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Sub-$200: Audio-Technica ATH-M50S or Sennheiser HD 598 - Page 4

post #46 of 63
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nepenthe View Post

Is that the one that is based on the D1001? Is it a rebadged carbon copy or are there some differences from the D1001?

 

I probably would skip the amp for the M50 in the $30 range. I believe they do best with near-zero output impedance and decent current. A colored, tubed, or high output impedance amp would probably be detrimental to the low impedance M50, in fact. They should be okay out of a portable.


Yes, that is the rebadged, and slightly improved Denon D1001 (everyone I've read that has heard both comes away saying the CAL sounds better).
post #47 of 63

Just thought I'd post this.

 

http://www.headphone.com/learning-center/build-a-graph.php?graphID[0]=1473&graphID[1]=913&graphID[2]=2851&graphID[3]=3241&graphType=3&buttonSelection=Compare+Headphones

 

Comparison of the bass square wave response between the three, with the HE-500 as reference. The M50 has a much more stout and accurate representation of the waveform, much closer to the HE-500f. The 598 and 840 crap out in various ways...

post #48 of 63
Originally Posted by Mad Lust Envy View Post
Yes, that is the rebadged, and slightly improved Denon D1001 (everyone I've read that has heard both comes away saying the CAL sounds better).

Ah, in that case, yes more laid back, more "smoky" midrange is how I've always described it. It's nice and non-fatiguing and the bass is actually decently respectable (as I mentioned, better than the 840), but there's definitely a bit of a veil over some of the details compared to the M50. But the fact I've hung on to the D1001 speaks to its "barely there" comfort and smooth sound.

 

However, I happen to think non-fatiguing and polite/lack of details is pretty great for work purposes (where, presumably, you're concentrating on things other than the music sometimes). If only the isolation were [a lot] better...

 

Anyway, it's a quality set of headphones and I enjoyed many new albums in the past years while listening to them.

post #49 of 63
FWIR, the CAL is a hint clearer than the D1001, which is why people prefer it. I never got a 'veiled' impression after owning it for awhile, and I tend to be quite harsh on cans that sound veiled.
post #50 of 63
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mad Lust Envy View Post

I think you should look elsewhere. They're good, but not $150 good. For half that price, a pair of Creative Aurvana Live (when it's around $70) will wow you as much as the M50s. Seriously, they are comparable. The CAL: is even more comfy, and lighter, though they don't keep outside noise from coming in, though they don't leak much.
As for the HD598, they're bordering on bass light to me. Just ever so slightly. And I know the M50 is bass emphasized, that's part of their charm. Lots of beginners go with the M50s because they are all rounders while maintaining bass. The HD598 is analytical, and not that musical, IMHO.


I disagree on the CAL! vs M50 part, quite a bit.

 

The CAL doesn't do bass very well without starting to distort. Actually, it's bass sounds pretty horrible. The M50 has a lot more quantity and punch on the bass.

The CAL has just as recessed mids as the M50.

The CALs treble sounds ****ty, whereas the M50 has pretty clear treble.

The CALs build quality is laughable, wheres the M50 is built like a tank.

The CAL does not improve with amping, the M50 comes up to another division - and it already was on another division to begin with.

 

Unless you want cheapish plastic pieces of crap, you'd have to give the nod to M50, by quite a large margin.

 

Obviously this is just my opinion, but having owned them both for more than a year and having A/B'ed them time after time after seeing these, imo ludicrous, comparisons I still can't understand why people would even think of comparing them. To me and my ears, the M50 (especially when amped) is more comparable to the Denon D2000 than to the CAL. The CAL is a cheap piece of junk, nothing more, nothing less.

post #51 of 63
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Coq de Combat View Post



I disagree on the CAL! vs M50 part, quite a bit.

 

The CAL doesn't do bass very well without starting to distort. Actually, it's bass sounds pretty horrible. The M50 has a lot more quantity and punch on the bass.

