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Over-Ear item created by zowki, Jan 15, 2011
Pros - See Review
Cons - See Review
The M50 Professional Studio Monitor Headphones by Audio-Technica
Type: Closed-back dynamic
Driver Diameter: 45 mm
Voice Coil: CCAW (Copper-clad aluminum wire)
Frequency Response: 15 - 28,000 Hz
Maximum Input Power: 1,600 mW at 1 kHz
Sensitivity: 99 dB
Impedance: 38 ohms
Input impedance: 47kOhm
Weight: 284 g (10 oz) without cable and connector
Cable: 1.2 - 3.0 m (3.9' - 9.8') Coiled, OFC litz wire
Connector: Gold-plated stereo 1/8" (3.5 mm) connector with strain relief and professional screw-on 1/4" (6.3 mm) adapter
Accessory Included: Protective pouch
Exceptional audio quality for professional monitoring and mixing
Collapsible design ideal for easy portability and convenient storage
Proprietary 45 mm large-aperture drivers with neodymium magnet systems
Closed-back cushioned earcup design creates an outstanding seal for maximum isolation
Adjustable padded headband for comfort during long mixing/recording sessions
Single-sided coiled cable terminates to gold-plated mini-plug with screw-on ¼" adapter
Available in white color with coiled cable (ATH-M50WH), black color with straight cable (ATH-M50s), and silver color with straight cable (Limited Edition ATH-M50s/LE)
I have waited a while to write this review. After over a two years of use I have come to understand just what the ATH-M50 is, and dramatically what it is not. As with many things on Head-Fi, it is not that simple to just write a short review. Hopefully I can shed some light on what the M50 is for headphone enthusiasts in 2016.
Around 2011 life was a little more simple for the M50s, they were $70 and filled a hole in the market. The hype soon followed and a headphone legend was born. At that point in history it was easy to see the trend, as we were experiencing a wave of new members and in 2011 it seemed, headphones were now going mainstream. The M50s in those days offered an entry level walk into the world of quasi-audiophile land. Gazillions were sold and many jumped on the sonic soap-box to tell the world of their new find. The model became an affordable headphone for the masses. It was and is a good all-around-er of sorts and is basically everywhere! It plays all genres at an "OK" level, never excelling or ever truly failing.
In 2012 many seasoned members also started to get curious as to why the M50s had become the most recommended headphone on Head-Fi. Not only were they recommended but also ridiculed and put down. We also found a group to be wildly defensive explaining how the M-50s were the best headphone under $400, anywhere. Some maniacs offered them to be more flat than most headphones on the market offering a trueness untouched by only a few flagship headphones. Still good or bad, press is press and the more threads were written the more advertisement the headphones achieved.
The new headphone phenomena:
Many times there is a wave of interest called the headphone of the month, or the flavor of the month. At times it may not be a headphone but could be an amp. People in the hobby are searching. There is always a product that gets traction in the marketplace. Much of the time this newness, can be a form of hype, where products become the next hot thing, regardless of lasting sound qualities. Whole audiophile groups can gravitate towards a sound because it is new and different, but not always better. At times whole sonic pitfalls can get masked on a group level. There can even be times when the naysayers are afraid to speak-out due to peer-pressure. Later when the dust settles products then actually appear true in reality as to what they really are and what they are not. Whole groups can get caught up in this research frenzy only to flood the used market a year or two later when the next THING comes along.
Musical perception is funny like that, much of the time an incomplete character can actually attribute to a new product sounding fresh, when in reality it is not adding anything but taking away a response trait. At times you have to wonder if the popularity of the M50 was not that it was revolutionary but in-fact left-out many of the qualities searched for in a sound signature?
I have other headphones but just out of curiosity I succumbed to the peer pressure in the end. I didn't get the new M50x which has detachable cables, but the original M50 with the coiled cable. On a side note the original M50 is still offered with a straight cable today. The M50x offers both coiled and straight cables.
I had heard it a couple times and knew what I was getting into. What I hoped was to slowly become enamored with the headphones and gave myself time before making a full assumption as to sound-quality or character. Upon first holding them you realize they are well made. They have a rugged plastic, metal and aluminum build. Usage is easy due to simple right and left markings and multiple movements allow a simple and complete ease of use. They only weight 10oz so they are easy to wear and get ear placement with. The plug is solid steel and exits with a gold plated mini-plug making use with a phone on the go easy.
