Audio Technica M50 - is it 'V-shaped' in sound signature?
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I've read it a few times on here that it has slightly recessed mids compared to the bass and treble, and an Inner Fidelity review backed that claim.
 
However, I also saw a review where the reviewer said the M50 had a very forward midrange, over shadowing the bass and treble.
 
Those are completely contradictory claims, in your view, which one is correct?
 
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Quote:
I've read it a few times on here that it has slightly recessed mids compared to the bass and treble, and an Inner Fidelity review backed that claim.
 
However, I also saw a review where the reviewer said the M50 had a very forward midrange, over shadowing the bass and treble.
 
Those are completely contradictory claims, in your view, which one is correct?
 
There's been a lot of talk about 2 different M50 floating around and I still believe in that due to such contradictory statements. I also tested a M50 at one point and I also have to agree the midrange was the most forward aspect so I believe I got the basshy version. Also check this, there's 2 different M50 measurements on innerfidelity:
 
http://www.innerfidelity.com/images/AudioTechnicaATHM50B2012.pdf
 
http://www.innerfidelity.com/images/AudioTechnicaATHM50.pdf
 
^ I think this is more than a case of inaccurate measurement/updated measurement routines because that's such a big difference. My experiences with M50 clearly matches the 2nd one with rolled off bass, I remember boosting the bass a good bit but still was disappointed and I certainly didn't hear any bass emphasis stock. I remember loving the midrange though. :)
 
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The M50's I heard had crap mids. They were sort of like the Beats Studios in that they seemed to force vocals into one extreme of the spectrum or the other. Some songs would sound harsh and shouty and other songs sounded like the vocals were coming out of a subwoofer.
 
I think people often confuse the treble with the mids, and that's why I hear people say they have decent (or even good) mids.
 
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Quote:
 
I think people often confuse the treble with the mids, and that's why I hear people say they have decent (or even good) mids.
 
No. 
 
Both bassheavy and basshy version do have a peak in the highs though (I could hear that very well myself too) and is of the rather sharp type that goes a bit louder than the midrange but the pair I tried had instruments and vocals normally the most forward rather than the bass or highs.
 
I've also tried DT770 which should have a pretty close bass response quantity wise to M50 and the DT770 was significantly bassier than what I heard coming from M50:
 

 
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Are there really different versions of the M50?
 
Is one real and one fake, or one old and one new? How does that work?
 
And is the consensus that there are in fact different versions more or less universal? Or just some guys think so?
 
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Well I think the graphs I posted above, the many people's conflicting descriptions as well as at least one person here on head-fi having the both the "supposedly different versions" as one of them is bass emphasized, recessed mids and the other has no bass emphasis and more forward mids. 
 
My guess it's either like so that they come from different factories or it's a different batch so they have either made tweaks to the driver itself or there's some physical differences like a 1mm small vent hole somewhere for example could be all it takes to get that extra bass versus the non-bass heavy M50 (it could even have been a mistake for example).
 
Many people have just suspected that the first sample he measured was poorly seated so it didn't get proper seal (as you can see everything in the measurements do correspond to each other except for the bass area and note the difference in isolation). But it still doesn't explain for example the person that got two M50 that sounds very different either and neither should it be that common that people simply keeps getting bad seal either (maybe different pads?). But then again if you check both graphs they show very similar difficult ability to get a proper seal, the bassheavy version also shows as much deriviations in the frequency response graph (the bottom one which shows all the "raw" measurements) as the basshy version.
 
There used to be 2 different packaging colors too, one lightblue and one white packaging, don't remember which was drawn towards which version though and don't know what's the case with the packaging as of today.
 
Just thinking aloud
 
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I just find it hard to believe that there can be a two versions of the M50 that exist which are basically opposite in sound signature - one with strong bass and treble and recessed, laid back mids ('v-shaped' sound signature) - and the other with forward, glaring mids and rolled off treble and bass ('n-shaped' sound signature)...? That sounds ridiculous. Those would be two completely different headphones!!
 
If there are different versions - how do you tell which one you've got? I think mine came in the white box, and although the bass isn't mindblowing - it's certainly more powerful and prominent than that of my Sennheiser HD650 - when you A/B them, that is. I think it's just the natural by-product of the M50's being a closed headphone.
 
I would think if there are different versions, the mids in one version would be slightly more or less prominent. So either the M50 generally has a v-shaped sound signature, but one version sounds slightly different, or the M50 generally has an n-shaped sound signature, but one version sounds slightly different...? Which one do you think is more plausible?
 
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The M50's I heard had crap mids. They were sort of like the Beats Studios in that they seemed to force vocals into one extreme of the spectrum or the other. Some songs would sound harsh and shouty and other songs sounded like the vocals were coming out of a subwoofer.

I think people often confuse the treble with the mids, and that's why I hear people say they have decent (or even good) mids.

