Before we get into the ATH M50 vs. Beats Studio comparison, grab a snack, sit back and relax because..
You’ve come to the right place!!
What I will bring you in this review
Since I have already written about the Beats Studio Wireless, today I will simply outline the Similarities & Differences between the two, and then make my recommendation towards the end! 🙂
Iterations of “Beats by Dre” headphones
My M50 Review!
Similarities & Differences
Now without further ado, let’s get rolling!!
Wow. Okay. So before we even get into the specifics, let’s go over all the different versions of this headphone so we have a clear idea of what we’re getting into. This review will not cover any In-ear models. The models underlined in green are the only that have received overall positive reviews on amazon. I honestly wouldn’t even bother with the other models.
Beats Studio Wired (Discontinued)
Beats Studio 2.0 Wired Over-Ear (Circumaural)
Beats Studio Wireless Over-Ear
Beats Studio Wireless On-Ear (Supra-aural)
Beats Pro Wired Over-Ear
Beats Executive Wired Over-Ear
Beats Solo HD Wired On-Ear(Discontinued)
Beats Solo2 Wired On-Ear
Beats Solo3 Wireless On-Ear
Beats Mixr Wired On-Ear
So for the purposes of this article, I will be talking about the highest rated Studio version which happens to be the Beats Studio Wireless Over-Ear.
I get kind of long winded here, so if you’re not in the mood to read my rambling, scroll down. 🙂
I’ve owned the Audio Technica ATH M50 since January of 2013. Since then, a lot of things have changed. When the M50’s first came out, everybody drooled over them. They were the headphone to buy if you were in that weird phase of “I’m not quite an audiophile, but I still know enough about sound to know what’s what.”
This was me. At that time, I was hungry for good sound. It was my second big purchase, with the first one being the Sony MDR 7506 around 2010. I really wanted to be blown away even more so than my first experience, so I researched for weeks before coming to a decision. The consensus was overwhelmingly positive: If you want the best sound in this price range, go for the M50. So I did.
But to backtrack..
That initial introduction to the 7506 was mind blowing. It was the first time that I heard what music was supposed to sound like. In short, it got me hooked. As a beat-maker, my production almost instantaneously got better overnight. Suddenly I could hear everything that was going on in the mix. The 7506 is a great headphone for both critical and casual listening situations, although the sound can sometimes get pretty harsh and sibilant. What does Sibilant mean?
This is why I generally recommend it’s older brother, the V6 for closed back critical listening purposes. In my opinion, the bass is better (more natural), and the highs don’t fatigue me. More on that later. Closed back vs. Open back headphones.
As for the M50, the recent hatred in the last couple of years is a little unwarranted in my opinion. No ,the headphones aren’t perfect. What headphone is? Every single one you purchase or think about purchasing has it’s share of issues. That’s just the nature of the beast. It’s more about trade-off, and what you’re willing to sacrifice.
In an ideal world, Sennheiser, Sony, or whatever company you like would make one great headphone, with no flaws or issues, for a good price, and everyone would be happy. But sadly, we live in an imperfect world and stuff happens. Lol.
In the case of the M50, the biggest gripe against it is a mid-bass hump, which makes the low end sound a tad artificially boosted. But really, you’re not going to know the difference unless you’re constantly reading forums and research all day like a nerd. Hint: This is what I do. 🙂
Other than that, it’s a great pair. As for Beats, well, they’re okay I suppose. Too much bass for my liking. If you’ve ever seen a frequency response chart for a Beats headphone, it’s rather hilarious. 😛 I would rather experience bass and not just feel it vibrating my entire body. Heh.
Add to that, the other frequencies tend to get drowned out. It’s just not a win win proposition in my book.
My Video Review!
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That said, let’s look at this stuff a little more in depth, shall we?
Similarities & Differences
Bass. The bass on both is pretty similar, though the Studio Wireless has a bit more. It’s not necessarily better however.
