I love the M50s! But they are not very comfortable.
What I'm wondering is if there is any way to increase the comfort level of them, maybe by replaces the pads, etc.
What discomfort are you experiencing? I have the same cans. If it is the clamping force of the headphones I would suggest bending them apart such that the ear pads are about a good 10-12 inches apart. Keep on doing this until you get the fit you want. Don't worry about breaking them. If you are uncomfortable about doing this, then you could place a box of Kleenex between the ear pads.
A short answer is to replace the pads - I’ll suggest Sweetwater if yer in the states.
At first I did reach out to Audio Technica and was comped a pair of pads. They made a claim as to some improvement were made to the pads but I call BS on that.
The material covering the foam on the earpads does eventually get hard (whether you use them or not), I’m on my 4th set and they feel great when new.
If you push down on the pad with just a finger tip and it moves anywhere besides where you are pushing, then the pads will feel hard and flatter against yer ear.
Its kind of like the difference between a cheap and high quality mattress.
I’d like to see quality replacement pads with real leather and slightly denser foam.
One thing that worked for me was to tinker with the height of the pad
At first I simply rolled up some pieces of electrical tape and tucked them along the inside edge where the pad meets the fabric that covers the speaker. (don’t remove the pads)
That helped the problem that leaf1569 describes.
You could use some small diameter soft vinyl tubing cut to fit along the underside edge
You should experiment with materials and placement.
For example, if the problem is just one side, top or bottom the try shorter pieces to elevate just that area.
Something to note on a mod like that is that the sound might change slightly- In this case perhaps for the better because if the speakers are too close to yer ear that is probably not the intended design.
Another thing that helped the comfort (dramatically) for me was to create a new head band cover and add some soft foam to the underside. That may not be a project for everyone but you could tag team it with anyone who does upholstery. That would also a good time to rewire if you feel the need.
I saw another set where the owner simply added a soft leather covered foam strip to the underside of the headband. His set was new and the the head band material hadn’t deteriorated yet.
I feel that the clamping preference is purely personal - mine feel best when the pads are almost touching each other. They sound better and won’t fall off when I even think about moving about.