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Beats Pro vs ATH-M50 Review

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 

I joined the forum so I could share my experience with the Beats by dr.dre Pro and the Audio-Technica ATH-M50's.


Beats by dr.dre pro - (cost me £280 but RRP is £350)





Audio-Technica ATH-M50- (cost me £70 but RRP is £130+)





I have owned the Beats Pro's for quite a while and have always enjoyed listening to them. Recently though I decided to buy some M50's to see if they are really as good as people on here say they are. Well tonight they arrived and I'm listening to them now, I got them at a good price used because they were the model on show at a shop (so they should already be well broken in). Now these are obviously a lot cheaper than the RRP of £350 for Beats Pro so going from the price alone they shouldn't stand much chance right? Well as most of you on head-fi probably know, they do actually compare! I'm not going to start talking about mid's/high's/lows/soundstage etc because I'd probably be talking crap, I'm no audiophile. However I can describe how they compare in my own way...


First of all the Pro's no doubt win in the bass category, which I'm sure you are all expecting anyway. And for me the bass is very important. When listening to Three 6 Mafia with the Pro's you can feel the bass right through your skull and the headphones are vibrating away like mad. But surprisingly with the M50's it's like the bass in that song just isn't there? Even after playing around with an EQ I still couldn't get the M50's to bring out the bass in that song.


But moving on from the bass which the M50's were never going to be the best at being reference headphones, they seem to play a lot of songs almost identical to the Pro's. I honestly can't believe how similar they sound forgetting about the bass. They sound a bit more balanced than the Pro's which is great for some songs that I listen to. Being more balanced and not having such aggressive bass/treble, it allows the M50's to play some sounds a lot more clearly and accurate. I'm finding quite a few random sounds in songs that I have never really noticed so much with the Pro's as the bass most likely covered it up.


For build quality and looks, the Pro's obliterate the M50's. The Pro's aluminium/leather design is stunning and they feel like they could last forever and take a huge beating. The M50's just don't do much for me appearance wise and they don't feel half as sturdy or well built as the Pro's. Comfort is an odd one, when I first got the Pro's they felt heavy and put quite a bit of pressure on my head. But after a while, whether it be because they loosened up or I got used to them - they feel great! I can wear them for hours on end without any problems. My first thoughts of the M50's are that they are incredibly lightweight and don't add hardly any pressure to the head but for some reason I just prefer having the Pro's on my head and I can't put my finger on why.


I have come to the conclusion that the Beats Pro's could be M50's but the M50's couldn't be Pro's. What I mean by that is, you can change the EQ of the Pro's to make the bass less powerful and bring out more detail from the songs (effectively turning them into reference headphones) but you can't really give the M50's more aggressive bass/treble so you can thump out some great dance/dubstep/electronic/hip-hop songs, it's just a much more better listening experience with the Pro's for them types of categories no matter what you do with the EQ on M50's. Don't get me wrong; the M50's do have bass but in comparison to the Pro's they are on completely different levels.


But honestly I am more than impressed with the M50's, for such a lower price they are almost on par with the Pro's depending on your personal listening preference. If you are reading this and are thinking of purchasing some Beats headphones soon, whether it be the Solo's/Studios/Pro's then you have to try the M50's first to get some headphones for less than half the price with similar sound quality (if not better for the solo's/studios).


Also this review is a good read comparing the Beats Pro's to the likes of similarly priced Grado's and other stuff like P5's.




Thanks for reading!


Edited by Subliminal - 9/9/11 at 3:39pm
post #2 of 10

Thanks for posting this.  When I was first getting into headphone listening I had the entire wall of 50+ headphones at headroom to audition and the M50's for the price still amaze me.  I think I purchased mine for $99 and still enjoy them.  I go back to them if I try a new headphone in the $100 range just to check if they hold ground against the M50.


It is nice to read that the Dre Pros are built well.  The lower end Beats are well known for breakage.


At the $300 - $400 area which is where the Dre Beats and Pro lie you get into some seriously nice cans.  The AH-D2000 is a perfect example.  They are even less expensive than the Dre Pros and to many sound amazing.  The AKG K701 and Q701 as well as the ATH-AD900.

post #3 of 10

I've tried out the M50 when I still had my Solo HDs and I agree with you. You really need to eq it to get the bass. I feel the better headphones to compare against any Beats would be the Ultrasone HFI 580 or the Beyerdynamic DT 770 Pro. 

post #4 of 10

To the OP, 


thank you for the review. I can imagine how much bass the Dr. Dre has from reading your review. 


However, I just want to point out that the reason for the M50 being not as bassy is because it was made to be a studio monitoring headphones (and still people consider them to be on the bass heavy side.), compared to the hip-hop branded Dr. Dre headphones that emphasizes the bass, that's perfect to you, but a bit overwhelming to others in the community =). 

post #5 of 10

The M50s definitely have some extended low bass-- even the white boxed version.  You might be mistaking visceral qualities and vibration of the headphone for the actual sound level the headphone produces.  It is true though, the M50s can reproduce a lot of bass volume, but they aren't that impactful.  If the headphone's just vibrating on your head though, that sometimes says more about the build quality of the headphone than the impact of the bass, as well as the headphone having unnecessary reverb.  I actually found the Studio Beats to not extend as low, and the Beats Pro as well, but they do definitely win on the impact department.  (The beats have immense midbass impact, which is probably what you're talking about)

Edited by TMRaven - 9/9/11 at 8:47pm
post #6 of 10

Personally, I think the Pro is superior to the M50, but when comparing $350 to $150 the improvements are just not worth the extra $200.

post #7 of 10
Thread Starter 

I think the main thing that keeps me wanting to listen to the Pro's over the M50's is all the energy the Pro's have, they also have a much warmer sound and it makes the M50's boring in comparison to listen to.

post #8 of 10

Can't be warmer if they have more treble (energy?), The correct term is Brighter. I think you're just accustomed to the Beats' overly U shaped response (accesntuated bass and treble regions) so you find the more blanced M50's as lacking in these areas. It's like listening in a loud volume level and then going down slightly, at first it seems too dull but after a few minutes your hearing is adjusting itself to the lower level, and you actually hear some things you missed when it was too loud.

post #9 of 10
Originally Posted by crinacle View Post

Personally, I think the Pro is superior to the M50, but when comparing $350 to $150 the improvements are just not worth the extra $200.

I completely agree with this statement.

post #10 of 10

Not that surprising, since everything best beats, except iBuds.

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