Audio-Technica ATH-M50S

  1. Recitativo
    Audio-Technica ATH-M50S
    Written by Recitativo
    Published Aug 6, 2012
    Pros - Used it for listening to pop, orchestral, jazz and trance, came out on a very great. Portable design is a great ++
    Cons - The clamping mechanism makes it uncomfortable to wear on neck. Long, undetachable cables inhibits portability. Middle range doesn't seem quite crisp.
    My first "expensive" headphones, so to speak. I-It's not like I'm that much into headphones or anything but, this headphone is the best pair I've ever listened to. I listen to all kind of music, though less often, even drum and bass (I'm not that much of a basshead). The sounds I hear in songs when using these are mostly crystal clear and very rich, but I couldn't help to overlook the lacking in crisp-ness over the mids. The bass response is, overall, good. Not too hard, neither too soft. The design is very ergonomic and the appearance is more than enough to do me good, but it's not like I'll bring it outdoors very often.
    On the bad side, the mechanism clamps too much, making it unable for me to wear it on my neck. Kinda put off by how long the cables were, and that they were undetachable. It's not very significant of a con though as I rarely plan to bring it elsewhere.
    Overall, I'm more than happy with these headphones. Just what I'd expect from Audio-Technica.
  2. Asdfqwerty
    Written by Asdfqwerty
    Published Jul 22, 2012
    Pros - Overall great, good mids, highs, and lows its also very, very well built, respond well to eq
    Cons - ear pads, doesn't come with an actual case. Needs to be burnt in
    These headphones are great, i listen from to a lot of different genres of music and these sound great in all of them. They are built very well, and don't seem like i have to worry about them breaking. At first they sounded decent, but now they have about 400 or more hours of burn in and they sound amazing now!!
    They have great bass that can be eq'd and amped to satisfy almost any basshead!
    I can also easily hear every little detail in a song,it is an absolutely amazing music experience!
    +great all rounder
    +good bass
    +can be made either really bassy or really non bassy through eq
    +Very well built
    -needs an amp
    -earpads get hot
    1. XxDobermanxX
      - poor soundstage
      - recessed mids
      - average highs
      - clamp force
      XxDobermanxX, Jul 22, 2012
    2. ssrock64
      Hey, it's all in the eyes of the reviewer. Not everyone values soundstage as much as you (and I) do, and many people like a V-shaped signature. The highs of the M50 are passable and not all that worthy of criticism unless doing a direct head-to-head with similarly-priced rivals, and clamping force may not be an issue for this reviewer.
      I rated the ATH-M50 at 3.5 stars and agree with many of your criticisms, but it's Asdfqwerty's review.
      ssrock64, Jul 23, 2012
    3. XxDobermanxX
      @ssrock64 I hear you
      XxDobermanxX, Jul 23, 2012
  3. Fortunex
    Pretty decent, current price is a bit high.
    Written by Fortunex
    Published Jul 7, 2012
    Pros - Bass is quite good, headphone seals well
    Cons - Harsh and grating highs, high clamping force.
    A friend picked up the ATH-M50s as his first decent headphone, and we spent a couple of days swapping back and forth between them and my DT770 Pro 80ohm.
    - Build
    I found the M50s to be quite well built considering how much plastic was on them. They felt solid, and the folding mechanisms were smooth and felt quite good.
    The pads were very soft, and the pleather felt rather nice and sealed very well. The headband, however, was not padded very well, and along with the high clamping force of the M50s, lead to comfort issues.
    - Sound
    I would describe the M50s as having a very V-shaped sound signature.
    The bass extension, quality and quantity easily competes with my DT770s (although this could be because the M50s seal better, I think if I put (p)leather pads on my Beyers they would get a fairly significant bass increase).
    The mids are quite recessed, and maybe a bit thin sounding. Very detailed though, when not overshadowed by the other two ends of the spectrum.
    The highs are what ruined this headphone for me. Listening to Pendulum's "Showdown", the cymbals in the first 30 seconds as well as any S sound from the singer made me cringe. They came off as very harsh, especially in combination with the lack of mids. I may just be more susceptible to highs than most people, but I really couldn't enjoy much of my electronica or any music with a lot of high frequencies without a pretty significant EQ.
    - Conclusion
    After a week, my friend brought the M50s back and got some DT770 Pro 250ohm instead, which we both preferred much more. These could be decent headphone for around $100-$120, especially in regards to build quality, but certainly not for their current price of ~$150, in my opinion.
    1. XxDobermanxX
      XxDobermanxX, Jul 8, 2012
    2. XxDobermanxX
      XxDobermanxX, Jul 8, 2012
    3. GL1TCH3D
      Well, sound professionals is selling the M50s for $100 now...
      When I tried my friend's M50s, they didn't have these harsh highs, though he has the older version.
      GL1TCH3D, Jul 9, 2012
  4. Beanbaker
    Written by Beanbaker
    Published Jun 26, 2012
    Pros - Sweet design, nice pads, Great quality
    Cons - Too tight around head, annoying jack, expensive
    I'll try to keep this short [​IMG]

