Audio-Technica ATH-M50S

  1. TsukiNick
    Great for music...not movies/games
    Written by TsukiNick
    Published Dec 12, 2012
    Pros - Good sound quality, Sturdy construction, Comfortable
    Cons - Poor soundstage, Cable a bit too long, it's 3.5mm connector is a bit awkward
    I love the sound quality, one of my first good pairs of headphones for music.
    Soundstage is very lacking, don't even try to play a game with it (Could pinpoint enemy footsteps better with a mono speaker haha)
    The folding is sort of nice, but annoying at the same time.  I let my friends try them on and they always manage to flip the earcups the wrong way and get confused.
    Sometimes the highs are overbearing.  My ears tend to be hurt by some youtube videos and some music.
  2. awesomemathlete
    Good Headphones
    Written by awesomemathlete
    Published Dec 10, 2012
    Pros - Good sound, closed, last a lot of drops (both the bass variety and the physical kind), sound good with all sorts of music
    Cons - not the most comfortable original earpads, a bit heavier than expected but not terribly
    Audio Technica did an outstanding job in this headphone set. They sound really good at all frequencies. When I listen to cds of Beethoven it sounds really proper and when I listen to some old Skream the bass really wobbles my head. If you would not consider yourself an audiophile, but enjoy good sound, what I mean is if you can't distinguish between 440 and 442 Hz but if you like higher fidelity audio and you do not want to pay 500 dollars, these are the headphones for you. They are very good and I think they will last me a long time.
  3. zenolijo
    My first pair of good headphones
    Written by zenolijo
    Published Dec 9, 2012
    Pros - Warm sound, good balanced bass (lots of bass in hiphop, less in jazz), decent soundstage
    Cons - I'm not a audiophile really, so i'd say i'm very happy with these!

    I've had these headphones for about 6 months now, and i am very happy with the buy!

    These costs 80$ more in sweden, so bought them when i was in the US this summer.

    I bought the 50 yrs anniversary version (straight cable) in silver instead of black, but they have the same sound so there's no difference really, but they look a little more plastic in silver.


    They fit really good on my head.

    It's some pressure on my ears, but they mostly hang on my head.

    I have big ears, so sometimes after 1,5hrs they can pressureize a little on the outer sides of my ears. Then i just pause for 20min and continue again afterwards.

    Build quality

    The build quality is great.

    First when i saw these headphones online i thought it was aluminum, but it's just plastic.

    Even though they're made of plastic, they are really sturdy.

    But the best of all is the wonderful cord.

    I have run over it with my office chair several times, but it doesn't even seem to get slightly damaged.

    I can't even count how many in-ears i have detroyed because of bad cords.

    The headband is really smooth and so is the pouch that included with the purchase!


    These great headphones does not deserve a smartphone amp.

    The difference between using them in my iMac and in my LG Optimus 2x is huge.

    Thinking of buying a DAC/amp, i think it would improve these headphones alot!


    The bass is good, not too strong, just balanced.

    These headphones can go really low if you really want them too.

    The lowest frequencies are not always very loud, but when you think about it you can hear them and subconsiously you feel that it makes a more full and complete sound.

    The bass is normally balanced and not too strong, but somehow it's very strong when listening to rap like 2pac etc. Maybe that's how they're recorded. This is a pro for me though! :)


    Good mids, can't really say anything about them because 


    Decent on my smartphone but great in my computer.

    Clear and even if the frequencies are really high!

    Love the detail on my songs with good audio quality!


    Pretty good soundstage, when listening to some trip hop songs it feels like the bass is constant and the highs can feel distant but not quiet which makes the sound detailed. 

    I recommend these headphones!

    Love em'

    EDIT: I forgot to tell you, i was very dissapointed with the sound when i got them. I tried to break them in for 24hrs but still not good. I was dissapointed, felt really sad that payed 140 bucks for a pair of headphones that couldn't even produce non-aching highs but but after a couple of months i wondered why i thought the buy was bad in the beginning and realized that the sound had changed to the better.

    I just want to prepare people that you are going to get dissapointed the first month of using them, but are going to be great after breaking them in and getting used to them!

    2 YEAR EDIT: I have been using these for a while but they are starting to get old.
    The hinges broke last week like in this thread. I did glue it together though with plastic glue which i got for 3$ and it have lasted for a week, and i hope that it stays on for now.

    They have survived for a long time and i have liked them, but during the years the filling inside the pads have become more dense and harder and my ears now rest on the drivers which makes the headphones hurt my ears even more.

