Audio-Technica ATH-M50S

  1. Nelson Soong
    ATH M50s - Not overrated at all
    Written by Nelson Soong
    Published Jan 23, 2013
    Pros - Great SQ, solid built, value for money
    Cons - slightly recessed mids
    I owned a pair of ATH M50s since a month ago. I have heard people saying on Head-fi that it is an overrated headphone. As I have nothing to compare it against, and being new to this world of headphones, I was initially doubtful about that, and I kept wondering if I made the right decision of purchasing M50s. Don't get me wrong, I am happy with the sound quality, but I kept wondering if it is indeed overrated, several other headphones out there must do even greater job. 
    I decided to end my curiosity by trying out several headphones at a store, namely:
    -Alexandra MS1i
    -Grado SR80i
    -Beyerdynamic Custom One Pro
    I compared these few because people always make comparisons between M50s with them. Beyerdynamic is compared as the price range is similar and the salesman actually recommended that when I asked which headphone should I upgrade to.
    My opinion:
    I like by M50s even more ever since. In my opinion, M50s beats the other 3 headphones in terms of sound quality, built, comfort, and value for money. Alexandra MS1i and Grado SR80i both have good SQ, but I prefer the sound signature produced by M50s. Besides, I feel uncomfortable with the small cups and not-so-convincing built of both headphones. M50s has solid built, the cups fit me nicely (gets a bit heaty after prolonged listening), and the clamping force is not an issue for me. More importantly, M50s performs very satisfactorily across all genres, excels especially in electronic. The bass produced by M50s is pretty tight too. My only complaint is the slightly recessed mids in certain (not all) songs.
    Beyerdynamic Custom One Pro is a huge letdown. The detail is quite bad. The bass is boomy and uncomfortable to listen to especially at highest setting. There is no comparison here. I instantly dislike it after 1-2 minutes of listening.
    As for amp/DAC, IMO M50s will do just fine without an amp if you listen to music from laptop, due to its low impedence. I purchased PA2V2 amp due to the rave review but it doesn't make much difference in terms of SQ (perhaps my ears can't discern it). Not sure bout portable music player though. 
    I also tried out 2 heavyweight audiophile headphones: Sennheiser HD 650 and Beyerdynamic Tesla T1 out of curiosity [​IMG]  Both are excellent of course, but I'm not sure if I'm willing to pay that much for a pair of headphones (at least for now), not to mention the amps/equipments needed to bring out their full potential.
    In conclusion, ATH M50s is really a great pair of headphones, totally worth the money. It totally deserves such high ratings, and definitely not overrated in my opinion.
    1. TO - CO
      I agree with your review. THough there are numerous options out there, for the money I think the M50s are a great buy, especially since they can be had for around $120+-. I think sometimes people assume a higher price means higher "quality". THough it may buy you comfort or other features, in terms of accurate reproduction of music I find these outperform many more expensive headphones. People all have their opinions, try them, if you like them, great buy for you and less time wasting not listening to music. Don't worry about the next great "upgrade" when these are better than many cans. Agree with your points on comfort and heat though, a bit frustrating.
      TO - CO, Jan 23, 2013
    2. TheGame21x
      Completely agreed. Personally, I think the M50 opens up with a powerful amp behind it but that's just me. I totally agree with you that they aren't overrated at all. I'm still very glad I bought mine for $110 a year or two ago.
      TheGame21x, Jan 23, 2013
    3. XxDobermanxX
      -signed basshead and forward sound lover
      XxDobermanxX, Apr 15, 2013
    Overall Good Headphones for audio Production
    Written by ANOTHERPIE
    Published Jan 21, 2013
    Pros - Good Balanced Sound, Good for Producing, Mixing and mastering. Good for casual Listening and Live DJing
    Cons - No Detachable cables, Painfully Unmanageable wires, Fragile Tips, Lack of Portability, Sound Leakage, Unnecessary Frequency Response
    These headphones, at first seemed all ordinary to me, but after I took one back home, everything I assumed about these was wrong. The High - Low balancing in range made listing to music of all types very comfortable and gave it a "natural" feel. Whether if it's Rock, Electronic, Hip-hop, jazz, anything! This works well with any music you like, and you can even discover sounds that you never heard in a song before! The Headphone is pretty comfortable even for someone with glasses like me, It might be painful after a 3 hours or so, but sure lasts longer than many other headphones. I'm also fond of the collapseable model the headphone feature, good here and there! I just don't like the amount of noise the headphone leaks out and being unable to detach the horrendously long monster cables.
    But overall, very good headphones for studio producers, Electronic musicians and DJs.
    1. CashNotCredit
      You paid $200 for them? Ouch!
      CashNotCredit, Jan 21, 2013
    2. XxDobermanxX
      LOL good review
      XxDobermanxX, Jan 21, 2013
  3. tanner116
    Audio Technica Pwns n00bs (Sorry, I couldn't help it :)
    Written by tanner116
    Published Jan 12, 2013
    Pros - Good quality, nice looking, great plug, awesome value for the price
    Cons - Heats up your ears, could be more comfortable
    These were my first step into the audiophile world, and they are pretty incredible. I can hear things that were not to be found before, and they fit well. For the price they're going for, the value is incredible! I would recommend therm to anyone :)
    1. HouseFoxx
      >I can hear things that were not to be seen before, and they fit well.
      >I can hear things that were not to be seen before
      >hear things that were not to be seen before
      >not to be seen before

