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ATH-M50 vs ATH-M50S LE impressions - Page 3

post #31 of 176

probs right^ i was listening to a trade show pair, probably burned in for hours and hours before.

post #32 of 176
Thread Starter 

That may be the case. Perhaps my dad's listening style didn't fit me.


In any case, I finally got some Beyerdynamic DT250 velour pads. Installation was quite the exercise until I realized the velour pads were a lot more durable than I gave them credit for.


Now that they are on, I can say... wow. I have read on Head-Fi that the stock pads would bloat the bass and overpower both the mid and high, but my experience is not like that at all. The velour pads added more body to the mid, and gave the mid that "soul" that I felt in the DT880, or at least the way I remember it. But more than that, they pushed the bass up to DT770 level. Bass has more punch, more extension, and whereas it sounded thumpy before, it's downright explosive now, but the treble is just as extending. Simply fantastic.


And it's a lot more comfy than the stock pads as well.




Never mind. These changed the sound signature on the upper end in a bad way. I kept noticing details lost and treble rolling off throughout the day. Then I compared to the stock pads just now, and the stock pads turn out to sound clearer, with more soundstage, and more airy.

Edited by Bill-P - 2/16/12 at 5:57pm
post #33 of 176

I read OP's post a short while after getting my coiled ATH-M50's and thought "nah, that can't be right - surely they use the same components and manufacturing so no way there's a difference". Well, for what it's worth a friend bought from ATH-M50LE's and I just compared them back-to-back. My impressions are very similar to OP's:

- Mid and above is more open

- Lower-mid not quite so powerful

- Lowest lows similar

It's such a big difference I was really surprised. Both have similar burn-in of 2-3 weeks all day playing if you believe that makes a difference.

Overall I think I prefer his, for the more open/dynamic high end, however mine are good enough and the bass on my standard ones is more "cinematic"


Other slight differences:

- Minor difference in headband tension

- Different stiffness to the foam pads (ATH-M50LE's are softer)

- For him he finds his more leaky, but I suspect that's because he turns them up so damn loud!

I wouldn't be surprised if the foam used in the pads accounts for much of these differences.

post #34 of 176
Thread Starter 

It's interesting that I'm not the only one "hearing" this difference. Thanks for the impression!


I actually tried swapping pads on the LE and the regular, and the sonic performance of either headphones wasn't affected.


The Beyerdynamic DT250 pads actually did affect sonic performance though (in a negative way), so I think you may still be right.


It's been a long while since then, and now, I can safely say that my LE sounds very different compared to my dad's regular. It's a lot more open and cleaner, but bass still lacks impact by a slight margin.

post #35 of 176

This makes me want to try the M50LE's. I'm still skeptical, but this would be fantastic if others continue to hear differences! I liked the M50's but the LE's may have improved on all the things I didn't like about them!


Thanks for the impressions!

post #36 of 176

I will be getting my pair of the LE... eventually.  I had to special order them from a local music shop, but Audio-Technica was backordered and won't be getting more until the 15th of this month.  Once they get them, a week to ship to my local music shop, then I can pick them up...

post #37 of 176
Thread Starter 

I think you guys will enjoy the purchase a lot. If not for the sound signature, at least the M50 LE does feel a bit more premium over the regular due to its more catchy color scheme. I've also just learned that the logo part of the cans are actually metallic instead of plastic like on the regular. That may explain the difference, since I believe metal would reverb a little different compared to plastic. I don't have enough technical knowledge to definitely say that, though, so it's just a $0.02 theory.


Also, I purchased a DT990 Pro 250Ohm from another Head-Fi'er last week for a good price. So when I get those in, hopefully, I'll have a good frame of reference to do a formal review of these vs the DT990 Pro and the regular M50. Very excited about this!


On a side note, I removed the inner filter of both ear pads (or the "foam mod" if you will), and now the "congested" feel of upper treble is no longer there. Instrument separation has significantly improved, and so has treble extension. Bass got a lot leaner and tighter, too.


But mid has taken a good hit, and now it sounds more veiled/thin than before. But I actually like this sound signature better.


Edit: Differences compared to regular M50 after 3 weeks:


1) Mid on the regular is obviously recessed. The LE has more mid presence and texture. It's very apparent in this song:



I can picture the vocal directly in front of me with the LE. The regular sounds like he's a lot further back, and I can't pinpoint his location at all. (By the way, does anyone know which headphones those are?)


2) For some reason, I seem to not hear certain high frequencies with the regular. It's like there is a thick fog up there, and every time I try to peer into it, I can't, because it's too thick. Cymbals simply stop ringing abruptly, which is quite distracting and disappointing. On the LE, I can obviously feel that it's brighter, and it extends a lot further past the fog.


3) Bass on the regular is more satisfying to my ears. It has more impact, and when it hits, it sounds obvious like there is a small subwoofer right in front of me. The LE has some bass, but it lacks impact, and it doesn't sound as apparent in some songs. The one above is a prime example. I barely notice the bass there with the LE, but the regular pulls off the subwoofer role very well. Too bad I can barely hear the vocal on the regular. Never mind. I just tried a bass-centric song. This one:



The LE actually hits a lot harder than the regular with this song. So it turned out I just couldn't notice bass in the other songs because mid overpowered it. Wow...


4) Swapped the pads. Mid slightly more forward with the regular M50, but it still lacks texture, and somehow, it doesn't sound as "full" as the LE. High frequency also doesn't extend as high. It cleared a bit of the fog, but most of it is still there.


5) After 3 weeks of stretching, the LE still clamps harder than the regular, which hasn't been used at all during the past 3 weeks.


