Head-Fi.org › Forums › Equipment Forums › Headphones (full-size) › Mid-fi Studio Headphone Shootout Part 1 - TMA-1 Studio vs. ATH-M50's
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Mid-fi Studio Headphone Shootout Part 1 - TMA-1 Studio vs. ATH-M50's

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 

Note:

 

All of the content in this review is written almost completely by Head-fi'er: SONIC BOOM.

 

This is the first part of a set of comparisons between common and popular studio headphones, beginning with the AIAIAI TMA-1 Studio Headphones and the Audio Technica ATH-M50 Studio Monitors. The goal of this set of comparisons is to provide more information to those looking for a headphone within the $100 - $300 price bracket.

 

Please let me know any of your suggestions on improvements I can make to my comparisons, or anything in specific you'd like to know.

 

I am able to provide input on specific songs by request - so let me know if you want to hear my impressions on how a specific genre sounds on any of the headphones in my comparisons.

 

I have kept things short and sweet for now, so let's begin.

Sections in red will be updated in further detail ASAP.

__________________________________________________________________________

 

Packaging:

  • M50:
  • The Audio Technica ATH-M50's come in a simple white box, complete with a clear window on the front. In the box, you get the headphones, a simple leather carry pouch, manuals, and warranty information.f4d80762_535.jpeg

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • TMA-1 Studio:
  • The Packaging for the AIAIAI TMA-1 Studio Headphones is fantastic; it looks very sleek with its black motif. Inside the box are the headphones, a half-straight/half-coiled cable, 2 sets of ear-pads (1 PU Foam Set, 1 Pleather Set), and a nicely stylized carry pouch with yellow mesh on the inside, and a large, over-sized zipper. As you can see, the part of the packaging where the headphones rest is made to look like a sound-proofing tile, which is used in studios.

       e3a0094a_539.jpeg32c325f9_541.jpeg

 

Comfort:

  • M50: The M50's are hailed on head-fi for being a very comfortable can, and for the most part, I agree. There is however, the fact that the clamping force does get to be a bit much, especially on larger heads. This is most likely due to the fact that they have both foam and metal in the headband, adding weight and clamping force. If you have a small/medium size head, you should be fine, but larger-headed head-fier's may want to be aware of the clamping force issue. Either way, it is not hard to wear them for many hours at a time.The ATH-M50's only come with a set of pleather pads, but they fit well, and provide comfort enough to listen for hours.
  • TMA-1 Studio: (Only PU Foam Pads reviewed so far; Will update later with Pleather Pad impressions.) For the most part, these headphones have amazing comfort. because the pads are so large, they rest on the part of your head around your ear, not on it. For people with larger ears, their ears may come into contact with the grill protecting the speaker when using the PU Foam Pads, but that is rare and barely felt. The original TMA-1 DJ headphones were praised for their comfort as on-ear headphones, but the headband would press down upon the head too much for long sessions. With the Studios, however, the pads are even better, and the headband is complete with thicker padding. Apart from the PU Foam pad issue, these are not too far away, comfort wise, from my HD800's or HD598's.

       56567c92_504.jpeg

 

 

 

The Sound:

  • The Source: iPhone 4s
  • Amps: (Amps will be added in the next update.)
  • File Quality: MP3's @ 320kbps, Apple Lossless
  • Pads: PU Foam (TMA-1), Pleather (ATH-M50), (Pleather TMA-1 will be added in the next update)
  • All statements are my opinion.

_______________________________________________________________________

 

Song 1: "Moby Dick - Led Zeppelin"

  • M50: Mid-range was slightly withdrawn, sound stage was a little small, good bass impact.
  • SCORE: 7.5

 

  • TMA-1 Studio: Dark and veiled, but smoother with better impact and sound stage.
  • SCORE: 8.0

 

 

Song 2: "All Along the Watch - Jimi Hendrix"

  • M50: Mid-range still slightly withdrawn, guitar was sometimes drowned out, but had good detail. Strong highs and good impact.
  • SCORE: 8.0

 

  • TMA-1 Studio: Still dark and veiled, smoother highs, guitar solo 'popped' more than on the M50's.
  • SCORE: 8.5

 

 

 

Song 3: "Little Wing - Jimi Hendrix"

  • M50: Vocals were watered down, 'iffie' bass impact with little sound stage.
  • SCORE: 7.0

 

  • TMA-1 Studio: Smoother sound than the M50's, guitar drowned out slightly.
  • SCORE: 7.0

 

 

 

Song 4: "In My Life - The Beatles"

  • M50: Vocals really popped, some parts sounded distant.
  • SCORE: 7.5

 

  • TMA-1 Studio: Sounded smoother, but closer and more engaging than the M50's.
  • SCORE: 8.0