There is a generic low-flash style to them, most of all nothing to get scratched or scuffed. You could see these in a studio environment where they could be thrown around without consequence. The 180 degree rotation of the cups allows you to wear them around your neck with the cups laying flat. In many ways the M50s contain a special magic in construction due to the fact that they are low weight, non squeaky and have well engineered strain relief in all the best places. They move in every possible direction allowing there to be a level of confidence (nothing to bend, ever) sometimes missing with more straight and strict designs or ideas. All these crazy angled joints don't fail and become loose or creaky. The cord though long and heavy, still ends up being strong and unchanging over time. The standard black color resists scuffs or discoloration skidding just under the radar in X-fashion style. Everyone's head and ears are a different size and headphone placement and fit are critical with most headphones allowing the user to gain both comfort and placement for the best possible sound. The M50s fit well and stay in place, they work around glasses and are generally a nice experience. I did find the leather style ear pads to be a little hard and rugged feeling. Of course, just like the perception of sound quality, most ideas are in relationship to what your past experience is. Many have made a choice to change out the ear pads for aftermarket cloth style pads, which are noticeably softer. Even DJs put them to use due to being closed back and showing a strong beat could be used to beat-match in live DJ sessions.
As of 2016, Amazon.com sells the old M50 for $133 and the new M50x for $152. Amazingly there are 5180 original model reviews, with 80% being marked as 4.7 stars out of a possible full five star score. The newer M50x gets 2819 reviews also averaging 4.7 stars. So judging by Amazon.com folks are pretty happy. Again reading reviews there you find it's the first entry level Hi/Fi headphone many have ever owned.
So the question that comes to mind for many is if I don't buy a pair what would I get? Another good question is how and why do these seem to excel for their target consumer and why do folks like them so much?
I will attempt to answer these questions as well as do some other comparisons to put the Audio Technica ATH-M50 in a realistic view. I'm also going to go into maybe why we read so many positive reviews and why owners defend them with such emotion.
If you have read this review so far then you may also have read the unbelievable reviews by the Head-Fi M50 lovers around. Like most stuff you read, it's just one persons opinion, and better to be viewed as just that, a single experience. Amazingly I still have the exact same thoughts about the sound signature as I did when I first heard them. My mental ideas as to the accuracy and color, the fun and individual character of the headphones have not wavered ever since I first demoed them with a friend years ago. My original idea is that they had a moderate sound-stage, a non-layered or complex treble and slightly over-pushed lower bass signature. The moment I heard them the lower mid detail was fun and slightly dramatic in character.
After years of ownership I thought I would find the treble maybe a little more interesting? There is a theory here that if you live with a headphone that over time you learn to almost hear into a sound signature and come to a higher level understanding of sorts. After years of trying, I have to admit, emotionally I'm still confirming my initial ideas, and have become even more confident in what I feel the M50s are.
The negatives and positives of the sound signature.
First off we always have to remember these are well-built $133 headphones that play just as well from a phone and scale up to a point with a nice home system. I have come to realize that the boring part of what they do has to do with the mid and treble sound-stage. The fact that the mids are actually recessed don't help matters but contribute to this sterility at hand. Combine that character with the fact that much of the musical information is all coming from exactly the same point source. If you place your finger on the symbol on the outside of the cup, that is the exact place 80% of the sound-stage is coming from. Such a signature has an exciting aspect when the lower mid-bass or room echo gets placed outside of this central cone. The only positive thing is that all audio signals become easy to understand due to all the information being emitted from one place. Imagine a group surrounding you and all talking at the same time, then listen to the group being place shoulder to shoulder across from your ear. The visual example is having you keep looking all over the room, but the second example has all the information coming from a point area of interest.
In daily use if you just didn't have any other choices much of these sound-stage issues could be overlooked. Also I do realize my opinions are from listening to the M50s side-by-side with much more expensive headphones with better sound-stage and side-by-side headphones with better treble detail and sound-stage which cost less. Many members have made the jump from the Audio Technica M50s to the Fostex TH-X00 from Massdrop.com. In many ways the two headphones are similar in that they are closed back and contain a dramatic lower bass apposed to treble centric headphones like the AKG-k701 open back headphones. The Fostex line ends up being a nice place to climb to after the M50s as the sound signatures both have some parallel aspects. In so many ways the Fostex line gets an improvement due to the increased detail in the sound-stage and treble area, which we find missing so much of the time.