+1. They're very much a "wall of sound" presentation with boom-boom bass and shouty highs (much like the Beats, and from that perspective, I can see why they're a very popular choice as un-Beats).


Are there really different versions of the M50?

Is one real and one fake, or one old and one new? How does that work?

And is the consensus that there are in fact different versions more or less universal? Or just some guys think so?

My understanding is that a few years ago AT revised them, more or less without telling people, and that's how you get the differences. I forget which one is the "current" production (should be the "B2012" measurement I would assume). The other side is that it could just be massive inconsistency between production runs - wouldn't be the first time that's happened.


I just find it hard to believe that there can be a two versions of the M50 that exist which are basically opposite in sound signature - one with strong bass and treble and recessed, laid back mids ('v-shaped' sound signature) - and the other with forward, glaring mids and rolled off treble and bass ('n-shaped' sound signature)...? That sounds ridiculous. Those would be two completely different headphones!!

Nobody is saying "n-shaped" - there is one version that is bassier than the other and accordingly the mids are more recessed on that model. That's a far way from n-shaped.

If there are different versions - how do you tell which one you've got? I think mine came in the white box, and although the bass isn't mindblowing - it's certainly more powerful and prominent than that of my Sennheiser HD650 - when you A/B them, that is. I think it's just the natural by-product of the M50's being a closed headphone.

It's based on box color, but I forget which is which. There's a white and a blue box iirc. If you've bought yours more recently they'll likely be the current version.

I would think if there are different versions, the mids in one version would be slightly more or less prominent. So either the M50 generally has a v-shaped sound signature, but one version sounds slightly different, or the M50 generally has an n-shaped sound signature, but one version sounds slightly different...? Which one do you think is more plausible?

Again, nobody is saying n-shaped, that's not even on the table here. The M50 aren't really super V-shaped either, they just have recessed mids, boom-boom bass, and shrieky highs, but nothing is really "boosted" across that spectrum (quantity and quality not being the same thing). Part of it is based on them being closed, part of it is based on their overall design, etc.
 
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hey, thanks obob.
 
But you may be saying on this thread nobody's saying that the M50 are n-shaped and that's not even 'on the table', but I saw a review where the reviewer literally said they were very midrange centric, and had a harsh, forward midrange and little bass or treble. That sounds like n-shaped to me!
 
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Quote:
hey, thanks obob.
 
But you may be saying on this thread nobody's saying that the M50 are n-shaped and that's not even 'on the table', but I saw a review where the reviewer literally said they were very midrange centric, and had a harsh, forward midrange and little bass or treble. That sounds like n-shaped to me!
 
Please keep in mind, reviews are just perspectives or opinions that are written out.  They are one individual's views or perception.  We all perceive differently.
 
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hey, thanks obob.

But you may be saying on this thread nobody's saying that the M50 are n-shaped and that's not even 'on the table', but I saw a review where the reviewer literally said they were very midrange centric, and had a harsh, forward midrange and little bass or treble. That sounds like n-shaped to me!

I'd be skeptical of that kind of review. I mean compared to something that's super-duper boomy (like some of the Beats models), or super-duper bright (like some of the Beyerdynamic models) they might seem recessed/rolled-off. But overall they're closer to "level" (they're still somewhat boomy and shouty, but it's more of a quality vs quantity thing). N-shaped headphones are very rare in modern times - a good example of such a headphone would be the Koss PRO4/A. A modern example would be something like the Sony F1, but even those are fairly evened out by comparison. I really can't think of a modern headphone that has that 1970s top-end roll-off.
 
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So the general sound signature of the M50 is slightly v-shaped with one version maybe being more so than the other?
 
Also, with V-shaped headphones that recess the midrange playing guitar-based music such as rock - since the guitar occupies much of the midrange of the frequency spectrum - would a headphone with a v-shaped sound signature make the guitars very inaudible?
 
With y version of the M50 I can still very much hear the guitars when guitar-based music is playing.
 
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When I had the M50, I definitely had the, "bassy version," but the mids were not that recessed. They were recessed in the sense that they were behind the bass, as the graph shows, but sonically it was much closer to the front compared to normal v-shaped graphing headphones. If you're worried about them not being up to snuff, don't be. Unless you're already a serious audiophile, or listen to vocally intense pieces or classical tracks, the midrange on the M50 will suite you fine (compared to other cans in this price range).
Peace.
 
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the old m50 has that blue/white box while the newer ones have the teal/white box. IME the old m50 has V shaped sig, while the new m50 has somewhat a U shaped sig because the midrange very noticeable is more prominent when comparing with the old version side by side. it has less bass too!
 
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Quote:
the old m50 has that blue/white box while the newer ones have the teal/white box. IME the old m50 has V shaped sig, while the new m50 has somewhat a U shaped sig because the midrange very noticeable is more prominent when comparing with the old version side by side. it has less bass too!
'U-shaped' meaning 'v-shaped' but less extreme? So the midrange with the 'newer' model is still recessed overall, but not as much as before?
 
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