Attention DJs: ATH-M50 vs. HD25??
Jul 14, 2009 at 7:03 AM Thread Starter Post #1 of 15


Jun 8, 2005
I've owned the Sony V700's and the Denon DN-HP1000's. One of the ears in my Denon set just gave out -- coincidentally just after the two year warranty ended -- and now I'm in the market for a replacement that I'll actually want to use for regular listening as well.

I've narrowed it down to the Audio Technica ATH-M50 and the latest model of the Sennheiser HP25's. I have a $100 Amazon gift certificate that I need to use, so it's either a net of $22 for the M50's or $100 for the HP25's.

I have a pretty small head so I'm concerned about the headphones slipping off (the Denons did frequently) but I also need them to be comfortable for a four hour gig. I'm also looking for tough, quality made phones that won't punk out on me like my last two pairs.

Lastly, I love my EB's. I confess, I'm a basshead. I love that club sound in my skull. I also love great detail as well, so I'm looking for a good balance that doesn't sacrifice emphasis on the bass.

And obviously, they need to work for DJing purposes. I know the HP25's are the gold standard for DJing in Europe and I haven't seen the M50's listed in as a DJ headphone (is a studio monitor interchangeable as far as sonic qualities?) but they seem to fit the bill with their isolation, bass, and fold-up/swivel ear design elements. They actually sound like a close cousin sonically to the HP25s but for cheaper.

MY QUESTIONS: Has anyone used both for DJing? I'm leaning toward the M50 just for the price, but I'm worried they're a bit flat or tame for the DJing side. Anyone tried them out in the mix?

Thanks for the help!!

EDIT: One last thing, I don't have an amp and won't have the cash for one anytime soon, so for normal listening, I'll be going straight from the iPod/iPhone.
Jul 14, 2009 at 8:10 AM Post #3 of 15
Would you care to elaborate a bit on what you think makes the HP25's a good DJ headphone?
Jul 14, 2009 at 8:35 AM Post #4 of 15
The Sennheiser HD-25 are pretty good. I like to mix with them because they are comfortable, and they isolate pretty well, and an excellent sound quality

I don't know anything about the ATH-M50
Jul 14, 2009 at 8:54 PM Post #5 of 15
I´m not a Dj and have not heard any of the phones expect HD-25´s.
my everyday,do everything phone.

but my brother Dj´s and owns one beyer phone,one 1200 something (i think technichs?)
and one akg 270 something and he freqently borrows my Hd-25´s for when he is out playing,he preefers his own phones in the studio and HD-25 on "stage".

hope this input helps.
Jul 14, 2009 at 9:54 PM Post #6 of 15
I don't dj but I just got my ATH-M50's in today so I can tell you a little bit about them. As far as the headphones slipping, I apparently have a small head as well; I wear all of my headphones on the shortest setting (except for my senn hd201's where I can pull out a total of one notch on one side!) and this phone is no exception. I have it at its smallest size and if I tilt my head forward they slide off.

These phones are easily driven though. I've listened to them straight from my iPod and my computer with no problem. As for normal listening, I just got them so I'm not sure how they'll sound in a few days. As of right now, I'm really hoping they improve with a little bit of burn in.
Jul 14, 2009 at 11:21 PM Post #7 of 15
I own both. Here's a brief comparison to help you out:



- good build quality (but not as good as not HD25s) and foldable design
- good comfort for small/medium sized ears
- requires at least 100 hrs of burn-in to sound at it's best
- bass goes very deep and is quite big, full and punchy, yet does not overshadow the rest of the frequency spectrum
- midrange is quite even sounding and pretty natural, especially when amped
- treble extends very high - 16-17 kHz tones still come through nice and strong with these, unlike with my other closed cans, including HD25s, which definitely start to roll off earlier
- the sound is quite smooth, especially in the mids and quite well balanced overall, when these are amped
- soundstage is pretty wide for a closed headphone and imaging is pretty good, especially when amped
- nice clarity


- bass significantly lacks tightness and control when driven unamped and out of weak sources and is also a bit uneven, with some emphasis on mid bass and sub bass (NOTE: after ~100 hrs of burn-in bass gets much better when unamped, but it's still not quite as tight as I would've liked it to be)
- low and upper mids are somewhat recessed, resulting in a somewhat hollow sound, but when amped, this flaw is not very noticeable
- treble quality is not that great - the upper frequencies can sound a bit thin, piercing and metallic, especially unamped and combined with the fact the upper highs on these are also a bit emphasized, these cans can be fatiguing for prolonged listening sessions or for those who are sensitive to treble
- the soundstage, while wide, is quite upfront, which can make these cans sound a bit too aggressive for some
- micro-details/texture is a bit lacking on these
- the sound can be quite boring with some music, sounds fine with bass heavy music

Sennheiser HD25-1 (with stock steel cable):


