Audio-Technica ATH-M50S

Average User Rating:
  1. gamefreak054
    "One of the Best Headphones for Starters"
    Pros - A decently balanced sound, Punchy Bass, Cheap, Built like a tank, great introductory headphone, easy to drive
    Cons - Bass can be uncontrolled at times, sibilance can occur, highs are lacking, horrible pleather pads
    I see a lot of people saying how overrated these headphones are lately, but most of the time these people compare these headphones 50% to twice its price or higher. In my opinion the ATH M50s are one hard to beat package for a beginner looking to get into better audio at a cheaper price. These headphones are better than many retail stores headphones that cost twice as much or more. I have been using these headphones for hundreds of hours over the past 2 years and have finally upgraded to the Mad Dogs (which blow these out of the water in the majority of categories).
    I do not think these are balanced or flat sounding like some people claim, these headphones do have an easy to listen to sound signature especially for a beginner or some one on a budget. Where these headphones excel is definitely in the lower frequencies. However being a huge fan of these the sound has a major flaw, and that is the highs. These headphones have a lot of sibilance even from uncompressed 16/44.1 files from ipod. Some of my favorite bands like Skillet and System of a Down are nearly un-listenable on these headphones. However many types of rock sound pretty good on these headphones, and they excel at Dubstep and rap. I find instrumental type music to be kinda boring on these headphones. The sound stage is quite small which make these a poor choice for gaming and movies even though these headphones have a fun sound (imo). 
    These headphones do not require amplification, however I do find the ipod amplifier quite lacking (if you are using an ipod). I ended up buying and trying some of the fiio amps. The fiio amps do provide a little bit of extra juice for the driver and it helps the sound a decent amount. The LOD cable definitely probably makes the biggest difference (and is a must have if you are buying an amp for the ipod). Overall if you need a little extra sound without going to a new headphone an amplifier may be helpful.
    It is pretty decent but starts to get worse as the pads get older and start cracking. 
    Build Quality:
    Top notch for a plastic headphone at around $100. These things are nearly unbreakable. The only broken pair I have ever seen was a pair with a dog chewed cable. One thing I would like to bring up is that not all the headphones are built equally. My headphones sound quite a bit better than my brothers (same box), but mine are a year older and have been played much more. This either proves a) that burn in does make a difference in some headphones and is not a myth or b) not all the M50s batches sound the same. Another complaint is that the cable choices are annoying. Either you have a obnoxiously long cable which is annoying for portable use or you have an annoying coiled cable (imo). I chose the straight cable and to limit the length I braided the cable like you do with hair and it reduces the cable to a 1/3 of its length and is much more manageable
    You may be questioning why I gave these 5 stars after all the complaints I had in this review. Well I must say while the sound is not perfect and definetely what I would not consider an audiophile sound headphone but more of a fun one (get the SR80i if you want a cheap audiophile sound), the build, decent sound, and price is what helps this earn the 5 stars.  I see them for what they are a great beginner headphone. There are better sounding headphones for a bit more cash ($50-$100) but for somebody on a budget that extra cash is a lot of money. Overall I recommend these headphones to all my friends trying to get into audio and try to prevent them from buying an over price consumer headphone.
  2. thelostMIDrange
    Pros - Fullness of sound
    Cons - accuracy
    I'm an older fellow whose been listening to headphones for 30 years and I've enjoyed the AT house sound of treble enhanced yet fairly realistic sound. I've owned and used many of their phono cartridges and headphones over the years and generally find that it's good practice to stand up and take notice of any product from any company who has been involved in vinyl sound reproduction, Grado and AT come first to mind. The m50 however are not the typical musically bright sound but have a fatter, more rolled off sound.........Regardless, these are a great all'rounder that offers the average man/woman something to use for many purposes. I find the bass a bit too 'fudgey' for me and not enough 'air' but both of these are part and parcel of a closed back phone perhaps. I can't recommend these for those who are critical listeners or who demand ultimate accuracy in sound reproduction, but for the most part, all instruments come across sounding more or less as they do in reality and there is a good sense of dynamics. The price point as they say is right on and these are great for musicians who just need something to throw in the rehearsal bag etc. Long live AT.
  3. thermal666
    "Excellent sound for an affordable prince"
    Pros - Versatle, Portable, Powerful Sound, Comfortable (Short Periods)
    Cons - Pressure against head, sweats after prolonged use
    Good quality sound but it is pretty stiff at first and creates a lot of pressure on your head.
    Cant fault the audio quality though
  4. wahhabb
    "Best bang for the buck of closed-back cans"
    Pros - Dollar value, fairly accurate sound, good build quality
    Cons - Bulky for travel, rather high pressure on head
    I'll add my voice to the many who say these are a freaking bargain. I bought them over cans costing two or three times as much, and have no regrets. I say this as someone who also owns Audeze LCD3's. I don't want to take those with me when I travel, so these are my travel pair, and while they obviously aren't in the same league, I'm still happy to listen to them.
