Audio-Technica ATH-M50S

  1. turbomustang84
    okay i admit .......its not just hype these are great
    Written by turbomustang84
    Published Mar 7, 2014
    Pros - price ,build qualty, and incredible sound
    Cons - no removeable cord
    I have passed on buying these because i generally do not play follow the leader well,so I was bidding on a set of Sennheiser HD 598s and was outbid at the last minute but wanted something new so after searching ebay i made an offer on a like new pair of ATH-M50s.
    I should have gotten these years ago because they do everything well ,I have headphones that are better in certain aspects but none this well rounded
    1. suman134
      i got mine yesterday , these guys bow down to hd 380 pro imo , these are nice though , better then zx700 , she440 is a different story , i have to pit them against each other .
      suman134, Mar 8, 2014
    2. turbomustang84
      burn them in for some time before you pass judgment
      turbomustang84, Apr 3, 2014
  2. veedees
    Here we go again.
    Written by veedees
    Published Jan 17, 2014
    Pros - Wonderful sound quality, price, and build.
    Cons - Most cosmetic: Hot earpads, long cable.
    As if everyone and their mother hasn't reviewed these already.
    This is coming from a very unbiased source and a non-audiophile, I just listen to music.
    Let's get started.
    ​I received these as a Christmas gift after watching reviews nonstop until Christmas. Let's say I was excited.
    These did not disappoint. Before using this I had used pretty much in-ears and the dreaded Apple pain canons. (pretty sure you know what I'm talking about :p)
    The only "Actual headphones" I had heard were some old Beats Studios (the aluminum ones) and on several occasions Bose QC-15's, a couple times in Best Buy/Bose store and once borrowed from my cousin for 5 minutes. (he kindly asked for them back.) I quite enjoy the sound of those, but the Batteries, price, and cable put me off.
    The in-ears I had used up until when I received these were the House of Marley People Get Ready Jammin'swhich were pretty nice IMHO. (Loved the braided cable.)
    Sound Quality.
    When I first put these on, I was astounded at what I could hear. Hi-hats in the background that used to be muffled now sounded like they were behind me somewhere. The track separation (I guess that's what you call it... ¯\(°_o)/¯) is immense. Awesome. A few of the first songs I listened to were Hey Brother by Avicii and Set Fire To The Rain by Adele. Both sounded awesome, vocals were crystal clear and sounded awesome. Let us get this out of the way, my genre of choice is primarily EDM (deadmau5, Kaskade, Daft Punk, etc.) and really, that's all I listen to. (Listening to "Motherboard by Daft Punk as I type this.) I tried to listen to alot of different things. From Black Metal to Jazz, these are great. I enjoy the "Electronic" EQ preset on Apple devices. (A small bump in the bass, slightly recessed mids, and a slight treble boost.) It sounds pretty good on almost all genres IMO. With that out of the way, lets rate:
    Bass: 4/5 Not up to "Beats muffledness" not at all muddy, very accurate and punchy; like I've never heard before this.
    Mids: 4/5 As stated earlier, I like more "recessed" mids but on a flat EQ, vocals come through super clear. Nice.
    Treble: 5/5 To date, best treble I've heard personally. (keep in mind I haven't had much experience :) Very accurate as audiophiles like to say. :p
    Style is up to you, but when assessing friends it's been a mixed bag, some like it and some like their puke-green Solo HD's better.
    They are made of plastic, yea, but it doesn't feel cheap in any way. They feel very solid in the hand and fit anyone I've let try them. I have Craniosynostosis which has left my head slightly deformed. It is tall and thin and these fit me fine, to be honest they would fit a Pterodactyl the way the ear cups swivel. Speaking of the ear cups, I don't like them. The clamping pressure is absurd when you get them, and mine still are breaking in. After 3-4 hours of music listening, your ears become a bit, shall we say, moist. *gigglegigglegiggle* The metal band in the headband is greatly appreciated though, and hopefully these last a long time. Now to the cable. I own the coiled cable version M50's and honestly, it's not THAT bad. An iPod touch and the coil can easily be stuffed into a nicely sized pocket. Overall, very impressed. 
