Audio-Technica ATH-M50x - Reviews
Pros: Serviceable Build
Cons: Everything else
Intro
5 years have passed since this piece of crap was hyped up by the likes of tech****s like Markass Brownlee and later pissed on 2 years after by the god of headphones himself Z Reviews. I sat down with this headphone with high hopes years ago when I first got into the hobby, left the store with nothing but disappointment and confusion. A pair was loaned to me by my dear friend Sultan Mohammad Najib bin Abdul Razak a week ago, so I gave it another go.


Build: (7/10)
Nothing special, what you would expect from a $130 headphone, faux leather pads and headband, full plastic build with the exception of the headband adjustment. Seems durable enough, not exceptional, not crap, the only thing that's decent about this headphone.

Comfort: (4/10)
Becomes hot and painful after >30 min of use because of high clamping pressure and sub-par pads.

Bass: (6/10)

Bloated, bleeds into the mids, excessive in quantity, lacking in quality

Mids: (3/10)
Muddy, feels like a cum rag was blanketed over the drivers

Treble: (5/10)
Like the bass, it is excessive and lacks nuance and control, also has a peak at around 10K. Makes the sound shrill, sharp and rape for the ears

Clarity: (4/10)
Muddy, veiled, or any of their synonyms.

Soundstage: (4/10)
Narrow, almost to the point where it sounds linear. Imaging is serviceable.

Overall Sound: (4/10)
The sound has an obvious v-shape characteristic to it, albeit too exaggerated on the low and top end. Individually, the components which form its sound are not the worst at this price point. However when coupled with the immensely narrow soundstage, it simply creates an unpleasant listen, amplifying the overly aggressive treble and making the lack of clarity and fullness of the mids more noticeable.


Conclusion
It is as much of a shitter headphone now as it was 5 years ago. Still sounds like a turd with needles being force fed into your ear. Don't buy it.
Markolav
Markolav
How is dissing M50 still a thing? This is not 2016 anymore.
Pingfloid
Pingfloid
I concur with your review. My workhorse for music production is the Audeze LCD-2. I made a mistake choosing the ATH-M50x as a closed-can. I am still looking for a closed-can that can replace the LCD-2 in the situations when I need closed headphones (e.g.: recording)
Pros: Extreme clarity for both his and lows, good ear coverage, can handle a decent amount of power, mobile.
Cons: Not the comfiest on the top of my head. (Might be my headhsape.)
I purchased these headphones based on reviews, specifications, and looks and I am not disappointed in the least. The initial comfort for the headphones was good, but it took some adjusting to stop the headband from applying too much pressure on the top of my head (might be my head alone that has this problem). Listening to Santana Abraxus DSD 2.8MHz on my Fiio X3 II, My first impression of sound was the amazing clarity and definition on high notes. Crisp and clear without sounding too high. I would like to know if those complaining about emphasized highs are using equalizers as I tend not too. The lows are extremely well handled as well without overpowering the track. I enjoy listening to a mix of classical, rock, alternative, and jazz and these seem to be very well balanced enough to handle all sorts of genres. I do not have much hi-res music in the heavy metal realm, so I do not have a feeling for that. For the price, these are a fantastic deal for entry level headphones and the build quality and sound at this level makes me want to try there higher end phones if I can ever save up for them.
  • Like
Reactions: liampanto and rav88
MMeirolas
MMeirolas
thx for the review
i played Dilate by Ani DiFranco and it sounded sweet on the m50xs.... every detail was present, and this was a regular 16/44khz, 30mb flac file.
after that: 24/96khz flac, SACD 400mb in size, HDTracks.... i can't get the same detail. some were really bad
now i dont know: is the m50x a "picky" headphone?
where do u guys get your hq audio files from?
i'm running them from my PC and smartphone with onkyo player... would a dac make any difference?
Pros: Comfortable, durable, sensitive, "musical", overall neutral tonality, good resolution, Not Pricey, stylish...
Cons: Narrow soundstage, slightly metallic treble,
These headphones are much recommended online as a relatively cheap introduction into the world of high fidelity. They are functional and do not excessively grab attention visually. They are extremely comfortable and adjustable for all head sizes and shapes, the build quality is top notch and they are hard wearing. They come with a range of cables which is useful for home and portable listening, though none have a mic or handsfree buttons. These can be driven to enjoyable volumes even with a weak input source. The sound quality is very good. They are overall tonally balanced as both bass and treble are slightly emphasized over middle frequencies giving a "lush" or "vibrant" sound to the music", though it's not too unnatural . Individual sound elements come through clearly and with great detail. However the stereo sound stage is slightly lacking width and precision compared to many other high end headphones, although they are still a huge step up from regular "consumer" headphones or In-Ear monitors. Overall, a solid purchase for a budding audio enthusiast who is too smart to waste their money on an inferior product.
  • Like
Reactions: liampanto
Pros: Comfortable
Cons: Treble, taken my ears, taken my thoughts, absolute horror!
Motivation for purchase
At work I'm moving from my own office to a space I share with colleagues. I love my Grado SR60e's but they are very leaky so I was looking for a closed pair of cans. I was undecided between the Audio Technica M50x and the AKG K181 DJ UE. The AT got better reviews but was also €50,- more expensive. So, I ordered them both to compare.

Gear
I'm using them in combination with an Audioquest Dragonfly Black 1.5, Audioengine N22 desktop amp and I'm playing MP3s and FLACs through Foobar.

Build and comfort
They seem solidly built and fit very comfortably over my ears. I have a fairly large head (not huge) and fairly small ears.