    I'm very impressed with this set of cans. As other reviews say: The quality is awesome. They have nice, strong bass, nice highs, and nice mids (not sure why eveyone says they're recessive. They sound fine to me, but I'm not quite yet an audiophile.

    These headphones do have a downside, though (from my experience, at least). They really clamp on your head. Hopefully they will start to feel better over time, but as of now: they are tight. Next, the damn jack. That thing had me freaked out at first. First, try to just put it in your computer. See if it works fine. If it doesn't, do not worry: you just didn't jam that ******* in. On my laptop, I had to seriously push that thing in. Then it performed very well. 
    I can't tell you if you should purchase these, because they are my first serious cans. I think they are on the expensive side, but it's not terrible. For $150, I'm enjoying the hell out of these M50s. I definitely made the right choice.

    EDIT: The clamp is easily fixed. I have been stretching them out and it worked like a charm! They fit amazingly now.
    1. View previous replies...
    2. crimsongarth
      lol im pretty sure being an audiophile is analyzing music with the best **** u cant get and then telling people about it
      crimsongarth, Jun 27, 2012
    3. crimsongarth
      BASS HEAD!
      crimsongarth, Jun 27, 2012
    4. hunter9002
      They do start to feel better over time. I've had mine for 5 years. They are super durable so I often take them places. I need to replace the pads as they started to crack over time.
      I got lucky with my purchase, though. I got them before the redesign when they were cheaper - $90 brand new on Ebay. At the new price, many audiophiles are saying you can do better than M50s.
      hunter9002, Jun 27, 2012
  5. Bossatiger
    A fading standard
    Written by Bossatiger
    Published Jun 10, 2012
    Pros - Still decent bang for buck
    Cons - Better alternatives
    EDIT: The M50x update now fixes quite a few issues actually. Do check that out. This review is about the old version.
    The age-old flagship "bang-for-buck" all rounder closed back ATH M50s are a good, but not great headphone. If this was years ago, it would be great. But today it struggles to compete with less expensive alternatives.
    Build Quality, Design, Comfort
    Heavy plastics make up a sturdy, well-built, and heavy duty headphone with a solid feel. Albeit chunky, it somehow looks both professional and fun with the "dj style" factor mixed in. 
    The leather pads are very soft be designed for smaller ears considering how shallow they are. Great for using em for two hours at a time, not much more than that.
    The included cable is quite excellent for a stock cable. Thicker than average. The plug is top-notch standard for a stock, just like most of Audio Technica's headphones.
    Overall well built and designed, but comfort may vary.
    Sound - Highs, Mids, Lows, Soundstage
    The overall feel is a v-shaped signature that blends the imaging and detail retrieval of a studio monitor with the fun, punchy dynamics of a mainstream headphone. Albeit muddy and/or fatiguing at times, it is packed with fun and is my comparison standard for budget closed backs.
    For this price level, the sparkle and detail of the M50s is excellent. It extends well, but can be over-sibilant and harsh at times. The highs have almost the "wow" factor; it gives off lots of mid-high energy, but is not very backed up by the lower-highs. In tracks, male voices sound sometimes thin and as a drummer myself, cymbals are unrealistic. 
    A vacuumed feeling or almost sucked up feeling in this region. It is clear and feels somewhat neutral, but is severely lacking as compared to the rest of the range. 
    Fantastic extension into the sub-bass region as well as a good mid-bass feel to it. Attack sometimes is slow, but the body is very detailed. In no way is it delicate; the bass is upfront. The upper bass can get muddy sometimes, but that can be ignored for such excellent extension and body at this price range.
    Above-average for a closed back at this price range.
    Has some width, but no real depth of any sorts.
    Not much to say here.
