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Choosing between ATH M50 vs Philips Fidelio L1

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 

I hesitated to post, wasn't sure as a newbie with a low post count but here goes...


I was over at Headfonia looking for versatile phones that don't leak much, are more closed than open, and that I'll be wearing around town. I listen to less aggressive rock, electronic (trance), movie soundtracks.  What came down the vine was the ATH M50 and the Fidelio L1 as a good options for sub $300 (I brought them up).


What really hooked me into the Fidelio's [http://www.headfonia.com/philips-fidelio-l1/] is the nice clean, "urban" look and good range, comfort.  On the other hand the M50 [http://www.headfonia.com/closed-cans-shootout-m-50-esw-9-t50p-hd25-1-beats-studio-srh-840-srh-750dj-k181dj-and-dj1pro/3/] is touted as phones that will get you "feeling the music".


My overall impression is that if the M50 looked like the Philips I'd spring for it right away.  Are they as conspicuous as I think they are?  I'm looking at the big headband and large lettering and hesitate.


On the other hand the only reason I'm looking at headphones is because I really want a good listening experience.  Would the M50 win hands down or as a newbie with no prior audiophile headphone experience, could I get away with the L1?


Thanks for any advice! Cheers,



Edited by please22 - 9/30/12 at 1:03pm
post #2 of 7
Thread Starter 


post #3 of 7
I haven't heard the L1, so take what I'm going to say in that context:

I think the M50 are an alright sealed monitor headphone, but they certainly aren't a "you are there" experience. They want for sound-staging, have somewhat tizzy/sibilant highs, somewhat boomy bass (which can be unbecoming with trance), and are less comfortable than I'd like. Regarding the size and fit, they're about in the middle when it comes to headphone size. They aren't massive like the Denon AH-D2000 or Koss ESP/950, but they aren't compact like the ESW9. They do come in a few color schemes (not just black, there's also the Limited Edition (which is silver), and a white version); if that helps your decision any.

I think for the ~$120-$130 they regularly go for, they wouldn't be a bad choice, but for mobile use I'd probably look more towards IEMs (I just don't like lugging full-size cans around with me). Some other headphones to consider around that price range would include the Creative Aurvana Live!, Sennheiser HD 380Pro, and (at about half their price), the Koss R/80. I think the HD380Pro are probably the best sounding of the bunch, and the R/80 represent the best value. Looks - well, I'm not sure which one I'd pick.

If you want something that's more industrial/modern looking, a headphone that I can speak to is the Bowers & Wilkins P5. They have more metal and leather, like the Philips, and I can tell you they sound pretty good. The problem is, they're "pretty good" compared to the above mentioned headphones, and they cost $300. For that money, in a portable, I'd rather take the ESW9 (which look and sound better, but provide much less isolation and don't have the ControlTalk cable). Just something to think about.

Hopefully someone with an L1 can chime in with more information about them directly - my understanding is that they're really not a bad re-entry to the headphone market from Philips, but they are not without flaws. I also vaguely remember something about only being able to buy them from the Apple store or something like that - may be mistaken though.
post #4 of 7
I believe you can listen to L1 at the Apple store.
post #5 of 7
Thread Starter 

obobskivich thanks for that thoughtful post.  Actually up till now I have always used IEM and they are great at isolation and discreetness which come to think of it, is right up my alley.  If you think I can get IEM that are just as good as cans in the below $300 range, I might spring for that.  IEMs don't get as much screen time so its easy to think cans are the way to go.  Sent you a PM to keep this on topic.  I'll check out your recommendations too.


McPatD, I'm in Canada and I haven't seen them yet at the Apple store but I might make another trip soon.

post #6 of 7
Have you considered the Shure se425?
post #7 of 7
Also Westone 3 or 4
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