M50s overrated?
Dec 4, 2011 at 3:46 AM Post #361 of 991

SanjiWatsuki

500+ Head-Fier
Joined
Oct 21, 2011
Posts
716
Likes
102
I would find that the ATH-M50 has issues as a studio monitor. The frequency response graphs indicate a greater than usual 10khz treble peak which overemphasizes the highs while also having a recessed response at 2khz. This implies that they have recessed vocals, an aspect which is normally considered to be a poor trait in studio monitors -- it makes analyzing the vocal details a more difficult job as they fall behind a soup of bass and treble. This dip is partially what makes the M50s seem so bass heavy -- the main aspect of the mids that we listen to is recessed compared to the bass, which can overshadow them due to that dip. Hence, this is why most studio monitors tend to roll off the bass beyond the 2khz region -- they can check out the vocals more clearly. 
 
Dec 4, 2011 at 7:36 AM Post #362 of 991

rayjuodas

100+ Head-Fier
Joined
May 26, 2010
Posts
177
Likes
24


Quote:
I would find that the ATH-M50 has issues as a studio monitor. The frequency response graphs indicate a greater than usual 10khz treble peak which overemphasizes the highs while also having a recessed response at 2khz. This implies that they have recessed vocals, an aspect which is normally considered to be a poor trait in studio monitors -- it makes analyzing the vocal details a more difficult job as they fall behind a soup of bass and treble. This dip is partially what makes the M50s seem so bass heavy -- the main aspect of the mids that we listen to is recessed compared to the bass, which can overshadow them due to that dip. Hence, this is why most studio monitors tend to roll off the bass beyond the 2khz region -- they can check out the vocals more clearly. 

 
 
[size=10.0pt]Well, no headphone is perfect, that is for sure :). From personal experience I know that you cannot trust frequency graphs completely, but you can rely on them to some extent, of course. I haven't noticed anything wrong with 10 khz on M50, and I hear plenty wrong with, for example, ATH-A900 (12 khz narrow peak), Shure SRH840 (broad boosted mids and broad(ish) scooped 500 hz range). Another example of my point that you can not really fully trust graphs and have to go with your ears is this: try to find on the M50 graph those recessed 2khz you're mentioning: [/size]http://www.headphone.com/learning-center/build-a-graph.php?graphID%5B0%5D=2881&graphID%5B1%5D=2941&graphID%5B2%5D=&graphID%5B3%5D=&graphType=0&buttonSelection=Compare+Headphones
[size=10.0pt]It's not quite there, is it? Now compare it to the graph of, say, Denon D2000 (which is by many considered to be a proper reference headphone). It clearly shows that there's a measurable dip at that frequency on it. Otherwise the high frequency range is quite similar of those two headphones, apart from M50's dip at 5 khz (which also correlates with my impression that they are not shrill or sibilant in any sense, even though some people tend to get that impression) and also apart from the obvious sibilance of D2000, compared to ATH-M50, at yet higher frequencies, which is also not found on the graphs. [/size]
 
[size=10.0pt]I would agree that, compared to some other headphones, the vocals and some other instruments that have 2khz-3khz at their core, seem to be somewhat subdued on ATH-M50, but, as I wrote in my comparison of 7 closed headphones here on Head-Fi, I'm not entirely sure whether that is a curse or a blessing, because I’m not entirely sure those same 2khz are not boosted on other headphones, rather than subdued on M50. Graphs seem to prove me right, but you already read my opinion about them. So it’s a tricky one, for sure. [/size]
 
[size=10.0pt]You have completely lost me in your comment about the bass roll off from 2 khz, I’m sorry to say. Either it’s a misprint or I’m really not sure what you mean. The frequency has to be as flat as it possibly can be. There should be no roll off and no boost anywhere in the spectrum, so what exactly did you mean by that? Most small near-field monitors roll off at around 50-60 hz, not because the manufacturers purposely want to make you hear 2 khz well, but because it’s very hard to achieve good transparency at those low frequencies, having such small (5 or 6 inches) drivers. 2 khz should not be elevated nor should it be subdued, it should be on par with all other frequencies in the sound spectrum. [/size]
 
 
Dec 4, 2011 at 7:45 AM Post #363 of 991

rayjuodas

100+ Head-Fier
Joined
May 26, 2010
Posts
177
Likes
24


Quote:
In audio, age has little to do with determining how good something is going to sound. There's plenty of older and even vintage gear that outperforms stuff being sold today.