    After comparing options, I bought them from Amazon for $120 with free shipping. I typically use them with a Fiio E17, which greatly improves the sound quality when listening from my Macbook Pro--without it, I don't really find the music enjoyable, even though people say these don't need a headphone amp.
    I listen primarily to classical, vocalists, some jazz and other acoustic music.
    The pressure is still fairly high on my head. Fortunately, they go around the ears, so it is not the ears that get the pressure, but the sides of my head. Still, I tend to take them off every hour or so to relax before resuming listening. It may be that over time they will loosen their grip a bit--I don't use them all that often.
    My rating is based on their price; obviously there are much better cans if price is no object.
  5. JoeDoe
    "Solid Sound from a Well-Known Studio Phone"
    Pros - Sound quality, Looks, Price/Value, Design
    Cons - Clamp, Pleather Earpads
    The M50 is without question, an excellent studio headphone that really strikes a great price/performance ratio.
    The bass extends quite well and is never overbearing. 
    Mids are present and very articulate. 
    The trebles are the biggest surprise in that they, IMO, are balanced wonderfully relative to the other frequencies. I haven't found myself wanting more clarity or sparkle yet!
    The fact that the M50s are just as useful with my iPod as they are in a studio makes them very versatile and a great buy. If you can pick up used for around $100, I'd recommend pulling the trigger. 
    The only negative about which I'll comment is that the pads, like many say, can make things uncomfortable after long sessions. The pleather is just low quality and can make ears hot or sweaty depending on how long the session is.
    If you're interested in upgrading your Beats or Skullcandies, look no further. The ATH M50 will retain the fun sound sig while boosting clarity and overall depth for a very budget-friendly price.
  6. MMansell
    "very clear but certainly not for audio pros"
    Pros - detailed overall SQ , good highs , tight bass, excellent isollation
    Cons - small sound stage for my taste , leather is bad quality , it's not flat and is slightly colored (if that's a downer for ya)
    hi everyone 
    It's been two years since I was introduced to the audiophile world and these are my first over ear monitoring headphones and I've burnt them in for about 40 Hrs.
    you shouldn't worry about treble extent . they are pretty good at controlling the highs.
    Detailed but as I said you wouldn't feel like you're sitting in a philharmonic concert. the sound stage could use some improvement.
    Punchy and detailed . they don't sound like a sub woofer and they pretty much depend on your audio source. but They have got ENOUGH bass for majority of audiophiles I guess.
    overall sound signature is not flat and is slightly colored. Maybe the only flaw is the sound stage but remember every review is based on the product's value which means if these where more than 200$ they wouldn't have been rated so high .
    so if you've got a small pocket like me, I totally suggest these to you. 
    the ear pad and headband leathers are not high quality and start peeling after a few months!
  7. Swollen17
    "My gateway drug into good headphones."
    Pros - Comfortable, good bass.
    Cons - Get a little warm on the ears after a couple of hours.
         I'm new to this so take everything with a grain of salt, but I play guitar, and piano so I have a pretty good ear even though I don't know what I'm talking about I know what I like, and I like these alot. This was my first real set of good headphones. I had some $30 AKG plastic things that I thought were great, and some Sennheiser CX380 IEM's before, and was happy with both. Compared to all my friends and there Skullcandys they were awesome. Then I got these, and I was blown away. The cliche of hearing new things in all my music, and being like listening to all my music for the first time again applied.
         Like I said I'm new to this whole thing, but long story short I bought these about four months ago, and since have gotten deeper into it. I now also have ME Electronics M9, Vsonic GR-04, Shure SE-215, Fiio E06, and last week got Beyerdynamics DT-880 250 Pro, Fiio E17/E09K.
         Overall they are a good set of headphones, and a great value. If you are just starting with the whole audiophile thing they will do you wonders, but can quickly lead to a wallet draining aresnal.
         My only complaint is that since they are closed back, and leatherish ear cups they don't breath, and my ears gets a bit sweaty after a couple of hours. But it is possible that is just a closed back thing. My new Beyers are ridiculously comfy for hours on end, but at this point that is all I have to compare.
    In response to
    "It looks like you appreciate the comfort level your new Beyerdynamic DT-880's have over these. What are your thoughts about the sound quality comparison between the ATH-M50S and your new DT-880's?"
    To answer the question in my not know what I'm talking about version of the vernacular. They Beyers sound better. Not as much bass, so for some stuff I am fiddling with EQ's, but haven't found anything that amazes me yet, and they are bad enough to demand some EQ. So I'm still up in the air for that. Have some Nickel Creek going right now, and it is just about perfect for that. The sound stage is definitely better, although the M50's being my first real headphones I thought they were pretty good. From what I have gathered, that is a consequence of the open back (the DT-880s are semi open back whatever that means).
    I have only had them for literally two days so far so I haven't had much chance to really pay attention to the little details yet so I can't say any more than they sound better in almost every way, aside from the aforementioned bass. 
