M50 or SRH840 for rock/folk ?
Aug 9, 2010 at 6:37 PM Thread Starter Post #1 of 19


New Head-Fier
May 7, 2009
Iv'e been reading for hours in order to decide which headphones i should get(first HP's). I narrowed it to M50 or SRH840- I think i read every review/comparison/thread available and i still can't decide.
I listen mostly to rock(Oasis, Bettie Serveert etc) and folk(Bob Dylan, Elliott Smith, Norah Jones) - Which HP's will be better for me ?
It will really help if someone who tried them both can reply.
Aug 9, 2010 at 7:05 PM Post #2 of 19
Most Guitar Centers should have both models if you are able to drop in for a listen.
Aug 9, 2010 at 7:13 PM Post #4 of 19
It kinda depends on what you want.  I've heard both and both can be suited depending on your taste.  If you want something more neutral (can be perceived as slightly boring), precise, with great detail, but when compared to the M50 has less bass impact then get the 840.  If you want something heavier or darker sounding with better bass impact but less detail (not by much) then the M50.  Another one you can check out is the Ortofon O-One.  It is a bit of dark horse but it's quite suited for various genres.  It also has the widest soundstage.
Aug 9, 2010 at 7:33 PM Post #5 of 19
I saw the thread you talked about the Ortofon but i can't get them where i live.
I was about to get the M50 but then i saw this:
"the full bottom end of the Audio-Technica ATH-M50 was a bit too much; it seemed to reduce vocal clarity, getting a little clouded at times and even a tad lacking in dynamics overall. "
Since vocals are big part of the music i listen to i think it might be a bit of a problem.
Despite the fact that i can understand what you talk about sound wise, its going to be my first good HP's so i'm still not sure about my sound preferences. This is what make it so hard to choose :\
Aug 9, 2010 at 7:38 PM Post #6 of 19
I've not heard the M50s, but I found the Shure's a bit bland for rock.  My guess is you'll be happier with the M50s.
Aug 9, 2010 at 7:53 PM Post #7 of 19
I've not heard the M50s, but I found the Shure's a bit bland for rock.  My guess is you'll be happier with the M50s.

i own both, and agree with joelpearce

Aug 9, 2010 at 8:04 PM Post #9 of 19
sure.  not a problem.
the srh840
heavy, slightly less comfortable than the m50.
the wire on the headband is quite precarious.  just begging to be snagged on something.
the sound is fairly neutral.  slightly forward in the midrange.
i find that there's an upper midrange glare that appears during dense vocals and other elements that occupy that freq. range.
there's something kind of clinical about the srh840.  i won't go as far as to call it dull. 
the m50
about the same size at the 840, but lighter.  a bit more comfy.
bassier than the srh840.  but not overwhelming bass.  it's quite pleasant.
after burn-in, the mids kind of have a very slight recessed quality.  not objectionable to me, just something i noticed.
highs are a tiny bit grainy, but not too bad.
fun headphones.
to give you the full scoop.  i've modded the m50 slightly (search the thread for "m50 balance mod").  and, i'm using the extra ear pads from the 840 on the m50.
they are better ear pads for sure.
if you get the m50 (it's cheaper), you can order some ear pads from the 840.
my only complaint about the m50 is that the ear pads flatten and become crusty.  and we're talking about a short period of time.  4 or 5 months of use.

edit:  i didn't really relate any of my comments to music.  but, i listen to the same stuff you do, and find the m50 to be more fun.
Aug 9, 2010 at 8:35 PM Post #10 of 19
OK, thanks for that. I have one question now:
You said(and almost everyone say) that the mids are a bit recessed, will this make them less enjoyable then the SRH840 for the folk music i talked about(Bob Dylan, Elliott Smith, Norah Jones etc) and acoustic+vocal tracks ? Or the M50 are still more fun then the SRH840 ?
Aug 9, 2010 at 9:38 PM Post #11 of 19
I've heard both , I owned a SRH840 for 2 weeks and heard  the M50 in guitar center.
- quite heavy , but acceptable
- ear pads are bigger than M50 , more comfortable
- very good mids , good for vocal and acoustic !
- very good soundstage despite being a closed headphone at this price
- SRH840 bass is little bit shy.
-lighter weight
-smaller and thinner ear pads
-recessed mids , vocal is not very good
- small soundstage
SRH840 is better than M50 for playing vocal, soul, and acoustic  . I mainly listen to Whitney Houston,Celine Dion , Mariah Carey , and etc ! It feels like they are singing 3 4rows from the stage, very sweet vocal because of SRH840 mids . M50 is more enjoyable when playing trance/house/electronic, songs which need BASS to be alive. So I often fall asleep when playing trance/house/electronic , it couldn't make me feel excited. I'll keep SRH840 for vocal and soul , might be getting Ultrasone Pro 900 for electronic/trance/house .Conclusion of mine , both of them serve different purpose ,M50 emphasizes bass and SRH840 emphasizes vocal.
Aug 9, 2010 at 10:50 PM Post #12 of 19
blueyan you made the point that make me not being able to decide. Overall by reviews i think the m50 are better BUT:
Big part of folk rock(Bob Dylan, Elliott Smith, Norah Jones etc) is vocals and acoustics and this is the music i mainly listen to along with some rock like Oasis.
Any more thoughts about vocals and acoustic in M50 vs SRH840 comparison from people who heard both ? This is my main issue which make it hard for me to decide which way to go.
Aug 9, 2010 at 10:59 PM Post #13 of 19
That's why I am getting Pro 900 for another purpose . M50 and SRH840 have their own pros and cons , both serve different purposes . hmm , why don't you drop a visit to the guitar center ?
Aug 9, 2010 at 11:08 PM Post #14 of 19
I had been using IEMs all this while and found out that mid quite forward on most of them. M50 is my first can and to my ears, its mid quite acceptable. It have a U-shaped curve imho.
Aug 9, 2010 at 11:23 PM Post #15 of 19
If I had to choose I'd go with the SRH-840 over the M50s for any genre. In terms of overall sound quality, but who goes by just that these days? That's if I could find them for under $160. If I had to pay over that I'd just go with the M50's myself.
It's nice to see that people on here are not afraid to list any negatives of a headphone they love. I get tired of all these reviews where something they love is perfect in every way. So far I've only found two headphones that are perfect to my ears. Despite what some people seem to think, the M50s are not the best headphone ever made. BTW my two "perfect" headphones (based on the sound signatures I like) are the Triple Fi 10 and Koss Pro DJ 100.
1. Better overall sound quality then the M50's. Better vocals, with a bump in the mid-range
2. Slightly harsh highs at times and they can fatigue my ears sometimes
3. Bass is great on them to me. I don't like bass heavy phones, but at the same time I hate the AD-700 and RE0 due to lack of bass. If you want more bass, the SRH-750 is a better match.
4. Poor fit on a small head and very large. It's just balances on my head.
Audio Technica M50
1. Better fit and somewhat lighter. You can get that sweaty ears effect after a few hours. Same with SRH-840.
2. Excessive bass. To me it seems bloated and un-natural. Since when does Cantopop sound boomy?!
3. Not as detailed as it could be. Vocals are so-so. My $80 DJ Pro100 (with amp) has better vocals. Vocals on the M50 are harder to hear sometimes. Slightly recessed Mid-range.
4. These are cheap!
5. Does not suffer from harsh highs so far. Other then with the bass, they almost never fatigue my ears.

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