Are the Audio Technica ATH-M50s right for me?
Sep 1, 2012 at 12:46 AM Thread Starter Post #1 of 12

hjmeix

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I am looking to dive into the headphone audiophile market and my friend has recommended me the Audio Technica ATH-M50s. Are these headphones good for me?
 
I listen to all types of music from classical to hardcore rock to dubstep. I listen to all of my music through an iPod, iPhone and a laptop. I do not use (or intend to use) an amplifier or something similar. I use my headphones for about five hours per day.
 
Please don't reply with recommendations of other headphones. I would only like to know if the ATH-M50s are right for me.
 
Thank you very much! 
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Sep 1, 2012 at 12:53 AM Post #2 of 12

alv4426

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So you are basically asking if the M50 are easy to drive and if they are comfortable? Yes for sure on the easy to drive and they were comfortable at least for me.
 
Sep 1, 2012 at 9:09 PM Post #6 of 12

hjmeix

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Thanks everyone!
 
Some more questions:
 
Do these headphones leak considerably? I would like to take them on trains and buses etc. and not have the person next to me know what I am listening to.
 
How good do they passive noise cancel? I'll be taking them on a long plane trip later this year.
 
Again, thank you for your replies. I really appreciate it!
 
Sep 1, 2012 at 9:15 PM Post #7 of 12

Empire1

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Quote:
Thanks everyone!
 
Some more questions:
 
Do these headphones leak considerably? I would like to take them on trains and buses etc. and not have the person next to me know what I am listening to.
 
How good do they passive noise cancel? I'll be taking them on a long plane trip later this year.
 
Again, thank you for your replies. I really appreciate it!

Nope, these don't experience any leak issues. 
 
The passive noice canceling is pretty good. They are nicely padded and it's a pretty good seal. 
 
I am considering purchasing a pair of these babies myself! 
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Sep 1, 2012 at 9:48 PM Post #8 of 12

Boullion

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I have the ATH-M50, and here are some genuine observations:

1. They do offer a decent amount of passive isolation. Hardly any noise leaks out and not too much goes in.
However, I took them on a plane and they didn't fare very well in isolating the noise. I had to crank the volume up considerably (~50% on my iPod Touch).
If you're looking for airplane-level isolation, I would recommend an IEM (in-ear monitor) or the Bose QC3/QC15, which has excellent active noise cancellation.

2. They sound fantastic to me. People say they're bass-heavy, but to me they sound relatively balanced (but yes, with a focus on bass). However, personally I'm not sure if it justifies the $128 I spent on them. They are suitable for a very wide range of music genres, which is nice.

3. I find them to be severely uncomfortable. This is why I don't like the ATH-M50. I thought it came with bad pads, so I got new ones. Well, they're still pretty damned uncomfortable. Not to mention the amount of padding on the headband is abysmal. If it weren't for the comfort issues, I would enjoy these headphones. And so, I would recommend looking for other headphones (mentioned later).

4. They are easily driven with a portable music player. However, the ATH-M50S has a very long cable and the ATH-M50 has a bulky coiled cable. If you're thinking of using this as a portable headphone, I would think twice and get something like the V-MODA Crossfade M-80 or the Sennheiser HD 25-1 II / Amperior instead.

I would recommend looking at other choices before diving straight for the M50 (advice I would have told my past self).
By no means am I an expert, but here's some other headphones in a similar price range to consider:
-Shure SRH440/840
-M-Audio Q40 (bass-heavy)
-Ultrasone HFI-580/780
...and others that I can't remember. Recently I've been looking at portable headphones, sorry
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I know you don't want these recommendations, but honestly I would give other headphones a shot.
 
Sep 1, 2012 at 10:16 PM Post #9 of 12

hjmeix

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Thanks for your answer! Very helpful and I will take all into consideration before I buy.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Boullion /img/forum/go_quote.gif
 
3. I find them to be severely uncomfortable. This is why I don't like the ATH-M50. I thought it came with bad pads, so I got new ones. Well, they're still pretty damned uncomfortable. Not to mention the amount of padding on the headband is abysmal. If it weren't for the comfort issues, I would enjoy these headphones. And so, I would recommend looking for other headphones (mentioned later).

