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Shure SRH-440 w/HPAEC840 pads vs Audio-Technica ATH-M50

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 

Hi all,

 

I have a set of Shure SRH-440 modified with SRH-840 pads(HPAEC840).  Lately I've been thinking of picking up a set of the ATH-M50, because some stores are clearing them out, and they can be had for around $100-130.  I searched through the forum, and found a few people say there wasn't too much of a difference between the modified SRH-440 and ATH-M50.  I found posts saying the SRH-440 had better mids, but the ATH-M50 was better for lower frequency sounds.  People were saying the SRH-440 was better for rock or indie music, and the ATH-M50 were better for dance, techno, and rap music.

 

Can anyone that owns or have tried both sets please provide some feedback?

 

TIA

WG

post #2 of 7
Thread Starter 
Bhuller... Bhuller... Bhuller?
post #3 of 7
Quote:
Originally Posted by WeirdG View Post
 

Hi all,

 

I have a set of Shure SRH-440 modified with SRH-840 pads(HPAEC840).  Lately I've been thinking of picking up a set of the ATH-M50, because some stores are clearing them out, and they can be had for around $100-130.  I searched through the forum, and found a few people say there wasn't too much of a difference between the modified SRH-440 and ATH-M50.  I found posts saying the SRH-440 had better mids, but the ATH-M50 was better for lower frequency sounds.  People were saying the SRH-440 was better for rock or indie music, and the ATH-M50 were better for dance, techno, and rap music.

 

Can anyone that owns or have tried both sets please provide some feedback?

 

TIA

WG

 

I own the SRH440, SRH840, and the ATH-M50s. Actually I own multiple pairs of all three, and like you, also have the 440s with 840 pads. While it depends on the particular pair of SRH440 you have, the 440s generally go very well with the 840 pads. In fact, my best 440 is probably around 80-90 percent of my best SRH840. I use them nearly as much as the 840s, in fact listening to them right now. Between the two, the 840 is more refined and better behaved, and slightly less fatiguing which I assume makes them better for monitoring and listening to details (I am not a prefessional, but the sound signature seems to go well with that in mind) but I go back and forth between them because the 440s have slightly more 'bite' in the higher ranges that I like. If you are used to the details in the 440s, you might be disappointed with the ATH-M50s because when compared to the the 440/840 the vocals and upper midrange sound very veiled. Again, this is when directly compared to the 440/840, the M50s fare quite well against lesser headphones.

 

The ATH-M50 have louder, better controlled bass that extends lower than either the 440 or 840, but the bass on the M50 bleeds heavily into the soundstage and that does not bode well for the already recessed mids. The M50 does have a good soundstage, or I should say can have a good soundstage because on some models, the soundstage isn't 'quite as good as others, but if you get a good one, the soundstage is better than the 440/840 and sounds quite good for music. The M50s have a 'warm' signature, and are more forgiving to bad sources. The M50s are good musically, but the sound is not as accurate as the 440 (with 840 pads) or the 840. This is especially noticable when watching talk shows, movies or other content which involve more of your senses. For example, when watching talk shows like the Daily Show, Colbert Report, etc the M50s sound is overly 'warm' and does not sound accurate. The sound of the audience clapping is high pitched which it is supposed to be, but when the host begins talking the voice sounds lower and bassier than it would be in comparision to the louder clapping. It's hard to put into words and describe, but the 440/840 reproduce the sounds more accurate as if you were there because the midrange is better balanced and much clearer. The bass from the padded 440s and 840s is very clean and does not bleed into the rest of the sound, which is one of the attributes I love about these two headphones.

 

If I had to choose only one headphones to own between the two, I would pick the SRH440 with 840 pads over the ATH-M50s anyday. It might not be the same if I had to use the stock pads because in stock form, the 440 sound balance is skewed towards extremely agressive highs and upper mids and lacking in bass, which made them harsh and fatiguing. Modding them with the 840 pads toned down the upper range and boosted the bass quite a bit. As you mentioned, the modded SRH440 is excellent for rock and other musical genres that involve mutliple instruments/vocals playing at the same time. Because of the 440/840s ability to seperate details well, they excel in music that have a 'busy' soundstage . In contrast, those are the worse genres for the M50 as it does not seperate details as well and the boosted bass clouds the soundstage.This is also true for 'busy' orchestra music, but if you didn't have the 440s or 840s or other clearer headphones to compare the M50s against, most people would probably think the M50s sound good for those genres.

 

The M50s do well with slower music, like acoustic songs, older songs like golden oldies, and modern songs that utilize alot of bass like modern pop, techno, rap, dance, etc. This does not mean that the 440s/840s does worse than the M50 in those genres, its just that the genres mentioned are the M50s strong suites. In fact, I prefer the clarity and details from srh440s over the M50s for pretty much everything, but the 440/840's weakness is their bass. While the bass is very clean, again which I love, and works very well for natural bass line like those from intruments, it is not particularly well controlled or tight and does not do sub-bass very well, so the M50s might be better for Dubstep and other similar genres but I don't listen to Dubstep so I can't give input on that.

 

And on build quality, both are well built, but the ATH-M50s are noticably better built, but have no detachable cable. The ATH-M50 has a more comfortable headband pad, but the SRH440 with 840s ear pads are much more comfortable on the ears. I wear glasses and can wear the SRH440/840 combo with my glasses comfortable, which I can only do with M50s with new pads. Wearing glasses with the M50s causes damage to the pads because the M50 ear pads wear down waaaaay faster than the 840 pads, and once they start to wear, they get hard and the glasses leave lines in the pads which will cause cracking if you wear them for a prolonged amount of time. If you do get the M50, expect to replace the pads at least 1-2 times a year if you intend to use them daily as they get hard and uncomfortable, even if you don't wear glasses. You may not have to replace them as often if you can tolerate hard ear pads. If you take extra good care of them they may last a bit longer but they are notorious for wearing out quickly. An authenticate pair of M50 ear pads typically go for around $20 (currently) if you shop around.

 

Hope this helps.


Edited by 0ffbeat - 4/12/14 at 12:58am
post #4 of 7
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the in depth review. :D

post #5 of 7

I'm replying way late, but np :)

 

It felt rude not replying and kept bugging me so I decided to just reply.

 

I'm kind of ocd. Sorry!:deadhorse: 

post #6 of 7
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by 0ffbeat View Post
 

I'm replying way late, but np :)

 

It felt rude not replying and kept bugging me so I decided to just reply.

 

I'm kind of ocd. Sorry!:deadhorse: 

Hahaha... thanks.  I guess I can do my own comparisons now.  I own the M50x and I already had the SRH-440 with the 840 pads.

post #7 of 7

That's great! I'm not sure of the difference between the M50 and M50x, but the M50s are a fine set of headphones. I prefer the clarity of the Shures, but it's always nice to try different a flavor for sure. Share your impressions of them after breaking them in  :L3000:

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