      In that case, you can have ALL of the money I could possibly make in the next 30 years for those headphones...
      HouseFoxx, Jan 13, 2013
  4. jeffdachef
    Amps make all the difference
    Written by jeffdachef
    Published Jan 8, 2013
    Pros - minimal sibilance, comfortable, no listening fatigue.
    Cons - not as good as people hype it up to be... unless properly amped. little to no soundstage, kind of overrated. recessed mids, semi metallic highs.
          these were my first headphones and when i got them, at first i was really disappointed with the sound of these headphones and i made the mistake of buying a fiio e6 instead of an e11/e17/digizoid ZO/ibasso. No matter what sort of equalization i did i was not satisfied at all on how they sound. This headphone by itself sounded like it was trying to be a jack of all trades but failing at everything.
          I see everyone saying it is bassy but i barely felt the punch even with bass boost eq on and that also made a mess of the whole sound spectrum, everything became muddy and distorted filled with static at high gain. I have no issues with the trebles though, having no sibilance is what made me kept this headphone. NOTE: that this is after 80 + hours of burn in and using mainly music in the form of AFLAC ripped from cds and some 320bit mp3s on an asus xonar ds soundcard (weak trash amp inside the sound card). So they've been collecting dust, being used around ten times a month max.
           Then i was at my sister's house and she has a nice home theatre full sized amplifier, i tried plugging in the m50s and oh my god! the multiple eargasms i was looking for finally came. Higher volumes without muddiness or distortion, bass is pounding(not basshead level pounding mind you) without drowning anything out. The recessed and muffled mids were brought up front and fully detailed while the became even crisper.
         So the moral of the story is, dont go cheap in portable/at home amplifiers, The difference is day and night, people say you can listen to it without amping but sorry to say, it sounds like sh^$#t to me without proper amping. I mean you can listen to classical, vocals and soft RnB  without the amp and be satisfied but if your listening to rock, hip hop, metal, electro, mainstream pop, jazz, your music will basically sound lifeless.
         These are OKAY for mixing, a mostly flat basic factory eq on these cans but the shure srh840s do a better job for dj monitoring.
        ALSO if your a basshead, DONT LISTEN to people when they say this headphone is bassy or has a lot of bass, because they fail to point out, that they are not true bassheads first before making that statement, save your money, get the pro700mk2 because these barely have the basshead level of bass. the most it can do is rumble the earpads and yours ears like a v1br@t0r thats dying and running out of batteries, it also has no punch and the bass is not tight enough to keep up with your music. THERE IS NO BASS QUANTITY whatsoever listening to it by itself, unless you totally juice it up with a good amp with a clean bass boost eq, even then its not enough bass to satisfy true skull numbing bassheads.
                 These are good for their balanced sound signature and should be used to multiple genres of listening if your an android user, good luck because htc's music player is horrible quality even with amps and there will be heavy sibilance and metallic highs, they sound like the beats by dre solos with a bad source, even apple products gave a lot better sound quality. Although these headphones aren't really meant to be portable.
  5. pileman
    Great headphones
    Written by pileman
    Published Dec 30, 2012
    Pros - Great value, smooth mids, quite neutral, great build quality, punchy bass, nice soundstage, easy to drive, nice design, details, can be EQ'd
    Cons - Loosy bass response, very overpowering lower and upper bass response, METALLIC HIGHS, clamping pressure, quite heavy, detachable cable would be nice
    Audio-Technica ATH-M50S are really great headphones for the price, but are definitely not the best cans out there. In my opinion these headphones have a lot flaws. Biggest flaw is the bass response. It's great for metal and hip hop, but even though I'm quite of a BASSHEAD, I find the bass to be too lossy, and really overpowering the mids and the highs, especially when listening to Pink Floyd [​IMG]. Sure if you are listening through a computer or a phone or any source that has an EQ it can be easily fixed by lowering the low frequencies. But there is one thing that I couldn't fix is the harsh, metallic treble. Even after 300 hours usage these cans still have treble problem which is unbearable when listening to "Drum and Bass".


    Audio-Technica ATH-M50S has a lot of bass, which is great for hardcore bassheads, but lacks clarity in high frequencies, and despite that these cans doesn't have a detachable cable, Audio-Technica ATH-M50S are foldable, easy to drive, great for hip-hop, metal, rock, and has an incredible value, and boosting really good sound quality.