    Best purchase I've made in a while. So worth it if you listen to/make a lot of music. (which I do NO SHAME) They have their minor quirks which is why they received 4.5/5 overall, but they are near perfect. I hope a M50 v2.0 comes out with a shorter removable cable and velour ear pads as an option. I've heard so many great things about these and everyone is spot on. Best $100 spent so far, cannot recommend these more as some beginner cans.
    Hope this helped, warmest regards,
    VeeDees [​IMG] 
    Stay cranked! [​IMG]
  3. Mobiustereo
    Incredible set of cans for the money
    Written by Mobiustereo
    Published Jan 17, 2014
    Pros - Solid, strong bass, very linear across the almost the entire frequency band
    Cons - Bass can be a little too much of a good thing on certain recordings, not the largest soundstage compared to 'top flight' cans
    I almost want to title this review 'the little train that could' as I bought these on a bit of a lark. I was looking for a decent set of cans to primarily take with me on road trips. The unique (and ingenious) method with which these collapse and fold was a big seller for me. So, not really expecting them to keep up with my vaunted Senn. HD800's, I thought "what the heck, lets plug these suckers into my BIG RIG & see what they can do.." Well, to say I was shocked would be an understatement. I NEVER expected them to have the amount of resolution, impact and overall enjoyable 'musicality' that these do indeed possess.
    I actually find myself spending a fare amount of 'ear time' listening to these 'phones, despite the dirty looks my Sennheis-ies give me while I'm doing it (kinda similar to the looks my wife gives me while perusing the Victoria Secrets catalog...)
    Audio-Technica has always offered a great product, giving more than there share of fun & excitement for the money, and these awesome headphones clearly prove that point (I've owned my share of A.T. phono cartridges and even their Electret Condenser ATH-7 headphones - now I'm aging myself!).
    Bottom line - if you are looking for a great set of 'phones in or near this price range, you would be doing yourself a disservice if you didn't give these terrific headphones a listen.
    1. JoeDoe
      Spot on thoughts for an excellent intro to head-fi. 
      JoeDoe, Jan 17, 2014
  4. FancyDan
    The ultimate entry-level audiophile headphones
    Written by FancyDan
    Published Jan 3, 2014
    Pros - Solid bass, detailed highs, fairly neutral curve, great for studio mixing, ridiculous price value
    Cons - Metallic tint to sound, doesn't sound "real", highs grating when loud
    Ahh, the Audio Technica ATH-M50: possibly one of the most positively talked about headphones of all time, and a smash hit for Audio Technica. This headphone really hasn't stopped selling like hotcakes since it's release. Walk into any college and you're going to see almost as many kids walking around with these as Beats (ok well maybe half as many). This is because people have been recommending them to audio noobs pretty much for as long as they've been a thing, so for many people this is the begining and end of their experience with Hi-Fi audio, as many people I've recommended these to say they're good enough for pretty much everything and never buy another pair of headphones until they buy another pair. While I personally think they end up being a bit overhyped when compared to some other headphones (granted, in a higher price range) due to the harshness of the highs, and their overall synthetic, unrealistic tone to my ears. 
    Let's go with positives first, these cans have great bass that can really give you that hard-sub feel you want from bass heavy music like rap and house. They have a fairly comfortable fit that has served me well for years, as I use these on the daily to produce everything from hip hop beats, to indie music, to witch house in my home studio that i record many artists in, as well as running from my laptop when I produce hard hitting dance mixing for my DJ sets. They have enough bass to let you hear a general idea of what people listening on headphones that deliver heavy bass are going to hear, while still remaining fairly neutral, making them perfect for anyone who intends to due studio mixing for others to hear. You could also plug these into a smaller end amp and have yourself an great entry-level audiophile setup as well for those looking to dip into the now-crowded premium headphone market. 
