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On ear headphones for vocal trance - AKG K550 vs ATH M50

post #1 of 19
Thread Starter 
I am looking for a solid pair of headphones in the range of £100-£150. I have narrowed it down to either AKG K550 or ATH M50 as they both go around £110-130 atm.
I do realise they are quite different headphones, however I am a bit lost now..

A little background: I mostly listen to vocal trance and often other electronic/dance music. For me clear vocals are very important as well as to hear all the layers of the electronic music. I also listen to classical music from time to time, mostly piano pieces, such as Rachmaninoff and Chopin. Sometimes, I listen to both older (Led Zeppelin etc) and newer rock and metal.

I never had a proper headphone before, I only have experience with IEMs. I currently use a Sennheiser CX500, which has a quite powerful bass so I am worried the K550 would sound like lacking in the bass department in comparison with my current pair.

I also have a quite smallish head and apparently the K550 is more suited for people with average or slightly larger than average heads.

On the other hand, ATH M50, vocals might not sound as good or just not get as much detail.. And I am not a bass head but bass is still important.

Any ideas?
Thanks in advance.

Edit:
Edited the title to be more descriptive.
And I am open to any suggestion around $200
Edited by LoyalDome - 11/27/13 at 8:17am
post #2 of 19

I would think the K550's better mids, vocals and surround sound/sound stage, would offset it having lighter bass then the ATH-M50s.

What sources are you plugging the headphones into?

post #3 of 19

With a good seal, the K 550 is fine in the bass department, unless you are looking for a bass heavy can.  The K 550 is also more balanced than the M50, which features prominent bass, bright treble and recessed mids.  The M50 is not a good choice for classical or piano.

 

But the rub is that much of the K 550 sound quality depends on getting that good seal.  In turn you will only know if you will or won't by trying them on your uniquely sized noggin' and listening to them.

 

What will be powering these cans?  There are likely other quality options.

post #4 of 19
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by PurpleAngel View Post

I would think the K550's better mids, vocals and surround sound/sound stage, would offset it having lighter bass then the ATH-M50s.
What sources are you plugging the headphones into?

That is what I was thinking, however I still would like some bass. I will be using it with either an older iPod or a newer iPad. I was thinking about getting a DAC and amp but first I would like to hear what it sounds.
I will probably be using 320kbps mp3s.

I am also more then open to suggestions about other headphones..
post #5 of 19
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by KG Jag View Post

With a good seal, the K 550 is fine in the bass department, unless you are looking for a bass heavy can.  The K 550 is also more balanced than the M50, which features prominent bass, bright treble and recessed mids.  The M50 is not a good choice for classical or piano.

But the rub is that much of the K 550 sound quality depends on getting that good seal.  In turn you will only know if you will or won't by trying them on your uniquely sized noggin' and listening to them.

What will be powering these cans?  There are likely other quality options.

I know that the M50 is not good for piano, but I could make that compromise if it would be great with the other genres I am listening to.
Please, do bear in mind, my primary concern is how good they sound for vocal trance, and other not very bass heavy electronic music eg. more melodic versions of dubstep and dance. Listening to classical music is important too, but only secondary concern.

And well yes, I am very worried about getting a good seal. I would be ordering off Amazon so no way of testing in advance.

Please keep throwing suggestions at me about other headphones if you happen to know any which is good for the genres I listen to!
post #6 of 19
Thread Starter 
I was wondering if Denon AH D600 might be a good headphone for my purposes?
Anyone knows how it compares to the previous ones?
Although it is a bit out of my price range. Is there any similar but slightly less expensive can?
post #7 of 19

You seem to be tilting toward bass heavy cans.  Is that what you want?

post #8 of 19
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by KG Jag View Post

You seem to be tilting toward bass heavy cans.  Is that what you want?

I don't want bass which just drowns every other sound, I don't want bass where it doesn't belong. But I do want some quality bass as the music producer intended it to sound. I also want the headphones to sound 'fun' and not very plain or 'sterile', as I am going to be using them for enjoyment and not for being able to spot potential flaws in the music.

With that being said, vocals are very important for me. Especially female vocals often found in electronic music. So I suppose mids might be more important than bass.

I am just not sure what headphone would be good for my purposes. I brought up AKG K550 with ATH M50 because currently on UK Amazon they are the same price, and I don't have unlimited budget smily_headphones1.gif
post #9 of 19

Within your budget (based on U.S. prices), the sound signature you seek in a closed can may be best matched by the Sony MDR-1R.  See:

 

http://www.innerfidelity.com/content/solid-sony-mdr-1r-mdr-1rbt-and-mdr-1nc

post #10 of 19
Thread Starter 
Thank you, they do seem to have the sound signature I am looking for! Also a lot of people seem to emphasize that they are especially good for female vocals..So that's good.
However, they are a bit pricey here.
They go for around £170 cheapest, which I might still pay for them still I would be a bit reluctant.
In comparison
Shure 840 - £120
AKG K550 - £125
AKG K271 - £105
ATH M50 - £120

So if anyone has a slightly less expensive sugestion similar to Sony MDR-1R I would be very grateful.
post #11 of 19

The Shure SRH 840 is an excellent can, but you find it to be too clinical.  It is also just OK from many portable sources without an amp.

post #12 of 19
Thread Starter 
I am little bit leaning towards Shure 840 despite it being described as possibly too clinical. However the amp got me thinking?
A Fiio E7 DAC/amp would suffice for this can? What about the others? Does the Sony one need an amp?

I suppose after a while no amount of analysis and reviews by other people will help, I will just have to pick one and try it for myself..
post #13 of 19

Most any amp will help with the 840.  My iPhone 4 unamped is borderline OK with the 840.  It takes 85% to 95% volume to listen at loud moderate volume.

post #14 of 19
Thread Starter 
I see. Then I might just get the 840 now and get an amp later.
I am still thinking about the other options, but I think we have a winner smily_headphones1.gif
Thank you for your help smily_headphones1.gif
post #15 of 19
Thread Starter 
Hmm, actually anyone can comment on V-Moda M80?
How do they compare to Shure 840 in mids? Especially sound quality and details, which is more forward? What about bass?

Do they need amping too?
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