Listening to the 1978 Van Halen self titled Japan Import first pressing "You Really Got Me" the hi-hat has a nice sparkle and 3D placement in the sound-stage head-space. Such sonic artifacts are actually entertaining because so very little musical placement comes out of that small congested mix 2.5 inches out side of your ears. When a nice treble sparkle makes it out into the air outside your head, it does add excitement. Still when the bass starts in the song it seems at a level inconsistent to how the song REALLY is? The lower bass level is of such non auditory impact, I actually had to switch over to my reference headphones the Denon AH-D 7000 closed backed headphones to listen if the problem was in the recording or another area in my playback system? As guessed the Denons are slightly less responsive to signal and needed extra volume to replicate the playback volume level. Also as guessed, the lower mid and lower bass detail was there but somehow drowned out in the mix by the M50s. So I may come off as hypercritical of these $133 headphones? I'm going to get to what they do well at, but still, even after a lot of trial and error, I just don't find these headphones to be as special or as magic as some find them to be. They perform a job in the most simple and basic of ways. They do offer a no nonsense sound which does have clarity of sorts? It's maybe this generic all around performer at a great price which has made the legend what it is?
Still, we must come to the realization, there are no perfect headphones made. What we are left with is musical instruments which are either loved or tolerated for their minor imperfections. After using headphones for years and years, the one best thing is the M50s are easy to drive, they don't distort even at high volume levels and have a warm bass response even from a phone. If that sounds like a simple thing, be forewarned it is almost never achieved by a single headphone model. In practice the M50s do contain a nice complex smooth lower mid which is entertaining fast and fun. Such a signature seems to scale up with a better source and coincides with a wider sound-stage offered by the lower mid and bass response.
If I was to design a perfect fix for the signature I would ask for a more complex and spread out upper mid and treble sound-stage. There is also a super low bass response set of tones which have no detail at all, a place in the response where all definition seems to fall into a blurry smear of muck? At first I actually thought this area could be with the recording or upstream playback equipment? Still after further testing I came to realize this area in the response is just a character of the headphones. The bass is detailed in the lower mids and lower bass but the sub-bass has a definition area of total loss.
So what is fun?
Listening to The Beatles 1962/1966 Compilation CD Japan First Pressing song "Help!" showed a dynamic musicality. When those lower guitar strums arrive they have a rock and roll time and movement. Still the recessed mids just don't do the vocals any justice? This ends up being a perfect song to demonstrate why these are not vocal headphones, they just are not.
Again music from a band like the Beatles needs vocals that are complex and upfront, not buried in the murk and muck of our M50 receded mid-range. Some headphones are vocal centric, some just replay what the track contains, and some just pull everything in the mid back. So to sum up our sound signature we have a pronounced bass response detailed to a point, but not lower. We have a pulled mid range which does not excel at vocals and a sparkly treble which again does not hold a very complex personality. I make this sound drastic but in reality the M50 does all this in a slightly reserved manner. It does all the above in a polite and modestly simple fashion. All this in such a smooth way, many members EQ the headphones back to a place they figure overcomes many of the issues I suggest here. I myself do not use EQ but know it's a tool used daily to try and address the issues at hand here.
In the end we have an entry level headphone which is sturdy and can be driven out of anything with a power switch. It does a number of things wrong but in an almost non-noticeable way. Such a polite response and at such a mass produced price and volume they have become pseudo-audiophile for the masses. They offer an easy to read sound signature with just enough color and warmth to endear people. They have just enough clarity to get an improvement for most buyers. They are built well enough to last for most and still seem to fit a certain area of the headphone markets needs. The ATH-M50 is almost a stepping stone on the road to better things, a Head-Fi right of passage of sorts. Still in all it's genericness it does a combination of things well and exists as a jack of all trades but master of none. There is a musicality that can have you forget the AM-radio vocals, a bass that can distract you from your sound-stage, and finally a construction that could make you forget it was 90% plastic. They are a first-timers favorite which like many firsts in life are romantically blind and near-sighted. My motto for their stance is "naïvety is bliss".
