Audio Technica ATH-E50 Professional In-Ear Monitor Headphones

General Information

{'Model:': ' ATHE50 ', 'Manufacturer Part Number:': ' ATHE50 ', 'Gender:': ' Women , Men , Boys , Girls ', 'Brand:': ' Audio-Technica ', 'Condition:': ' New ', 'Assembled Product Dimensions (L x W x H):': ' 5.00 x 3.00 x 4.00 Inches ', 'Color:': ' Black ', 'Connector Type:': ' 1/8" (mini jack) ', 'Cord Length:': ' 5.2' '}

Latest reviews

Pros: Neutral & pleasing sonic signature, good build quality.
Cons: ‘uncommon’ newly developed A2DC connectors for the detachable cable.
Thanks to Audio-Technica Singapore, for the loan of the Audio-Technica ATH-E50!

Knowing that ATH-E50 is a single BA driver IEM, I honestly was not very excited about it. From past experiences testing single or dual BA driver IEMs, I usually left unimpressed. They usually fail to provide enough coverage of the full audio spectrum, and rather shy in dynamic. But when I gave ATH-E50 a try, it gave me a nice surprise. I was really surprised that a single BA IEM has improved a lot and offer pretty good coverage of frequency response with surprisingly pretty good dynamic. ATH-E50 is a great improvement to the ATH-IM01 I reviewed in 2014. To date, ATH-E50 is simply among the best of single BA driver IEMs that I’ve ever heard.
Comfortable, with good build quality.
Neutral, coherent, smooth, & pleasing sonic signature.

Another ‘uncommon’ newly developed A2DC (Audio Designed Detachable Coaxial) connectors for the detachable cable.

Suggestions for Improvements:
To improve upper treble response.
To use a more common connector for the detachable cable for better compatibility with other 3rd party cables.

Summary of Sound Signature:
Close to neutral with slightly midrange centric tonality. Smooth and pleasing character with a pretty good level of detail and good holographic imaging.

Build and Comfort
Another surprise from the ATH-Exx series is the newly developed A2DC (Audio Designed Detachable Coaxial) connectors for the detachable cable. I honestly gave a sigh to the new connector, not because of the design, but because I hate to see another new type of connector that makes many existing IEM cables not compatible with the new ATH-Exx series. 2 years ago Audio-Technica launched ATH-IMxx series with a new type of connector for the detachable cable, and I was hoping that Audio-Technica will stay with that type connector. And now ATH-Exx came with another new type of connector. The question is how many types of IEM connectors Audio-Technica plan to develop? Will there be another newly developed IEM connector next year? IMHO, for cable enthusiasts new type connectors only add some frustration.
Despite my disagreement for another new type of connector, A2DC connector looks very well designed and seems to be more secure than the common MMCX connector. A2DC also seems to have more contact surface for better connectivity. It is a good connector for IEM, and I hope Audio-Technica won’t simply dump it and replace it again with another new type of connector. The rather long 1.6m cable with memory wire is actually quite similar to the ATH-IMxx cable. Only with a different connector at the earphone end. As for comfort and ergonomic, to me, ATH-E50 comfort level was great. ATH-E50 is relatively small and light and combined with good ergonomics it was very comfortable to my ears. Overall, ATH-E50 is very well designed with good ergonomic.

Sound Quality
Pretty close to neutral, mildly midrange centric, very smooth tonality without no annoying peaks and dips makes ATH-E50 quite enjoyable for a long session. Midrange is very close to neutral, that to me is a very important factor when choosing an IEM. For a single BA driver, the frequency coverage is pretty impressive. It doesn’t sound thin and has a pretty good tonal density. Although ATH-E50 doesn’t go very deep into the sub bass, but bass is pretty good with pretty good level and dynamic, and bass definitely doesn’t sound anemic. Considering that it is a single driver BA IEM, ATH-E50 has surprisingly good bass. Bass has a good body and pretty decent sub bass extension. Treble extension rolls off a little early and doesn’t go very high, yet ATH-E50 produce sufficient treble energy with good quality. Treble sounds smooth with enough sparkle to make E50 doesn’t sound dull.

Although ATH-E50 doesn’t have very wide frequency coverage, but it presents the frequency range that it covers in a very natural and refined manner. It sounds very pleasing and non-fatiguing, with good holographic imaging. Not extremely spacious imaging, but quite holographic.

ATH-E50 is quite capable in detail retrieval and sometimes may sound mildly analytical. Just mildly. Unlike the organic sounding ATH-E40, ATH-E50 sounds dryer, more towards the analytical side, but in a nice and enjoyable way. Not the type of fatiguing analytical sonic presentation. Tonality sounds more balanced and natural than ATH-E40. Though ATH-E50 doesn’t have the dynamic and liveliness of ATH-E40, but it may sound more pleasing in comparison.

ATH-E50 is really a nice and pleasing single BA driver IEM. It may not have the oomph and wow factor like some other good IEMs in this price category, and clearly not for those looking for a fun sounding IEM, but it is quite special for those looking for neutral sounding and non-fatiguing IEM.


DUNU DN-2000 and TDK IE800
When I listened to ATH-E50 for the first time, it reminds me of my TDK IE800. Somehow they both have the neutralist tonality and smooth sonic presentation. While DUNU DN-2000 is my reference IEM for neutral tonality.