The CAL has just as recessed mids as the M50.

The CALs treble sounds ****ty, whereas the M50 has pretty clear treble.

The CALs build quality is laughable, wheres the M50 is built like a tank.

The CAL does not improve with amping, the M50 comes up to another division - and it already was on another division to begin with.

 

Unless you want cheapish plastic pieces of crap, you'd have to give the nod to M50, by quite a large margin.

 

Obviously this is just my opinion, but having owned them both for more than a year and having A/B'ed them time after time after seeing these, imo ludicrous, comparisons I still can't understand why people would even think of comparing them. To me and my ears, the M50 (especially when amped) is more comparable to the Denon D2000 than to the CAL. The CAL is a cheap piece of junk, nothing more, nothing less.


Thanks for the input, it's always good to get multiple opinions on these matters. Regarding the M50, which should be arriving with 12 hours, would you be able to recommend a good portable amp for it, sub $100 (preferably sub $80)?

post #52 of 63
The fact that you say the M50 needs amping, well.... riiiiight. It's pretty much set in stone that the M50 is one of the very few headphones that don't do much of anything to do with amping other than take in the amp's own sound in addition to it's own. If it needs amping, then so does every single headphone in existence.

But hey, we all hear differently. The CAL's treble sound sh*tty? If you mean not like the harsh and metallic treble of the M50s, then yes. It's a more laid back approach to treble, yet it's still on the sparkly side. I LOVE sparkly treble like the M50s (hello, I own the DT990/600 notorious for super treble), and I didn't dislike the CAL's treble whatsoever.

I had the M50 and CALs longer than any headphone I have owned. I couldn't begin to count how many times I A/B'ed those two because they were so close in comparison, I couldn't decide which was clearly better. I preferred the M50 for music because it was more aggressive. Hower, the CAL easily killed it in soundstage, comfort, and edged it out in mids.The bass was easily comparable. Dunno what CAL you got, but it wasn't right.

But yes, go ahead and discredit all those people that compared the D1001/CAL with the M50 ,before the M50s became FOTM.
Edited by Mad Lust Envy - 12/20/11 at 4:58am
post #53 of 63
Quote:
Originally Posted by LDJ6915 View Post


Thanks for the input, it's always good to get multiple opinions on these matters. Regarding the M50, which should be arriving with 12 hours, would you be able to recommend a good portable amp for it, sub $100 (preferably sub $80)?



No problems, mate. If portable, go FiiO E11. If stationary with a computer, go FiiO E10. They're good enough!


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mad Lust Envy View Post

The fact that you say the M50 needs amping, well.... riiiiight. It's pretty much set in stone that the M50 is one of the very few headphones that don't do much of anything to do with amping other than take in the amp's own sound in addition to it's own. If it needs amping, then so does every single headphone in existence.
But hey, we all hear differently. The CAL's treble sound sh*tty? If you mean not like the harsh and metallic treble of the M50s, then yes. It's a more laid back approach to treble, yet it's still on the sparkly side. I LOVE sparkly treble like the M50s (hello, I own the DT990/600 notorious for super treble), and I didn't dislike the CAL's treble whatsoever.
I had the M50 and CALs longer than any headphone I have owned. I couldn't begin to count how many times I A/B'ed those two because they were so close in comparison, I couldn't decide which was clearly better. I preferred the M50 for music because it was more aggressive. Hower, the CAL easily killed it in soundstage, comfort, and edged it out in mids.The bass was easily comparable. Dunno what CAL you got, but it wasn't right.
But yes, go ahead and discredit all those people that compared the D1001/CAL with the M50 ,before the M50s became FOTM.


LOL, where did you read that it needs amping? In fact, it doesn't need amping, but it does improve with amping. The sound becomes fuller, it gets more agrresivity in it's sound and more tightness and punch to the otherwise boomy bass. But sure, you can read what you want into what I write instead of reading what I actually write - it probably makes it easier to come up with a rebuttal that way.