Sound
What immediately struck me about the sound was how much treble there was. It is seriously uncomfortable how much (high) treble there is compared to the rest of the spectrum. Maybe this can be solved with equalization but simply crushing the treble (which I tried) did not make them sound much better; because other holes in the spectrum quickly became apparent. The bass is lacking across the board; there's a bump somewhere in there but there's no subbass and the higher end of the bass/lower mids is not smooth at all and sounds very hollow or just absent. I tried them with all sorts of hiphop, rock, techno, folk, pop, classical, jazz you name it but the treble was just completely overpowering everything else. I switched cables to see if that was the problem, but no.

Compared to the Grado SR60e
Even though the Grado is less than half the price, the AT can't hold a candle to it. Not even remotely. The open Grado's even have more bass across the entire range, smoothly rolling into the mids which are super fluid. If anything, these M50x's have shown me just how damn good those Grado's sound. Of course the Grado's aren't nearly as comfy and they are super leaky.

Compared to the AKG K181 DJ UE
When turning on the 'bass boost' (which is just the opening of a vent, mind you), the K181s have the pumping bass they are apparently known for. Without the bass boost on, there isn't much; less than the Grado's in any case. The mids seem more fluid than on the M50x, although they don't come close to the Grado's. The treble is much more comfortable, so even though the K181's are not nearly as comfortable to wear as the M50x's, I'm sticking with the K181's as my closed cans. They look better too.

[edit] typo

[edit] So, were'e more than 2 years later and I've had the opportunity to compare my experience with the M50x to another pair of M50x which a friend of mine swears by. Several people here said they believed I might have purchased a defective or counterfeit pair and I can now counter that with some certainy. The other ones I've tried sound the same as the pair I wrote the above review about; harsh treble and disappointing bass. I will say again that the disappointing bass is less of an issue than the harsh treble, for me personally. To my ears, the treble is so bad they are actually unpleasant to listen to. Blame it on my ears, but I can't change how it sounds to me. I've been using the cheaper AKG 181 DJ UE daily with the infamous bass boost turned on and those put a smile on my face every single time. So, this illustrates how widely different people's ears are! I'm honestly surprised by this since of course I'm willing to believe the people who enjoy these cans (including my friend who loves his M50x); that just means there's big differences in the way some of us perceive sound!
cpauya
cpauya
Sorry, just re-read your post and verified that you're using some amps already. :)
Music Alchemist
Music Alchemist
@cpauya I wouldn't be surprised if it's the DACs that make many headphones sound harsher. I know Chord DACs are less harsh than many others. And my computer's onboard DAC is less harsh than at least one DAC I've had.
Redcarmoose
Redcarmoose
Reviews try to be complete and fair but in the end many become only half correct. It's the fact that we are all talking about such small aspects of the sound signature and everyone is coming from their own listening history. Once you read the graphs and take the personal perspectives into account then a pretty good understanding of a heaphones sound signature can be surmised here from reading.

Of course adding a $500 Mojo DAC could help the treble because Mojo has a warm and detailed signature. The cool part is the $122.00 M50s can scale to a better place with the Mojo.

Of course I understand the difference between bass detail and bass extension. In fact the M50s are bass heavy and offer a V curve though don't go as low as some bass heavy headphones. Also I seem to hear an area of bass detail in the lower area of the response which seems to have very little detail. It's just a thump and does not show the nuances in that area like some headphones do. The article should be understood as to the writers preference in the end and in relation to the other headphones in his possession. Both he and I are saying the same thing in our reviews. It's just that the M50s have their place today just as much as they always did. They are not a flat headphone but for the money they offer members a closed back headphone which comes off as fun, which does a service to what's in front of it.

They are good for people who need the benifit of a closed back headphone while on the subway and need the robust fold ability and build quality. They maybe get a little heck due to how often they are recommended here. That's OK and reviews like this show that they truly are not the end-all purchase at their price point. They still offer a value but have their own character and areas of plus and minus.
Pros: versatile, easy to drive, comfortable
Cons: too much bass
Why I like these is because they are really versatile; with many headphones in this price range, you'll need an amplifier to get them to sound really good, but M50x don't need an amp and still sound good. They also look nice, are nicely foldable and are quite comfortable. They are well built and look pretty sturdy, so they don't seem to fall apart any time soon. Soundwise, pretty good even with my iPhone, it's just that they are not flat enough for mixing IMO (too much bass).If you are looking for a nice set of headphones for general music listening and you don't want to carry an amp with you, there's good chance you are gonna get these especially, if you want closed-back headphones.
Pros: Good mids. Slight bass boost for more "fun" listening. Three removable cables included. Does well with every genre.
Cons: Not studio monitors unlike label. A bit uncomfortable. Not very isolating despite being closed. Bass disappears outdoors leading to tinny sound.

Pros: removable cable (although its flawed) lightweight, semi-decent comfort, accurate but shallow sound stage
Cons: high treble, severe distortion with hard bass, cable locking mech and 2.5mm plug, earpads SUCK, and sound leakage.

they are what most people say they are very flatish BUT with a severe (almost painful) bump to the highs and a slight reduction to the bass. they have almost no physical bass (w/o amping) its "heard" but not felt. they have good detail and surround i can close my eyes and accurately point out where a sound come from but asides from being great studio monitors its not great at much else. it does play nice with a EQ to try and cull the treble a bit, but turning up the bass causes extreme distortion. they work great on a phone but amp really well with the fiio e6 almost to a fault since it can be really easy to distort these headphones. my biggest cons tho are comfort, the pads are thin and get very hot for long hours of use causing my ears to sweat. the top padding could have used a little more padding and the way the cable connection juts down from the left ear is annoying since it makes it hard to lean my head to the left. Also the mobile cable not having a 6.3mm connector set up like the other cables is dumb since i and many others do not like having a mass of excess cable on their desk. another minor thing i dislike about them is the have lost a lot of their clamping force on my head to where if i lean my head back they will fall off my ears or the band will slip backwards.

