Did The Audio-Technica ATH-M50 Change?
Jan 16, 2011 at 1:48 AM Thread Starter Post #1 of 52

Erieg

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10 years ago my wife bought a Gibson electric guitar for me on my 30th birthday . I had always wanted to learn how to play. Fast forward 10 years and I still had not even started. So this year my wife bought a USB preamp and some interactive software. She is determined I have to give that.
 
I couldn't find some old headphones I had stored.. somewhere, so I could sit down and start practicing. Just as an aside, whoever invented the guitar was a sadist. I hit the internet and started looking at what types of headphones are out there. I was going to pick up another pair of cheap ones but decided that I wanted to get a decent pair so I could use them at work to block out some noise and listen to music and I could also use them to practice.
 
I read a lot of forums and a lot of reviews. Both customer and professional. I had come down to two different pairs. The Sennheiser HD595 and the Audio-Technica ATH-M50. One of the things that I read was that the Sennheisers lack in the low end and that the M50s if anything had too much bass that actually muddied the mid-range. I like bass. Not thumping, all encompassing bass but I feel that it gives music a fuller sound.
 
I watched prices of the two and I found a pair of the M50s on Amazon for a really good price so I happily ordered them. When they arrived I immediately hooked them up to my Mac and start practicing. I have to say the the sound quality was amazing. It was actually too good. I can hear mistakes before I actually play them.
 
Now the bad part. I hooked them up to my MP3 player and they sounded very clear but no bass, I mean none. I tried all styles of music and it was the same. My MP3s are all 320k which sounds great on everything else but I figured I would try some recordings in FLAC format. Same thing. I moved to CD, same thing.
 
I know these are studio monitors which are flat but this was beyond that. I talked to a friend of mine who used to sell high end audio gear and his response was "Idiot, they need to burn in". Fair enough. Every night for the past 10 days I have hooked them to an old iPod set the volume to a comfortable listening level wrapped them in a towel and let them play. At eight hours a night that puts this at 80 hours. The high end and mid sound a lot better now (and they sounded great to start with) but still no low end. I swear in some songs it is actually removing the bass.
 
So my long story comes down to this. If almost every review I read stated there was too much bass and I am getting the opposite is this set defective or was there a change made to the product line after complaints? I have heard mention of "white box vs. blue box" but I haven't been able to find what the difference is. I did go to Best Buy and listen to the floor models of different brands they had out and they were definitely over kill. The beats were painful. I just want normal bass. When I got home I tried listening to a Rush song and I swear that if Geddy Lee wasn't singing I would have thought he wasn't on the recording.
 
Anyways. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
 
Jan 16, 2011 at 1:55 AM Post #2 of 52

canoners

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They say the blue box version (the old one) has more bass.
The newer ones (white box) are more balanced.
 
Jan 16, 2011 at 2:19 AM Post #3 of 52

cycro27

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Apparently for burn in you're suppose to have the volume at a little higher then normal listening level, but I doubt that should make a difference here =/. Maybe try playing some music you know is bass heavy, that might loosen them up?
 
Jan 16, 2011 at 2:46 AM Post #4 of 52

MS3boostin

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my M50's are bass monsters. see if the place you ordered them are still returnable. try returning and ordering somewhere else cuz they are really good phones
 
Jan 16, 2011 at 3:13 AM Post #5 of 52

Slaughter

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My iphone4 has a lot less low end then out of other devices. I think Apple purposely made them that way because most headphones/buds people are plugging in have a V or \ shapped frequency response so that helps balance them out. Turn on the EQ and see if you can get your bass back.
 
Jan 16, 2011 at 11:53 AM Post #6 of 52

Erieg

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Thanks for the replies. I let them burn again last night for another 8 hours and still the same. I really like the headphones in the sense that they are really comfortable and they sound incredible for what I originally wanted them for. After some reflection I think I will keep them for guitar practice and not listen to music through them.
 
Slaughter, funny you should mention it but yeah, I did try them through my iPhone 4 but the sound was only slightly worse then on my home stereo.
 
 
Jan 16, 2011 at 1:59 PM Post #8 of 52

slapshot30

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I had the same issue. Bass didn't impress me, and btw don't rely on the iPod Bass Boost EQ setting, it is crap. Once I plugged the m50's into a decent amp with a bass boost, THEN it really began to shine. I mean even the fiio e5 ($20) made the bass a lott better. I returned the e5 though and I'm waiting for the fiio e11 to come out in March.
 
Jan 16, 2011 at 6:57 PM Post #9 of 52

Erieg

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Out of curiosity have you tried the E7? Is it worth the price difference between it and an E5?
 
Jan 16, 2011 at 8:21 PM Post #12 of 52

R-Audiohead

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Quote:
Out of curiosity have you tried the E7? Is it worth the price difference between it and an E5?



I have the e7/e9 combo and I can tell you I have used the e7 everyday in some form since getting it in early Sept.
 
It will work as a DAC from your computer or as a portable amp that straps to your iPod/iPhone.  A lot of device for less than 100, and if you ever do want a really nice set of cans that need more power, the e9 add on will be an option of the future.
 
Jan 16, 2011 at 8:45 PM Post #13 of 52

kingpage

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Your M50 only lacks bass when plugged into an mp3 player, is that right?  It seems you need an amp for your portable gear to me.
 
Or are you saying M50 doesn't sound the same as before using your "initial" non-portable gear (Mac)?
 
Jan 16, 2011 at 9:48 PM Post #14 of 52

slapshot30

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Quote:
Your M50 only lacks bass when plugged into an mp3 player, is that right?  It seems you need an amp for your portable gear to me.
 
Or are you saying M50 doesn't sound the same as before using your "initial" non-portable gear (Mac)?



I really think all he needs is an amp. I had the same exact issue when I had no amp. And to answer the OP, no, I have owned the E5 but not the E7. I was about to get an E7 but decided to wait for the E11 in March. Just as reference though... can anyone comment if they heard a difference with their m50's between the E5 and E7. The E11 amp has no DAC but supposedly will be a better amp than the E7, and it will cost less.
 
Jan 16, 2011 at 10:21 PM Post #15 of 52

Erieg

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Quote:
Your M50 only lacks bass when plugged into an mp3 player, is that right?  It seems you need an amp for your portable gear to me.
 
Or are you saying M50 doesn't sound the same as before using your "initial" non-portable gear (Mac)?


Actually it lacks bass connected to my PCs Sound Blaster card, my Macs headset output, the USB preamp hooked to my mac to practice the guitar, my Yamaha home theater receiver/amp, my iPhone 4, my iPad, my wife's iPhone 1st gen and my sons nano. My wife who was watching me run around the house plugging the things into everything but wall socket, after she stopped laughing, tried them out. She listened to some old 80's music (the Cure) then handed them back and told me they sounded worse then her stock earbuds. I totally disagree with that assessment though. I think the highs and mids are just stellar.
 
I have a dilemma. I purchased these through Amazon but they were actually sold by a third party vendor, Amazon just fulfilled the order. I contacted Amazon and they told me they are more then happy to accept them as returns but they could not exchange them. I got a really good price on these and I checked out what it would be the cost difference if I returned this set and turned around and ordered another pair. Unfortunately it is a $60 dollar difference.
 
Now it comes down to keeping them for use with my guitar and maybe buying an amp in hopes that helps, buying a new set that eats $60 dollars or send them in for repair and hope for the best.
 
Life is never easy.
 

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