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Need help choosing an upgrade from the ath m50

post #1 of 20
Thread Starter 

I'm new to head-fi, so i apologize now if I do something wrong.

 

I'm sure that that there are lots of similar threads like this already, but after about a year of only listening to my m50's, I have been craving something more. I just feel as if they are missing something. My laid back indie music (daughter, angus and julia stone, bon iver, etc.) sound great on them, no complaints, and even my more laid back electronic music sounds pretty rad (james blake, hot chip, just pretty chill stuff), but when I listen to my harder edm, the sound just falls flat. I wouldn't say that the bass is insufficient, it is there and is pretty punchy, which I like, but it sounds maybe a little bit too cold.

 

Basically I'm looking for a headphone under 300 (preferably under 250 on amazon) that is a definite upgrade to my m50's. If i'm going to spend the money, i want headphones that are indisputably a step up rather than a step sideways.

 

Requirements:

closed

better than m50's

circumaural

 

Personal Preferences:

sealed

relatively easy to drive (dont have an amp yet)

no y-cords, i would greatly prefer if just came from one ear cup

i actually really like coiled cords (this is defineitly NOT a deal breaker)

 

also, on a kind of seperate manner, should i just get a dac/amp (i was thinking the magni/modi combo from shiit) before upgrading my headphones or is it not worth it until i have a better set of cans?

 

sorry that that was super long

post #2 of 20

I started a similar thread, moving on from m50. Haaaaaa

But that's because I'm upgrading it as my recording studio monitor headphone. It seems like you're using your m50 for casual home listening. If so, have you tried open-back headphones? I've tried Grado 60i, but that's a downgrade price-wise.

post #3 of 20
Thread Starter 

I haven't tried any open back headphones, mainly becasue I haven't been really interested in the high quality audio world until very recently. I wouldn't be opposed to them, but i do share a room, and i'd rather not be an inconvienience to my roomate. at this point i think closed ones are a better choice for my lifestyle. and a downgrade in price doesn't neccesarily mean a down grade in quality, so im open to whatever prices lol

post #4 of 20
Thread Starter 

also i wish i could help you but i'm kind of clueless haha

post #5 of 20

Shure SRH840 (bass heavy)

Beyerdynamic DT770 (heavy on bass) or DT660 (more flat response)

Sennheiser Momentum (great bass, mediocre highs)

AKG 550

 

All of these are in your price range and a definite step up from the ATH-M50.

 

Also a dac/amp is almost always a good thing on a laptop. I've got my NuForce uDAC3 waiting at the post office to pick it up tomorrow. If you want to save a little cash or go for more portable and no dac, there are several amp only solutions from FiiO and NuForce and others that work well there too. 

 

But if it's a choice between just new headphones and an amp/dac then get new phones first. A decent amp definitely helps the ATH-M50s but it doesn't turn them into headphones that can compete with the ones I listed above.

post #6 of 20

As I stated on my own thread, I just tried the AKG K550. Wider soundstage, but when my friend tried it I noticed some of the sound leaking with my phone's volume up at around 75%.

 

Next thing I want to try is Beyerdynamic's Custome One Pro. They have a little notch for adjusting bass intesity. I haven't tried it yet though as I haven't seen one in the Philippines available for auditioning.


I also have my eyes on Sony MDR-1R for casual listening and monitoring, M-Audio Q40 for monitoring.

post #7 of 20
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the suggestions, I was actually already looking at the k550's, but some reveiws i found said that they were a little lacking on the bass...i don't exactly want anything super bass heavy or even normal bass heavy, just something with a little more color. Are the k550's bass at least on par oomph wise with the m50's?

 

and yeah i was thinking about just getting the fiio e11 as a portable amp and then go from there later on. am i right to choose this over the other fiio models? as i understand it, getting one with a built in dac won't be very useful considering they wont over ride my ipod nano's dac, right?

post #8 of 20

Beyerdynamic DT 770

 

Needs an amp to shine though.

post #9 of 20
Thread Starter 

sorry iamnotramon, didn't see your post. yeah i was also considering those sony mdr-1r's and looked at the custom one pro's breifly. idk, but something about that bass switch just seemed a little bit gimmicky. correct me if im wrong though, maybe they really are a great pair of headphones with great audio quilty (not trying to sound snarky here btw)

post #10 of 20
Thread Starter 

the 32 ohm ones wouldn't really need one though right, if im driving from a laptop?

post #11 of 20

Correct 32 to 80 ohm don't normally need an amp. OTOH, higher impedance headphones are usually better sounding. Note that the ATH-M50s are pretty bass heavy, so if you get something with a fairly flat FR curve (SRH940, DT660/DT880) you'll probably miss the bass you had in the ATH-M50s.

 

If you're open to open back HPs your choices open up a lot, and generally open back headphones have better soundstage etc.

post #12 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sxooter View Post
 

Correct 32 to 80 ohm don't normally need an amp. OTOH, higher impedance headphones are usually better sounding. Note that the ATH-M50s are pretty bass heavy, so if you get something with a fairly flat FR curve (SRH940, DT660/DT880) you'll probably miss the bass you had in the ATH-M50s.

 

If you're open to open back HPs your choices open up a lot, and generally open back headphones have better soundstage etc.

In my experience the 80 ohm version does benefit from an amp.

 

Never heard the 32 ohm version.

post #13 of 20

And some say the M50's bass lacks the oomph. I tried listening to Dam Funk and Snoop Dogg's Faden Away with the K550's and it had me bobbing my head. M50's bass seem to "muddy up" the sound after listening to K550.

 

No they won't override your nano's dac. I auditioned different Fiio amps and I settled with the wee E6 as I can't find any difference with the sound, compared to fiio's bulkier amps. And E6 has great EQ settings, give's more oomph my m50's already emphasized bass and treble. If you want something with a dedicated dac, save up for an iBasso DXX50 or Fiio X3. I tried X3 and I wet my pants listening to LCD Soundsystem.

post #14 of 20
Thread Starter 

i'll consider open back headphones. it might be good to get a different style just see how i like them and for some variation, and then just use my good old reliable m50's for when i need some isolation. And yes, i do like the bass on my m50's, but i've been thinking that maybe it's not the bass that is the issue, but rather the overall sound signature of them. i might go to best buy (anywhere else i should go?) and just try out a few differnet brands etc. to see what i like, as i haven't had uch exposure to other quality HP's.

post #15 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by iamnotramon View Post
 

And some say the M50's bass lacks the oomph. I tried listening to Dam Funk and Snoop Dogg's Faden Away with the K550's and it had me bobbing my head. M50's bass seem to "muddy up" the sound after listening to K550.

 

I'd say the M50s have lots of bass, but it's pretty muddy. The bass on my DT770/250s is much cleaner, and feels like it extends much lower. Note for an amp I'm using the NuForce MMP which has one switch for gain (3x/5x) nothing else. I tend to EQ on my laptop most the time in the digital domain so didn't really need it on my amp. The MMP is very neutral but in 5x it sounds a bit tinny to my ears, so I never run it in 5x.

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