Yes, of course, I completely agree with that, but that is not exactly what I meant with my comment. I meant sound and reliability, not only sound. I have not heard V6 or 7560 or 7590 myself yet, so I cannot write about their sound quality, I can only assume back then they were trusted, and it's probably not only because they sound well enough, but also because they are reliable and their parts are interchangeable, which is important for a studio headphones as they are being abused regularly). Another example is Beyerdynamic DT100 or DT150, which don't sound very well, IMO, but they are extensively used both in the studio and radio, because they are built like a tank.
 
Dec 4, 2011 at 9:54 AM Post #364 of 991

TMRaven

Headphoneus Supremus
Joined
Apr 6, 2011
Posts
7,312
Likes
1,063
D2000 is by all means, not a monitoring headphone.  It tends to be a bit a slightly more u-shaped M50.  Just as much sub-bass (appears to have more because midbass isn't as emphasized)  Tiny bit less mids, and a larger treble spike with a bit of ringing that causes for some sibilance.  M50's treble is less sibilant and exaggerated, but also does sound weird, metallic and off-timbre.  I don't want to jump to conclusions, but I think that dip at around 5-6khz is a reason for that happening.
 
 
 
Dec 4, 2011 at 10:22 AM Post #365 of 991

rayjuodas

100+ Head-Fier
Joined
May 26, 2010
Posts
177
Likes
24


Quote:
D2000 is by all means, not a monitoring headphone.  It tends to be a bit a slightly more u-shaped M50.  Just as much sub-bass (appears to have more because midbass isn't as emphasized)  Tiny bit less mids, and a larger treble spike with a bit of ringing that causes for some sibilance.  M50's treble is less sibilant and exaggerated, but also does sound weird, metallic and off-timbre.  I don't want to jump to conclusions, but I think that dip at around 5-6khz is a reason for that happening.
 
 


I never said it was :). But some people tend to praise it as a studio headphone, which is weird, in my opinion, as it's too pleasing sounding, with too much of a hole in the mids, too boomy and bloated bass and too peaky obtrusive highs. M50 does seem shy in mids, compared to some other headphones, but once again, I'm not quite sure about them actually being recessed, as they sound very similar to my main monitors (Dynaudio BM15), which are even used for mastering by some studios, so I'd rather trust this fact and my ears and not go with the flow on this. I would also suggest trying to listen to M50 with the worn pads, not new ones, as the sound is quite different then. I've had 3 pairs of them at one point at home, so I experimented / compared them side by side quite a bit. I don't like too much their "out of the box" sound, as it's more "rubbery" (highs are a bit more pronounced, mids are leaner, bass is hollower and boomier), compared to the ones with well worn ear pads. Anyway, these were my observations.
 
 
Dec 4, 2011 at 11:40 AM Post #366 of 991

achristilaw

Headphoneus Supremus
Joined
Dec 12, 2006
Posts
1,835
Likes
56
The Bass is overly warm and bloated (read: "one note bloat"). That Bass tendency bleeds over to the mid-bass and is over-resonant and slow. The midrange is withdrawn and has a gruff sand paper like quality. The treble merely "spits"! Not a recommendable phone at $50.00.....(IMO).  
 
Dec 4, 2011 at 4:10 PM Post #367 of 991

SanjiWatsuki

500+ Head-Fier
Joined
Oct 21, 2011
Posts
716
Likes
102
http://www.innerfidelity.com/images/SonyMDRV6.pdf
http://www.innerfidelity.com/images/KRKKNS6400.pdf
http://www.innerfidelity.com/images/AudioTechnicaATHM50.pdf
http://www.innerfidelity.com/images/SonyMDRZX700.pdf
http://www.innerfidelity.com/images/ShureSRH840.pdf
 
I suppose I should have been more general and said begins to roll off the treble after around 2-3khz and then has the typical spike around the 9-12k region, which I believe is typical of cheaper dynamic headphones. This is in addition to the low frequency roll off that happens due to difficulties with the dynamic headphone design. I'll admit I was wrong by saying it rolled off AT 2khz specifically on the M50, I just remembered hearing recessed vocals while listening to the M50 and remembered the graphs wrong. I should have said rolling off after 2khz. 2khz is the center of human vocals, but they tend to span strongly up to 3kh, so it is still recessing part of it.
 
