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Am I doing something wrong?

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 

So I recently just got a pair of ATH-M50wh's from soundprofessionals while they were on sale for $120ish and quite baffled with the sound quality.  I've upgraded from a pair of Sennheiser 202 and can't really hear a difference when comparing them to the M50's.  The only thing that is really standing out to me is that the bass on the M50's is stronger and tighter, everything else sounds very similar to my 202's, $25 headphones.  I have had them playing music for about 10+ hours and not really hearing any benefit from the short burn-in period.  I'm running the headphones through on-board audio on my gene-z motherboard and using foobar with the WASAPI plugin.  

 

Am I doing something wrong, or am I wrong for expecting a night and day difference for the huge price gap between the two headphones?  I can say from experience that I noticed an immediate difference when I upgraded from this garbage to the 202's, but is it fair of me to be comparing the m50's this early on considering the 202's have probably over 300+ hours of play time?

post #2 of 12

imo the upgrade from my hd202 to the hd558 wasnt as far as i hoped, it wasn't even close night and day, more like night and evening, to get night and day kind of difference be prepared to spend well over $1000 (i foam modded the hd558, cotton modded the hd202, and eq'ed both headphones to the best i could to my taste)

felt like the hd558 had an extra layer into soundstage, instrument seperation, added bass depth, and more refined treble. i guess i was expecting a little too much

and based on the law of deminishing returns this amount of difference can be expected

post #3 of 12
I would recommend listening to the M50s nonstop for a while, maybe a week or two, and then giving the HD202s a listen. I think that's when you'll hear more of a difference although I am a little surprised you haven't yet. Everyone's ears are different though. From my personal experience I find the M50 to be loads clearer and more refined whereas the 202s are a bit muffled sounding IMO.
post #4 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by jaffrey View Post

So I recently just got a pair of ATH-M50wh's from soundprofessionals while they were on sale for $120ish and quite baffled with the sound quality.  I've upgraded from a pair of Sennheiser 202 and can't really hear a difference when comparing them to the M50's.  The only thing that is really standing out to me is that the bass on the M50's is stronger and tighter, everything else sounds very similar to my 202's, $25 headphones.  I have had them playing music for about 10+ hours and not really hearing any benefit from the short burn-in period.  I'm running the headphones through on-board audio on my gene-z motherboard and using foobar with the WASAPI plugin.  

 

Am I doing something wrong, or am I wrong for expecting a night and day difference for the huge price gap between the two headphones?  I can say from experience that I noticed an immediate difference when I upgraded from this garbage to the 202's, but is it fair of me to be comparing the m50's this early on considering the 202's have probably over 300+ hours of play time?

Motherboards ship with low cost DACs (Digital to Analog Converters) and a line-out jack that pretends to be a headphone jack.

 

Adding an Asus Xonar DGX (PCI-E) sound card ($40) should improve the sound quality.

half-way decent headphone amplifier and comes with Dolby Headphone surround sound

 

Fiio E10 USB-DAC-Headphone Amp. ($80) if you prefer external.

(no surround sound, but a better amp.)

post #5 of 12
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by PurpleAngel View Post

Motherboards ship with low cost DACs (Digital to Analog Converters) and a line-out jack that pretends to be a headphone jack.

 

Adding an Asus Xonar DGX (PCI-E) sound card ($40) should improve the sound quality.

half-way decent headphone amplifier and comes with Dolby Headphone surround sound

 

Fiio E10 USB-DAC-Headphone Amp. ($80) if you prefer external.

(no surround sound, but a better amp.)

 

I was under the impression that M50's sounded great without an AMP/DAC from all the reviews and articles I've read on them.  Most people were even saying they won't even benefit from an AMP.  Either way, I've been comparing them further (did some overnight and day burn in) and I'm still drawing the same conclusion, the only thing they have over the $25 price tag 202's is stronger and tighter bass.   Hell, the mids on the 202's even sound richer to me compared to the recessed mids on the M50's.  Unless I got a defective pair of M50's, I don't understand why these headphones are so popular at this price point.


Edited by jaffrey - 7/4/12 at 9:13pm
post #6 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by roma101 View Post

I would recommend listening to the M50s nonstop for a while, maybe a week or two, and then giving the HD202s a listen. I think that's when you'll hear more of a difference although I am a little surprised you haven't yet. Everyone's ears are different though. From my personal experience I find the M50 to be loads clearer and more refined whereas the 202s are a bit muffled sounding IMO.