Pros: Wonderful sound for closed-back headphones. Worth the price.
Cons: Could have a better cushion. Lacking the noise isolation.
I'm just gonna get to the point. This isn't a review from an audiophile, just a normal average consumer. So there won't be any statistics. And also since this is a closed-back headphones, I will only be comparing this to another closed-back headphones. Because some people actually buy closed-back headphones for different reason to the open-back headphones.
 
I must say that I'm actually pretty pleased with the performance of this headphones. It's a little bit bass oriented pair of headphones, but it doesn't block the trebles, which some people might like and the others might not. Now keep that in mind that this is a closed-back headphones, so the sound stage is pretty narrow. The sound isolation is not that good, because this headphones isn't actually made for that. It also takes sometime for me to feel the comfort of the cushions. Though you could buy the replacements if you want to. For the price of around $160, I gotta say that spending that much money to this headphones is actually worthed.
 
Summary:
The sound quality for this price point actually pretty good, considering that ATH-M50X is a closed-back headphones. This headphones is good but not perfect, there are some areas which can be done better. Like the cushions, and the noise isolation. The other alternatives for this headphones are Beyerdynamic DT 770 Pro and AKG K550, which has the similar price point. Now it's up to you to pick which one is the best for you!
Pros: Detachable capable, Design (I love the fact that it is portable), Transparent SQ, Great sound production, Good sound stage.
Cons: Shallow padding, Poor sound isolation
This is my first review and my first over-ear headphones. 

I have been contemplating about buying the ATH-M50x for some quite time after discovering that Beats are a sorry piece of headphones fueled by celebrity marketing to lure its customers (I heard that the new Beats improved in terms of sound quality, but the price is still.... ugh). I just bought the limited edition dark green color. The unit is 2nd hand (Thus, there is no need for burn-in) but still looks and feels new. 

Design and Build - Audio-Technica went for a simple but professional looking headphones IMHO. It is mostly made of plastic but you could see the metal part on the rocker. The color combination (Chocolate brown and Dark Green) has a classical beauty in my eyes. It does not scream "LOOK AT ME!" when wearing them, which is perfect for me. The hinge on the right side of the headphones creaks from time to time. The pads on the ear cups and headband are soft and are probably made of the same material. The M50x is heavy when I first held them but after wearing them I did not feel that much weight in my head. At first, the clamping is tight and uncomfortable that I stopped wearing them to relieve the pain. But after a few days wearing them for longer periods of time they became very comfortable.
 
Sound Quality - Now to the most important part, how does it sound? While writing this, I am still using the headphones. The bass is there when it is needed to be. Sometimes it is subdued in some of my tracks but most of the time the bass is solid. The treble is very good. The sound production.... wow it blew my mind. It felt like the artists and musicians are performing in the room. The sound stage is great, never expected it from a closed back headphones. You could place every instrument you heard and identify it. It is very detailed.
 
Price - Priced at 7,000 PhP (around $136) with the solid build and great SQ, it is a great buy.
 
The Audio-Technica ATH-M50x is a great choice for people who wants to venture on over-ear headphones.
J
jriano
I agree with your "Cons", my ears hurt after long listening sessions, I tried them with other pads, but then sound suffers.
Pros: Decent Highs and soundstage.
Cons: The bass is Overpowering, not studio quality. Earpads are an awkward shape.
The audio Technica ATH-M50X is a good headphone to listen to bassy music. However, I do not think they are studio quality. Soundstage is good and the high's are quite accurate. Mid's are ruined by the overpowering bass.
The earpads are an awkward shape and can be very uncomfortable.

Better alternatives exist.
Pros: Punchy bass, crisp sound, works well with every genre, great for gaming, comfortable, very well built.
Cons: None that I can think of
IMG_20150907_174226.jpg
 
 
These headphones are just brilliant for their price. I've heard a few other pairs at it's price range and I assure you there's nothing quite like it.
 
I've heard people say that these have bloated bass, and I have to disagree. The bass shines in songs where it's emphasized, songs which do not emphasize the bass will not sound boomy or out of place. The mids sound great, judging by headphone graphs it seems that they're a bit recessed, but I don't notice it, there's not a single song that left an empty feeling like something was missing in the frequency range. The high's are crisp and clear. There's no fatigue with this headphone, at the same time you're gonna hear every single detail with every single song, I really like how clear voices sound with these headphones, the amount of clarity is just phenomenal.
 
The headphones are going to sound great no matter where you plug them in, they're portable and well built.
 
As for gaming, for the reasons mentioned above, they're great for gaming. When there's explosions, you're gonna feel it. When there's footsteps, you're gonna hear them, even if they're from the other side of the wall. A lot of times when playing CS:GO, whenever I was spectating I helped my team out by telling them from which side the opponent is coming, because they couldn't hear it, but I could.
 
All in all I recommend these headphones to anybody looking to pickup their first audiophile pair.
Pros: Great bass (without being too bassy), good treble and mids; Great design and construction
Cons: Unforgiveness (low kbps music sounds bad); No that good soundstage
I'm not an audiophile or an audio engineer. But I'm a musician and love to hear music.