    I have also started using a tube amp which has increased the sound quality greatly, they do not need to be driven by an amp but it does sound much better with one. The cable has also started to tangle itself pretty often now which gets annoying. Since i have used this headphone pretty much every day for over two years (mostly at home, but also on the go), i would say that it has lasted very well. It's a great headphone but it's starting to get a little worn out.
    1. Darknet
      Interesting how you see the soundstage, personally I'm not a big fan of the m50's soundstage its kind of flat and lacks depth (as some other members have noted too) but sound is purely subjective so I'm glad that you like them. Welcome to Head-fi!
      Darknet, Dec 9, 2012
    2. zenolijo
      Lurked around alot when i bought my ATH50s, and just came back! :)

      About the soundstage, it depends alot on what kind of music you listen to.
      The soundstage is at its best when theres a frequency difference between the instruments (obviously)
      And sometimes when it's lots of constant bass (like a really low electric guitar(for example plush - stone temple pilots)) it can feel like the bass is just at your head which makes the rest less detailed.
      But i'd still say that the sound is surrounding.

      Btw, are you a part of darknet or is it just your nickname? :p
      zenolijo, Dec 9, 2012
    3. Darknet
      Bleh just looked up Darknet ... never even realized they had such a thing... Darknet has just been my standard go to username for like 7 years now.
      Darknet, Dec 9, 2012
  4. usmin
    ATH M50 review
    Written by usmin
    Published Nov 21, 2012
    Pros - price, sound,comfort, design and that other stuff
    They are a pair of great headphones for a great price and I love them. Everything is perfect and as a pair of starting headphones I think they're something thats worth trying out. Everything is pretty well balanced and I use them for about 9-ish hours a day on average and my ears dont get tired at all. They are very comfortable too. I have no problems with these headphones
  5. KodaO
    Written by KodaO
    Published Nov 7, 2012
    Pros - Gorgeous bass, built like a tank, attractive, value
    Cons - Recessed mids, slight sibilance, comfort, cable spring
    The M50's have developed a reputation as "the starter headphone" for aspiring audiophiles and they deliver for their price.


    These headphones are built like a tank. Solid construction is always a plus. They do have the famous AT clamp and without some stretching, can be a bit too much. The cable is not detachable, and there is a small spring near the jack that without special care, becomes dislodged and eventually comes off. Aesthetically, and cosmetically, these cans are gorgeous IMO.

    Sound Quality: For their price, these headphones are amazing, there are definitely others out there that can compete at the price range though.

    Highs: I am torn by the highs on these headphones. They come across clearly, slightly grainy, with minor sibilance when handling female vocals. When listening to Propane Nightmares-Pendulum, it was difficult to listen at an elevated volume as the cymbals and synth were slightly harsh, overall I'd rate them at a 7/10.

    Mids: Slightly recessed, but present and IMO forward. Vocals a clear and present, guitars sound wonderful, and instruments across the spectrum sound great. Male vocals sound decent at best, and female vocals can be sharp. 7/10

    Lows: The M50's shine with their bass response. Punchy, tight and fast. Extension is decent, but sub-bass is entirely present. When listening to electronic with a large dependence on mid-bass, these cans deliver wonderfully without bleeding entirely into the midrange. 10/10

    Soundstage: Great soundstage for a pair of closed cans, instrument separation is average at best. 7/10

    Detail: I would describe these headphones as fast. Detailed nicely, but forgiving. You won't notice imperfections on a 128kbps track I compared directly with an mp3 file greatly, if at all. 9/10

    Overall these cans are great for the price, if you are looking for a slight bass-emphasis, by all means grab these. But don't immediately reach for these without some research. These headphones run around the same price and will satisfy other tastes.

    M-Audio Q40 - Bass, and lot of it. Fun sound signature. ($100~)
    Beyerdynamic DT770/80ohm - Basshead's delight! With a clear SS, recessed mids ($140~)
    Shure SRH-840 - Slightly bassy, neutral SS. ($125~)