    1. XxDobermanxX
      Cons: Loosy bass response, very overpowering lower and upper bass response, METALLIC HIGHS, clamping pressure, quite heavy, detachable cable would be nice,recessed mids, no soundstage, overrated :)
      XxDobermanxX, Dec 30, 2012
    2. jeffdachef
      i'm sorry but to say this headphone is good for bassheads is a joke, i think your more on the lines of a rock enthusiast that emphasizes clean bass rather than the skull numbing bass associated with bassheads.
      jeffdachef, Jan 8, 2013
  6. Klapp
    Don't let the bad first impression fool you
    Written by Klapp
    Published Dec 30, 2012
    Pros - Incredible sound: crisp highs, tight bass, clean mids and easily driven, comfortable
    Cons - Pleather sticks to skin a bit, slightly sore ears after extreme use I didn't get with my AKG 272's
    The only real quality headphones I've had before these were my AKG 272's, which broke a few months ago. I've been using 20 dollar panasonic earbuds that I've thought sound pretty decent for a while now, but I decided it was time I get something quality again, and I wanted to try something new. I was prepared for a disappointing first listen, after reading all the reviews here, and that's exactly what I got. The highs were so sharp they hurt with certain songs (keep in mind I was used to muddy, rolled back in-ear cheapies), the bass was almost non-present and the mids were pushed back so far I made sure I didn't have a weird EQ on by accident. But after a few days of near constant listening and a combination of my ears adjusting and the cans breaking in, I'm SERIOUSLY impressed even for the pretty inflated price I picked them up for. The bass has loosened out to the point it'll really wobbles my head exactly when it needs to, but stays clean in anything not intended to be bassy and it hasn't lost a hint of the detail. Same for the highs, they're no longer as harsh as they were but still sound just as clean and I'm losing myself in my music more than I'd thought possible before. The only complaint I could have with these headphones is the soundstage is naturally a bit flat considering being closed-back and having incredible isolation, although the excellent stereo balance really makes it hard to notice unless you're used to open back headphones. Overall I'd recommend these to almost anyone, they're the perfect balance between the basshead punch and a studio neutrality. Just let them burn in for a few days before you judge them, especially if you're new to the audiophile thing.
    I plan to get a FiiO E7 ASAP to help the soundstage and make these sound even better. I was skeptical at first.. But there's a reason they're number 1.
  7. doctorlol
    Now that's what I call reality!
    Written by doctorlol
    Published Dec 28, 2012
    Pros - Value for money without the marketing hype!
    Cons - Such a good fit, that they are a little warm on the ear.
    A new subscriber, but with a good ear and old enough to avoid being sold by marketing alone. The ability to judge a number of over the ear headphones, without the need for active noise-cancelling, makes the choice of a purchase a predictable pathway. My budget allowed me to examine all contenders up to £500, or $750. I also went down to £100 or $150. I auditioned several headphones and then sourced the ATH-M50 from musicmatters in the NW of England. Delivered by FedEx the following day at no extra cost, BTW no vested interest in this or any other companies. I can just detect the difference with or without a portable amplifier, when connected to an iPod, better with the amplifier. I assume they improve with age and burn-in. So the cost of £126.00 was well worth the investment. I will contribute another missive when the headphones are more mature.
    1. StratocasterMan
      I noticed a very nice improvement in my ATH-M50 (white coiled cord model) after something like 20 to 40 hours of burn-in. I don't think they've changed since then, but there was a big improvement during the first week compared with when I first got them out of the box. Enjoy!
      StratocasterMan, Dec 28, 2012
  8. TheJesusGuy
    Audio Technica ATH-M50S review
    Written by TheJesusGuy
    Published Dec 26, 2012
    Pros: Absolutely stellar build quality and design. Great sound quality and thumping bass that can go VERY deep. Great aesthetics. comfy for all those apart from the largest heads ( you can just stretch them out a bit).

    Cons: Ear pads tend to get hard after a few months and get sweaty when worn for a while. Can be uncomfortable for some. Ever-so slightly recessed mids. In my opinion, the cable could do with having about 2 foot cut off. Highs can be harsh depending on your source/amp. Vocals could be better, especially with heavier/ more cluttered music with lots going on.
    Price was £134 new.
  9. Thisten
    Great if you get them at the right price
    Written by Thisten
    Published Dec 24, 2012
    Pros - Solid bass. Soundstage is better than my V6's but not that great. Crisp highs
    Cons - Ear pads can get sweaty after a while. Mids are a little recessed. Not that great for classical or bass light music.
    I just got these cans a little over 5 hours ago and I'm impressed. Guitar sounds crisp and clear. Bassy songs really shine. Sometimes vocals may be a little quiet compared to guitar and drums. I would recommend these headphones to any one entering the hi-fidelity world. But i wouldn't buy them for $160 dollars. $130 would be a good price to by these headphones.
  10. Scrambled eggs
    Written by Scrambled eggs
    Published Dec 16, 2012
    Pros - Everything
    Cons - None
    These were one of my first headphones back in the day (2 years ago) and i still haven't gotten over how good they are. The base isn't too overpowering, maybe a little bit less would be amazing. The mediums are nice and crisp and the highs are fantastic. They are a little bit cold when i put them on, but otherwise I recommend these to anybody trying to get into the audio world.