I also have a pair of Harman/Kardon CL, which cost me half of these... For the price I was expecting more tan the H/K.

The H/K has better clarity and slightly better soundstage, but it lacks a bit in punchier bass... I prefer this over the M50x for acoustic music.

For Djing and producing are good (I'm not a profesional is just my opinion). Also the build quality and looks make them look profesional.

Also, I find the H/K extremely uncomfortable, so I use the m50's more... and for bassy songs or rock songs recorded with less bright tones are greeeaaaat!!!!!!

This are not the mooost audiophile perfect sounding headphones, but they are for sure one of the most enjoyabe headphones music adict people.

(sorry for my english)
Pros: overall nice headphones, with proper bass and sound
overall nice headphones, with proper bass and sound and i am still burning it, rest of things i will discuss after complete burning process
Pros: Great midrange linearity, very good THD performance across the board, calibrates well
Cons: U shaped voicing, channel imbalance at low mids
KU1_0284.jpg

Intro

This review will mostly focus on M50x’s  qualities from a studio professional point of view – what to expect when using these headphones as a monitoring device for mixing and do they really cut it for mastering work.
After all, you should make your decisions based on what’s in the material, otherwise you might end up with mixes that translate well on your gear and not much else. Know the limitations of your equipment and you will be able to work around them. This text will attempt to illuminate, what to keep in mind when using the M50x for critical studio work.

The original ATH M50 has been one of the most recommended closed headphones at the $150 price point. Most of its fame comes from the consumer segment. One of its largest communities – this forum – has generated dozens of reviews praising its qualities and excellent price/performance ratio. Currently there is a distinct lack of dedicated pro-audio headphone reviewers, therefore most of M50’s pro-fame has largely spilled over from the consumer audio segment. At the same time both M50 and M50x have an abundance of qualities useful for both music listeners as well as producers.

 

[size=20.0069999694824px]Uncalibrated sonic performance[/size]

graph1.png
Perceived Acoustic Power Frequency Response (PAPFR) graph. Measured at Sonarworks lab with a proprietary compensation curve. Not to be compared directly to AFR measurements from other sources.
 
These headphones perform just like they measure – a fun, clean sound. This is mostly due to M50x’s U-shaped FR and extremely low THD. Looks like ATH has really put in some serious R&D work in M50x’s driver, because THD this low at sub bass frequencies has usually been reserved only to planar headphones. Kudos to ATH for bringing clean bass to the masses!
 
thd_graph.png
 

Now onto the sonic issues to keep in mind if one wants to use these headphones successfully for music production. All of the M50x headphones we measured exhibited level differences between channels. At 200Hz-600Hz there is a wide dip which drops to around -5dB, whilst not too annoying to consumers, it can cause trouble to LCR mixing advocates. With the M50x, some string instruments like guitars for example will change tonality, depending on how they’re panned. The effect will be subtle, but must be taken into account to prevent chasing ghosts in the mix.

On the top end of the U curve we have a peak at 5.5kHz-10kHz which goes up to +7dB at 10kHz which can cause a number of issues. First of all, too much de-essing will be applied to the vocals, as the peak resides right at the sibilant range. Secondly, your sweeps won’t be as accurate because the FR peak will give you a false sense of rising. In general, this peaking can cause your mixes to be dull – one of the inherent cons of all “exciting” headphones, if used in studio.

The low-end response on these headphones is positively thunderous – there is no sub-bass roll-off until 20Hz and THD stays extremely low. The channel imbalance which starts at about 350Hz is still present, but on lower frequencies it shouldn’t be much of a nuisance. Most of the signal at these frequencies is mono anyway and humans don’t really excel at positioning low frequency sound.

 

[size=20.0069999694824px]Calibrated sonic performance[/size]

graph2.png
After we meticulously measured every dip and peak found in the M50x, our engineer generated a calibration profile. These profiles are available for every Sonarworks Reference 3 plug-in user. They turned these headphones into a serious instrument even fit for mastering. This paragraph will explain what can be gained by applying digital calibration to these already great headphones.

We can bet that when you turn on the Sonarworks Reference 3 plug-in, you’ll wonder who flicked the fun switch off! Resist the urge to take the headphones off and listen to some well- mastered tracks. Your ears will need some time to readjust to the reference sound signature and your first impression will surely be dull for lack of a better word. At the same time, it will allow your mixes to translate well to speakers and just about any headphone out there.

All in all, these headphones are a great candidate for calibration due to the low inherent THD and little change in tonality depending on how they’re placed on one’s ears. Obviously Sonarworks calibration gets rid of the U curve and makes these headphones a perfect candidate for mixing and mastering just about any kind of music. One thing to keep in mind is that the average calibration curve won’t be able to combat the channel imbalance properly, because only individual calibration profiles do stereo calibration.

As always there will be some loss of output when applying calibration. In this case it should be about 8dB, which isn’t too bad due to the fact that these headphones are very sensitive. Most audio interfaces will be able to drive these headphones at ear-splitting levels even with calibration enabled. For some higher gain devices, the loss of sensitivity might turn out to be a blessing in disguise, as it will give more usable volume pot range.

 

[size=20.0069999694824px]Ergonomics[/size]

TITLE_KU1_03431.jpg

Just like its predecessor, the M50x has a great fit that doesn’t get in the way of everyday use. Unlike most on-ear headphones, this one doesn’t rely on a strong clamp to achieve a good seal, therefore it is fairly comfy even in longer sessions. One thing to note, however, is that all pleather pads are prone to becoming sweaty in hotter environments.