    There are some downsides to the universally hailed M-50. The first I would say is how harsh the high can be at loud volumes, but I already mentioned that. The second would be that the highs and mids have somewhat "fake" sound to them. They don't quite sound real, and almost come across as being a bit metallic or synthetic. This is probably my biggest annoyance with these headphones, and it is especially noticeable on songs that use the pure highs of something like and 808 drum machine hi-hat, or a loud mixed crash from a drum set. The cord is also a bit long, and they aren't the best for portable use. Overall, however, these are incredible headphones for the cheap prices you can get them for today. I think you can snag a paid for something in the $90 range on amazon now, so if you're looking at getting a great workhorse studio monitor, or your first set of real Hi-Fi cans, these are the way to go for any budget under 200 dollars. 
  5. turnbuckle
    These hold up for years
    Written by turnbuckle
    Published Dec 28, 2013
    Pros - Great sound, accurate, durable,
    Cons - pleather pads stiffen quickly
    I've had a pair for about 4 years now wear them daily while working. They're extremely durable, although the oils from your head get absorbed into the ear pads and they stiffen up, not a problem if you're the only person wearing them since they mold to your head.  Occasionally I'll buy new earpads but its not that big of a deal for me.
    1. StratocasterMan
      They are the best bargain out there. They need an equalizer boost around 3.5 kHZ to 5 kHZ, and then they sound as good as much more expensive headphones. Look online, and you can find the frequency response curve for these headphones. They need that slight midrange boost to correct for recessed midrange, but then they sound as good as headphones costing much more. I have them, and they are absolutely fantastic. 
      StratocasterMan, Dec 29, 2013
  6. Tyrranny
    Written by Tyrranny
    Published Nov 11, 2013
    Pros - Bass, Treble, Impact, Looks
    Cons - Bass bleeds into the mids, is uncomfortable for the first 1-6 months
    For the money, these are a great pair of headphones. I love them, and I've had them for years now, but I have since started to search for new cans because I want better detail and transparency while maintaining the basic sound sig of the ATH M50. I've read some extremely flattering, and unflattering reviews of these 'phones, and I intend merely to give my unbiased opinion. 
    These puppies have had enough power to grab my attention and enough low end impact to keep me listening for a long time. The sound, to my ears, is indeed very neutral, but the high bass freq tends to blend into the low mid freq giving these 'phones a "wall of sound" effect that is endearing (to me).
    Now, I'm a huge Smashing Pumpkins fan, and these headphones do extremely well with their music. That being said, the high's can become extremely fatiguing when listening to Billy's very high and winy voice on some of his less polished tracks. I will say that I don't find these cans fatiguing unless listened to at very loud levels, at which point the treble can indeed start to become harsh, or when listening to music that is already very bright. The sound on these headphones fall somewhere between bright and natural, leaning a little more towards bright, which can be harsh when paired with the wrong type of music, eg: high screaming guitars or lyrics, Now, I don't really mean AC/DC style electric rock, I'm again referring to furious alt rock. 
    I've read reviews where people claim that the ATH-M50's are very comfortable. This is a bit misleading. After owning these headphones for years, I have now gotten used to the pressure they put on your head, and the fact that the pleather pads are shallow enough to allow the driver to sit uncomfortably against your ear. The latter can apparently be fixed by swapping out the stock Audio Technica pads with thicker, higher grade options, which I have not done. When first purchasing these headphones, they were extremely uncomfortable, and would have to be removed not long after putting them on. I have since gotten used to them and can wear them for much longer periods of time(about 2-3 hours), after which they still do make my ears sore. 
