of Rotel and B&W that I have.


I'm planning on upgrading to Little Dot DAC and MKIVSE plus either AD900 or HD600.  That's easily additional grand in cost.  So, in practice, what kind of improvements can I expect out of this setup compared to what I have?


I listen to classical, new age, acoustics, and some pop musics mixed in.  I like M50's bass and low mid-range, although I'm no basshead.  While I appreciate detail, soundstage is important to me; hence I love my livingroom setup: airy B&W sound.

post #2 of 4
Thread Starter 


post #3 of 4

Well, one of the complaints that some M50 owners have is that its treble is slightly metallic, such as when listening to drum cymbals. It has that etched sound that's likely due to a narrow band emphasis in the treble region. It doesn't mean that higher-end headphones all don't have that issue, since even something as expensive as the Stax 007mkII has a similar issue (though the emphasis is higher up in the frequency range). So it's not necessarily spending more to address that issue, but simply finding a pair of headphones that have a more natural sounding treble, while retaining all that you love about the M50.


Another criticism of the M50 is that its bass is slightly over-emphasized, as well as a tad slower in transient response. Again, you don't necessarily have to spend more to address this.


Some also find the M50's mid-range a bit overly lush as well.


To date, of all the headphones I have owned and auditioned, I would say the LCD-2 is the one that does everything better than the M50. Its upper-mid range is slightly recessed, but that's often a good thing for those that don't like a fatiguing sound. The LCD-2 is one of the most non-fatiguing headphones I've ever heard, and that is extremely rare, considering how detailed and full-bodied it is.

post #4 of 4

Well... you can go several ways and many would be an upgrade.


I think going with the HD600, you may miss some of the bass and lower mid punch, as well as the bright crisp highs, but you'll get a much finer sound. The HD600 is beautiful and lush. I certainly would recommend them for classical and acoustic. The issue I had with them was they seemed rolled-off slightly in the highs, and I didn't get that áir' I needed. But many think that 'brightness' is overrated and you may feel the same. It's personal preference, and you should certainly hear these as they are otherwise very good.


The AD900's will give you the áir', as they seem very good in the upper registers (from what I remember...), but lack the low end or the lush, full sound.


Remember, these are open cans, so the entire experience will be very different.


You might think about going for the D2000 if you're limited in resources, or D7000 if you are not. These are both closed cans with 'similarities' to the M50 in overall signature. Either way, you'll improve on the M50 in some ways with the D2000, and greatly in every way with the D7000.

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