ATH-M50 - burn in oddity?
Sep 26, 2010 at 6:23 AM Thread Starter Post #1 of 32

EssKay

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Ok, about 6 weeks ago I bought some M50's (coiled cable) to listen to my ipod while I was at work. Before using them I left them playing for 48 hours. I love them, they are wonderful and I can see why they're so popular here on head-fi. These have no had in excess of 250 hours on them.
 
I liked them so much that I bought another pair, straight cable this time, to keep at home. Again I left them playing for 48 hours before listening. When I did listen, I found the bass was not quite as deep and the treble somewhat harsher than I remembered from my first pair.
 
I thought, ok, maybe there is more to burn-in than I imagined so I left them playing continuously so that they've now been 'burning in" for more than 120 hours..
 
They still not as deep, warm and 'cohesive' as my first pair. With the reluctant assistance of my wife I found that in blind listening tests that I was able to distinguish the old and new M50's 100% of the time while I was unable to distinguish between them without music playing.
 
All I'm saying at the moment is that they sound different and I prefer the sound of the first pair to the second. If after another couple of hundred hours or so of playing it reaches the point where I can no longer distinguish between them in blind listening tests I will be become a firm believer in burn-in generally, and more particularly, in the idea that things keep changing for some time.
 
Any thoughts or advice? I guess I wait to see if they change and if not, send them back while I have the chance and try again..
 
Sep 26, 2010 at 6:46 AM Post #2 of 32

lazyjae

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That's how mine sound. I got the Senn555 and the M50S at the same time and initially they both sounded horrible, more so the M50 but not by much. I burned them in for 2 days now and while the Senn555 is noticeably improving, not so much for the M50s. Currently, I much prefer listening to the 555's but at night, I have to listen to the M50 and I noticed the bass improved but that's about it. *shudders*
 
Your experiment should be interesting. HOPE your M50S gets better.... hope mine gets better too.
 
Sep 26, 2010 at 10:12 AM Post #3 of 32

lie495fc

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some quality issue with these new 2010 M50s i suppose. we need to dig this. i bought mine this month, comes in the newly designed gray blue box that has no flip window. it's made in Taiwan.
 
Sep 26, 2010 at 2:07 PM Post #4 of 32

Anaxilus

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Well, 2 things.  
 
1-The FRCs do show a slight deviation between cables.  Maybe its true or a sampling error as some suggest.
 
2-It could be that the older M50 has more worn in pads providing a better seal than the new M50s.  If you swap the pads between the two you can find out if this is the case.
 
FYI, my M50s are clean, clear, detailed, no harshness.  Sorry to anyone whose M50 doesn't sound like mine.
 
Sep 26, 2010 at 6:02 PM Post #5 of 32

lazyjae

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Yeah, that's mine alright. From Taiwan, the White/Blue box that opens from the top not the front.
 
Do you think if I change to coiled it'll be different? I barely hear anyone complaining about the coiled version.
 
Sep 26, 2010 at 6:12 PM Post #6 of 32

varsitypride3

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Mine sound fantastic. I have a hard time believing anyone would describe its sound as anything but fantastic, especially for
the price. I paid $99 for mine, and would pay $200 for a new pair if mine broke and the prices shot up.
 
 
Sep 27, 2010 at 7:55 AM Post #7 of 32

EssKay

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I'm going to give the second pair some more burn in and then see where I am. 
 
Anaxilus - thanks for the suggestion re pads. I swapped them over and the basic differences in presentation are still there. 
 
Both pairs came in the same design of box (top opening) and from the same supplier. To be clear, I absolutely love my coiled cable M50's so it not that I'm finding an issue with recent versions generally. I also struggle to believe that there could be significant differences that can be attributed to coiled vs straight cable but you never know.
 
Sep 27, 2010 at 11:58 AM Post #8 of 32

lazyjae

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I wasn't referring to difference between coiled vs straight freqiency. Just thinking maybe the coiled version is of the older variety while since in general, the straight is newer, that it's of the newer variety. Since you say it's the same box, disregard my earlier statement.
 
Mine cleaned up a little bit more in the upper bass as well as high end. The high end is a bit crispier. I don't like the way the bass drums sound though. It's like the echoey tunnel/flabby boom boom type sound still. That's the only real noticeable flaw I'm hearing now with the mids still recessed. The highs could be better still. From what people are telling me, I doubt the mids will get any better, but hope it crips up atleast a tinsy tiny bit more. 
 
If it doesn't improve, I'm considering calling Audio Technica and asking for the older version, dammit.
 
Sep 27, 2010 at 12:09 PM Post #9 of 32

Slaughter

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You might like the 840/440 pad swap.
 
Quote:
I wasn't referring to difference between coiled vs straight freqiency. Just thinking maybe the coiled version is of the older variety while since in general, the straight is newer, that it's of the newer variety. Since you say it's the same box, disregard my earlier statement.
 
