Audio-Technica ATH-M50 Studio Monitor Headphones

  1. satoukaito
    Great for everything, best at none...
    Written by satoukaito
    Published Feb 27, 2013
    Pros - They can handle any genre thrown at them acceptably well. Also amazing for recording voice acting.
    Cons - They are not the best at anything. They lack specialisation.
    I originally bought these exclusively to catch more finite details with my voice acting and they did not disappoint at all. They handled the studio scene extremely well. They were very unforgiving to even the slightest falter in my voice. After I finished recording, I decided to try them out as just a regular fashion accessory pair of headphones. I got many comments from people. The design matches nearly every outfit I own very well. Also, the thick padding makes incredible ear warmers! :D But enough about useless blurbs. The audio is excellent for casual listening of random things on my phone. It handles the electronic pop sounds of Caramel Pop incredibly! However, the headphones make the more acoustic sounding bands, such as Tokyo Karan Koron, sound fabricated. I don't know how to exactly define it, but its like if the the music was a pencil drawing, someone grabbed a soft eraser and blurred it to the point of being Picasso. Other than its failure to convey the full acoustic experience, the M50 are excellent headphones. They aren't quite audiophile material, but for the general music listening community, they're one of the best all around 'phones one can get.
  2. JGrignon
    Average Consumer; Great Headphones for Value
    Written by JGrignon
    Published Sep 17, 2012
    Pros - Sound quality, Price
    Cons - Long cord, Can get uncomfortable
    Bought these because they were cheap and because everyone says such great things about them. Didn't expect much but was pleasantly surprised with their sound. I don't know much about good sound quality but these certainly sound a lot better than your average pair of cans. I did not realize the cord would be so long, I probably should have better researched them. Obviously these headphones were;t designed for walking around with, but that is what I use them for. The cord is really long and just gets caught on everything so perhaps not the best choice for a pair of walk-around-cans. Build quality is superb, no issues. They tend to get uncomfortable after a couple hours but, what else is new. 
    Overall, for an average consumer, they are great headphones. I am very happy with them. 
    * March 2013 *​
    I sold them. Not because I didn't like them, but because they weren't getting used. I wanted something that was easily portable, which these were to some degree, but they were not fun to walk around with with such a long cord. Plus, I got the coiled cord which, sometimes can be great, was a pain in the ass since it kept getting caught on my pockets, etc. If the cord was shorter then I would have kept them. I am not complaining though, I should have known how long the cord was, they are for DJs after all and not leisurely listening. Some may not have a problem with it of course.
    1. OPR8R
      Hi, JGringon. I'm new here too, and only recently started getting into this hobby in earnest. Glad to hear you're enjoying your M50's. I had a similar experience. I still very much enjoy mine.
      I originally got mine to replace some AKG 81's I lost on a business trip (along w/my PA2V2 amp) and was floored as soon as I put them on my head. I know this will sound crazy to some, but I preferred their sound to my HD580's, especially out of my Headroom Micro Stack. Unfortunately, this led me to Denon D5000's, which led me to where I am now, LCD-2v2's. For your sake, I hope the M50's don't have the same "gateway" effect that they had for me.
      OPR8R, Sep 17, 2012
    2. ayaflo
      if everyone buys an m50 and starts to consider themselves as audiophiles . .what really left of the 'real' audio addicts?
      ayaflo, Sep 18, 2012
    3. sonicx2218
      I didn't really like these headphones myself. I found them great for tracking, but they weren't very fun to listen to music with. I'd prefer the grado 225i's in this particular cost range...though everyone has their own preferred sound signature and you have to listen around to find what works for you.
      sonicx2218, Sep 18, 2012
  3. revgrectifier
    Great headphones for electronic music
    Written by revgrectifier
    Published Aug 12, 2012
    Pros - Bass, detail, portability
    Cons - Comfort, soundstage
    I've bought these because I needed a bass-pronounced headphone since all I had back then was an AKG K242HD that pretty much doesn't have any bass at all.
    These headphones are absolutely spectacular if you listen to trance, drum n bass, dubstep and even metal. I just listened to SBTRKT's last album and I really enjoyed it. The bass is tight, precise and detailed (sometimes even a bit too punchy for me, i get headaches, ahah), something you may like or not. The mids are present and you can hear everything without any problem. The highs are sparkling and really pleasant. By the way, these headphones can get a little too harsh for me if you turn the volume up a little bit, so you might need to eq to your taste. If you listen to classical, jazz, ambient don't get them. The soundstage is really small compared to my AKGs and they sound unnatural on these genres. 