    But the caveat to that is that the 250 pros won't run very well on the same setup as the M50's. I have the gain turned down, and lo bypass on the E17, and the gain turned off on my E09K, and that setup runs about half volume on the E09K for normal level, and cranked is just on the loud side of the loudest I would ever want to listen to it. But I tried it with my phone setup (Droid X2, and Fiio E6, and I had to crank everything to get it to just above normal listening volume, versus the M50's which would blow my ears out with this. So the 880's (at least the 250 version) need more oomph to get them going. So you may have to change you setup if you switch between headphones. From my collection I can say the they all run on the same basic setup without issues aside from the Beyers. Due to that I can't say what is strictly the Beyers, and what is the new setup. Since they are nicer they were intended specifically for my home setup at my desk, and the M50's are my around the house, and at school over ears. But I can backwards compare them with the M50's on my new setup and they definitely don't have the bass, but everything else is better, which if need be can be doctored with an EQ a bit.
    Sorry for being a bit rambly.
  8. schjlatah
    "Perfect ƒ/x cost/quality/comfort"
    Pros - Clear sound, blocks atmospheric background noise, comfortable, affordable
    I listen to music at my desk all day to help drown out the rest of the office noise, these headphones sound amazing and block out the rest of the office.
    They are comfortable and look pretty good.
    Sound quality is phenomenal.
    I can afford them.
    The only down-side, and its a minor one, is that the metal jack housing (not the 1/4" jack itself, just the housing) is taller than my smartphone. When I plug it into my phone and set it on a table, my phone doesn't lay flat.
  9. darkshyed
    "Great bang for your buck!"
    Pros - Versatile, Strong build quality, Great Isolation, Price
    Cons - A bit heavy for long term listening, Pads can make the side of your head sweat, takes some work to find it's sweat spot
    I was looking for a great pair of over-ear's to use for work purposes. Did not want to go open back as sound leakage is a concern when sitting next to my co-workers. Did my research and came across these as well as the aiaiai tma-1 studios and I am not disappointed that I went with this set of cans. Sound stage could be more but for a closed back work set I cannot complain. I play through an Int'l Galaxy S3 rooted with the Siyah kernal which lets me tweak the built in Wolfson Micro WM1811 DAC, being that the M50's sound really great with an AMP I paired that with a FIIO E11 and it really turned this into a "FUN" to listen to pair of cans, If your looking for FLAT, PURE then these may not be what your looking for. But for great sounding music to make the work day go by these are great and still let's you appreciate the quality of your tracks. I did however, find the "muddy" mids that some were talking about, but I seemed to be able to work that out with some EQ adjustments. It was not really enough to cause me to not pick these up to begin with but worth a mention. Bass packs a nice punch in a good clean way, High's are nice and bright. Clamping is nice a snug but not to tight, decent quality cable and A LOT of it!
    My current and only issue with these is that they sit a little heavy which I would imagine could make it a little difficult for long term listening for some.
    NOTE!: These are not meant to be a portable can (which i am fine with, I sit for a living), they are meant for DJ's and Studio's. So keep that in mind that they are a LARGE set of CANs. 
    Overall? I LOVE THESE CANS!
    Ifalna, chispa02 and pdrm360 like this.
  10. Frosty3258
    "Do Audio-Technica ATH-M50S need an amp?"
    Pros - good price for the sound
    Cons - get hot
    I bought these cans about a year ago and they sound pretty good. as many reviews say they are fairly flat sounding with a slightly recessed mid and slightly elevated bass, with good highs. another thing is the sound stage isn't that great but overall these are great cans. about seven months in i bought a Fiio E11 amp for them. by the way i use them on average of 5 to 7 hours a day. now a lot of people say these already operate at max which i found to be completely false. i am using a 4th gen ipod touch with the eq off. (flat) i have the amp set on high power high gain and its eq off as well. honestly at first i didn't notice a difference with having the amp compared to no amp for a while other than the mids were slightly more present and the highs as well. after putting a hundred hours appx. on the amp i listened to the M50's without it. then i noticed that the amp also really filled out the m50's quite a bit. personally if your dissatisfied with the quality of the M50's id suggest simply getting different cans but the amp defiantly does fill them out and gave them a slight raise the mids and highs. now for the E11 I've seen complaints about a hissing sound that they produce, i can turn the dial to 6 before i hear the hiss (with nothing playing) and the M50's distort at about 5 and a half depending on what is being played anyways so i have not found that to be an issue. i cant pinpoint the difference between the high and low power setting on it. it doesn't increase the volume and there is a slight sound change but it is very minimal so i just left it on high. however the high low gain is a massive difference and high gain just blows the low gain out of the water. actually they sounded worse with low gain than they did without the amp all together. and the eq. on it is only for lows. 0 is natural sounding. 1 would sound pretty nice for slightly bass lacking headphones or if you just want that extra little bit of bass and 2 simply vibrates your face and unless you are a bass head or have cans with nearly completely lacking bass has no purpose.