Overall sound. While the M50’s are very much a bass lovers type of headphone, overall they’re much more balanced across the spectrum than the Beats Studio Wireless. This isn’t to say they’re purely balanced, as they’re definitely colored more than a true studio headphone. The M50 is marketed for mixing/mastering, and while I do think they work fairly well in studio, they’re geared towards a more casual demographic by and large. The Beats Studio Wireless are definitely not for studio excursions, and are meant strictly for your average consumer who just wants to hear bass in large amounts. I can’t even say that your standard listener could even discern good from bad, since their experience tends to be very limited. This isn’t a knock, it’s just the reality. I was in that camp once upon a time. To sum it up, the M50 has a more accurate sound, which results in a better listening experience.
Mid-range. The M50’s mids are by no means perfect, and in reality they’re not even that good. However, they are better than the Studio Wireless by a small margin. You will see people go back and forth on this one, but I think the 50’s mids are a little less recessed.
Look. This is my personal opinion, but the M50’s have more of a professional appearance, while the Beats Studio Wireless are more flashy for sure.
Portability. While you could theoretically carry the M50’s around, they aren’t the best portable headphone in the world. That said, I used to lug them around pretty much everywhere I went and they were fine. By contrast, the Beats Studio Wireless are meant for portability first and foremost. This brings us to the next point:
Cable. The Beats Studio Wireless come with an optional cable that is detachable, while the M50’s cable is not removable.
Flexibility & Durability. The M50’s can fold and contort in a myriad of ways, while the Beats Studio Wireless do not. This flexibility greatly contributes to the durability of the M50; There are hardly any points of contact likely to break because the headphone simply moves around so freely. This is one of the things I love most about my M50. The old version of the Beats Studio Wireless was one of the most poorly built headphones around. The newer version does improve tremendously on this flaw, as the headband now has metal in it rather than being an extremely flimsy piece of plastic likely to break. I would still rate the M50’s higher though.
Perceived Value. I think for the price, the M50 is the perfect headphone for the enthusiast. It’s enough where you aren’t mortgaging your house, but also not so cheap that you don’t feel as if you’re getting a worthwhile product. The Beats Studio Wireless in my opinion has always been overpriced, and I still wouldn’t pay the asking rate for the improved version. Why? Because I know good sound, and the Studio Wireless doesn’t quite measure up.
Soundstage. One of the things I loved about the M50 was that even being a closed headphone, the soundstage was pretty decent. Mind you, it’s nothing like the experience of a good open back can, but still good nonetheless. The Beats Studio Wireless by contrast have a much narrower soundstage, almost non-existent. What is Soundstage?
Noise cancelling. The Beats Studio Wireless do in fact have a noise cancelling feature, while the M50 does not. The M50’s do an excellent job with sound isolation however. Also, the NC feature on the Beats emits a sort of quiet hum, which may become distracting depending on the track you’re listening to.
Comfort. I must say, the Beats Studio Wireless are more comfortable than the M50’s. While the M50’s are pretty comfy overall, they can fatigue your ears after awhile. Worse, over time the pads sort of harden up and become prone to cracking. The Studio Wireless is just more comfortable overall, as the pads are softer and more plush.
Case. The M50’s come with a soft pleather type of case, while the Studio Wireless have a hard shell type of case.
Price to performance ratio. The M50’s at their price have a phenomenal price to performance ratio, while the Beats Studio Wireless, though improved, do not come close.
It’s not that the Beats Studio Wireless are bad headphones. They’re not. The updated version is actually quite good, but I just wouldn’t pay the asking price is all.
I do think the M50’s are a better purchase, and I would recommend them for general fun listening in their price category. Interested in my full blown review of these puppies?
For the absolute best closed back headphone in it’s price range, the MDR V6 is the ticket. Like the M50, their price to performance ratio is even more startling, and their sound is more balanced and honest overall. The bass isn’t deep, but it has some nice impact and you can actually discern different textures and it feels more immersed and part of the music, rather than a byproduct. Interested in learning more about an amazing set of closed back headphones?
Stu is determined to help you make sound decisions, and strives to deliver the best and most in depth content on the internet! In his spare time, he likes to fish, paint, play guitar, attend church, take photos, record videos, graphic design, and more. His strict attention to detail and perfectionist attitude are what allow him to excel and stand out among-st the crowd.