    This is my first review and I'm not english so please don't be too hard [​IMG]
      Kerrigan likes this.
    1. iDriveFerraris
      good job
      iDriveFerraris, Aug 12, 2012
    2. A1945
      Good job on the review, well written.
      A1945, Aug 12, 2012
  4. mrcrazyshoes
    Best closed headphones I've owned
    Written by mrcrazyshoes
    Published Jul 17, 2012
    Pros - Sound, comfort, isolation, sturdy coiled cord
    Cons - Made of all plastic (sturdy plastic so not really a con)
    Great set of closed headphones! I haven't really owned any other good closed headphones besides the PRODJ100. These sound comparable to my HD558 in terms of detail. There is a slight emphasis in the bass but the bass is very good so that's not really a problem for me. The bass extension is really amazing and there is a lot of impact, sounds amazing with Long After You've Gone by Chris Jones and Earth Wind and Fire! Highs are incredible, and the mids are good also, although recessed. This V shaped sound signature in fine for more modern styles of music but not very good for jazz or classical. The soundstage is fine for a closed headphones although not as wide as the prodj100 and doesn't compare to open headphones like the hd 558's. Overall, great sound. They block out a surprising amount of outside noise and don't leak at all. Very comfortable except that you ears get kinda hot (mostly unavoidable for closed headphones). My only complaint is that they are made out of all plastic and i wish they were made from metal like the PRODJ100 but the plastic seems extremely durable and strong so that's not really an issue. Overall, amazing headphone, especially for the price!
    1. View previous replies...
    2. tdockweiler
      The soundstage of the M50 improves with a good amp and computer DAC. I also felt the newer M50 in the white box was much better than the older version.
      tdockweiler, Jul 18, 2012
    3. mrcrazyshoes
      Hi, sorry for the confusion, I am very new to more serious headphones so my assessments are really not extremely accurate. As I said in the review the sound stage on the m50's sounded impressive to me compared with other closed headphones i've heard (PRODJ00), not open ones like my HD558's. I don't think its that fair to compare closed headphones soundstage's with open headphones soundstage's, at least at this price point. Also, I should have elaborated on the mids a bit. They are very good imo, even if they are recessed. It obvious that the mids on the hd558's are more prominent and better, but the mids on the m50's are not bad, just less prominent. Hope that makes sense!
      mrcrazyshoes, Jul 19, 2012
    4. mrcrazyshoes
      I will edit my review to make more sense.
      mrcrazyshoes, Jul 19, 2012
  5. Headphonezz
    Written by Headphonezz
    Published May 26, 2012
    Pros - everything
    everything about these headphones is flawless. Everything is balanced, and perfect. Any of the reviews that didn't like them most likely have a fake pair, or, hate life. The only thing I could say for these is that there isn't a TON of bass, but the bass is very good. You have to turn them up really loud to hear really good bass, and the bass is amazing when you turn the volume up. And one of the best things, for me at least, these do NOT leak. At full blast in a quiet store you could barely hear anything when they were on my head (My friend was with me) and it cancels out noise like none other. I have never tried a better headphone. I compared these to the beats pros, that cost $399.99 and the $150 ATH-M50 are about 3x better at least in any and every aspect of the headphones. Try them on at your local guitar center. You will not regret it.
    1. headphonatic
      Then again, their beats pro.
      headphonatic, May 27, 2012
    2. sonic1heaven
      These headphones in one word are "Spectacular." The sound, build and comfort are #1. For the price this has to be the best bargin. The quality that Audio Technica put in these headphones shows you don't need wallet-busting headphones for great sound and comfort. I do not need to turn the volume up for great bass. Just on low volume bass, mids, and high's are present and well balanced. Comparing this beauty to Beats Pro is like comparing a lion to a pig. All Beats are crap, they are the worst headphones on the market. So for anyone looking for quality, economical headphones get the ATH-M50 you will be glad you did. A+
      sonic1heaven, May 27, 2012
  6. Shogunner
    They were my first decent cans, and I wanted to like them, but it just didn't happen.