Construction wise the M50x is decent, but isn’t the tank that is the venerable HD25-II is. Like almost every other headphone out there, most of the outer construction is plastic, however it feels like it’s the kind of plastic that breaks rather than bends on stress. Both earcups are on hinges which allow them to be folded up for a more compact package. At the same time, every moving part does present more points for wear, tear, and ultimately – failure.

This time Audio Technica has given the M50x a swappable cable and generously included three additional cords. The standard package includes a coiled 1.2 – 3m cable, 3m straight cable and 1.2m portable cable. All three of them feature 1/8’’ TRS jacks and the two longer ones have a thread for 1/4’’ jacks. On the headphone end, M50x have a 2.5mm TRS connector which seems to be proprietary due to a locking groove. All in all, kudos to Audio Technica for choosing to go this route because with most headphones, cables seem to be the first to prematurely fail.

Most studios tend to stick with their headphones until they disintegrate due to natural or unnatural causes and very few give attention to earpad wear. We recommend swapping out pads as soon as they start changing their initial geometry. Old pads seal worse and let the drivers sit closer to one’s ears, thus changing the initial FR. Fortunately the pads on the M50x are swappable as well, so the user is able to maintain their headphones at peak performance for a longer time.

In terms of noise sealing, the M50x works well, but again is overshadowed by Sennheiser’s HD25-II and many in-ear monitors. The seal should be good enough for mixing in moderately noisy environments and will guard musician’s ears from excessive SPL’s, but most of the time noise will obstruct the finer details. The seal will also keep the user from disturbing others working in close vicinity, good for mixing on the road.

 

Conclusion

Has ATH hit a homerun again? Could be so – at least for consumers! At the studio professional end, things are a tad more complicated. No doubt, it’s a great headphone with relatively little shortcomings, but the tuning might be too “fun” to be considered reference grade. At the same time M50x’s competition doesn’t fare any better, most of the other closed studio headphones at this price range are starting to show their age. Sennheiser HD25-II scores some hits in the ergonomics department, but its drivers are a bit long in the tooth. Same goes for Sony MDR-7506. Now, Beyerdynamic DT770 is a worthy competitor to M50x sound wise, but the Japanese headphone is able to land some hits with its three detachable cables and superior portability. Everyone at the lab agreed that these headphones calibrate very well and after calibration pose a serious threat to newer higher end closed studio phones like Focal Spirit Pro and maybe even ATH M70x.

In the end, this is a modern headphone meant for modern music. Engineers who work with a lot of bass heavy material will be in for a treat as the M50x offers excellent performance in this regard. They might not mind its other shortcomings, but should keep them in mind. Or they can use calibrated headphones and focus entirely on their work. Sonarworks calibration turns the M50x into one of the best closed headphones at any price.

Pedro Oliveira
Pedro Oliveira
Great review :)
Just one thing i would like to know though..... wich is the version of the dt770 that you mention as being rival to the m50x? Do you think the dt770 (soundwise only) is better) If yes why?
I am planning on buying both yhe m50x and the beyerdyanmic dt770 pro 80ohm version....
 
Cheers... :D
Pros: Great SQ, comfort, cable selection, lovely bass, decent soundstage, isolation, better than average portability
Cons: Bass can get a tad boomy on excessively bassy tracks
Just as a note I bought my pair in the dark green scheme, because the standard black pair I thought i wanted had run out of stock at the store. In hindsight now I think it looks ace compared to the black ones, which some have complained of looking a bit underwhelming against the more fashion-oriented pairs (Senn Momentum, V-modas, etc. etc.) on the market today.
 
The ATH-M50x (and the ATH-M50 before it) has always been the go-to recommendation in the under $200 circuit for quite a while now. And its hasn't taken me long after getting them to see why. The bass on these cans are fantastic. They strike the middle ground for me between my two previous pairs - the Sennheiser Momentum On-Ear and the HD439. The bass on the Momentum was great fun, but a bit overwhelming at times, especially with my selection of hip-hop and rap. On the other hand the HD439s were quite neutral, which is great no question about it - and it was well-extended as well. However sometimes (infrequently) it left me wishing for more oomph. The ATH-M-50x was perfect on the other hand, as it had the well-extended, controlled bass of the HD439 and the fun volumous bass of the Momentum, but not to its overwhelming extent. Quality and quantity, without much compromise.
 
The mids were similarly excellent, with plenty of detail. They reminded me of my Shure SE215s in this regard, which were very pleasing in this regard. Male vocals came out really well here. The treble was also on point. Treble is not really a concern to me with my selection of music, unless it is overly bright and gets in the way of you enjoying the rest of the frequency spectrum. There is no such worry here.
 
The soundstage of the ATH-M50x is quite pleasing, considering it is a closed-back pair. Much better than the HD439 for sure, but keeping in mind it retails at twice the price it is only appropriate that that is the case. I have no comparison with other over-ears in this price range, but (to my ears) they're more spacious than the on-ear Momentums, which have a respectable soundstage.
 
Isolation is great for an over-ear pair. They can hold a torch against some of the shallower fitted earphones I have, but definitely not to the Shures. I do wear spectacles, which means that better isolating on-ears like the Senn HD25s and the AKG K518DJ would likely be quite uncomfortable for me. I mean, even the Momentum On-Ear, which many considered to be one of the more comfortable on-ears on the market cause discomfort enough after an hour. So point is the ATH-M50x is a great recommendation for those who do have spectacles and want decent isolation, but can't handle the clamping force of the better isolating on-ears.
 
