Before we get into the ATH M50 vs. DT 770, grab a snack, sit back and relax because..
You’ve come to the right place!!
What I will bring you in this review
Today I will give a quick and dirty comparison of these two dope headphones, and then link you to separate reviews. 🙂
I’ve had the Audio Technica ATH M50 since Jan. of 2013. Wow time truly flies huh!? I will never forget the feeling I had when I first put them on. I was in college at the time, and it was a bright, brisk, sunny January morning. As the sun was filtering through the windows of my Graphic Design class on the second floor, I couldn’t help but be excited. I just knew I was going to be blown away. You know that feeling you get when you’re almost 100% sure of something positive? Yeah, that’s the feeling I had. So I slipped the cans on my head and braced myself. Mind you, this was only my second foray into higher end gear. I had previously owned the Sony MDR 7506’s, and loved them as well.
But this was different. I had done tireless research on the M50’s, and at that time they were THE hot commodity. To this day the newer 50x’s are still a hot commodity, and remain an entry level classic. There aren’t too many people nowadays that haven’t heard of the M50’s. Their popularity has soared over the last few years, and for good reason. They represent a true starting point for a budding audiophile, or just an enthusiast who loves exciting sound.
So anyway, back to my story.
I put ’em on, turned up the volume, and threw on one of my favorite beats, J Dilla’s “Flyy.” And Oh my godsound enveloping my entire being. It was the most intense experience I’ve ever had musically. The sound was so crisp, so clear, so deep, and so articulate. I could hear everything going on. It was like hearing music for the first time. This is not an exaggeration. If you’ve never put on a pair of $100-150 headphones, your experience is likely to be the same as mine was. This is the beauty of high end gear; you start to realize that there’s more to music than what you previously thought.
So as I’m sitting there, in complete awe, I suddenly rip off the headphones in sheer terror. “What was that sound!?” Was that an air raid siren? Are we being rounded up and taken off to concentration camps?” The sound was so intimate that I perceived it to be coming from the outside! Like outside outside. “What an experience!” I exclaimed. “This is unreal.” The term for what I just described is Soundstage. What is Soundstage?
Typically, Soundstage is rarely experienced with Closed back headphones like the M50. Closed back vs. Open back headphones. There are a few exceptions however, and this headphone is one of them. There are some who will disagree with me, but I know what I felt, and it was quite an eye opener.
The DT 770 is similar to the M50 in many ways. Let’s take a look at those similarities now, as well as the differences!
Similarities & Differences
Both are closed back headphones.
Both have a circumaural (Around the ear) fit.
They both have a very similar sound: Tight, deep bass, recessed mid-range, and sparkly treble. A recessed mid-range basically means that they sometimes have trouble with vocals and female vocals. The treble can also be problematic at times, leading to sibilance. What does Sibilant mean? Build quality. Both are built to last like Duralast. I’ve had the M50’s for a long time, and the DT770 is equally as durable.
Noise Isolation. Both do an impressive job of blocking out sound. Keep in mind neither is noise cancelling however.
Soundstage. Both have pretty good soundstage for closed back headphones.
Mixing in studio. Neither are ideal for mixing in studio, as their sound signatures are both more “fun” than analytical. I used the M50’s as mixing headphones for awhile, and they did work, but I wouldn’t buy them for strictly mixing.
Cable. Neither have a detachable cable. Keep in mind that the 50x does have a detachable cable.
Frequency Response. The M50 has a FR of 15 – 28,000 Hz, while the DT 770’s is 5 – 35,000 Hz.
Ear pads. The M50’s sport faux leather, while the DT 770’s have that comfy velour we all love.
Impedance. With the DT 770’s, you have your choice of 3 impedance models: 32 Ohm, 80 Ohm, or 250 Ohm. What is Headphone Impedance? Also, because the DT770’s have 3 impedance versions, they may or may not need an amp. The 32 Ohm does not, and the 80 Ohm could go either way. he 250 Ohm definitely does need one. By contrast, the M50 does not need an amp.
Color. The M50’s are mostly black, while the DT 770 is black, grey and silver.
Source. While the DT 770’s will reveal bad audio sources, the M50 is definitely more forgiving. I never really have too much of a problem with the M50’s revealing too much. It’s a headphone that you can immediately enjoy.
Case & Wire. Both come with a carrying case, as well as a long and durable wire.
Flexibility. The M50’s can be folded and contorted in a myriad of different ways, while the DT770’s do fold up but whose ear-cups cannot be rotated 180 degrees.
Volume. The M50’s will sound louder out of a portable device than the 770’s.
Clarity. The DT770’s give off more clarity than the M50’s.
Comfort. The DT770’s are more comfy.
Bass control. Unamped, the M50 has a bit better bass control than the 770.
Forgiving. The M50’s are much more forgiving with bad source files, while the 770’s are very revealing.
Because these headphones are so similar, it’s hard to make a recommendation outright. I think the DT770’s are much more comfortable over a long period, and give off more clarity. Overall, they are a better headphone, and while the sound is similar, the DT770’s have a better Soundstage, Mid-range, treble range, and isolate more than the M50’s. The great thing about the lower impedance 770 models is that they don’t necessarily need an amp, but if you do decide to get one, they don’t need anything really expensive. The FiiO E10K would be more than enough. An amp really does a great job of tightening up the sound. That said, in a nutshell:
Stu is determined to provide the truth about all things audio, and strives to deliver excellent content to you the reader! In his spare time, he likes to fish, paint, play guitar, attend church, take photos, record videos, graphic design, and more. His attention to detail and perfectionist attitude are what allow him to excel, but it can be both a blessing and a hindrance at times.