I was starting to get dismayed with my Grado RS1i purchase initally after a week of having them and wondering if they were worth it, then I plopped the sr80i back on. The 80i sounded a fair bit worse, not quite night and day bad a little more than night and evening (the 80i sounded grainy in the treble, slightly muffled, lacked the bass response etc). This is the problem with two different phones with similar signatures (in my case the same signature), the change is not readily noticeable. 

 

One more thing, burn in shouldn't make a huge difference in how something sounds IMO. 

post #7 of 12

I would say give them some time. Sometimes it takes awhile for things to 'settle it', so to speak. With most of my headphones, I've never been 'blown away' when I first put them on. It took me some time to adjust to each one and accept and understand its' sound signature. If, after some time, you still don't like them, then they might just not be for you.

post #8 of 12

I wasn't blown away by my sr80i's at first, but give it a month, some burn in, a lot of listening and....

 

They're perfect. I had to let the headphones come into their own both from burn in and mentally (i.e. just getting used to em). Now I wouldn't trade the punchy bass, or the speedy mids for any of my other old phones smily_headphones1.gif.

post #9 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by jaffrey View Post

 

I was under the impression that M50's sounded great without an AMP/DAC from all the reviews and articles I've read on them.  Most people were even saying they won't even benefit from an AMP.  Either way, I've been comparing them further (did some overnight and day burn in) and I'm still drawing the same conclusion, the only thing they have over the $25 price tag 202's is stronger and tighter bass.   Hell, the mids on the 202's even sound richer to me compared to the recessed mids on the M50's.  Unless I got a defective pair of M50's, I don't understand why these headphones are so popular at this price point.

I believe Audio Technica does design the ATH-M50s to work decently with a "low cost" headphone jack.

First off, you would not hear any audio if there was not a DAC (Digital to Analog Converter) involved somewhere

Audio is stored in a digital (zero & ones) form, amplifiers (and headphone jacks) are analog (wave), we hear in analog (wave).

Motherboards come with very low cost DACs and where you plug your headphones in is a line-out jack that also pretends to be a headphone jack.

If that "Headphone Jack' has a high impedance, it's a negative for audio quality.

I agree that ATH-M50s are not likely to benefit much from an amplifier

ATH-M50s have a U shaped sound, more bass & treble then mids. that might explain your unhappiness with the mids.

If you add an Asus Xonar DG ($30) or DGX ($40) sound card, your audio should sound better (not sure how much).

Currently the DG is selling for $24 and there is a $10 mail in rebate.

The DAC in the DG should be better then the one in the motherboard.


Edited by PurpleAngel - 7/4/12 at 10:15pm
post #10 of 12

Sounds more like the M50's sound signature just isn't for you.  Don't worry - I didn't like them either (I prefer a nice mid-range for vocals - and the M50 wasn't "it" for me).  For something around the same price - with far better mid-range - the Shure SRH840.  Any chance Sound Essentials will allow you to return and swap for different headphones?

 

From my experience - going to a slightly better DAC (from onboard) for headphones like the M50 isn't going to make a startling difference.  If you don't like the sound signature of the AT's - then you don't like them - move on and find something you do like.

post #11 of 12

thing i didnt like the most about the m50 is the really narrow soundstage, friend who has the srh940 said the same thing too, but other than that its a good headphone

post #12 of 12
Thread Starter 

I kind of regret judging these headphones so quickly, as the M50's have grown on me.  I think my ears were just so accustomed to the daily use for the past 2+ years to using the 202's that it was hard for my ears to adjust instantly to a new sound.  After not listening to the 202's for a few days and strictly listening to the M50's and re-comparing them this morning, I can now hear the difference between the two.  The biggest difference I noticed is how much better the M50's respond to EQ changes compared to the 202's, they literally blow away the 202's in this area.  Once I toned down the high's and boosted the mids, the M50s sounded much more natural and easy on my ears.

 

The only things I'm really disliking are the comfort level, sweating, and the coiled cable.  Comfort; At first they put a really tight pressure on my lower jaw, but as they broke in a little, the pressure has relieved a tad.  I'm hoping they continue to break in and the pressure is eventually alleviated, as I would like a slight clamp.  Sweating; The sweating isn't crazy, but there is definitely a tad bit of moisture on the pads with every use, even in an air conditioned room. Coiled cable; Avoid it for desktop use, especially if your tower is a decent distance from your listening area.  You will have to give the cable some slack or it will be pulling down on the left can.  I just pull how much cord I need and tuck it into my belt/waist line.


Edited by jaffrey - 7/8/12 at 5:12am
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