Listening to "Nothing Else Matters" Metallica-Metallica 1991 turned out to be my favorite song ever with the headphones. I like to think the recording overcomes much of the inherently wrong attributes of the signature. Remember too that there is music out there which can make many a headphone shine and sparkle. The song has an abnormally lush and expansive sound-stage. Such dynamics seem to energize the headphones to another level. When the bass drums kick-in they are married to the frequency response, also remember they do put compression on rock vocals 100% of the time, something the M50s continue to accentuate with vocals. And in all this your treble is not strident or sharp, there is a slight high-end smoothness which never gets too much, even on loud rock music. Still if the treble was better it would make a world of difference with the sound of the orchestra in classical genres here. Maybe nowhere is our boredom more noticeable than in classical playback? Still remember that as a rule our older Head-Fi members are going to be frequency lacking in treble as it is the first and major loss in the hearing spectrum for old timers here. Luckily those same old timers have often mixed our CD remasters and added that treble range right back into the digital remaster. Most likely our target purchaser here is the under 40 crowd with all their treble hearing correctly in place. If anything that treble hearing accuracy is going to help with our M50 sucked out mid-range. Added the bass energy for genres like Rap and it's no wonder the M50 is the Coke Cola of the headphone world.
So in ending I'm listing my sources and playback equipment and due to prior testing know my hardware and software are showing me the reality of our headphones at hand. In ending I still feel there is a place in the world for the M50s, they still fill a gap, though that gap gets smaller every day. They may not be the original value they were at $70, but do a job that few headphones can do, when you factor in SQ, build quality and daily ease of use. I may have sounded critical here, still my goal is to try and explain why these headphones are realistically not always as great as recommended. I'm not selling mine as I find them entertaining despite their flaws and shortcomings . I have not heard all the headphones in the world but the M50s are unique in a world filled with $133 headphones to buy.
JDS Labs c421 Headphone Amp
PC Foobar 2000 with 16 bit 44.1 kHz FLAC files
Schiit Audio Asgard One Solid State Headphone Amp
Cambridge Audio DAC Magic Plus (line out mode)
Audio Technica ATH-M50 Headphones
AKG k701 Headphones
Denon AH-D7000 Headphones
Sennheiser HD-439 Headphones (cost less and have better treble and sound-stage, though only better for Classical and New Age genres in the end)
AKG k512 MK2 Headphones (cost less and have better treble detail and sound-stage) (lacking bass)
Woo Audio 3 Headphone Amp
Well built and easy to use
Easy to drive and does most genres well
Easy to find, both on the used market and in new market
Even at 2016 pricing ends up being a value
Offers the masses a fun and warm modern sound signature
$133 free shipping
Headphones can provide a fun experience for new members
Easy resell mode
Has a tight congested sound-stage
Has receded mid-range playback not befitting vocals
Maybe many more choices of "keeper" headphones to choose instead
Bass response is both heavy and at a point not detailed
V shaped signature can be fun at first but covers important sonic details in the long run
Leather style ear pads can feel rough in comparison to some choices out there
Could have purchased Sennheiser HD598s instead? (Better headphone which costs less)
Final thoughts :
Much of sound and musical perception is a personal experience. As with much of what you read, this is just my humble opinion. YMMV
If I was going to recommend headphones it maybe would be the Sennheiser HD600 at $110 more for strictly home use. Of course the price is almost double the cost of the M50s. Still for first full-size headphones someone could buy both then sell which ever he or she didn't like as both have a fairly simple and fast resale.
If the member needed portable a direct comparison would be get the Sennheiser HD598. Still it would be interesting to read about folks preferring the M50s over the HD598. With the sale price of the HD598s and their ability to be both home audiophile headphones and portable headphones, I don't see why anyone would buy the M50s?
I truly believe in using a wide range of gear and wide range of music to get a feel for a pair of headphones. Another factor is time used to test equipment. Combining product of the month hype with the new toy hype has never arrived at reality but further added to the deluded opinions at hand.
No headphones were harmed in the making of this review, though many cans of beer were sacrificed to the Gods of Audio.
Pros - Good bass, Decent Isolation, Great Value, Comfortable, Not Fatiguing, Neutral
Cons - Pleather pads (for some), Perhaps too much bass
Two years ago, I purchased my first pair of headphones. SkullCandy Hesh 1's. And. I. Hated. Them. They were incredibly uncomfortable, and the sound to me, wasn't any better than my apple ear buds. So I sold them after a day and did some serious research into the most affordable entry-level cans. I bought these and I was really satisfied. The isolation is good, I know a lot of people really like to listen to music at ear-damaging levels, but I don't, so in a small college dorm I could listen to music and watch movies, and they isolated well enough that my roommate couldn't hear them at all, which is a major plus. A lot of people just getting into headphone listening seem to think that bass is the most important quality, and while I strongly disagree, the bass in these headphones is more than enough to satisfy. One thing I will say about comfort and the pads, they aren't really soft, they are a firm pleather, and some people like them, and others hate them. About the grip: I thought it was fine, and they didn't grip hard at all. I have the HD-650's and they are like an iron vise compared to the gentle pull of the M50's.