 

"Laidback treble" is a euphemism to veiled, right? In fact, the CAL is a veiled piece of crap. It's as simple as that. As for me having a CAL that is "not right" - I tried it at several stores just to see if I actually got a faulty one. They all sounded the same. Like they were all faulty. But oh well, maybe I got some "super example" of the M50 instead. Who knows, maybe it was a HE-500 in disguise?

 

At least I can go as far as agreeing that we hear sounds differently. CAL is good headphone for about $50, nothing more. I'd pay at least the double for M50 and still be happy.

 

Edit: in retrospect, I do seem to come off as more aggressive in my tone than intended, and for that I do apologize. I'm not into this arguing stuff on the forums any more. However, it doesn't change the fact that IMO the M50 is a very far superior can. YMMV, of course, but my friends with CAL who audiotioned my M50 felt the same way. To me, it seems a bit bizarre to even compare them. Then again, nothing stops me from comparing my Klipsch S4 to my Denon D2000.


Edited by Coq de Combat - 12/20/11 at 5:40am
post #54 of 63
Lol, the CAL is simply a piece of crap? Way to state your opinion so matter-of-factly. I'm not even a fan of smooth sounding headphones, as they DO sound veiled to me (an opinion I share with you), yet I wouldn't call them a piece of crap. Not everyone wants aggressive treble. Which is exactly what the M50s have.


That whole 'amping improves headphone A" is so cliche, it needs to just be dismissed completely, because everyone says that about every single headphone they come across. It's the truth, yet it's also such a misused statement, that it just needs to die.


People who love their HD650s and LCD2's with their 'laidback treble' would love to have a word with you.


Imprint this into your brain. There are plenty of headphones with 'laid back treble'. That doesn't make them any less valid than those with aggressive treble.

Lots of people have the bad habit of confusing enhanced treble as clarity.

Pretty much the biggest difference between the CAL and M50 in their sound is that the M50 sounds incredibly claustrophobic in soundstage compared to the CAL, and that they go with sharp treble, while the CAL goes for a SLIGHTLY smoother one, yet still sparkly. Also, the CAL goes with a warm signature, while the M50 goes for a slightly bright one.

Have at you.
Edited by Mad Lust Envy - 12/20/11 at 5:44am
post #55 of 63
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mad Lust Envy View Post

Lol, the CAL is simply a piece of crap? Way to state your opinion so matter-of-factly. I'm not even a fan of smooth sounding headphones, as they DO sound veiled to me (an opinion I share with you), yet I wouldn't call them a piece of crap. Not everyone wants aggressive treble. Which is exactly what the M50s have.
That whole 'amping improves headphone A" is so cliche, it needs to just be dismissed completely, because everyone says that about every single headphone they come across. It's the truth, yet it's also such a misused statement, that it just needs to die.
People who love their HD650s and LCD2's with their 'laidback treble' would love to have a word with you.
Imprint this into your brain. There are plenty of headphones with 'laid back treble'. That doesn't make them any less valid than those with aggressive treble.
Lots of people have the bad habit of confusing enhanced treble as clarity.
Have at you.


Where did I say laidback treble makes a headphone less valid? Are you making up stuff again?

post #56 of 63
Your main issue with the sound on the CALs is that it's laidback treble makes it sound veiled. Then you called it a veiled piece of crap. It's logical to assume your main issue with their sound is the 'veil'.

So I brought up those laid back treble headphones, since you seem to think what sounds veiled (meaning less treble emphasis than the M50) makes them inferior.

Please confirm or deny.