In any regard they are comfortable headphones. They are almost on par with the HD439, which brings to mind a hybrid between a pillow and a headphone. Where they can't compare is long term comfort, where your ears get slightly sweaty due to the pleather pads.
 
Some nitpicks are the included carry case, which is um, well, a leather purse. But this is quite picky indeed as the ATH-M50x is incredibly well made and probably doesn't need it in the first place. Every folding motion feels solid and resonates with a nice click.
Pros: Portability, price (on sale), consumer-friendly sound signature, low end, portability
Cons: Mids (for some), tinny treble, comfort, earpads may be too small for larger ears, a little lacking in clarity
This is my first review, so please bear with me, as well as the tremendous amount of errors that I'll make without revising this.
 
Used with Schiit Modi 2 and Magni 2 and LG G2
 
The M50x is a solid headphone for getting introduced into better quality audio. This is the first headphone that got me into Head-fi. I chose this over the M50s version because of the detachable cable option, and I am glad that I did. When I had bought these headphones, I was in middle school and gaming for many hours per day. I genuinely believed that these were reference headphones with a neutral signature, which I disagree at this point after having experience with other headphones and IEMs. Around that time, I did have a lot of source components; only a small Fiio E06 amp, an LG G2, and integrated motherboard sound. Now I'm in high school, barely able to have time to relax, much less play games during the majority of the year. I now have some equipment to compare and use my M50x with, but have little experience in comparing and reviewing anything.
 
Packaging & Accessories, Build Quality: Good
 
The M50x comes in a cardboard box and includes three cables, a drawstring carrying bag, and a 1/8" to 1/4" adapter. Overall, I was satisfied with the packaging and accessories. The 1/8" to 1/4" screw on adapter is very useful for connecting into my amp and quickly switching to a 3.5mm device like my LG G2. The drawstring bag has protected my M50x from various scratches and dirt when I take it around for travel. Some people might want a hard carrying case for extra protection, but for me, it's good enough since the M50x's fold up to a convenient size. These headphones might have a plastic build, but they look pretty durable to me and don't break apart inside a place like my bag while I travel around. The plastic feels so solid that I'd have to purposely try to break it with something very destructive to damage the headphone. I would be more concerned with scratches or marks on the headphone if I plan on keeping it in good condition.
 
Comfort and Isolation: About Average
 
These headphones have a very tight clamping force, and I  recommend many people to stretch these out a little. These headphones feel very snug to my 12 year old cousin, who also has a pair of these, so someone with a larger head should definitely be aware of the force. On the bright side, these won't fall off your head easily when you walk around, making it good for portable use. The headband padding is pretty small, so a modification like attaching the Sennheiser HD600/HD650 pads on the M50x helps with comfort. This headband modification addressed any comfort issues I had for the headband itself. As for isolation, these will be pretty good with walking in the streets or indoor buildings with music playing. These don't isolate enough for something like airplane travel, where no bass was present at all (including piano notes). I usually wear IEMs for portable travel now due to the much better isolation and the overall convenience. However, I'd take these if I wanted headphones rather than IEMs for my getting around to places.
 
For long term use, these aren't the most comfortable. Back when I first started using these, I had no headphones to compare to other than a pair of celebrity-headphones gifted to me by my brother. Those earpads couldn't fit anyone's ears nor isolate very well compared to the M50x, which was significantly better. However, compared to other audio-enthusiast headphones here like the K7xx, the M50x feels pretty uncomfortable. Now that my head has grown, the M50x earpads cannot cover my earlobes and I cannot wear the headphone for over an hour before my ears start sweating. People living in cooler areas or during the winter would not have this issue, as they would just make a good set of earmuffs that play music. I recommend other earpads like the Shure HAPEC840 earpads to address the earpad issue.
 
So overall, these headphones are not super comfortable. Still, these are a major improvement over the mainstream headphones I see around my school all the time, which don't even have a swivel to adjust for the angle if your head.
 
Sound
 
The sound is pretty friendly to the general public. I don't see people acting awkward when I let them listen to these compared to the K7xx, where my friends give my weird reactions and are probably wondering why I listen to those.
 
Low end: The lower end makes up the first part of a sound signature that should have no trouble with an average person. The bass has a lot of power, with some sub-bass presence and a punchy mid-bass that has decent speed and control. Works great for electronic music but will feel overpowering for other people with different music tastes. The lows carry a good amount of weight. The enhanced bass really helps for traveling around, where bass is less present due to the lesser isolation compared to an quiet indoor place.
 
Mids: The mids are laid back for me, and definitely enough for me to call these v-shaped. Although clarity is taken back, the headphones should be enjoyable for long listening sessions if the comfort doesn't stop you. Although my first impression listening to these again every time is that the mids are heavily congested. The mids are not that bad if you give it a chance.
 
Vocals are not very intimate, and are a little more laid back, but still maintain good clarity.
 
Highs: The treble is very tinny for me, and does not sound very airy to me. However, before I noticed the tinniness of the treble, I thought it was crisp. However, the highs are not very fatiguing for me, as I've noticed in my past sessions of very long listening.
 
Soundstage/separation: The soundstage is ok, but there's definitely better. The M50x lacks enough airiness to give a large sense of space. The M50x separation is not the best either, but still manages even though the bass might make the overall sound more cohesive.
 
Amping: These 32 ohm headphones should be easily driven out of a phone (my LG G2 does it pretty easily). The M50x will sound good across many devices, and I don't see the M50x being very picky. I had bought these also due to my lack of budget for any source components.
 
I don't think of these as neutral or monitoring headphones anymore, but rather a fun and exciting sound for anyone that wants to start out with better audio. These are a good choice if you really have no idea where to go, like me a few years ago.
 