    Written by Shogunner
    Published Feb 27, 2012
    Pros - Very pretty, does some new genres like indie rock well.
    Cons - Fatiguing, Uncomfortable, Terrible bang for your buck
    These cans were decent, back when they were just above 100 bucks. They've inflated to 160 and that's just ridiculous. There is better in this price range. The SRH840's for example on eBay for 120~ bucks new, does everything better than these cans. The M50's have really punchy bass, and extremely stringent highs, they're very loose in the low end, and their mids are recessed. That combination makes for a fatally tiring listening experience. The pads are pleather and terribly uncomfortable, whilst having an almost starchy texture to them. The headband clamps onto larger heads and lacks decent padding underneath. These phones are also terrible in regards to any soundstage at all, which means for gaming, these will be pretty terrible. They do some... SOME... new genres alright, but their extremely aggressive presentation makes these phones just hard to listen to. They also can't do lighter genres like Jazz and Classical due to their poor positoning. There are much much better monitors in this price range than these, the Shure SRH840 as I've said before totally outclass these headphones in all areas.

    The Head-Fi vets are right, stay away, don't fall victim to the hype.
    1. View previous replies...
    2. Shogunner
      If anything, when I used an amp with these, it just brought out the qualities I didn't really like even more. It's all a matter of taste I guess. I just returned them due to Amazon's awesome policy, after hearing the SRH840's which were 20 bucks less, I just didn't see a point in keeping the ATH-M50's besides their portability, but then I think I'd rather just get some good canalphones.
      But yea, burn them in a bit more, and just test the waters really.
      Shogunner, Feb 27, 2012
    3. XxDobermanxX
      Good review
      Haha i thought i was the only one that say these were overhyped , what i realise too is that people always say its perfect and so on and no one mentions the flaws/cons( comfort etc). but when they review other stuff they say "this headphone has no bass blah blah "
      XxDobermanxX, Apr 25, 2012
    4. Custom1
      Are you sure the SRH840s have more bass... I tried them both at the local store and the M50s seem to own them.
      Custom1, Sep 25, 2012
  7. peck1234
    Written by peck1234
    Published Feb 25, 2012
    Pros - Great Frequency Response, Bass is just perfect, highs are crisp.
    Cons - I feel like they have slightly reccesed mids, wish ear cups were even bigger.
  8. Bassix
    Best headphones
    Written by Bassix
    Published Feb 24, 2012
    Pros - Great bass, extremely clear, comfy and tight on the head which is nice :3 Highly recommend.
    Cons - none ;3
  9. alvincapalad
    Hands-down the best all-around headphones
    Written by alvincapalad
    Published Feb 2, 2012
    Pros - Pristine sound quality, Great build, Price, Versatile
    Cons - Heavy clamp, but you'll get use to it
    Dr. Dre like this
    This is probably the most recommended headphones in the audiophile world. The Audio-Technica is an instant classic, the value for its price is simply unbeatable. Its versatility? A chameleon of headphones. Classical, club, dance, pop, reggae, rock, techno? name it, and this set of cans can play it.
    Overall its value is 5 of 5. I would gladly pay $250 for them.
    Audio Quality: Lows: The bass is punchy, but just about right. It's is not overwhelming, it doesn't make the mids and highs muddy. The balance is just perfect. Very natural bass. Mids: a little recessed, but also positive in a way, they're not going to hurt your ears as they roll off quite well. Highs: Perfect, and they are not accentuated in a way that is very tiring to listen to. Very accurate high sonics may pierce to your ears and be hard for long listening sessions. The sound of these cans are like open-back headphones, but they are indeed closed back.
    Design: The M50s are plain and janes, but I quite like them. They come in black with those stainless aluminum linings which is an-ongoing signature between Audio-Technica's products. These headphones are built like a tank, it is primarily build on very high quality plastics. I assume these are ABS plastics. The headphone jack is made out of gold and steel with a spring stress relief which looks very professional. The cord is very thick and the coiled cable is something I am pleased with. Since they are a swiveling closed cans, you can use the for either studio recording or DJing. Plus, they fold small, you can always bring them in your bag, very portable.
    If there is something I would change on this headphones, is to add removable cables like the PRO700MK2s.