    The position of the M50s as the King of Budget is slowly fading; the series needs to be refreshed and refined. Overall it can be muddy, "raw," conjested, and harsh, but the fun-factor and its great extension in both sides still puts the M50 at a good position. No, this isn't the best for the money, but as a whole, it's still up there with the best.
    1. View previous replies...
    2. El Pino
      little bit misleading, fe about sparkling highs :D
      El Pino, Jun 11, 2012
    3. XxDobermanxX
      lol good review, over-recommended and overrated, sennheiser HD 449 ftw
      XxDobermanxX, Jun 11, 2012
    4. Bossatiger
      The M50x update now fixes quite a few issues actually. Do check that out.
      Bossatiger, Jan 10, 2015
  6. DougT
    Great Value for budget audiophile
    Written by DougT
    Published Jun 5, 2012
    Pros - price with studio sound
    Cons - cable 1/4 jack screws apart to 1/8
    I was somewhat  leery of headphones that have been given such a high rating in the Head-Fi rankings as #3 (#2 last month) especially when they don't cost a king's ransom, surely something doesn't seem right. What the hell, I decided to take a chance as for spending $134 at Amazon I couldn't' t be too disappointed if I had to return them. When UPS dropped them at the front door around 7 PM, I immediately hooked them up to a Total BitHead running off a desktop in my back office. Activated a massive MP3  file totaling of several thousand songs and closed the door letting them run around the clock for two days before bring them to my listening station. Surprisly they really aren't bad - clean sound without any obvious issues playing consistently from their tight bass, showing a pleasant  mid range on both male and female artists with an extended but well balanced high end. They are very efficient and didn't strain my Teac UDH01-S allowing them to play loudly at moderate volume settings. The only minor complaint was the 1/4 phone plug unscrews to yield the 1/8 nini plug which wouldn't have been my choice as well they have a fixed cable but I forget they are a $134 headphone.  They are comfortable to wear and only have a slight tendency to cause some ear issues when they are on for 2-3 hours.  Regarding the sound quality the only fair comparison I could make was with my Sennheiser HD600s which have a somewhat laid back sound when compared to the Audio Technica phones.  To more specifically describe the difference between the two besides a significant cost, is the M50S have more of a raw quality  like your listening inside the recording studio with the artists vs. being in the recording engineers chair when listening through the Sennheiser HD600 headphones.  I can strongly recommend the ATH-M50S to any audiophile on a budget.  I haven't heard anything even close for $134 green backs.
    1. XxDobermanxX
      Have you heard the sennheiser hd 449?
      XxDobermanxX, Jun 5, 2012
  7. zachchen1996
    Amazing for the price
    Written by zachchen1996
    Published May 21, 2012
    Pros - the bass, value, built like a tank, thick and strong cable
    Cons - the mids
    Its hard to find a headphone that can match this headphones performance at a mere $140. I really can't complain at this price, but if I am to find any fault in it, it is its mids. The mids are not bad by any means but are ever so slightly recessed and sound a bit thin to my ears. Wonderful build quality, you can abuse them, but I dont. Nice long, sturdy, and thick cable. These headphones will clamp very tight when you first get them, but that is very easily fixed. All you have to do is stretch them over a tissue box as you burn them in and viola! Can't beat it for the price. If you want an IEM that is on par with these for about the same price get the Vsonic GR07's, they are like the m50s but with better mids.
    The ultimate beginner's headphone.
    Written by AFRUITPIE
    Published Apr 8, 2012
    Pros - Gorgeous design, sparkly highs, strong lows
    Cons - Weak mids, weak build quality
    After using the ATH-M50s (also known as the M50's) for about two months, I have only one way to describe them. The M50s are the Swiss Army Knife of headphones. They are extremely portable, and will do absolutely everything that you need them to do.