    The real reason I want to replace these headphones is because they are not particularly transparent. The sound stage is small and not particularly open. I haven't owned any real headphones besides these, but I have made trips to local stores where I have listened to Sennheisers, Dennons, Sony's, etc... I find that the ATH-M50's deliver similar results as far as overall bass response, clarity, soundstage and speed are concerned with pricier competition in the closed back variety. But compared to the more open Sennheiser HD 598, the ATH M50's really fall short on clarity and sound stage. Now, when listening to music, clarity IS nice, but I wouldn't sacrifice overall sound quality for clarity. Directly comparing the two headphones, the Sennheisers were a bit more forgiving and transparent, but their bass reproduction is horrible. Listening to acoustic bass guitars produced a sound very similar to the farting routine of South Park's Terrance and Phillip. The Sennheiser 598 retails at 175$ and the ATH-M50 can be found ranging from 85$-150$. In my humble opinion, the ATH-M50 completely out perform the Sennheisers when it comes down to bass. At this price range, from what I've heard, I believe that either soundstage/detail will need to be sacrificed, or good, punchy, extended bass response will. These differing strengths will probably define what people will prefer to choose at this price range. 
    My conclusion? If you can find these 'phones for 85$-125$ I say pull the trigger and grab 'em (just make sure they are the real deal). If not, take the time to make a decision about what kind of sound signature you like and how much money you are willing to spend to get it. But either way, these are a great pair of headphones for the 200$ crowd, and I highly recommend them for a pair of great sounding headphones, if you can put up with their un-comfortableness.
  7. nkrueger
    Excellent value, Great SQ
    Written by nkrueger
    Published Nov 2, 2013
    Pros - Bass, Isolation, Warm sound signature (if you're into that), Easy to drive, Cost, Included accessories
    Cons - Sometimes a little sibilance, Not as airy as open headphones, Non-Detachable cable
    I ordered the AT-M50s for work less than a week ago.  I wanted something easy on the wallet that wouldn't require amplification beyond my uDAC-2.  My coworker found a $95 special on SlickDeals and I couldn't resist.  I have owned a pair of AT-M40 for a long time prior to my head-fi days and SQ obsession, and I used to think they were "nice".  After getting HD-650s and pairing them with Bifrost/Asgard 2 I realized the HD650s were in a different universe of clarity, soundstage and overall SQ.  I decided to give Audio Technica another chance however.
    Initial Impressions:
    Great bass, muddy compared to the HD650, treble harshness. For the first few hours I wasn't to happy with the way they sounded, but hey they were still burning in.  I kept listening.  After 8 hours or so, the sound got noticeably better.  Treble harshness had faded away, and the headphones were starting to grow on me.  Moreover, they sound decent amped my iPhone alone, my uDAC-2, and the Schiit stack I use.  This cannot be said for the HD650 I can contrast them against.  The AT-M50s are fun to listen to, and have great isolation.  After doing an A/B comparison I feel the sound quality is definitely at the level of the HD650, just different in nature.  The HD650 has them beat on airiness and natural sound, but really only quite subtly so.
    In conclusion: These headphones cost 1/5th as much as the HD650 (my only real point of reference), have nice build quality, are comfortable, and sound great being driven from a variety of sources.  I would highly suggest these to anyone looking to get into HiFi headphones without spending an arm and a leg.  Also for electronic music, rap, and other bass-heavy music these cans really do have excellent bass, much more so than the HD-650.  I wouldn't say the bass is overpowering or overly EQ'd like Beats, just powerful and present.
  8. moshin29
    Great All Rounder
    Written by moshin29
    Published Oct 16, 2013
    Pros - Powerful bass, great treble, fantastic SQ when amped
    Cons - mids can sometimes be recessed, comfort.
    Design (4/5):
    The design of this headphone is quite plain looking, not flashy in any way. But that's fine as they are monitoring headphones, not a piece of jewelry.
    Comfort (4.5/5):
    Comfort is quite good, but can sometimes create soft spots. 
    Sound Quality (4.5/5):
    Powerful deep bass, not overwhelming at all, just the right amount.
    These are great, but i can feel that it is recessed on some tracks
    Treble is really crisp and crystal-clear, non-fatiguing. No siblance at all, unless you EQ it that way.