- great isolation - about as good as it gets in a closed over-the-ear can
- small and lightweight design with a unique splitting double headband for a secure fit
- amazing durability
- very good balance across the spectrum with little emphasis on any
particular frequency
- bass is quite punchy and balanced
- midrange is very even (except for upper midrange) and pretty clear with especially nice vocal reproduction
- treble is nicely present and does not roll off too early
- sound resolution is great across the spectrum with excellent texture/micro-detail - definitely better than on M50
- decent imaging


- do not fold
- bass is rather shallow and lacks depth and some tightness, but it is tighter than on unamped ATH-M50 (M50s extend lower though and sound fuller)
- soundstage is quite narrow, but not as in your face as on M50s
- upper mids tend to sound edgy and unnatural (overly aggressive) with some material, especially with piano, which sounds heavier than in real life with HD25s
- treble is on the analytical side with no sweetness at all, but I prefer it to the M50 treble as it sounds more natural
- overall sound lacks smoothness and tends to appear somewhat harsh and thin (but not sibilant) - ATH-M50 can sound more piercing in the treble, but it is much smoother overall

Ok, hope I didn't miss much there.
If you have anymore questions about these two headphones, please feel free to ask.
Jul 14, 2009 at 11:34 PM Post #8 of 15
Ok, another word of advice - if you don't have money for an expensive amp, but decide to get the M50s, just buy a cheap CMOY, or Fiio amp. Even those cheap ones should make many of the flaws in M50 sound quality quite a bit less apparent. If you don't want to carry around an amp at all, then HD25 may be the better option. If you want deep, full and tight bass and sweet low mids at the expense of some treble quality and isolation, I would also recommend that you check out M-Audio Q40. The problem with their treble is that it can actually sound harsh with some music, but that depends on what you are listening to.
Jul 14, 2009 at 11:35 PM Post #9 of 15
I have heard excellent reviews on the ATH M50 (s), and I am getting one pair. For the price they say they are winners, and if you can get them at $22 do so! You will have more time to buy another more expensive can if you feel the need of getting better.

That's my opinion
Jul 15, 2009 at 2:13 AM Post #10 of 15

Originally Posted by cknelson15 /img/forum/go_quote.gif
EDIT: One last thing, I don't have an amp and won't have the cash for one anytime soon, so for normal listening, I'll be going straight from the iPod/iPhone.

You need isolation for DJing, performance without an amp, and a good fit for your head. That's the HD25-1 II.
Jul 22, 2009 at 11:25 AM Post #13 of 15
Just to update the situation for you, he got the ATH M50, for $22 having a MSRP of $199 and street price of $95-$120. He really likes them and should have posted here.
Jul 22, 2009 at 5:16 PM Post #14 of 15
hey guys, thanks for all of the help. sorry for taking this long to respond. for some reason, I missed the last 5 or 6 posts and thought the thread had died until Young Spade bumped it. THANK YOU for the detailed breakdown, Pianist, and to everyone else for the help.

So Bullseye is right, I got the ATH-M50's and put some good listening in on them. I was totally in love with the sound of them UNTIL I spun a set with them. It might be my setup, but for some reason, the bass would completely disappear at times, which is bad bad bad if you're DJ'ing. It forced me to turn up the volume significantly higher than I ever had to with my Denon DN-HP1000's or even the 5 EB's, which I was using in the interim after my Denon's broke. After playing about an hour long set, I felt a little like I had walked out of a loud club....had that foggy ears feeling like they had been beat down by music for much longer. Seeing as I bought these first and foremost for spinning, this troubled me.

So I managed to get my hands on a pair of Ultrasone DJ1 Pros (ok, I bought a pair before sending back the M50's...) and am auditioning those right now. Haven't been able to listen to them a whole lot yet, but it's causing me a dilemma. I can already tell that they would be perfect for beat matching in terms of their sound signature as they really accentuate the highs and lows in a way that allows you to tell if tracks are properly in sync. I was also very interested in the S-Logic technology to preserve hearing as well as the hard carrying case, extra cables, ear pads, etc. But I am just so in love with how the M50's sound for listening phones.

The other thing is that for $235, the Ultrasones feel pretty plasticky, much less solid than the M50's and they don't seal as well either. The earcups are HUGE.

All of this has been to avoid jumping on the HD25 bandwagon with every other DJ, but it's looking more and more like they are the best hope for a great DJ set of cans that I can also use for portable and computer listening. *sigh*
Jul 22, 2009 at 5:43 PM Post #15 of 15

Originally Posted by cknelson15 /img/forum/go_quote.gif
All of this has been to avoid jumping on the HD25 bandwagon with every other DJ, but it's looking more and more like they are the best hope for a great DJ set of cans that I can also use for portable and computer listening. *sigh*

you said it
get on the bandwagon

just let a friend who´s producing hiphop listen to mine,He´s buying a pair :p
great multi purpose phones

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