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A Concise View of Why The ATH-M50 is No Longer King

Discussion in 'Headphones (full-size)' started by ssrock64, Jan 17, 2012.
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  1. mtliu
    The m50 certainly do sound great. It's just that these days, they don't sound so great for their asking price compared to others. I passed on a pair recently because they didn't sound all that much better than some Superlux cans I had (I also passed on V-Moda M-100 for a similar reason). If someone offered me a pair of m50s for $30, I'd definately take them - but not for what I see in the stores - same goes for the m50x. 
  2. humberto

    so I bought my m50x for 200 limited edition.
    what other headphone would you buy with that money, or even say $150 ontop of that?
    so for $200 what headphones would you buy?
    for $350 which ones?
  3. mtliu
    I generally do not spend more than $200 for any kind of listening device since I will eventually break the devices due to abuse. My devices are used for club DJing and studio and live recording - in addition to being worn in public while walking around. 
    The most expensive pair I own now are the Vmoda XS - and thankfully they are built like a tank and survived many a falls plus being sat or walked on. It's always very disheartening when I break a pair of devices - sometimes within a month - and it's due to abuse and not manufacturing defects. It really sucks when something conks out right in the middle of a live performance - but usually, no one except me notices. I'm certain that if I spent more than I do, I could get something that blows away what I have now - but I'm unwilling to spend more than $200 on one thing - and generally, I try to keep it under $100.
    My decisions are trade-off between sound quality, sound signature (for monitoring as opposed to critical listening), durability, and cost. 
  4. Young Spade
    Get a warmer-sounding amp; the K702's are a little bass-light and without proper amplification they'll sound really tinny. Excellent soundstage though. 
  5. cuiter23
    Shure SRH840, Sony MDR-1R, and Senneheiser Momentums (for a fun sound) all sound better imo. The reason why the M50s shot up in price is because it is being overhyped by all the youtubers online. You have to audition all of these before you make a decision, or else you will be forced to take someone else's opinion. 
  6. serman005
    I just spent roughly the same amount as humberto on a set of HD598's (open, obviously, in contrast to many of the closed cans in this thread). Can't comment on their sound yet, but it seems to have been a reasonable purchase for the price thus far.
  7. koolas

    Momentums do sound great, true. Though they have one problem, which is they are too small for my big ears :/ This was the main reason I bought RH-A30, which fit my ears almost perfectly. I also auditioned M50, and loved them, but I decided to pay extra 50EUR and get open headphone experience. I still love their sound. Same driver as M50, BTW. But they are open, and I can't really use them anywhere else than at home. Even at home it is sometimes problematic when TV is on. So I started looking after closed cans, and I found Alpha Dogs, which I wanted badly so I got them as soon as they were available from dealer in Netherlands. Now, are Alpha Dogs better than RH-A30 (and thus M50 as well)? Not really sure. They do sound way more detailed (just listen to violin concerto to prove that) than RH-A30, but they also sound very narrow. I auditioned M50, and yes, compared to RH-A30 they sound as closed cans, but on the other hand RH-A30 sounds more open than any open headphone I ever heard (even HD700). But IMHO M50 still sounded more open than Alpha Dog, and basically had better soundstage and 3D instrument placement (some call it incorrectly (IMHO) imaging). What do I love about Alpha Dogs? They are super comfortable, and super bug earcups fit my ears perfect. But then they are super heavy! After many hours of listening at work (~6hrs) my neck used to be in pain, but now I think it got used to that load. RH-A30 is light and almost as comfy (after few hours of listening my earlobes are in slight pain, because earcups even tough they are wide, but they aren't deep enough). From what I remember from auditioning M50 they were almost same as RH-A30 in terms of comfort, though pleather pads made me sweat a bit. I compared M50 directly A/B with RH-A30 and I definitely heard reverb caused by closed enclosure of M50 earcups, so treble sound multiplied few times. Detail wise M50 driver (RH-A30) provides less detail than Alpha Dogs, but the price is 3 times less, so what should you expect?