    These are my first pair of serious headphones and they sound absolutely incredible for this price IMO. I got this paired with a FiiO E07K to use as a DAC on my PC and portable amp for my android phone, and the sound is very much improved. Bottom-line, i would be glad to recommend these to anyone who's looking for a rather cheap headphone with very good sound quality.
  9. limproved
    Flat and Honest
    Written by limproved
    Published Oct 15, 2013
    Pros - flat response signature, sturdy, quality chord
    Cons - sub frequency response, comfort
    I received my ATH-M50s from Flo Guitar Enthusiast radio show. That being said, how do these cans stack up as "studio monitor" class headphones?
    My initial impressions were very favorable so let's take it from the top. Build quality is right where it should be in $150 price range headphones, with some plastic and some metal, soft surfaces being pleather over foam, and black acoustic cloth in the cups. The cups swivel as if aiming for DJs as well as studio mixing. Comfort-wise they have a little too much pressure for casual listening, but I became accustomed to it after a while. The swivels are a distraction for me, I like to just chuck my headphones on. The swivels do however allow you to fold these smaller to fit in the rubber pouch supplied with them. Will the rubber pouch protect these adequately? Let's hope so, you might keep them in you carry-on when flying because it IS just a soft bag around them after all. I have the ATH-M50s with the straight cable, and the cable itself is sturdy, with a spring coil butted against the plug for support in this oft-failing area. Nice touch for durability built in.  The non-breathing ear cups do provide a good isolation experience, but your ears will get sweaty after long sessions. What about the frequency range and signature of these headphones? Amazingly flat if not just a little shallow on the bass end. These are extremely well adapted to recording in the studio. I already use them as a second reference to be certain I'm not relying on the "flavor" of my speakers or other headphones. Putting these on is like turning an equalizer off. They are simply that flat. What about those swiveling cups that DJs will be interested in? Sorry gang, on a tone generator these get flaky in the sub frequencies, the big drop might become merely a big flutter for dub-step. Acoustica Tecnica claim response down to 15Hz, but at 25Hz my smile froze. For everything  lower, you will want to use a different reference. So ignore the 15Hz advertised, and realistically consider these great down to 25Hz because the tones lower than this in the can felt altered, somehow artificial. This is still an impressive number for headphones, and I can only see it as a deal breaker for DJ/ dub-step synth musicians.
    Last impression: Who should buy these? Audiophiles will want to put these in their short list to consider for sub $200 'phones. Recording artists should pick these up if they have need of $200 or less 'phones. Just do it. DJs will consider this set based on value, but you guys more than any need to audition these for yourself to see if the lows are respectable for your mixes. The bass is there, mostly.
    I hope this helps you make an informed decision.
  10. mm907
    My introduction to quality
    Written by mm907
    Published Oct 15, 2013
    Pros - Clarity, comfort, portability, robustness, value, good isolation
    Cons - None so far, except the cord length
    I used to have a pair of Koss Portapros before I got my M50s so I was interested in having better headphones than my usual phone earbuds. After reading the reviews here, I managed to get a used pair of M50s for £85 which seemed like a good bargain to me. After around 2 weeks of stretching out the headband and getting used to the flatter sound signature of these as compared to my earlier (bass-heavy) Portapros, I have to say that my lasting impression is one of awe at how these manage to tick all my boxes. 
    They're really portable, fold up easily into the bag and can be carried around quite simply in my backpack. I usually listen to music through my Nexus 4 which commuting and my laptop while at work. Both can drive the M50s very easily. Moreover, my music now sounds great!! I love the instrument separation, the decently strong and tight bass and the way electronic music seems to suit these so well. Not being an audiophile of any kind, I'll refrain from commenting on the finer details, save to say that these have a very pleasing sound signature and can make any kind of music very enjoyable (best with electronica though) They're not that heavy which makes them very comfortable and the cord isn't great but you get used to it. 
    Overall I'm thoroughly pleased with them, and would recommend them in a heartbeat.