Audio-Technica ATH-M50S

General Information

Audio-Technica has introduced a straight-cable version, ATH-M50s, of its flagship ATH-M50 headphones. Designed to provide an exceptionally natural response for professional monitoring/mixing, the headphones feature a closed-back, collapsible design with 45mm neodymium drivers, circumaural ear pieces (180° swivel) and luxuriously padded ear cushions.

Latest reviews


New Head-Fier
Pros: decent amount of detail for the price, engaging sound signature
Cons: spiky, harsh and aggressive treble, boomy bass, no soundstage, uncomfortable stock pads
After reading all the glowing reviews on youtube and amazon, I thought I would give these cans a try.
For the first half an hour I loved these cans, I thought they were fun, engaging and detailed enough for my liking. Then my ears started to hurt, more and more, to the point where I had to take them off my head and let them rest for an hour. At low listening volumes, these headphones are decent, but if you raise the volume above 40% (on an iPhone), the treble becomes so aggressive it feels as though knives are stabbing your ear, particularly with electronic music. The bass gets very muddy and bleeds into the midrange on certain tracks.
Clamping force out of the box was pretty strong, and the stock pads are rubbish.
Swapping with velour hm5 pads drastically increased the comfort, but worsened the sound. The treble's harshness amplified and I had to take off these headphones every 5 minutes due to listening fatigue. I added toilet paper between the pad and the driver, and the treble calmed itself down, but now all the details were missing. The headphone now sounded incredibly blurry, but listenable.
These are NOT studio monitors, I would go as far as to call them mildly V-shaped.
The m50x I would call the "gateway" headphone into the audiophile world, because most people either owned Beats or EarPods before, and growing tired of the poor sound, go look on youtube and amazon for a superior audio alternative and find these. When I walk around the city, the m50x's are the third most popular headphone I see (behind beats and EarPods). I find it at least somewhat commendable when I see people wearing these in public, not because they are a good choice, but because it tells me they are at least trying to get better sound quality than from EarPods.


New Head-Fier
Pros: Very solid construction (folding mechanism, cable and high quality plastic), clear and detailed bass, overall "driven" and "responsive" sound.
Cons: High head pressure, ear sweating, low quality vinyl in earcups and arch coating. Not for sound mastering (noticeable midbass and treble accents).
I've been using these phones for nearly 7 years and, I think, I can first of all conclude some "long life" specifics of these earphones:
1) They are really bombproof. I've dropped them lots of times, sat on them, crushed them with a laptop in my backpack, got caught by the cable at different obstacles (completely destroyed two player mini-jack sockets). And they are still mechanically perfect. But the head-arch coating became torn on the sides and the ear cups became cracked and stone-hard.
2) These phones had really "monitor-grade"  and "unaccented" sound for, well, first 40 hours of listening. After initial burn-in the pronounceable bass appeared, the headphones started to sound in more "raw", "dark", "wet" way. And that's what I was looking for - growling vocal and "raw" Thrash Metal guitar became perfectly enhanced.
I liked this until I tried a new freshly burnt in M50. I really thought, that mine have "burnt out" - they sounded a lot more "raw", but the lack of clarity was drastic.
But when I changed the ear cups to the brand new ones, the almost-new M50 and my 7 year old M50 became indistinguishable again. So, the condition of the ear cups can seriously affect the sound, at least in the case of M50-s. I still use old and cracked ear cups when I want to listen to something like Cascadian Black Metal.
3) The wearing comfort is not the best, but quite acceptable (unless your ear cups have already turned into stone-hard condition). The arch spring strength has not changed over 7 years - they are still tight-fit and stay aligned on the head even while running or driving off-road. But, anyway, I find it hard to continuously wear them for more than 4 hours. But what I really like about the construction is that it's quite easy securely to mount the headphones to a single ear (one ear cup is on the ear and another is resting behind another ear), so there is no need to completely take off the headphones to answer the phone or make a short conversation with someone.
4) The headphones are loud enough with virtually any device (from 20$ pendrive players to desktop DAC-AMP combos), but the quality difference is extreme (that's obvious). What is not so obvious, at least for me, is that the sound quality varies so much among different flagship mobile phones, lower-end hardware DAC players and higher-end codec players. ATH-A900X and Shure SRH840 were signifcantly less affected, than M50-s.
Now, about the sound and genres:
They have a great "drive", despite their quite average sensivity. Perfect examples of what I really like how it sounds on these earphones are: Thrash metal, Technical Death Metal (e.g. Vader - Red Code), high-paced Techno, bass-rich Melodic Death Metal (e.g. Amorphis - Majestic Beast), heavier representatives of Power Metal (Sabaton, Powerwolf, Manowar), Industrial metal or Industrial with non-electronic bass (e.g. Samael - For a thousand years).
Though, these headphones are not crystal clear, so they are not the best for high-pitched Oldschool Electronic music or Classical music (violin and tenor vocals are mediocre at most) with one exception - these headphones are not so bad for double-bass and cello-rich compositions. Jazz Fusion sounds too flat with too much bass.


Pros: good sqi
Cons: too heavy
I think the sq is good but personally i dont like flat sounding headphones.
The M50? Flat-sounding?


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