Portability and Design
 
The headphone features rotating cups with a swivel and twist. This makes the M50x fold-able and much easier to carry around. The swiveling cups helps to improve the comfort a lot, especially with the clamping force of these headphones. The detachable cables are a lot more useful than I thought, being able to switch cables between portable and home use. The design of the headphones are sleek without being too flashy or overdone. With the carrying case, you can just throw these into a backpack and move around. I've seen a few people in the streets wearing these around in most of the cities I've visited other than my own.
 
The portability is a big part of the headphone. If the M50x lacked in convenience, I'd want to see some major improvement in another area or I would have avoided this headphone. Being able to be used for home and outside use is also a big feature to many people, who feel hesitant to start buying audio gear for specific areas, and instead, try to look for the best possible all-in-one solution. The M50x achieves this by making home and portable use enjoyable.
 
Summary
 
The M50x is a great headphone for a starter, as well as a great hybrid between home and portable use. For many people coming from lower-end, but credible headphones, I would look somewhere else unless this fits your sound preferences more than the competition. The design, portability, and fun sound of these headphones make these a good value purchase (if you find these cheaper than what I'd paid for). At a little above the $100 price point, these would make an excellent choice if you plan to utilize the portability of these headphones. I went the right path to these from mainstream headphones. The transition was perfect for me to explore my sound preferences. 
 
Thank you for bearing my review. At this point, I'm bound to skip any important details that I wanted to say and make a lot more errors compared to the beginning. I'll use this review as a learning experience for me so that I can improve upon the future.
Pros: Build, Portability, Cables, Punchy Bass
Cons: Way too hyped, Bass overpowering, muddy, slow, congested
Before I get flamed by all the M50/M50x lovers out there who praise nothing but the M50s, I would just like to point out that this is my personal opinion. Although this is my personal opinion, I am sure that many people would agree with me that a couple years back, these were quite a good value for what they cost. However, with many other competitors coming out with headphones that sound better around the same price or even cheaper makes you wonder why the hype around the M50x's are still here. Maybe it's because a YouTuber with 3 Million subscribers "claimed" that these were the best. Maybe the best that he's heard, but far from the best when you take into account the competition. So guys, my point is don't fall victim to what everyone tells you to buy. Have a listen to the competitors and make a decision for yourself.
 
To me, the M50s are not a reference monitor by any means, even if Audio Technica brands them as "Monitoring" headphones. These headphones just lack the finesse to really be a good pair of mixing/mastering headphones. First of all, although the bass is punchy and full and may please bassheads, but it definitely takes too much of the rest of the frequencies with it. Although I must say that the bass of the M50s is it's best attribute. The mids really suffer from the congested lower end that the M50's possess. Not terrible though but they do not sound as lush or smooth as some other headphones around this price point. At times they tend to sound artificial. The treble is well distinguished from the bass but the quality of the treble is subpar in my opinion. Very artificial sparkly highs and a bit uncontrolled and watery. Again, that finesse is lacking and there is a noticeable sibilance on some tracks that I've tested. To my ears, these headphones sound close to a v-shaped signature as opposed to balanced or let alone neutral.
 
Because there has been so much hype around these headphones especially on YouTube and social media people just turn a blind eye on other brands which are extremely competitive at around $150-$200. Buy a pair of M50s and call it the best thing in the world. Heck, I have seen people comparing these M50s to Focal Professionals or even orthodynamic cans. At the end of the day, for $150-$200 they are just OK. Nothing special but not all that bad. 
 
I would like to help point out and raise awareness that for around the same price (and perhaps even cheaper) you could get similar sound quality and often times a more accurate and detailed sound for the same price. Some options I would include are Shure SRH440 (cheaper), M40x (cheaper, more balanced, neutral, and with very similar detail), Focal Spirit One, Sennheiser HD558/598, Sennheiser Momentums, Sennheiser Amperiors/HD25II, AKG K545/550, and even the Q701/K701 which are much more capable headphones although you will require a dedicated source and amp for them but the Q701 can be found for around the same price as the M50x and side by side the Q701 is a completely different beast but you will need the right equipment.
 
Guys, look at my recommendations up top before diving directly into the hype and regretting it after. I'm not a hater by any means but really there are better options out there and some much better for the same price. I might be able to recommend it for under $100, but for its current price of $170, its just not worth it. Sorry if anyone is offended by my opinions but the real truth should be uncovered. 
hylas512
hylas512
I agree that these headphones are a little over-hyped. But I think most people will really enjoy their sound signature since everyone these days wants somewhat overbearing bass. And at their price point, they are alright, although as was said in the review, there are other choices that I think would be better (the Shure SRH440 I think would be a good choice).
InternPrimas
InternPrimas
I liked the M40X. But I feel like M50Xs are all hyped up.
E
Evgeni
Pros: Great sound isolation
Cons: Strong clamping, sweaty in the summer
For the money these headphones feel, and are, very special. From the experience of opening them, to laying out your accessories, it becomes immediately clear that Audio Technica wants you to feel special with the M50x's. The headphones feel very robust and premium. The hinges still feel strong after almost a year of hard use. The vinyl ear cups are still in great nick, even tho I've experimented swapping them out with Shure 1540 cups for improved comfort(you lose out on the lows if you do). They come with 3 cables that can be replaced, but they're very well made, Build quality is top notch here is what I'm saying. The cables can also be used on Senheisser 598's, and I dare say, are an improvement over Senheissers included cable.
 
