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AKG K550 vs. Audio-Technica ATH-M50

post #1 of 24
Thread Starter 

I was given a pretty cheap pair of skullcandy headphones a while ago and they recently broke. I am a bit of an audiofile and I'm looking for a pair of replacements anywhere less than 300 dollars. I have been doing research and narrowed it down to either the AKG K550 or the Audio-Technica ATH-M50. I would love some advice between those two cans or any headphones that are better for my price range.

post #2 of 24

What is your source like? What kind of music do you listen to? The two headphones that you are looking at are quite different.

post #3 of 24
Thread Starter 

I am going to be driving them through my android and when im home through my pre amp. The music I usually listen to is generally more in the mids and highs with a tiny bit of bass but i listen to a pretty big variety of genres. I am also planning on using them to watch movies on my computer

post #4 of 24

K550 is slightly easier to drive.

ATH-M50 has slightly recessed mids but very good highs. K550 has good mids but slightly recessed highs. Your choice.

Both has very good bass although ATH-M50's bass is bigger. 

K550 has way more soundstage.

Quote:
Originally Posted by audio snob View Post

I am going to be driving them through my android and when im home through my pre amp. The music I usually listen to is generally more in the mids and highs with a tiny bit of bass but i listen to a pretty big variety of genres. I am also planning on using them to watch movies on my computer

post #5 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by jupitreas View Post

K550 is slightly easier to drive.

ATH-M50 has slightly recessed mids but very good highs. K550 has good mids but slightly recessed highs. Your choice.

Both has very good bass although ATH-M50's bass is bigger. 

K550 has way more soundstage.

 

I agree with the M50 having slightly recessed mids; further, I find that the M50 has a slightly mechanical feel to and doesn't have a very organic timber. It does in your face music fine; it struggles with nice vocals, violins or cello. I'm not sure about the comment that the K550 have recessed highs though; these are a bright headphone, and one of the things I liked the least about them was that they could be treble spikey, but only in some frequencies. They are competent but sharp. I agree with the above comment on bass; both basses are good. I find the K550 more detailed but the M50 has more impact. The K550 costs almost twice as much and is technically worth twic as much too imo. It's also the most comfortable headphone I've owned. While you can "pretend" that the M50 is portable, the K550 is much lesso. For me, the lack of a portability is a difficulty; the killer was the spikey treble. The K550 is almost a deal changer for the headfi world. It could have been excellent but fell short. The M50 is a classic, but its limited; still a great deal for those who can get it for a $100 and aren't annoyed by the recessed mids. 

post #6 of 24

Which country are you based in audiosnob?

 

Here in the uk the m50's regularly cost £135 and the k550 are at £175. I'm quoting standard amazon prices (sold by amazon.co.uk) and other online retailers have no other choice really but to price match these prices!!

 

shure 940 are regularly at £200

shure 840 and beyer dt770 are at £130/140 

AKG Q701 and senn hd600 are regularly at £250

 

 

I've never heard the m50's so I'm not saying anything really about their sound qualities. All that I am saying is headphone shopping is sometimes all about price. People's impressions and thoughts and conclusions on a headphone are many times molded around price- which is fair enough!

So when there are HUGE discrepancies in pricings like such, between the americas and europe, then you've gotta watch out for this factor of price influencing impressions. 

post #7 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by jupitreas View Post

K550 is slightly easier to drive.
ATH-M50 has slightly recessed mids but very good highs. K550 has good mids but slightly recessed highs. Your choice.
Both has very good bass although ATH-M50's bass is bigger. 
K550 has way more soundstage.