Anyway, my main point is just that most studio monitors roll off the treble frequencies immediately following the human vocals, but most tend to stay through 3khz while the M50s roll them off earlier, which probably causes more issues for female vocals than male.You can compare them to audiophile hi-fi headphones like the LCD-2 or Hifiman HE500 or the HD800 which go flat through the higher frequencies. It's less of a peak at 2khz on monitors and more of a "begin a roll off right after the vocals to bring them out more."

 
Quote:
 
 
[size=10.0pt]Well, no headphone is perfect, that is for sure :). From personal experience I know that you cannot trust frequency graphs completely, but you can rely on them to some extent, of course. I haven't noticed anything wrong with 10 khz on M50, and I hear plenty wrong with, for example, ATH-A900 (12 khz narrow peak), Shure SRH840 (broad boosted mids and broad(ish) scooped 500 hz range). Another example of my point that you can not really fully trust graphs and have to go with your ears is this: try to find on the M50 graph those recessed 2khz you're mentioning: [/size]http://www.headphone.com/learning-center/build-a-graph.php?graphID%5B0%5D=2881&graphID%5B1%5D=2941&graphID%5B2%5D=&graphID%5B3%5D=&graphType=0&buttonSelection=Compare+Headphones
[size=10.0pt]It's not quite there, is it? Now compare it to the graph of, say, Denon D2000 (which is by many considered to be a proper reference headphone). It clearly shows that there's a measurable dip at that frequency on it. Otherwise the high frequency range is quite similar of those two headphones, apart from M50's dip at 5 khz (which also correlates with my impression that they are not shrill or sibilant in any sense, even though some people tend to get that impression) and also apart from the obvious sibilance of D2000, compared to ATH-M50, at yet higher frequencies, which is also not found on the graphs. [/size]
 
[size=10.0pt]I would agree that, compared to some other headphones, the vocals and some other instruments that have 2khz-3khz at their core, seem to be somewhat subdued on ATH-M50, but, as I wrote in my comparison of 7 closed headphones here on Head-Fi, I'm not entirely sure whether that is a curse or a blessing, because I’m not entirely sure those same 2khz are not boosted on other headphones, rather than subdued on M50. Graphs seem to prove me right, but you already read my opinion about them. So it’s a tricky one, for sure. [/size]
 
[size=10.0pt]You have completely lost me in your comment about the bass roll off from 2 khz, I’m sorry to say. Either it’s a misprint or I’m really not sure what you mean. The frequency has to be as flat as it possibly can be. There should be no roll off and no boost anywhere in the spectrum, so what exactly did you mean by that? Most small near-field monitors roll off at around 50-60 hz, not because the manufacturers purposely want to make you hear 2 khz well, but because it’s very hard to achieve good transparency at those low frequencies, having such small (5 or 6 inches) drivers. 2 khz should not be elevated nor should it be subdued, it should be on par with all other frequencies in the sound spectrum. [/size]
 



 
 
Feb 13, 2012 at 8:00 PM Post #368 of 991

Chimchang

New Head-Fier
Joined
Aug 4, 2011
Posts
9
Likes
11
I would be pretty easily convinced that there are two different types of m50s (Sound-wise that is. i dont mean the cable.) based on direct comparisons between mine and a friend's. I figured they would be pretty similar, both being the corded version, but they were substantially different. 
The first thing I compared was bass. Mine have a very deep, sub-bass emphasis, but only when the song calls for it. Otherwise it's generally present, noticeable, but almost never overwhelming. His have earth-shaking bass. Literally. When the bass hit, I took them off because for a split second, I actually thought the world around me was shaking, and that is not a compliment. The sub-bass was still there, but with a ridiculous amount of muddy, bloated mid-bass added.
The mids are noticeably recessed in mine, which is unfortunate because they sound great. They have a very smooth, natural sound, but I consciously wish they were more forward while listening to them. Some songs just sound hollow. But if mine are noticeably recessed, his are ridiculously. 
Mine have clear, extended highs that are sometimes pretty sibilant with low-quality music. His will never, ever be sibilant. The high end is practically non-existent, which is fine for him because they have teeth-rattling bass, and because he's an idiot.
Overall, his pair is like listening to a rap concert through a brick wall.
It seems to me that either there are at least two different kinds, or some just randomly sound different from others.
m50s are still a great set, and they blow hd25's out of the water. Those are getting traded for some srh840's. Hopefully these prove to be better competition, because they are both considerably higher priced.
 
