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I seem to be a picky Head-Fi'er... (Upgrade from ATH-M50)

post #1 of 31
Thread Starter 

Hi,

 

I've been looking around for the past few months to replace/upgrade from my dying/dead Audio Technica ATH-M50's. As a result, and after seeing all the possibilities, I ended up creating the "Mid-Fi Closed Portable Battle 2012 Discussion" thread, seeing as many people were in similar situations. However, it seems I need some more direct help/opinions for my needs.

 

I am a new owner of the V-MODA M-100, and while I am a massive fan of the massive sound-stage, solid build quality, fancy materials, and excess of features, I must say the sound signature is not for me. (Bass heavy, bass resonance, U-shaped sound signature, blurred mid-bass)

 

My needs that MUST be met are:

  • Similar sound to M50, but better. I want a more aggressive mid-range, punchier/deeper, but not 'bloated' bass, and at least "as good" treble. I listen to everything from Dance, to Rock, to Orchestral, so I need as much detail in sound as possible while fulfilling the above.
  • Great Build Quality. Metal/High-Quality Plastic are preferred, I don't want squeaking or creaks while wearing them.
  • Great Portability. Must be driven well from iPod Touch 5th Generation. Able to be worn around neck, or folded flat if possible. Detachable cable would be amazing.
  • No leakage/isolation issues. Must have isolation/leakage of -12db or more. (> or = M50) I do not leaking my music or hearing the outside world more than necessary.

 

If there is a headphone in the "Mid-Fi Closed Portable Battle 2012 Discussion" thread, that will be released soon, or even a headphone that is out currently, I would love to know. Which do you recommend? 

 

I am currently planning on purchasing the AKG K267, due to it seemingly meeting all the above criteria. I am hoping that it combines the detailed AKG treble/mid-range, with the bass needed for DJ work. Do other users think this is a good idea?

 

Thank you in advance for all your opinions!

post #2 of 31
The problem here is that as you move "up" the price-ladder, you usually give up portability as a feature. There's also the bit over isolation - you want it, and good headphones tend not to offer it (because they're open-back).

That said, here's a list of headphones I would take over the M50 for around the same price:

Bose AE2
Koss TBSE
Audio-Technica ATH-ESW9
Sennheiser HD 380Pro

If you can spend more:

Kenwood KH-K1000
Bose QC15 (only if you *need* the ANC, because you can't run these without it)

If you could consider open-back, basically go into my profile and pick one (I will suggest them all highly, even the ones listed as "Past").

The short answer to the above is that I would probably go snag a pair of TBSEs at Tuesday Morning while they still have them, as they tick all of your check-boxes (and yes they cost less), and if you aren't happy you can return them (I think TM has a 60 day return window too). The Bose, ESW9, and HD380 should all be stocked by Best Buy (and on display), so you can try those out before you purchase. The Kenwood are the tricky ones - they're only available from importers like AudioCubes, and there isn't really a return option. Resale doesn't take a *huge* beating, but you won't get $399 + s/h back.

Also, have you considered IEMs at all? Would tick the portability boxes better than any full-size, and probably isolation/leak as well.

Finally, if I didn't know for a fact that Denon D2000s were becoming gouged INSANELY (I've seen them as high as $499, gotta love people sometimes) I'd suggest them as well. I like them less than the Kenwood, but they're better than a lot of modern closed-back headphones. The AKG K550 should probably be tried out as well, although I'm not really a fan (I think overall they aren't worth $300, but compared to modern competition, I guess they really are).
Edited by obobskivich - 10/23/12 at 9:01pm
post #3 of 31
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by obobskivich View Post

The problem here is that as you move "up" the price-ladder, you usually give up portability as a feature. There's also the bit over isolation - you want it, and good headphones tend not to offer it (because they're open-back).

I know - but it seems that more companies are trying to move into the closed/portable mid-fi market. Like the Sony MDR 1R and other headphones in the thread I made. Thing is, I am unsure if any of them really match what I want. 

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by obobskivich View Post

Also, have you considered IEMs at all? Would tick the portability boxes better than any full-size, and probably isolation/leak as well.

I can't stand IEM's and buds, as they always feel uncomfortable for me. I really don't like having things in my ears. They also don't have the same feeling as a full-size pair of headphones.

 

I've heard the AKG K550's have a problem with sealing, and also don't have the best bass. Could I assume the K267's will fix that? I have high hopes for the K267's, and to a lesser extent, the SONY MDR-1RNC's.

post #4 of 31

I don't have any suggestions, but I know how you feel. For me the M50s sound signature is just right, fun enough for listening to modern genres but not too far from neutral to where my orchestra/jazz music sounds crappy. I'll be watching this thread, because I'm starting to get that upgrade itch as well.

post #5 of 31

How about Sennheiser Momentum? I have no direct experience with them yet, but for a very good review check this thread:

 

http://www.head-fi.org/t/627587/sennheiser-momentum-review

post #6 of 31

roland RH300 is an "upgraded" m50 IMO. costs less than 200 and it cost way less in japan. it also has all your requirements.

post #7 of 31

No love for the HFI-580? i feel they are an upgrade over the M50 IMO. 