    Comfort: This is probably the only con of this headphone. The clamping force of this headphones are headache inducing, especially fresh out of the box. Audio-Technicas are very notorious known for this clamping issues. I have a WS55s and they also clamp hard. But, you can stretch them out with some books, I personally put them on my computer speakers and they loosen up over time. When you are used to them, you won't find it as an issue. Maybe velour pads could help.
    Since comfort was discussed, I'm going to discuss inside and outside isolation. I though the engineers produced this heavy clamp for isolation. M50s are terrible in blocking outside noise regardless it is a closed and sealed headphones, however, they are pretty good at preventing sound leakage.
    Overall: No question, this is definitely the most recommended headphone in the audiophile world. A chameleon of headphones.
      Syros, gnk1 and Kerrigan like this.
  10. brgavino
    Worthy step into audiophilia?
    Written by brgavino
    Published Jan 13, 2012
    I'm going to try to structure this review as a series (Day 1, Week 1, Week 2), to gauge the headphones performance over time. I'm not an audiophile, but will try to be as descriptive as possible.
    Here's the frame of reference: This set of headphones was an upgrade from a Sony MDR-V150 set (that had multiple breaks in the top frame), and is used primarily for listening in a office environment to streamed music.
    Initial, non-audio quality impressions: The headphones are SOLID. No part of this 'phone feels cheap. The ear cup padding feels soft enough, as does the padding on the top of the set (that rests on your head). The cord (coiled in this model) seems stretchy and long enough to not get in the way rolling back and forth between the terminal and a development area (~4 ft). Setting it at first on my head, I only need to make a slight adjustment for cup length. Clamping feels just right, a little more than the Sony, but needed due to the circumaural configuration (the Sony's are supraaural). After 5-10 minutes of wear, it is not nearly as painful as the Sony's had become. Putting these 'phones on instantly adds an isolation from the surrounding environment- sounds are nearly completely deadened. This really surprised me.
    Day 1 (no burn in)
    Source: CyanogenMod 7-based LG Optimus S (EQ on & flat, Bass Boost off, gain "low"/"medium" in DSP manager)
    Songs: Pendulum "Showdown"/"Propane Nightmares" from Amazon Cloud Player App (~192 kbps)
    The bass in these songs kick! I notice the bass will drag a bit- it isn't a simple "thump", it is more of a "boom". It is more reminiscent of my Onkyo home theater subwoofer than other pro-style woofers (not to say that is a bad quality). The highs are amazing, and detail and soundstage seem great. I notice a little bit of what people are terming "recessed mids"- it seems that the high and bass are slightly more pronounced than the mids, especially when listening to the drum 'n bass sound of Pendulum (although the mids in dnb aren't that pronounced anyways). Rob Swire sounds awesome- hear no issues with "s" sounds. Guitars/drums/bass/vocals are all very detailed.

    Source: Dell PC with onboard sound, no eq or fancy features
    Songs: Pendulum "Showdown"/"Propane Nightmares" from Amazon Cloud Player App (~192 kbps)
    No difference from above, apart from slightly better volume control (60% volume on phone = 25% on PC)

    Source: Dell PC with onboard sound, no eq or fancy features
    Songs: Various electronica/rock from Slacker (? kbps)
    Bass is totally different- less pronounced. Mids/highs retain their detail and volumes. Where the bass was hitting hard with the Amazon player of Pendulum, the same song through Slacker elicits more of a "rumble". It is still very acceptable in comparison with the Sony (which is sad in comparison), but isn't the true potential of the 'phones. Detail and soundstage are still great. Even at a lower bit rate, I've been tricked into thinking noises were occurring in another part of the office. I have hardly heard any office sounds since I started listening. Sounds form other parts of the office is greatly reduced, as is keyboard-noise. I can still hear my phone ring (good), but any more volume and I may not! Currently sitting at ~30% volume. Higher volume brings the bass out a little more, but is a little too loud for my taste.
    Mid-day checkpoint: Wearing the 'phones for nearly 3 hours, and their still tolerable. Only a couple of nitpicks: The top band isn't painful, but isn't not-noticeable at this point, and I feel pressure on the lower portion of where the cups contact my head. Part of this was relieved by draping the cable to relieve cable strain (my PC sits below head level).
    I'll report back more soon!
      Syros, gnk1, mtjfuji and 1 other person like this.