Mine cleaned up a little bit more in the upper bass as well as high end. The high end is a bit crispier. I don't like the way the bass drums sound though. It's like the echoey tunnel/flabby boom boom type sound still. That's the only real noticeable flaw I'm hearing now with the mids still recessed. The highs could be better still. From what people are telling me, I doubt the mids will get any better, but hope it crips up atleast a tinsy tiny bit more. 
 
If it doesn't improve, I'm considering calling Audio Technica and asking for the older version, dammit.



 
Sep 27, 2010 at 1:29 PM Post #11 of 32

Anaxilus

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Quote:
I wasn't referring to difference between coiled vs straight freqiency. Just thinking maybe the coiled version is of the older variety while since in general, the straight is newer, that it's of the newer variety. Since you say it's the same box, disregard my earlier statement.
 
Mine cleaned up a little bit more in the upper bass as well as high end. The high end is a bit crispier. I don't like the way the bass drums sound though. It's like the echoey tunnel/flabby boom boom type sound still. That's the only real noticeable flaw I'm hearing now with the mids still recessed. The highs could be better still. From what people are telling me, I doubt the mids will get any better, but hope it crips up atleast a tinsy tiny bit more. 
 
If it doesn't improve, I'm considering calling Audio Technica and asking for the older version, dammit.


Try the balanced/tape mod if the bass is still boomy.  You'll see a nice improvement in the mids as well.  Whats your source exactly.  Many times its not the phone but the gear synergy.  I once got into a long debate/comparison w/ someone who was hearing his phones completely different from me.  Turned out they were using iTunes Bassboost.  I mean really, if you aren't listening to a flat EQ keep your impressions to yourself IMO.  
 
The pads will tame the bass a bit and open up the space a bit.  It also thins the signature of the M50 to me but others claim to notice no difference.  For me the 840 pads made the M50 lose its identity.  YMMV.
 
Sep 27, 2010 at 1:52 PM Post #12 of 32

lazyjae

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Quote:
Try the balanced/tape mod if the bass is still boomy.  You'll see a nice improvement in the mids as well.  Whats your source exactly.  Many times its not the phone but the gear synergy.  I once got into a long debate/comparison w/ someone who was hearing his phones completely different from me.  Turned out they were using iTunes Bassboost.  I mean really, if you aren't listening to a flat EQ keep your impressions to yourself IMO.  
 
The pads will tame the bass a bit and open up the space a bit.  It also thins the signature of the M50 to me but others claim to notice no difference.  For me the 840 pads made the M50 lose its identity.  YMMV.


Is there a guide to do the tape mod? I have a desk top Roland stereo with treble and bass control. The sound is clean and the bass powerful. I tried upping the treble and decreasing the bass. It balanced out but it's still a bit muffled. My Senn hd280 worked fine off of it with clean sound and I heard the subtle nuances of the music which is why I enjoyed it so much. My Senn 555 is really starting to come around as well. The M50, I can't hear the fine details in the music because of the bass. Maybe my hearing's a bit sensitive, or I just enjoy the signature Sennheiser sound, or I need an amp, or it's the quality of the newer M50's or all of the above.
 
I'm really interested in hearing if the OP's M50S will improve. If not, I'll be sorely disappointed.
 
Sep 27, 2010 at 2:04 PM Post #13 of 32

Anaxilus

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Quote:
Is there a guide to do the tape mod? I have a desk top Roland stereo with treble and bass control. The sound is clean and the bass powerful. I tried upping the treble and decreasing the bass. It balanced out but it's still a bit muffled. My Senn hd280 worked fine off of it with clean sound and I heard the subtle nuances of the music which is why I enjoyed it so much. My Senn 555 is really starting to come around as well. The M50, I can't hear the fine details in the music because of the bass. Maybe my hearing's a bit sensitive, or I just enjoy the signature Sennheiser sound, or I need an amp, or it's the quality of the newer M50's or all of the above.
 
I'm really interested in hearing if the OP's M50S will improve. If not, I'll be sorely disappointed.


FWIW, I have the 'S' cable.  Its sounds fantastic.  All my impressions are amped as well.  I wouldn't use M50s out of a Sansa or iPod and expect them to sound their best.
 
http://www.head-fi.org/forum/thread/470541/very-simple-ath-m50-balance-mod-less-bass-more-mids
 
Sep 27, 2010 at 6:13 PM Post #15 of 32

lazyjae

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Quote:
FWIW, I have the 'S' cable.  Its sounds fantastic.  All my impressions are amped as well.  I wouldn't use M50s out of a Sansa or iPod and expect them to sound their best.
 
http://www.head-fi.org/forum/thread/470541/very-simple-ath-m50-balance-mod-less-bass-more-mids


Thanks for the link. I'm planning on burning them in for one more week before doing the mod.

 
Quote:
I have the coiled version and so far I have not had any issues. Do you still have the warranty? If so, maybe it was a manufacturing mistake.


It's only been 4 days since I've had them. I'm thinking of giving them 2 more weeks and if nothing improves by then, I'll probably ask them for another one. I have to admit though, the range of the bass is really good on those..
 

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