 

Or try the Pro series. 

post #8 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by BRSxIgnition View Post

I know - but it seems that more companies are trying to move into the closed/portable mid-fi market. Like the Sony MDR 1R and other headphones in the thread I made. Thing is, I am unsure if any of them really match what I want. 

It's not so much they're trying to move into that market, as they're trying to compete with (and replicate the success of) Beats Audio. And in doing so, they've turned $300 into "mid-fi."

Quote:
I can't stand IEM's and buds, as they always feel uncomfortable for me. I really don't like having things in my ears. They also don't have the same feeling as a full-size pair of headphones.

I've heard the AKG K550's have a problem with sealing, and also don't have the best bass. Could I assume the K267's will fix that? I have high hopes for the K267's, and to a lesser extent, the SONY MDR-1RNC's.

I wouldn't assume anything about upcoming products, especially from companies that are in the process of selling out. I completely understand on the IEMs. Basically I'd suggest trying some of the models on the list I made - I can tell you from experience that the M50 (soundstage issues aside) fit into the "good enough" club, and even going WAY up the ladder you don't gain a lot in terms of fidelity. You just get a different set of strengths and weaknesses. With a lot of the ~$300 range "mid-fi" market though, I see a lot of bad values and flat-out bad products (uncomfortable, not ergonomic, etc) though.

Regarding the K550 and seal - I'd probably agree. Like I said, I'm not a fan at all, but I figure they deserve mention, and if you're going to Best Buy to try out some cans, they should have them as well so it'd be worth spending the five minutes to give them a looksie.
post #9 of 31
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by obobskivich View Post


II can tell you from experience that the M50 (soundstage issues aside) fit into the "good enough" club, and even going WAY up the ladder you don't gain a lot in terms of fidelity. You just get a different set of strengths and weaknesses. With a lot of the ~$300 range "mid-fi" market though, I see a lot of bad values and flat-out bad products (uncomfortable, not ergonomic, etc) though.

This is what I'm worried about. I've had M50's for the past 3 years, so I know what their weaknesses are. I am mainly hoping that there is a headphone being released, or that HAS been released, that fixes the M50's weaknesses of sound-stage, recessed mid-range, and 'only okay' bass.

post #10 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by BRSxIgnition View Post

This is what I'm worried about. I've had M50's for the past 3 years, so I know what their weaknesses are. I am mainly hoping that there is a headphone being released, or that HAS been released, that fixes the M50's weaknesses of sound-stage, recessed mid-range, and 'only okay' bass.

Kenwood KH-K1000 or Bose AE2 (in that order). The TBSE are better as well, but have (considerably) less bass impact (none of the nasty boominess either), so they probably don't appeal to modern tastes (where people want a boomy low-end). All three are much better imho (I don't like the M50 though, they're flat, sibilant, boomy, heavy, hot, aggressive, etc). Kenwood is probably the biggest "upgrade" but least portable and heaviest. There's a bunch of open cans that stomp on the M50 too.
post #11 of 31
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by obobskivich View Post


Kenwood KH-K1000 or Bose AE2 (in that order). The TBSE are better as well, but have (considerably) less bass impact (none of the nasty boominess either), so they probably don't appeal to modern tastes (where people want a boomy low-end). All three are much better imho (I don't like the M50 though, they're flat, sibilant, boomy, heavy, hot, aggressive, etc). Kenwood is probably the biggest "upgrade" but least portable and heaviest. There's a bunch of open cans that stomp on the M50 too.

Well - for now, I've ordered the AKG K267, and I'm letting my M-100's burn in some more.

 

Hopefully I can settle on one of the two - it doesn't seem like Audio Technica is going to do an official upgrade to the ATH-M50 anytime soon...

post #12 of 31

Do you not find the V-Moda M-100 an upgrade to the M50? Maybe you could try the WS55. I find it an upgrade to my M-50.

 

In addition, you could look into the Sony MDR-1R (Non Bluetooth and Non Noise-Cancelation version). It might have less midbass but has deeper subbass. It has more mids and treble than the V-Moda m-100.

 

You know, maybe instead of another basshead can, a can that complements your M50.

post #13 of 31
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by lubczyk View Post

Do you not find the V-Moda M-100 an upgrade to the M50? Maybe you could try the WS55. I find it an upgrade to my M-50.

 

In addition, you could look into the Sony MDR-1R (Non Bluetooth and Non Noise-Cancelation version). It might have less midbass but has deeper subbass. It has more mids and treble than the V-Moda m-100.

 

You know, maybe instead of another basshead can, a can that complements your M50.

I do think the M-100's are an MASSIVE upgrade from my M50's, but just not the upgrade I was looking for. They are very different in sound signature.

post #14 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by BRSxIgnition View Post

I do think the M-100's are an MASSIVE upgrade from my M50's, but just not the upgrade I was looking for. They are very different in sound signature.

That's why I am suggesting the MDR-1R or the Shure SRH-940. They have more mids. Also look into the Kenwood KH-K1000.


Edited by lubczyk - 10/24/12 at 7:59pm
post #15 of 31
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by lubczyk View Post

That's why I am suggesting the MDR-1R or the Shure SRH-940. They have more mids. Also look into the Kenwood KH-K1000.

Thing is, the MDR-1R is slower, bass is not as detailed, and build is not as good apparently. For the 940, they're too large, and the K1000, I really dislike the look.

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