For the value, you really can't go wrong, and these are a great introduction into the headphone world!
Pros - Audio Quality is amazing for this price.
Cons - NOT COMFORT AT ALL, fatiguing , undetachable cable
Pros - Build Quality, Long Cable, Clean balanced sound, Very Warm
Cons - Bass (In my opinion) is a bit loose, Recessed mid- section, VERY Flat (But you might like it)
I don't like this headphone, I can't tell you otherwise.
I like open back cans because it's generally less-fatiguing for me and spacious. But for the price range, and for being closed-back these REALLY are hard to beat.
It is one the most detailed/aggressive cans I have ever tried on, but I admire it's detail ( this is why it got 3 stars.)
Pros - - Very deep and semi-tight bass - Sparkly and detailed treble - Clarity - Isolation compared to competing phones - Comfort - Sleek looks - Price
Cons - - Lack of mids - Bass can be loose - Pads can get sweaty - Coiled wire not all that practical - Can cause spot-pressure pains
Like many others on this site, these phones are my stepping stone into the realm of "hi-fi"-headphones. These are indeed a good pair of phones for beginners and old-timers alike, because of their price/value ratio and ability to play all kind of music well. These phones can be the only ones you need if you aren`t planning on spending hundreds or thousands of dollars/euros on headphones. There are more than enough competent reviews of these headphones on this site, so I will keep this short. Buy these! Good entry-level headphone for beginners. Veteran headphone-enthusiasts should have these in their collection just because of their value and sound isolation compared to same level phones. For example, my next headphone will probably be the Sennheiser hd 650, but they are open so I will save the m50 for portable use and when ever I need isolation, but don`t want to settle for my in-ear phone`s (shure se215) inferior sound quality.
Pros - Uncolored sound, highly detailed at an affordable price point.
Cons - Not musical, very congested, Soundstage below average compared to others. Sibilance.
This is my first headphone when i was wanting to hear what a 'true' headphone sound like, and this is my review. I'm not that much of an audiophile but i know a thing or two about audio.
The actual headphones look pretty nice, not too heavy or too light. The clamping force is juuuust right(note: i have a big head, i need to stretch the headband to full length).
but there's one problem, the earcups, the interior is just too small to fit in my ears, and i can feel the pressure on my ears. The earpads itself doesn't do justice because it makes my ears sweaty and after a long time of usage, it can turn rock solid.
A little issue i have is when i plug the headphone into the jack, the spring on the cable shocked me. I manage to plug it in though using rubber gloves, but later duct taping the whole conductive metal shielding of the plug
i plugged the headphone to my PC onboard audio ( Realtek ALC887) just an average consumer...
The actual sound itself... i was BLOWN away when i heard it, like it was SO real. I watched a few movies and some animes and i was like can't stop feeling it... the actual voice actors is like inside my head. Also i heard it fresh out of the box, without burn in.
LOWS: Just about right, not too boomy or thin, it hits hard without any distortion. But lacks control and precision of what an actual drum 'thump' sounds like.
MIDRANGE(vocals): WOW...just WOW, i'm suprised of how detailed it is at this type of price point. The actual sound is really 'lifeless' and sounded what it sounds like. You could even feel the breaths... BUT not without this silly issue,... why is it so MUTED! Like i barely hear it, turning volume up makes other frequency go wild. The midrange is what i call 'waldo'.
HIGHS: Quite bright, cymbals can sizzle alot. sibilance can be an issue for some. For me, it sounded too 'crunchy', like some tones can get harsh on my ears. i think its... overdriven?
SOUNDSTAGE/IMAGING: I think this is my biggest gripe of this headphone, the soundstage... its so small. maybe TOO small for what you pay for. VERY very hard to pinpoint. Even my cheapo headsets have bigger soundstage...
MUSIC (mostly cons): Playing music in this thing feels muffled and almost all things wanders free, and leaks to all frequency. Everything feels in your head. Bass bleeds and feels flabby, vocals too hard to hear, highs can be dominant.
GAMING EXPERIENCE: I played some battlefield games 3 and 4 mostly... and wow this thing is BAD at games. The sound itself feels too stereo(left/right). If i hear something upfront, it feels hollow and small, but if i hear it near my left/right sides, it feels too loud... just can't get it right. I also can't hear the difference in sound from 3m and so on. I think this has something to do with its soundstage.