 

 

 

Songs 5-10: Michael Jackson

  • M50: Good bass impact, mids and highs sounded 'un-enthusiastic'.
  • SCORE: 8.0

 

  • TMA-1 Studio: GREAT bass impact, very fun sound, had me tapping my foot.
  • SCORE: 9.0

 

 

Song 11: "Seek & Destroy - Metallica"

  • M50: OK bass impact, very detailed guitar, sound was a bit 'sterile'.
  • SCORE: 8.0

 

  • TMA-1 Studio: Bass was deeper and had better impact, mids and highs slightly rolled off.
  • SCORE: 8.5

 

Total Scores:

M50: 46/60

TMA-1 Studio: 49/60

_______________________________________________________________________

 

In Conclusion:

Sorry I did not get to do more tests, but I am trying to get this up as soon as possible. I plan to ass more results and tests in the coming days and weeks, so look forward to those! 

 

Anyway, in the end, the sound of the M50's is more 'flat' than the sound of the TMA-1 Studios, but both are within the same kind of range. The TMA-1 is slightly more colored, but that improves your music, depending on what you're listening to. It generally comes down to what kind of music you like more - if you like songs with bass and a nice beat, the TMA-1 Studio is for you, if you prefer classical, or songs of that nature, you may want to check out the M50's. 

 

Once again, please leave feedback on how I can improve my future comparisons, and let me know if you have any requests for songs you'd like me to listen to for you, and I can give my opinions on those. To close out this post, please enjoy these pictures of both cans.

3b635280_505.jpeg1e192800_517.jpeg

9275cb68_523.jpegb9adbc69_538.jpeg

f1414a20_508.jpegbdc13b9d_509.jpeg

 

 

ENJOY!

post #2 of 8

Just to expand, how is the bass impact of the TMA-1 Studios VS the M50s?

 

Btw, nice Sega Genesis there. biggrin.gif

post #3 of 8
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Malevolent View Post

Just to expand, how is the bass impact of the TMA-1 Studios VS the M50s?

 

Btw, nice Sega Genesis there. biggrin.gif

The M50's are considered a regular headphone now, in terms of bass impact. There was a time where they were considered "bass-head" cans, but Audio Technica has tweaked the models in recent revisions ("White Box version") to make the sound more flat. The AIAIAI TMA-1 Studio however, is an altered and tweaked version of AIAIAI's DJ-famous TMA-1 DJ headphones. The original TMA-1 headphones were known for their deep, hard-hitting bass, and perfect EQ for DJ'ing. They (AIAIAI) have tweaked the drivers to make the treble and mid section more pronounced, but kept the deep bass that the original was praised for.

post #4 of 8
Quote:
Originally Posted by Malevolent View Post

Just to expand, how is the bass impact of the TMA-1 Studios VS the M50s?

 

Btw, nice Sega Genesis there. biggrin.gif


well they have some fantastic bass impact. m50s are ok ish

post #5 of 8
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by SONIC BOOM View Post


well they have some fantastic bass impact. m50s are ok ish

Agreed - if the M50's had "good enough" bass impact, the Studios would have "Amazing" bass impact.

post #6 of 8
Quote:
Originally Posted by BRSxIgnition View Post

The M50's are considered a regular headphone now, in terms of bass impact. There was a time where they were considered "bass-head" cans, but Audio Technica has tweaked the models in recent revisions ("White Box version") to make the sound more flat. The AIAIAI TMA-1 Studio however, is an altered and tweaked version of AIAIAI's DJ-famous TMA-1 DJ headphones. The original TMA-1 headphones were known for their deep, hard-hitting bass, and perfect EQ for DJ'ing. They (AIAIAI) have tweaked the drivers to make the treble and mid section more pronounced, but kept the deep bass that the original was praised for.

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by SONIC BOOM View Post


well they have some fantastic bass impact. m50s are ok ish

 

Haha. To be frank, I find the bass on the M50s to be somewhat lacking in impact. The original TMA-1s were really strong in the bass department, so as long as the Studios retain 80% of that impact, I might consider getting them, as I'm not really a fan of supra-aural cans.

 

They are very nicely designed though, you'd have to give Aiaiai credit for that. 

post #7 of 8

which one is better for rock?

post #8 of 8

I'm upgrading from my Shure SRH440's with SRH840 pads, based on this review. Very much appreciate how you articulated this distinction, since I'm depending on these for the EDM Dj booth. 

New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Headphones (full-size)
Head-Fi.org › Forums › Equipment Forums › Headphones (full-size) › Mid-fi Studio Headphone Shootout Part 1 - TMA-1 Studio vs. ATH-M50's