    The design of the M50s screams “expensive!” People are often shocked to find out that they don’t cost more than $200. Everything from the chrome rings on the ear cups to the large white Audio Technica logo on the top of the headband is gorgeous. It was designed to fold in every way you could want it to, and that makes them very easy to fit in the smallest of laptop bags. Unfortunately, this does mean the cups rotate, and they’re slightly difficult to put on. The beautiful design of the M50 is not reflected in the build quality, however. The design is all plastic, and the plastic is fairly cheap feeling. The pleather on the band and cups feel like they could tear easily, if I wanted to pull on them. If your laptop bag or backpack is over 15 pounds (34 Kilograms), you may want to wear them around your neck.



    The first characteristic I noticed in the M50s were the incredible highs. Vocals, crash cymbals, hi-hats, and guitar screams were all remarkably clear. The highs coming from the M50s were never painful, and rarely out-of-control.


    The bass and lows in the M50s were very strong, and had a lot of oomph. In jazz and classical, the lows were very calm, much like a cello. If you love hard rock or dubstep, the bass will never disappoint. It will hide behind the highs most of the time, but the bass will come out in to the light and shake your eardrums when it needs to.


    The mids are the only disappointing part of the M50s’ sound. While you’ll still hear the guitarist’s fingers sliding down the strings and every beautiful chord from the orchestra, the midrange will always be hiding behind the lows and the highs.


    The M50s have a very fun listening experience that audio enthusiasts and audio novices can respect and appreciate. They can be driven directly out of an iPod, but a small amp will bring out the full power of those huge drivers. I use mine on a PA2V2 (thanks to my friend over at Audio Excursions), and it powers them perfectly.



    The M50s are a beautiful pair of headphones that are durable, but not indestructible. The highs and lows are incredible, but the mids are a little lacking. For $150, these headphones are a must-buy.

  9. Serprah
    Superior Sound! Almost as good as my 1500 dollar Grado's
    Written by Serprah
    Published Mar 26, 2012
    Pros - Great sound, good bass, balanced lows, mids, and highs
    Cons - Long Cable
    These things are amazing! After about two hours on burn in these really shined. I own a 1500 dollar pair of Grado's and the Seinheiser 650 (both great brands), and these M50s compete with them. I honestly would of never spent that much money on headphones if I tried these out first. Very durable.
    1. View previous replies...
    2. Headzone
      Wth? You started a thread where you asked which one to get: these headphones or Logitech G35's. Now you bought these and say they are better than 1500$ grados you never owned. troll much?
      Headzone, Mar 26, 2012
    3. Sweden
      If you listen to bass heavy electronic music out of your i-device with crappy bitrate these are really good. Better choice than say PS1000 and GS1000 for sure.
      Sweden, Mar 26, 2012
    4. XxDobermanxX
      XxDobermanxX, Apr 26, 2012
  10. El Pino
    Surprising Cans
    Written by El Pino
    Published Mar 20, 2012
    Pros - sound, portability
    Cons - leather pads are not suited for longtime listening, internal conections leading to slight channel imbalance
    Im not used in review writing, but since I am so happy with these cans, I have to write something [​IMG]
    I bought used M50S (six months old) for very good price and in really nice condition. I've decided so because of lot of traveling around the world. And these are solid and nicely portable.
    Together with Mini3 (wall connected) and uDAC2 fed through ASIO with FLAC files the sound is quite decent. Stage is there, instruments are not as detailed or revealing as on RE0 - but only at first sight. In fact, I found lot more details in soundstage, instruments or sound sources are separated, also there is really nice slight echo in the stage when it should be there. After modding (OXOOOXO mod on lower holes), mid bass is more polite, better behaved, not that disturbing like out of the box but still very low. But this is a question of taste. Overall sound is good balanced, higher mids and highs are good recognizable, enjoyable and it sounds like they have something to offer, even they are not that mouth-opening like in RE0 at first sight, but they are still clear (wait man! these cans are closed! [​IMG]).
    Definitely worth the money!
    EDIT: After few months with these on a head, I found it better to add an extra supply for the uDAC2 (f.e. through USB hub) than applying the mod on cans. Results in details and frequency response are incomparable.