Also another con is when i tried the attack boat in BF4, that thing totally rape my ears apart. It screeches so hard and harsh.
It does change the sound, but not by much. I fully gained the peak burn in after around 2 weeks of daily use (music and gaming).
Do i recommend this?... well
Unless you're monitoring one instrument source at a time, i can't recommend this to anyone. Bad for games and music, but accurate representation of what sound should sound like.
There are lots of headphones out there that can be an alternative to about everything this headphone does.
Thanks for reading, as this is my first review on Head-fi
feel free to comment if you want.
Pros - Good sound
Cons - uncomfortable, unremovable cable
the sound was really good, but i cannot still anymore for a headphone that's not comfortable and hurt my head, the headband and ear pads was not soft enough and make my ear hot and sweat, and i also don't like the heavy and unremovable cable.
Pros - Great sound, longevity and comfort
Cons - Not the best looking
I use my M-50s for both studio work and DJing. In the studio they do a fantastic job at giving crystal clear highs, mids and bass - though the more I think about it the more I think the bass may be little too loud - clearly it isn't loud enough to mess with the other frequencys but it's something to look out for in the mixdown. I've only just started using them for DJing since I was unhappy with a pair of Pioneer HDJ500s and then a Sony MDR ZX600 (both returned, sold on), I'm using my M-50s whilst I wait for a pair of sennheiser's to arrive. For DJing the clarity of the the highs and mids helps no-end whilst mixing (highs and mids are very important to me whilst DJing) the M-50s cut right through the mix and with their wonderfully clear cut sound easily helps you distinguish the pure basic which song is which and you can hear if a beat is even slightly off. Fantastic stuff - well, at least it would be if they weren't so ugly. Seriously, the packaging and pictures on the net make them look much much nicer than they are - the cans look like they're right out of the 70s. Not at all attractive in my eyes.
Pros - Good audio quality, good isolation, heavy duty cable and connector, very accurate, collapsible for storage
Cons - Uncomfortable over long sessions, leatherette cracks over time
Ah, the Audio Technica ATH-M50's. These guys have been reviewed to death and praised to high heaven. They were also my first foray into the audiophile category, and overall, I'd say I've been very satisfied with them.
The audio quality is amazing for the price, though it excels at nothing in particular; In fact, that seems to be their main goal as monitors. They provide an accurate, relatively 'flat' sound stage and frequency response, and in doing so aren't actually very 'fun' to listen to for extended periods of time. There isn't really much that can be said about them that hasn't already in this respect, and by no means am I knocking them for prioritizing accuracy over fun factor; Quite the opposite, I was delighted when I first received them and was able to identify for the first time many things I'd previously missed in much of the music I listen to. As monitors, they do a superb job, and I've used them for that purpose in the past.
There are some issues with build quality and comfort, however. The leatherette ear pads seem to crack over time, and these cracks are very sharp to the touch, which seriously impacts my ability to wear them for extended periods, especially combined with the well-known issue of excessive clamping force. That having been said, the cable is incredibly thick and the gold-plated connector is heavy enough that there's no doubt that it will survive a substantial amount of punishment, with a nice matching spring stress reliever in place of a standard plastic or rubber one.
Overall a great value, and a great entry into the audiophile market. They got me hooked for sure.
Pros - Good isolation, good midrange, quite nice soundstage for a closed back headphone, price/performance, sturdy, rotating cups, great looks? , portable
Cons - Heavy non detachable cable, horrible earpads, high clamping pressure, muffled and overemphasised bass, metallic treble
The ATH-M50 headphones are one of the most recommended headphones on the Internet. Sure they do sound quite good as for a 200$ headphone, but there are far better sounding headphones in the same price range. In my opinion coiled cable headphone version is more bulky than the straight cable version and adds an unnecessary weight. I have both versions of these headphones and I can say that the straight cable version is much much nicer.
Bass: bass is overemphasised, muffled, loose I would rate it 6/10 and use EQ to bring it down a bit.
Midrange: the midrange is very nice when bass is EQ'd down, I would rate midrange 9.5/10.
Treble: treble has poor detail, quite harsh sounding, after 100 hour burn in it does improve. Overall I would rate it 6/10
Clamping pressure really makes it, impossible to listen to these headphones for long periods. Also the earpads warm ears up. I would rate comfortability 7/10
Even though these headphones have problems with comfortability, bass, treble and non detachable cable I would really recommend these headphones for portable use and getting straight cable version, instead of coil cable, as it adds unnecessary weight. Overall I would rate these headphones 8/10