ATH-E50 has bass level that approximately pretty close to DUNU DN-2000, and slightly stronger bass than the TDK IE800. ATH-E50 treble extension is decent. Treble is only slightly softer than TDK IE800 and not as extended as DN-2000, but definitely good enough and sufficient. It doesn’t sound veiled or dull. Treble is soft but not in the category of lacking or dull.

Dynamic response is relatively close to TDK IE800, I would say slightly better probably, but close. Polite but not lazy sounding. But not as dynamic as for example ATH-IM50. Midrange sounds very flat and neutral in a good way. Smooth and clean, a little dry (typical BA sound) but very detailed and articulated.

Final Audio Design FI-BA-SS
A friend of mine recommended me to try Final Audio Design FI-BA-SS, which is also a very good single BA IEM. At more than 4 times the ATH-E50 price, FAD FI-BA-SS is on much higher price category. So I went to local headphone shop, Jaben, and tried it. I agree with my friend that the frequency coverage and dynamic of FAD FI-BA-SS are better than ATH-E50, but the tonality is not as linear and neutral as ATH-E50. I heard a treble peak on FAD FI-BA-SS. To me, overall ATH-E50 sounds more pleasing, especially for a long session listening. ATH-E50 even though has slightly less coverage on the upper treble, but the treble sounds smoother without any annoying peaks and dips.
Etymotic ER4SR & ER4XR
Comparison with Etymotic ER4SR & ER4XR is based on memory. I tried both Etymotic ER4SR & ER4XR about 6 weeks later after I have returned the ATH-E50 to Audio-Technica Singapore. So please read it with a grain of salt. This comparison is only for some rough estimation, and cannot be considered a very accurate comparison.

Compared to the new Etymotic ER4SR & ER4XR, ATH-E50 is moderately less bright. Both Etymotic ER4SR & ER4XR excel in clarity and transparency, especially the ER4SR. ATH-E50 may sound rather dark in comparison. But being less bright it doesn’t mean that ATH-E50 sounds dull. ATH-E50 still has sufficient treble extension to produce decent clarity and transparency, although clearly not as transparent as the Etys. For treble and transparency lover, the Etys are clearly the better choice, while for those who are allergic to prominent treble may prefer ATH-E50 with it’s softer and smoother treble. Both are great IEMs, and I quite like them all despite the different tonality. I do wish that ATH-E50 has a little more treble, but on the other hand, it offers fuller mids and bass that musically quite appealing.

The following is my own frequency response measurement using MiniDSP UMIK-1 measurement microphone with a DIY acoustic coupler. Since this measurement is not using standard measurement equipment for IEM measurement, it is not to be compared with another measurement result. The reason I have the confidence to show this measurement is because it relates quite well with what I hear, therefore might be useful for readers to make some estimation. As mentioned previously, DUNU DN-2000 sounds tonally quite flat to my ears, therefore it is currently my reference IEM for tonality, for comparison with other IEMs.

I would consider ATH-E50 as a very nice neutralist IEM. I would love to hear slightly more treble, but ATH-E50 is quite nice as it is. The neutral tonality and presentation probably not for everyone, especially those looking for fun sound, V shape tonality, or strong bass IEM. It is probably not the best choice for EDM or disco music, but those looking for neutral sounding and non-fatiguing IEM must definitely give ATH-E50 a try. It is the type of IEM that probably sound a little shy and lacking wow factor when we listen to it at the first time. But over time, the neutral and holographic sonic signature will shine. Well done Audio-Technica!
Type : Balanced armature
Frequency Response
: 20 – 18,000 Hz
: 107 dB/mW
: 44 ohms
: 9 g (0.3 oz), without cable
: Detachable 1.6 m (5.2') with A2DC connectors
: 3.5 mm (1/8") gold-plated stereo mini-plug, L-shaped
Accessories Included
: Carrying case, silicone eartips (XS/S/M/L), 6.3 mm (1/4") adapter

Equipment used in this review:

DUNU DN-2000
Final Audio Design FI-BA-SS
Etymotic ER4SR & ER4XR

DAPs, DACs & Headphone Amplifiers:
Astell&Kern AK70
Onkyo DP-X1
Fiio X3 2nd Generation

Some recordings used in this review:
Finally got the time to read the new review, this has made me interested in the earphone again. I think I need to try it once more. As always, a very impressive review and awesome effort!
Good to finally have some review of the E50, thanks earfonia! Our ears are all different, but after several trials of the E50 I second all the opinions written in this review. I've been very interested in the E50 as a potential mobile companion to the M70x and as a lower profile alternative to the quite good IM02, which won't stay in my ears when walking outdoors. The E50 surprised me by being very capable for a single BA, for the same reasons earfonia pointed out. The E50 are definitely not dull. They provide a very pleasant listen. @svetlyo: But if you immediately switch over to the IM02, you hear the upper end presence / energy that you were missing in the E50. This can be good or bad according to your tastes. In my case, this lack of authority in the treble region has been putting me off. I guess I'm too spoiled by the M70x.
Very informative and well written review, thanks a lot for sharing !
One suggestion however: you didn't mention which eartips size you have used for the test, as I found the right choice of ear tip to be a crucial parameter to fully enjoy the ATH-E50.


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