Feb 13, 2012 at 8:04 PM Post #369 of 991

RPGWiZaRD

Headphoneus Supremus
Joined
Jan 31, 2010
Posts
6,343
Likes
382
The pair I tried would greatly resemble the experiences you've had with yours, exactly the same. I didn't find earth shattering bass response, far from it. Mids to me back then seemed not very recessed at all though, only very tiny bit at best (to me they were dominating pretty much all the time except for slight sibilance hint of the slight 8kHz peak every now and then). Highs were definitely slightly exaggerated and somewhat "metallic" sounding (more edgy/sharp) around 8kHz or so frequencies.
 
The lack of bass impact for my taste and soundstage and sweating and some comfort issues made me sell them in the end.
 
Tyll definitely must have been measuring this "less bassy" version too based on the FR graph http://www.innerfidelity.com/images/AudioTechnicaATHM50.pdf
 
Compare to Headphone.com's measurement http://graphs.headphone.com/graphCompare.php?graphType=0&graphID[]=2941
 
Usually Tyll's and Headphone.com's measurement resemble each other very much, not in this case. Personally I believe that there's different versions sonice-wise made of M50.
 
But then let's not forget golden ears measurement too which is also slightly different (bassheavy) http://en.goldenears.net/index.php?mid=GR_Headphones&category=275&document_srl=10034
 
Hmm... unusually source dependant/picky or something? What do you think?
 
Feb 13, 2012 at 8:32 PM Post #370 of 991

cdnaudiophile

New Head-Fier
Joined
Apr 3, 2011
Posts
41
Likes
10
I think people should take a listen to the new white box version on the M50 because alot of the complaints that are in this thread have been reduced in this version. The M50 is an excellent, cheap, portable headphone. They have some bass emphasis but are fairly neutral in the mids and highs. They obviously do not have the detail or refinement of something like a K701 or HD650 but they perform very well for their price point. I agree that they are not competitive with the 200+ headphones but at the price of 130 they are hard to beat. I have compared them many times with my modded Sr60i's and the M50 does most music better. Slightly less detailed but much less colored then the Grado but more fun at the same time (Just are more engaging) But this is all my opinion so who knows...
 
Feb 22, 2012 at 4:11 AM Post #371 of 991

boonh

100+ Head-Fier
Joined
Oct 24, 2011
Posts
135
Likes
12
I owned shure 750dj before and changed to m50s recently. As for the sound, I like 750dj better because of the deep and punch bass, m50s has a little bit muddy sound and better look compared to 750dj.
 
Feb 22, 2012 at 10:56 AM Post #373 of 991

jerg

Headphoneus Supremus
Joined
Aug 11, 2010
Posts
6,124
Likes
846


Quote:
Portable headphone???? in the sense it can go in a bag but its not really a portable can (even though it is recommended as one far too regularly).
 
 



Well, it folds well and it doesn't require an amplifier. That makes it more portable than 95% of headphones that size.
 
Portability is in relative terms for full-sized cans.
 
Feb 27, 2012 at 5:42 PM Post #374 of 991

LazBro123

500+ Head-Fier
Joined
Oct 8, 2011
Posts
869
Likes
20
lol now I don't want my M50s after reading this..... 
tongue_smile.gif

 
Feb 27, 2012 at 8:02 PM Post #375 of 991

KimChee

Headphoneus Supremus
Joined
Feb 20, 2010
Posts
2,965
Likes
415
Location
US
Sell it to me
 

Users who are viewing this thread

Top