So u feel K550 has a wider sound stage comparing to ATH-M50.
Can you also comment about the separation, mids and high between them?
post #8 of 24

Hi there,

 

I have a lot of experience with the ATH-M50 as I own a pair, while my experience with the K550 is limited to an extended audition at a headphone store. In other words, I can't really give you all the details since I am not familiar with them enough. With this said, when auditioning the K550 it was very obvious to me that the K550 has a wider sound stage and also better separation than the ATH-M50, although this could just be a consequence of better soundstage. I find the M50's highs clearer and more upfront, while they are smoother and slightly recessed on the K550 (the K550 is still a pretty bright headphone though). M50's highs are harsh and piercing for some, K550 are pretty unfatiguing. The M50's mids are more recessed than the K550's, but the difference is not huge. M50's mids actually have a tiny bit more body to them. But please remember to take these opinions with a grain of salt. Also keep in mind that my M50 is the white-box version, which is slightly more neutral than the old versions (ie. not as recessed mids)

Quote:
Originally Posted by cyberalpha11 View Post


So u feel K550 has a wider sound stage comparing to ATH-M50.
Can you also comment about the separation, mids and high between them?

Edited by jupitreas - 7/23/12 at 5:39am
post #9 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by audio snob View Post

I am going to be driving them through my android and when im home through my pre amp. The music I usually listen to is generally more in the mids and highs with a tiny bit of bass but i listen to a pretty big variety of genres. I am also planning on using them to watch movies on my computer

 

 

 Grab the K550's ~ given that you do not bow down to the temple of enhanced bass ~ the AKG's will eclipse the M50's on every level in terms of

 separation, and post-mids detail. It is in every way not a very fair comparison, this of course being reflected in the price of both cans.

post #10 of 24

Suffice to say that the K550 is a generally neutral phone. I wouldn't say it excels stellarly at a particular genre or another, or any particular frequency range - none get any emphasis. Pretty good if you're gonna throw alot of genres of music it, but the preference boils down to whether you may like the laidback presentation (I know I do).

post #11 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by vinland029 View Post

Suffice to say that the K550 is a generally neutral phone. I wouldn't say it excels stellarly at a particular genre or another, or any particular frequency range - none get any emphasis. Pretty good if you're gonna throw alot of genres of music it, but the preference boils down to whether you may like the laidback presentation (I know I do).


It sounds to me that AKG K550 is very good for vocal, jazz, blue, classical, or anything which is not bass centric.

In the other hand, it might not be good for music like trance, dream, disco, new wave, synthdance that emphasize on bass.
post #12 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by cyberalpha11 View Post


It sounds to me that AKG K550 is very good for vocal, jazz, blue, classical, or anything which is not bass centric.
In the other hand, it might not be good for music like trance, dream, disco, new wave, synthdance that emphasize on bass.

 

I think it's excellent for bass centric music.

post #13 of 24

I have the K550s and find them much preferable to the M50s, which I find mechanical and sterile.  The K550s are great for instrumental and vocal jazz, sometimes less so for other genres like rock and electronic, but it really depends on the recording - some come across as too bright.  The K550s can be driven well by an iPhone, etc., though I think they open up with amping.  They have the best soundstage I have encountered in a closed phone.  As for using them as a portable headphone, however, a few things to keep in mind.  They have a really long cable (maybe 9 feet) and they are big phones.  They do fold flat at least, and I find them super comfortable.  You do need to make sure you get a good seal by manipulating the cups a bit.  If you don't, they truly do have little bass.  If you do, it's a nicely balanced and accurate headphone.  Noise isolation is decent, but not the best.

 

For portable use, I would be tempted to try the V-Moda M-80s based on what I have read.  I have the Sennheiser HD-25s, but with the coiled cable so its not great for portable use.  I also just don't find the HD-25s to be very comfortable, though the clamping force does keep them nicely in place.

post #14 of 24

I had the K550 and i also own the M50 and i must say that the 550 is the better headphone hands down. But i found it very bright and a bit cold sounding. For vocal,jazz,blues etc its a much better choice then the M50 that has alot of power and attack but no finesse.

post #15 of 24
Thread Starter 

Thanks for all the input. I have a pair of earbuds that i have been told are very bright but it does not bother me at all so if the K550 are bright i think i would be fine with them. Is it very difficult to get a good seal on the earcups on the K550? 

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