I like how you called them a piece of crap, then contradicted yourself by calling them good (even if they were $2, you called them good which contradicts your statement on them being pieces of junk/crap). Next time, try not to contradict yourself before making an argument.
Edited by Mad Lust Envy - 12/20/11 at 6:15am
post #57 of 63
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mad Lust Envy View Post

Your main issue with the sound on the CALs is that it's laidback treble makes it sound veiled. Then you called it a veiled piece of crap. It's logical to assume your main issue with their sound is the 'veil'.
So I brought up those laid back treble headphones, since you seem to think what sounds veiled (meaning less treble emphasis than the M50) makes them inferior.
Please confirm or deny.
I like how you called them a piece of crap, then contradicted yourself by calling them good (even if they were $2, you called them good which contradicts your statement on them being pieces of junk/crap). Next time, try not to contradict yourself before making an argument.


I wrote my issues with the CAL before that post. You should reread it, but if not, let me quote it:

 

 

 

 

Quote:

The CAL doesn't do bass very well without starting to distort. Actually, it's bass sounds pretty horrible. The M50 has a lot more quantity and punch on the bass.

The CAL has just as recessed mids as the M50.

The CALs treble sounds ****ty, whereas the M50 has pretty clear treble.

The CALs build quality is laughable, wheres the M50 is built like a tank.

The CAL does not improve with amping, the M50 comes up to another division - and it already was on another division to begin with.

 

So, I guess it's 'deny'. You're not using logic to make assumptions. You're using guesses.

 

As for my "contradiction", I didn't call them good. I called them good for a certain price. Which should be interpreted more as "there are worse headphones for the price" and less as "they're actually good". See the distinction?

post #58 of 63
Pieces of crap + good = DOES NOT COMPUTE


Since you made your argument:

Quote:
The CAL doesn't do bass very well without starting to distort. Actually, it's bass sounds pretty horrible. The M50 has a lot more quantity and punch on the bass.
Never found it to distort any more or less than the M50. The CAL however focuses on sub bass, while the M50 has a stronger mid bass. Two different types of bass. In any case, opinion.
Quote:
The CAL has just as recessed mids as the M50.
I agree with this, except the stronger mid bass on the M50 drowns out mids more than the CAL which focuses on sub bass which doesn't bleed into the midrange the way the M50's does. I'm just nitpicking here, since both headphone's do a good job not bleeding into the midrange as much as typical bass bloated cans.
Quote:
The CALs treble sounds ****ty, whereas the M50 has pretty clear treble.

Again, opinion. Lots of people HATE harsh treble. Again, enhanced treble =/= clarity. That's just a trick to let us think it is. A trick both you and I agree on. It SOUNDS clearer because it is ramped up, whereas the CAL is actually closer to NEUTRAL treble. Just because the M50's treble is spiked up, doesn't make it beter than the more natural treble of the CALs. Surely not to where it's ****ty. But whatevs. For example: The HD650 has a soft treble, whereas a K701 has a spiked treble. That doesn't make one better than the other. They are different, is all. Not everyone can take a spiked up treble like the M50s, which is why headphones like the CAL, HD650, and others exist.
Quote:
The CALs build quality is laughable, wheres the M50 is built like a tank.

100% agree that the M50 is built like a tank, while the CAL is more fragile. This is a case of rugged functionality vs aesthetics. However, the M50 couldn't begin to come close to the comfort on the CAL, IMHO of course.
Quote:
The CAL does not improve with amping, the M50 comes up to another division - and it already was on another division to begin with.

Pure hyperbole of an opinion. Again, plenty of people who directly compare the D1001/CAL vs the M50 (they were both priced usually in the same range for a long time). Different strokes for different folks, as their signatures are different. I think they belong in the same "division".


In the case of amping, that argument is usually the most overused and unnecessary. ALL headphones improve in varying degrees by amping. Not to discredit your claim, but lots of people on this very forum will tell you that the M50 doesn't make enough of an improvement by amping, that it doesn't come with that overused disclaimer of "AMPING will improve it, lolzor". In my opinion, neither improve much by amping. Just tightening here and there.
Edited by Mad Lust Envy - 12/20/11 at 6:41am
post #59 of 63

Pieces of crap + Good = Does not compute, I agree.

Pieces of crap + good FOR THE PRICE = They're not good IMO, but there are worse in that price segment.