Overall, I think I definitely prefer the sonic performance of the LE more. Might be a burn-in thing, but if that's true, this is probably the first time I have ever burned in a pair this much to my liking. The effect is pretty drastic.

Edited by Bill-P - 3/5/12 at 5:32pm
post #38 of 176

Not sure if you guys seen my video.  I am not hearing much or any difference between the two, but the LE is still newer.  Maybe it will change with more break-in.


post #39 of 176
Thread Starter 

Well, I did. I commented in your thread, too.


There have been a number of mentions in this thread that they actually don't sound any different at all.


But from my own experience, the difference is there, and it's noticeable to me. It's not a change in sound signature per se, but more in the way of how I can hear more of certain things in the LE. It might very well be that my choice of music and sound has broken the drivers in specifically the way I like them.

post #40 of 176

Hmm... I've bought/sold/gifted a few pairs of m50s over the last few years so when these came out I figured I might as well pick up a pair


Yep, these are the same m50s I remembered. I compared them to a co-worker's M50 and they sound pretty much identical.


Also, if you had searched the forum you would have found that the dt250 pads on the M50 are a bad idea. On the MDR-V6/7506 though... that's a whole 'nother story.



Same old M50: new coat of paint. Why mess with something good, though? These are fantastic for the electronic/ambient stuff I like to listen to while working.

post #41 of 176

Guys stop over-hyping the ATH-M50LE claiming performance improvements over the original M50s, basically it is just the same ATH-M50 painted with silver. Why would Audio-Technica change a formula that has been successful in the first place? It is a honeymoon period. Everybody feels like that when justifying purchases, once you get settled-in then do an objective review.


So if I paint my headphones silver, would it improve the sound? No, it's not some magical paint from Harry Potter land. I already contacted Audio-Technica Japan regarding their feedback on the materials used and they confirmed that they didn't tweak or used a different material, it is the same driver, same damping, same concept. Unless, you'd like to argue with Audio-Technica themselves.


The plastic isn't even anodized which means it will fade and you will see the original color when it gets chipped.


The change in sound is just the ear pads. Newer ear pads tend to be puffier which gives you an illusion of fuller sound dynamics. If you want a real sound comparison get a new M50LE and new M50 with the same airtime, and use the same pads. No difference.

Edited by alvincapalad - 3/12/12 at 5:35pm
post #42 of 176
Thread Starter 

I tried switching the pads, guys. The difference was still there. I am beginning to suspect that my dad's M50 pair might just be defective, because someone did mention in another thread that he had a pair of M50 that was very recessed.


I purchased a Beyerdynamic DT990 Pro 250Ohm from another Head-fi'er, and they just arrived today.


Some quick impressions:


1) DT990 is a lot more open and airier. Treble emphasis is definitely there. I'd say I much prefer DT990's treble so far.

2) M50S LE has smaller soundstage, but it's barely noticeable. I have heard that the soundstage on the DT990 Pro is more congested than the Premium version, so that may be why. But the M50 more or less matches the DT990 Pro here. Well, right amp for the right job. I forgot to switch "High Gain" on Fiio E11. Now I can "hear" soundstage.

3) M50S LE mid is fuller, more forward and warmer than DT990 Pro. DT990 Pro's mid is shrill and pretty obviously recessed compared to M50S LE. Never mind. I see now DT990 needs very serious amping to shine. However, it still doesn't sound as full as M50 for some reason.

4) With the DT990 Pro being the bassiest of Beyerdynamic's lineup, I'm surprised to find that the impact of bass on both M50S LE and DT990 is about equal, but thanks to M50 being closed, rumbling low notes are easier to hear. I guess I'm just that much of a basshead. Never mind, I got some proper amping done, and the DT990 is showing its true colors. Bass on the DT990 is on a class of its own indeed. The M50 is nothing compared to this.

5) DT990 Pro is 1000% more comfortable compared to M50S LE. I think the M50S LE clamps too much.


Overall, I'm favoring DT990 Pro more than M50S LE now, but as far as differences go, I'm surprised that the treble is about the only thing that was a noticeable improvement. Well, note to self: amp, amp, amp, amp, and amp.


Well, I'll have to do more comparisons. Maybe borrow some of my dad's high-end amps, and start pumping some more serious songs through. After that, I think I'll have enough material for a formal review of the M50S LE. For now, these are just quick notes. But I think I can see where others are standing with regards to M50's quality.

Edited by Bill-P - 3/12/12 at 2:24pm
post #43 of 176
I had to return mine because left side was louder than right. frown.gif
post #44 of 176

well I am pretty new to the headphone world... but I can swear I don't really like the m-50 sound signature.. however when I tried the m50 LE, i like it.. that i bought a pair. I really think the impression that has been stated are pretty much the same about what i am hearing when I compare the two before buying the m50 LE.. lower area is abit less than the regular and the high and mid more open and clearer... 

post #45 of 176

This is another case of scientific proof vs the audiophile placebo effect. Chris Nighman, Audio-Technica Product Manager of Wired Products had already confirmed that there has been no amount of tweaking/fine tuning/change of materials with the original M50 and the M50s/LE. Other than the "magical" silver paint that ridiculously improves the sound of the M50. Maybe I should buy this magical paint from Audio-Technica and paint all my headphones silver k701smile.gif. Maybe that's why the HD800 is the best headphone because it has a silver shade, got me thinking of painting the HD600 silver too lol


Note: A 10% margin of error is caused by the placement of the pads (depending on how it conforms to your ear), and it is immeasurable by human standards, unless you have a bat's ear. The difference between the M50 coiled and straight are also at 10% margin which cannot be measured by the human ear, regardless if the sound is amplified or not. Definitely just another placebo.



Edited by alvincapalad - 3/13/12 at 3:53am
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