    Recently I have auditioned some new Senn (dunno the model), but it didn't look as awesome as Momentum (plastic and pleather I think). However they sounded as good as Momentum, and earcups were bigger, as big as M50. I would say they can be new king :)
  8. cuiter23
    Glad to see that you're enjoying them :)
  9. LNuneek
    I am a fairly new member on Head Fi. I have owned the ATH-M50s for about 4-5 years now along with a couple other studio monitor and consumer headphones that range from IEM's to on ear, to over ear, closed and open back. I joined the site to get some recommends on a new set, cause I wanted another change and maybe a step up in SQ. Still haven't really gotten any answers. I however have been reading these forums constantly for the last few months, as well as auditioning as many headphones as I can from all different brands and price ranges. It's been so many headphones I can't even recall the model #s of many of them.
    Through my search I learned 2 things:
    1.) I can't trust other people's reviews. I have to listen for myself. I have listened to many headphones and got quite a different impression on them then what I read in reviews and impressions on this site and others. I really questioned if we were actually listening to the same model cause many reviews were just plain wrong about the sound of certain headphones IMO. 
    2.) That in a similar price point (HP's that cost less and HP's that cost up to $100+ more), and for the kind of sound I like and enjoy, that I have still not found anything that beats the ATH-M50 in SQ. It's not a perfect HP by any means. I have some minor gripes with the sound, but I much preferred it to anything else I have heard. For me it's getting to the point where I feel like giving up on purchasing a new set for now, and just waiting till the 50s I have crap out completely and then just go buy the 50X as a replacement. 
    In all respect to this thread, there are people out there like me that do have experience with other HP's that really do find this HP absolutely difficult to beat. I have tested some of the recommended 50 killers and either I don't agree at all and/or I'm not willing to spend 3 or 4 times as much money to get very marginal improvements in sound. To top that off, the marginal improvements in sound are usually just focused in one area such as detail retrieval or better soundstage, and often come at the price of sacrificing something that I like more in the M50 (for example it's more natural tonality and warmth), so purchasing these relatively expensive alternatives just don't make too much sense to me.
    In 51 pages so far of opinions, I have yet to see a single solid believable alternative to truly best the ATH-M50 on all counts. The only thing I agree with in the OP is that there are more alternatives on the market nowadays, but that's it, just more to choose from. Not necessarily alternatives that are clearly better.
    I'd also like to add how much I really learned how sound is so incredibly subjective in the last while. I always knew it was, but it's come to my attention that it is even more subjective than I initially thought, and we should take everyone's opinion with a grain of salt. It's really just all around best to use your own ears and judgement and let others have their preferences too.
    jodgey4 likes this.
  10. sonitus mirus
    Other than listening to a bunch of headphones at a shop or meet, the best you can do is find a person that describes the sound quality in a manner that makes sense to you for any headphones you are familiar with already.  If these people share your opinion about the M50, for example, perhaps their opinion about other headphones would be the best place to begin your research.
    No matter how great the product might be, someone out there hates it for some reason or another.  Start with a common ground and see where it leads.    
    Here are the Head-Fi threads that mention the ATH-M50s back to 01-JAN-2012.
  11. LNuneek

    You definitely have a point that when looking for reviews from users that have posted similar impressions on headphones as you yourself have that you have a better chance of finding other HP's you might like, but nothing beats actually having a listen. It's tough though for many people to actually get a listen due to a lack of shops or meets where they live. I have that issue myself, so I make it a point when I travel out of town to visit shops where I can demo HP's on my own device with my own music as much as possible. I realized I would have kicked myself so many times and been very disappointed if I bought HP's off the net based on reviews, and even on the ones where I thought we had a similar taste for sound based on their review history. Nothing beats the real experience.
  12. sonitus mirus
    The problem that may occur when listening to headphones in person at a shop or a meet, aside from the potential distractions and background noise, is that our ears adjust over time to the sound signature.  If you are used to a particular headphone sound, it could impact your initial impressions of other headphones until you became more accustomed to the sound signature.  Psychoacoustics at work.
  13. jodgey4
    Perhaps the best post in 51 pages :D.
  14. DDDamian
    +1 and only this. I have "better" headphones than the m50x's but I return to them for fun. Not gonna do a blah-blah review why but I'll say that your feelings are bang-on. Move up about $1000/pr and you'll find folks debating pros-and-cons. Trust your ears.
  15. LNuneek
    That's true. I have gotten accustomed to sound from speakers and HP's over time. The key word here is accustomed though. Doesn't mean I like the sound anymore, just able to tolerate it and get past the sound to enjoy the music regardless. That takes a bit of compartmentalizing on my part though. I have to kind of consciously focus on the music and try to ignore how it's being projected. I like looking for HP's in which I don't have to do this. I want to love it right from the jump, I don't want to tolerate or acclimate. I just want to enjoy what I hear.
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