 

There's a clear distinction between being good and being good compared to something.

 

As for the arguments:

 

 

 

Quote:
Never found it to distort any more or less than the M50. The CAL however focuses on sub bass, while the M50 has a stronger mid bass. Two different types of bass. In any case, opinion.

I found it to distort more. Maybe I got a bad example, but since trying several examples in stores and still finding them to be distorting and having a perceived veiled sound, I came to the conclusion that this is the way CAL sounds. Opinion on the bass, agreed.*

 

 

 

Quote:
I agree with this, except the stronger mid bass on the M50 drowns out mids more than the CAL which focuses on sub bass which doesn't bleed into the midrange the way the M50's does. I'm just nitpicking here, since both headphone's do a good job not bleeding into the midrange as much as typical bass bloated cans.

I agree with you here.

 

 

 

Quote:
Again, opinion. Lots of people HATE harsh treble. Again, enhanced treble =/= clarity. That's just a trick to let us think it is. A trick both you and I agree on. It SOUNDS clearer because it is ramped up, whereas the CAL is actually closer to NEUTRAL treble. Just because the M50's treble is spiked up, doesn't make it beter than the more natural treble of the CALs. Surely not to where it's ****ty. But whatevs. For example: The HD650 has a soft treble, whereas a K701 has a spiked treble. That doesn't make one better than the other. They are different, is all. Not everyone can take a spiked up treble like the M50s, which is why headphones like the CAL, HD650, and others exist.

Yes, it's opinion.* No, enhanced treble doesn't equal clarity, but IMO* it makes the perception that it is clearer, which you pointed out.

 

 

 

Quote:

100% agree that the M50 is built like a tank, while the CAL is more fragile. This is a case of rugged functionality vs aesthetics. However, the M50 couldn't begin to come close to the comfort on the CAL, IMHO of course.

 

Oh yes, the CAL is the more comfortable of the two. Personally I don't put much weight into it, at least not as much weight as I put it actually "surviving" a day in my bag... Again, personal preferences.

 

 

 

Quote:
Pure hyperbole of an opinion. Again, plenty of people who directly compare the D1001/CAL vs the M50 (they were both priced usually in the same range for a long time). Different strokes for different folks, as their signatures are different. I think they belong in the same "division".
 
In the case of amping, that argument is usually the most overused and unnecessary. ALL headphones improve in varying degrees by amping. Not to discredit your claim, but lots of people on this very forum will tell you that the M50 doesn't make enough of an improvement by amping, that it doesn't come with that overused disclaimer of "AMPING will improve it, lolzor". In my opinion, neither improve much by amping. Just tightening here and there.
 

I diagree somewhat here. I don't think the argument for amping has been overdone yet, so I don't see it your way. Personally, I don't mind amping, and I don't mind people recommending amping, even for the tiniest of change. I found amping to improve my M50 a lot though, and I think it would be of some value for the TS to know that. If you find the argument "amping improves" overused, and you didn't find it to improve your M50 especially much, I can understand why you reacted to my statement about it. But, I did find it improving (a lot) and I am not tired of the "amping improves" arguements (yet), thus me making my claim that it actually improves. Maybe it's more of a question of someone being here for a long time hearing the same argument that you disagree with, versus someone who has lurked here occasionally and not being tired of certain arguements and statements?

 

I know they were priced about the same, as Denon vs Audio Technica. Not as CAL vs AT - at least not in Sweden. AT has always been and probably always will be overpriced over here.

 

* I know it's about opinion, which is why I stated that all of my arguments in CAL vs M50 were my opinions, and not some absolute, objective truths:

 

 

 

Quote:
Obviously this is just my opinion, but [...]

 

 

post #60 of 63
Thread Starter 

Headphones arrived today (after paying for "overnight" shipping on the 19th), and I must say, I'm quite impressed :D
Thanks to all who helped me make the decision,

Liam.

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