Just look at that beast
The first things that stood out superior right out the box compared to the M50 - detachable cables (any standard 3.5mm cables will fit into the slot, awesome), sensitivity of 106db versus M50's 99db (got my headroom much quicker, love it), and the fact that it has tons of deep bass, which I'm sure will come out full titanic force after burn-in. Interestingly, it is a touch heavier than the M50, but smaller in overall size. It also feels sturdier and higher quality too. The headband, though smaller in size (no doubt it's clampy - I stretched it like Yoga), feels beefier and the adjustments to it feel even more solid compared to the M50. Initial results were overwhelmingly positive. Sound characteristics after a 50 hour burn-in below, but here is some Mike & Ike's eye-candy
Durability is fantastic. It is definitely tighter in the headband compared to the M50, these will need some more serious stretching. The cups swivel and rotate in the same fashion as the M50's. The cups are round and a little smaller in overall size compared to the M50's more oval shape. Headphone padding is not as thick as the M50's as well.
The treble sounds somewhat identical to the M50's, quick, defined and crisp like deep-fried potato wedges. However, it doesn't match the sparkle that the M50's have in the mids and the highs. What I mean is that the phones are "darker" in the mids and highs, where music will sometimes sound a little stale up there. In addition, there is a slight metallic-like edgy sound added to the mids and the lower trebles, so this might offend some, but didn't bother me much. It is also a little less prominent on the lower trebs (like the M50) and so I boosted the 8K range a little bit. Yet, there is a touch more detail up there compared to the M50's. Probably due to the extended treble frequency, but the highs are nonetheless decent and will bring justice to any genre.
The midrange is nicely appointed. Smooth, with great imaging and detail. There is more black between the notes compared to the M50's, which gives off an even greater imaging effect. However I gave the 4K range a little boost as well to give it more fullness. The upper mids are a little recessed as well just like the M50's. At high volumes, the sound in the mids seem to blare a little with the stock MK2 pads. Switch them out with the M50's and the blare is gone. In fact, it sounds better overall with no cons with the M50 pads vs. the MK2 pads. Swap them immediately, even though the M50 pads aren't a stable fit (they can rotate on the cup) they are secure enough that they don't pop off unless intentionally. Since it is designed for DJ's, I do understand the need for having the driver close to the eardrum with the shallow MK2 pads, so this is not necessarily a con that the stock pads feel and sound this way.
The bass. Man. Bowel-hitting. The bass has robbed the bank and dropped some change for me as well! Incredible presence is jiggling the cups on my dome. It is fantastically deep and has authority like a disturbed rhino. The bass is ridiculously satisfying and hits like a shot of Bacardi 151. Seriously, if you love bass, your plate is full - and that includes dessert. It doesn't distort at high volumes either and amazingly doesn't stomp the daylights out the mids and highs. From top to bottom, these are full and engaging. Yup, fresh out the pen and sittin' on monster swoll, these have more low note crunch than any headphone that I've owned (case in point : D2000, M50, DT990). If you don't like bass, steer clear of the LZ!
Soundstage is surprisingly larger than the M50's as well. It is larger in width, but not much more in height. In addition, it sounds more 3D, like the A700. This may be because of the 53mm drivers on these beasts compared to the M50's 45mm. It does very well when it comes to games, but movie soundtracks - man, that's where the party's at. These are downright fantastic for movies (with M50 pads). The soundstage feels larger than the cups themselves and seems to come from outside, and from all angles like a geometry test. It can handle the entire dynamic range of all films (especially Blu-Ray) with aplomb and will leave the listener grinning from ear to ear.
Detail retrieval is fantastic as well. Same line as the M50's. Instruments like the piano and drums sound very natural. Singers and voices come through very clear and fresh-sounding.
Isolation is great, far better than the M50's. Leakage is also greatly controlled, even at high volumes, the sound level is minor to those who are nearby. This is also superior to the M50's and the best that I've seen yet from an over-ear closed-back.
These are certainly one of my favorite cans! If you want clear sound with elephant-crushing bass combined with that crisp Audio Technica sound sig, pick these up!
Audio Technica ATH-PRO700MK2 = 20lbs. steak, beef, and bass on your plate.
Max sound level before distorting - 118db
The M50 pads do fit!!! They also offer far superior comfort! With a little stretching, the MK2's are just as comfortable as the stock M50's. The midrange blare mentioned earlier as well disappeared due to there being more cushioning in the M50 pads vs. the MK2 pads. Don't mean to be blunt, but the MK2 pads suck! Here are some photos...
Here are some comparison shots between the circular MK2's pads vs. oval M50 pads...
The sound, once again with the M50 pads is superior! Midrange is a touch smoother, soundstage is virtually the same but is a little more focused. The bass hits the sweet spot! Man I love this headphone!
* Just cuz I'm daring, I also decided to see how the sound and comfort would be with the Beyer velours. I yanked them off my DT990 32ohm and semi-attached them to the cups of the MK2. The lip to wrap around the cups is a touch larger in diameter. You can get them on, but they won't be secure and would easily slip off. You can however easily remedy this by attaching tape, velcro, or whatever you want. Bottom line is that you can have velours if you want, but you will need some sort of adhesive. The MK2's are so versatile, I honestly believe whatever material or headphone padding you want can be applied.
Here are some shots of the "half" attached velours...
The comfort with the velours reminded me of my long gone DT770 Pro 80ohm. Same amount of pressure and feel, yet still very comfortable with these pads. The sound, was interesting... I found that it made it brighter in the highs a little, and mids had a little less body, but the real kicker was the bass. She disappeared! About 35% of the impact went completely out the window. Some may favor this trait though if they want the comfort of the velours but the sound character will change dramatically. For better or worse depends on you. I personally don't like it.
9/17/11 UPDATE - Beyerdynamic DT250 pads
First of all, the velours sound great. The sound has very minor effects. It is similar to the sound changes the M50's add but the velours tightens up the bass a bit, mids remain the same, and the highs are a touch brighter. With all this said, without a doubt, if you want the comfort of the velours with a far less chance of sweat building up without messing with the characteristics of the MK2's, then these are THE pads.
Edited by GN3RAL KARL - 1/27/12 at 4:03pm