The ATH-M50's have a meaty (not punchy) bass which becomes annoying after a while, well it did to me, and its bass does not have a smooth linear respone because the M-50 bass has been designed to boost at specific points in the audio spectrum, but actually in all the wrong places IMO. The M-50 sounds endearing when listening to them for the first time, but then you soon realize that your gonna get sick of it pretty damn quick, besides, the M-50 is not really a good headphone the way some people say, the upper-midrange spectrum is 'Severely' recessed and the treble-end of the audio spectrum is rounded-off with little sense of spaciousness. Quite frankly the ATH-M50 is a shocking headphone if you ask me, it sounds good initially to the novice, until you realize or learn just how bad its sonic performance really is, i kid you not.
However, the Ultrasone 580 shares very similar characteristics to the good points of the M-50 but with less of the M-50's shortcomings; given a choice between the Ultrasone 580 and the M-50 i would choose the 580 any day of the week, it has a deep tight punchy bass that sounds more natural and pleasing to the ear if that's what you're after. But also i can tell you that Sennheiser's own HD202 headphone far surpasses the performance of the 205's, and it is cheap as chips. The HD 202 is a nearly flawless headophone except for the fact that it exhibits ever so slightly boomy bass, however, it is also 'Punchy' bass, so not really that bad if you want a headphone with a bit of extra bass performance.
Furthermore the M-50 is not really a studio monitoring headphone as Audio Technica like to tout, that company is using deceptive advertising and they know it, so IMO they are getting away with blue-murder, because the M-50 is actually a very inaccurate headphone; it sells like hotcakes undeservedly because people of all ilks keep recommending it, but why i dont know, Audio Technica should not be calling their headphone a Pro Studio Headphone, that slogan is all hyperbole, a total misnomer.
All i can say is that there is no way on this planet that the ATH-M50 stands the test of a Studio monitoring headphone as-far-as accuracy is concerned, its sonic performance is too skewed for that, i have produced music with them and they did not give me an accurate mix at all, plus the treble frequencies are essentially stunted, but also hyped in all the wrong places and artificial sounding with a narrow sounding representation of the upper audio-spectrum.
IMO the Audio Technica M-50 has an undeserved reputation as a good headphone, but actually when you know what to listen for, that headphone is one of the worst i have heard. The KRK KNS 8400 headphone will give you a far better audio performance for less money, and the KRK company specializes in monitoring speakers and headphones for studios. The KRK 8400 may not be perfect, but tell me which headphone is perfect, at any price; nonetheless the KRK is a darn sight better than the M-50, i can assure you of that, and a benefit of the KRK is that it has a detachable cable so that you can use whatever length cable is most appropriate for any given occasion, and i have to say that such a feature is actually a very real benefit, there is nothing worse than having to walk around the street with headphone cable hanging off you everywhere, feel me? Good luck.
Edited by zardak - 7/21/13 at 5:24am