 
You say that they are very uncomfortable but about 90% of the other reviews out on the net say that they are one of the most comfortable headphones they have ever tried. Is this because of your head size or something else?
 
I would like to try them on in-store but there aren't many shops that sell them in Australia. Any suggestions?
 
Sep 1, 2012 at 10:16 PM Post #10 of 12

Empire1

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Quote:
I have the ATH-M50, and here are some genuine observations:

1. They do offer a decent amount of passive isolation. Hardly any noise leaks out and not too much goes in.
However, I took them on a plane and they didn't fare very well in isolating the noise. I had to crank the volume up considerably (~50% on my iPod Touch).
If you're looking for airplane-level isolation, I would recommend an IEM (in-ear monitor) or the Bose QC3/QC15, which has excellent active noise cancellation.

2. They sound fantastic to me. People say they're bass-heavy, but to me they sound relatively balanced (but yes, with a focus on bass). However, personally I'm not sure if it justifies the $128 I spent on them. They are suitable for a very wide range of music genres, which is nice.

3. I find them to be severely uncomfortable. This is why I don't like the ATH-M50. I thought it came with bad pads, so I got new ones. Well, they're still pretty damned uncomfortable. Not to mention the amount of padding on the headband is abysmal. If it weren't for the comfort issues, I would enjoy these headphones. And so, I would recommend looking for other headphones (mentioned later).

4. They are easily driven with a portable music player. However, the ATH-M50S has a very long cable and the ATH-M50 has a bulky coiled cable. If you're thinking of using this as a portable headphone, I would think twice and get something like the V-MODA Crossfade M-80 or the Sennheiser HD 25-1 II / Amperior instead.

I would recommend looking at other choices before diving straight for the M50 (advice I would have told my past self).
By no means am I an expert, but here's some other headphones in a similar price range to consider:
-Shure SRH440/840
-M-Audio Q40 (bass-heavy)
-Ultrasone HFI-580/780
...and others that I can't remember. Recently I've been looking at portable headphones, sorry
biggrin.gif


I know you don't want these recommendations, but honestly I would give other headphones a shot.

 
As an owner of the QC15, I would totally agree with you. My number one choice for travel.
 
In response to your comfort issues, I found that really interesting. I heard really mixed reviews on them. Some think they are great while others think they are horrible. Any descriptions or why they feel bad?
 
Sep 1, 2012 at 11:13 PM Post #11 of 12

Lord Voldemort

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One thing that I like about the M50 over its competitors is that although they are circumaural, they are very portable. 
 
Comfort wise, I think it depends on the person. Compared to something like a HD558, obviously it'll be uncomfortable because ear pads get warm and there is more clamping force. It's not bad though. 
 
Price wise, it's very cheap. Currently 110 dollars on Amazon I think, which is an excellent price. Timbre is very good for a headphone of this price. 
 
Sep 2, 2012 at 12:09 AM Post #12 of 12

alv4426

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For an airplane/train the only things that will block out sound are IEMs or preferably a headphone with ANC.
While they are comfortable they are not even close to being the MOST comfortable Ive ever owned but a few hours wear time I don't think too many people would have issues (i even wore mine with glasses with not much issues).
Ive owned and sold a lot headphones since in the last few years and honestly I could tell you that the M50 is the one I miss the most (I liked it at least as much as my K550 maybe even more). I am a treble head otherwise known as an anti-basshead and I never found the M50 to be bass heavy like most make it out to be (wasn't even close to the quantity of my so called basshead cans the PRO900/PRO750.) My M50 was one of the first so called bass lite white box editions though so that may account for my experience. I would definitely agree that if you are gonna use them strictly as a portable there are better choices like the HD25 1-ii. If you are going to buy them though buy soon before they jump up to $160 again, they wont drop much lower in price. 
 

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