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Hooked.........Now how do I improve?

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 

I've been listening to my Audio Technica ATH-M50 headphones along with my iBasso D10 with a HiFlight Top Kit.  I very much enjoy the sound and listening experience.  I go for hours at a time.


Now....where do I go for more?  For better?  For the need to subconsciously play an air guitar or beat an invisible drum along with the tune my new cans are playin.  


I mainly listen to rock and blues type music.  I go from things like Kings of Leon to Killswitch Engage to Norah Jones.  Blue October to Foo Fighters to the Alabama Shakes.  Pink Floyd to Amos Lee.  Arcade Fire to Godsmack.  Sometimes a bit of country or a shot of pop settles the moment.


I like to get lost in the music and be in there with it.  I love sweet mids and authoritative bass without being boomy.  I'll spin (digitally most of the time) an entire album at a time.  I really like the ATH-M50 and am curious what will be an improvement on it.  I don't like to play it loud, I like to play it right.


Where do I go for an improvement in the headphone department?  How about if cost was no object?  Will I need another amp or will my iBasso fill the bill?

Thanks for any an all suggestions.  Like many, I find it frustrating that you can not go to a local brick and mortar to give a listen to most of the headphones and I appreciate the forums feedback!

post #2 of 7

I don't know the rest of your equipment, but there are far better cans (based on accurately and fully reproducing what was laid down on a quality track) than the M50.  That said, your preferred sound signature (which you should define in more detail) may push you away from such technically better cans.  Reading somewhat between the lines, you appear to like bass to be above neutral.


The classic go to cans for blues and rock (at least those genres from the 60's and 70's) are the less than neutral (but in a different direction than the M50) on ear Grados (like the SR 225i) or their close cousins the Alessandros (say the MS 1i or 2i).


What's your budget?

post #3 of 7
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the reply!


I seem to gravitate toward a brighter sound with tight, authoritative bass.  Transparent sound with separation to the instruments.  Come to think of it, I think the M50s are the best sounding headphones for the specific sound type I'm looking for that I've listened to.  I've run Grado RS1i, JHA JH13 IEMs, Westone 3 IEMs (my favorite IEMs), a bunch of Klipsch IEMs, and a few less than stellar on ears.


An example:  I have my M50 headphones running off digital through my RSA HR-2 amp.  My eyes are closed and I'm into the music all the way through.  I plug in my Grado RS1i headphones into the same rig and my eyes open up.  The Grado's are great on their own and have many strengths over the M50s.  In fact, the RS1is are absolutely wonderful on ear headphones with many superior qualities to other headphones I've tried.  That being said, they are different sounding than the M50 and are really not what I'd consider to be "more" of what the M50 is.  I've got what I'm looking for with the RS1is, now I'm just looking for more of the M50.


So, I guess I'm looking for MORE of what the M50s are.  If there is such a thing.......?

Edited by shredder - 10/8/13 at 9:31am
post #4 of 7

Wow...it's clear that we don't hear the M50 and RS 1i the same way--not at all.


Unlike the M50, the Grado is open; is in a different (superior) price and quality class; and has a much bigger sound stage that more clearly & distinctly reproduces each musical voice and places it within that sound stage.  Its bass, although less prominent in its overall sound signature, is tighter and more extended than that of the M50.  The Grado mids--especially with electric guitar (and vocals as well)--blows away the recessed mids of the M50.  Both cans are on the bright side


I suspect that you like emphasized treble and bass of the M50 and the slam that it provides, in part because of its smaller sound stage.  If I read this correctly, you should try the Ultrasone Pro 750 (which needs to be properly amped or it loses its bass).


A major reason I don't like the M50 as well as other cans is that it has less than neutral mids.  This pushes things like electric guitars and vocals back in the mix.

post #5 of 7
Thread Starter 

That was a proper description!  Ultrasone Pro 750, now that looks promising!  Thank you for the suggestion!  


When you say properly amped, what type of amp are you referring to?  Is the iBasso D10 up to the task or are we speaking of desktop only, etc..... 

post #6 of 7

I don't know the iBasso, so can't answer your question.  Quality portable and desktop amps will properly power the 750.  I own mostly desktop amps and can tell you that the Asgard 1 does the job with ease.  I'll bet that a number of FiiOs will work too, but you should probably ask those who know for sure in the portable amp sub-section of the equipment forum.  Of course you can also ask about your iBasso there as well.

post #7 of 7
Have you listened to the DT770s? I thought they one upped my M50s.
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