The sound is huge. It's very balanced, but kicks hard. They may not have the fine nuances of a very nice pair of open back's, but they are reference monitors. Every sound is clear, present, and balanced. 
 
The only downside is the tight fit. The supra-aural cups are very plasticy and smooth. They're soft, but they clamp hard. You can swap them out for Shure cups(I used 1540's), or some custom velour pads, but you lose the lows badly. My ears will get sore with the OEM cups after about 45mins, and if it's warm they'll get sweaty and slippery, which is uncomfortable at the best of times.
 
You'll see gains from a DAC/amp, especially in the lows, and the clarity of things like drums in rock songs, but they still sound wonderful without. 
 
Overall 9.5/10 for build quality, sound quality, versatility. 0.5 deducted because I never want to take them off, but sometimes I have to to give my ears a break.
Pros: Still awesome Bass, Still solid Highs, Comfortable
Cons: Slightly Too V-shaped/Mids still turned down
These are solid headphones. A modern day boombox. Insignia reminiscent of the Illuminati. Too cool to explain the meaning to the uninspired.This is the future, or is it the present...or past. I don't know. Trapped in a desolate world like a black box that stretches to infinity in all directions. Plugged into the multiverse of beat. Torn between Zen and Chaos she is versatile. A shark that cannot stop moving. 
 
It's hard to compare from memory because memory lies but the highs have been tamed slightly compared to the old M50's. They are still very clear, if not more robust. It's a little picky about sound quality. It will let you know when you have a bad recording. I laughed when it said Professional Monitor headphones on the box remembering my previous go around with the M50's, but now I see that they may indeed be useful if not for all recording but at least some modern genre's. 
 
The Mids. See V-shaped in dictionary.
 
Bass. Magnificent as always. You're still there. Seems like you gained some sub-bass but whatever. As long as you don't cross this line we won't have any problems. You even add .00001 db more of bass and you have to change your name from "ATH-M50X Professional Studio Monitor" to "ATH-M50X-Take That Beats". But I am slightly exaggerating. None the less for me this is the upper-most echelon of acceptable Bass accentuation and it is magnificent.
 
Soundstage. I thought it was smaller in the old ones. Now it seems significantly better. It is still clearly nothing special but at least it's somewhat outside your head. Must be the slightly different pads. 
 
Are these worth 120 dollars? Yes, but there are many out there, many young lions without big names that can fight and put an end to M50's dynasty. But they are barbarians, unrefined and uncivilized. These are solid headphones, heralded and unwavering. 
coletrain104
coletrain104
This was a fun read :)
cardeli22
cardeli22
Good read
Pros: Comfort, cable, design, sound
Cons: Plastic
*Not an audio professional review, only my user opinion*
 
After listening to lots of headphones inside this price ranger I decided on these. I was first worried cause lately I was reading lots of people say they're not actually that good but my fellow friend convinced me that I won't be dissapointed if I go check them out. And he was right.
I'm a huge fan of Audio-Technicas design but normally they don't sell ATH's here so when I had the chance to listen to these and maybe even buy, I asked my wallet and he was okay with it.
Compared them with Sennheisers 558 and 600, Beyerdynamic DT 880/990 and AKG K701 and brought my own music so I got to listen just what I was going to listen at home too.
After years of using DT 770 600 ohm my ears yearn for bass, which of course is a good thing with electronica. Started with Sennheisers they both sounded great, then switched to Beyers and Oh boy did they sound better for the music, I realized neutral headphones are not my thing. AKG K701 were also fine but maybe I'd pick em up for something more metal.
Then I was handed these, I put them on and to my surprise they look and sound absolutely fantastic. It reminded me of my DT 770 at home which I so love, but with different kind of taste.
Next day I wake up as new owner of white ATH-M50x.
 
Value: Value for me personally was good, but I also hear lots of good things from other headphones in the price range like Shures which I didn't have the chance to try. I paid 151 euros which translates to 192 dollars, you can get them cheaper in US.
 
Audio Quality: The bass has some serious kick in it. Soundstage is good, maybe little close to the ear but that's to be expected from closed headphones and I personally prefer that to the airy sound of open headphones. 
 
Design: Detachable cable, they turn to almost every direction and even fold, what's there not to like? Only downside to this is that they're plastic and sometimes plastic worries me that it's going to crack like my early HD 555 did, but these are built very well and I can se them last me long time.
 
Comfort: Has good clamp on your head, if you don't like that you can do the stretch mod lots of people prefer. I like that clamp and I don't think it's too strong even straight out of the box, feels like Beyerdynamic on your head just smaller cups.
 
Overall I would definitely recommend these to anyone looking headphones that work well with bass-centric music, I won't throw my DT 770/600 ohm away as I enjoy both of these and not like you can ever have too many headphones, right?
xonarboy87
xonarboy87
@nakedwolves I think DT880 sounds more warm with really superb soundstage, and they have more kick on the bass than HD555. I think Sennheisers are far too neutral which I dislike, they sound airy even with the foam mod though that improves the soundstage and bass a little, if you have HD555 and haven't done the foam mod yet you should probably check that out. Google "HD555 Foam mod".
 
@quajaebisquiti Most definitely! And she won't even know you don't hear her :) Just keep nodding to the music.
nakedwolves
nakedwolves
@xonarboy87 I have done the mod as soon as i got (2010) my HD555. by the way which source, DAC/AMP you are using.. Cheers!!!
xonarboy87
xonarboy87
@nakedwolves I'm using ASUS Xonar Essence STX and portable devices without amp, these headphones sound awesome from all sources.
Top