  6. Huntbald
    Written by Huntbald
    Published Nov 7, 2012
    Pros - Looks Cool, Sounds Great, Best headphones I have ever owned.
    Cons - Overwhelming bass sometimes, not open backed.
    I got these headphones after my Audio Technica ATH-M30s get stepped on at my cabin (baby brother pulled them off the counter...) Let me say. Best dumb luck ever. These headphones make you hear everything from quiet breathing to every crashing cymbal. I am a fan of a lot of classic rock (Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, Boston, Journey, The Animals, The Who and some newerish rock like Pearl Jam,Nirvana,Audioslave,Alice in Chains). I also have modded them taken out the white foam disk behind the driver (forgot what it's called :p) and removing the foam piece on the ear pad itself and it sounds better to me. The only downside I have is that I like the sound of open back headphones preferably the Grado SR-60i and that the bass sometimes drowns out a lot of the other sounds. Other than that these headphones are great! :D (With mod bass calms a little. There is still a little too much though. :mad: )
  7. mrtheking
    ATH-M50 offer the best value
    Written by mrtheking
    Published Sep 15, 2012
    Pros - Affordable, Spacious, Compact, Lightweight, Amazing Quality
    Cons - Uncomfortable if you are wearing glasses
    I love these headphones. They are extremely worth the price, and the balance of sound they offer is outstanding. The bass is just at the perfect level for the majority of the music I listen to (my tastes range from 1960-2011) and in no way do they take away from the overall quality of sound. The perfect balance of power and quality. The only complaint I have is that they are uncomfortable for me because the padding presses my glasses against my head, which after 2 hours is really uncomfortable.
    1. XxDobermanxX
      spacious as in spacious around your ears ? cause the soundstage on these suck
      XxDobermanxX, Sep 15, 2012
  8. eko6028
    great headphones for the price
    Written by eko6028
    Published Aug 27, 2012
    Pros - good sound, comfortable, portable.
    Cons - slight lack of mids.
    ive had them for a few months. the had a short burn in period, they are comfy, stylish and sound good. the only thing is that the mids are a little lacking. other than that though, they are fantastic.
  9. National
    Not legendary at all, but amazingly decent.
    Written by National
    Published Aug 16, 2012
    Pros - Great value, bass is authoritative, foldable. Quite stylish,
    Cons - Mids feel recessed due to the bass. Soundstage isn't very large.
    I'll admit I used to think that these were really 'overrated'. 
    Then I bought them, just to see what the fuss was about. I figured that if I didn't like them, I could return them. 
    At first, I found them pretty underwhelming. 
    10 hours later, I realized that these were worth every dollar. I'm not sure if it's really because of the 'burn-in', or if it's just my ears getting used to it. But either way, I fell in love with these. 
    It's been a while since I've had them, and I still enjoy listening to them. Sometimes I like them more than the K701s. They don't sound as amazing, but you know - it's something that I'm not afraid to carry around. They're closed, they're foldable, they're stylish, and not so expensive that I need to worry about breaking them. 
    In the end, I don't really think they're as overrated as people say. Maybe it is overrated since these are commonly the first pair of good headphones people buy. But even owning the K701, HD598, and the SR325i, I still find these a worthy addition to my collection. 
    They're so........decent.
    1. Tus-Chan
      Decent isn't polar enough of a word for Head-Fi. You're not a true audiophile unless it sucks or it's awesome ^_^
      Tus-Chan, Aug 17, 2012
  10. reeltime
    Amazing Value
    Written by reeltime
    Published Aug 6, 2012
    Pros - Bass, Clarity, Definition
    Cons - Sub Bass, Midrange presence
    I wanted a closed set of cans for work-- and I like to show off new headgear every so often because I live in headphones at work.  The flashy white pair of ATH-M50s fit the bill.  Take that Beat lovers!
    First impressions when plugging them into my WA6 was -- "Are you certain they're not Beats-- relabeled?"  Wow the bass thumps!  Fun.  I was also pleasantly surprised by the amount of detail and clarity through the upper frequencies.
    Not a very open sound-- The HD800 is wide and airy-- these are definitely about a closed in, personal experience.  This isn't a knock-- I like headphones with a point of view-- and these ATs favor a direct approach-- deliver the music.  
    They're supremely efficient.  Not much power needed here.  They can easily be driven by an iPod, iPhone or any player, though amplification improves the sound, without question. 
    They are a snug fit-- and barely qualify as an "over ear".  Again-- this is a part of that personal delivery of sound.  You are aware they are on your head-- it's a snug fit, but not overly clamped.  Decent sound isolation-- they should-- given that they are closed.  Pleather covers mean sweaty ears, but they are comfortable.
    Negatives-- way too much midrange.  A quick trip to EQ window on iTunes fixed that, but they are mid-rangy out of the box.  It's a metallic mid range that without correction would wear on my ears.  There's not much in the way of detail and transients that the higher end headphones deliver.  They don't kill the reverb, but it's not that open feeling you get with higher end models.  While the bass thumps-- the deep deep bass trails off.  
    The cable is coiled-- It's like a trip back to the '70s.  I scratched my head over that one.  But they do build both 1/4 and 1/8 jacks into the non-detachable cable.  
    I'm going to hang on to these for a while-- they're fun, they thump nicely.  If I were a DJ, I'd think these were pretty much an ideal pair.  Not going to break the bank-- I can afford to break them-- and they sound nice.  The ATH-M50s are a forward, fast sounding set of cans.  
    Comparison:  Jumping between the B&W P5 and the M50s-- immediately-- The 50's deliver much more bass-- the P5 is even more mid-rangy- but the mid range is much smoother than the 50s.  More upper end detail on the P5-- and the P5 wins on transients, but the M50s provide a better overall upper end experience-- it feels more balanced.  The P5 is more sensitive to adjustments on your ear.  A slight move changes the entire sonic signature.  The lack of bass and sub bass on the P5 and the over mid-range put the 50's much higher on my sonic scale over the P5 and the construction is better.  The P5 wins on comfort and looks.  If given the choice-- I'd take the ATH-M50 -- if given the choice at gunpoint.
    1. XxDobermanxX
      Good review, The prices of these are $120 now
      XxDobermanxX, Aug 7, 2012
    2. GL1TCH3D
      Keep in mind prices are not the same around the world.
      It's not uncommon to see them for 160-180 here in Canada.
      GL1TCH3D, Aug 7, 2012