Home Closed Back Headphone Reviews Audio Technica ATH M50 Review | Longevity!!

Audio Technica ATH M50 Review | Longevity!!

by Stuart Charles Black
Audio Technica ATH M50 Review

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Greetings friend and Welcome aboard!!

Before we get into the Audio Technica ATH M50 review, grab a snack, sit back and relax because..

You’ve come to the right place!!!

Audio Technica ATH M50 Review

Audio Technica ATH M50 Review

What I will bring you in this review

  1. Specifications
  2. Summary
  3. Value
  4. Sound
  5. Comfort
  6. Build Quality/Longevity
  7. Pros
  8. Cons
  9. Amp/DAC Requirements
  10. Who this headphone benefits?
  11. How it compares to the 50x?
  12. Consensus/Conclusion

Audio Technica ATH M50 (and 50x)

Specifications

Summary

Itโ€™s a bit tricky to review these cans because the good folks at Audio Technica came out with a slightly updated model of the M50โ€™s. Enter Sandman, the M50xโ€™s! There are a few marked differences between the two:

  • Removable cable
  • A choice of different colors. Subject to change.
  • contoured ear cups that seal tighter for improved isolation
  • A tad more bass

If this is your first foray into the world of audiophiles, and you’ve never experienced anything other than low-grade dog food, these will sound pretty remarkable. Lol. Had to laugh at myself there.

When we talk about colored headphones, it simply means they have an added warmth to them and aren’t quite neutral. They are a bit more forward in sound and provide an enjoyable experience more so than a critical one. The great thing about them though is that they can also double as mixing and reference headphones.

The only thing that prevents them from being true mixing cans is the bass response. It isn’t neutral in the slightest. It is tight and accurate but also hits really hard. This also happens to be one of the M50’s best qualities.

Value

These may be the best all-around value as far as price to performance ratio (in this price range). They simply don’t quit. My initial investment now seems like an afterthought. The value comes in the fact that they function as an all-purpose headphone, but also deliver a sound reproduction that is nearly flawless.

Sound

When you first put these on, you may finally realize what you were missing all those years. The sound is tight, controlled, and accurate, but also has a touch of warmth to it. As mentioned before, the bass is their bread and butter. Hip hop heads will love this cans deep, tight, and accurate response. The low end never becomes too boomy, bloated, or artificial. It also somehow manages not to drown out the other frequencies.

The highs sparkle, but at times it may be a bit too much. I’ve noticed that with certain songs that have less bass, the treble becomes a bit fatiguing and somewhat harsh/sibilant. What does Sibilant mean?

That said, you will start to hear things in your music that were previously absent. Very subtle details will start to emerge, and the best way I can describe it is that the sound envelops and completely takes you away. They aren’t noise-canceling but pretty darn near close to it. I was honestly floored when I first put them on and can remember vividly how I felt throughout that specific day.

Sound-staging

For a closed-back model, these deliver quite the experience. For those that don’t know, sound-stage simply means how lively the music feels, and if you perceive the music to be right there with you rather than in your head. With an open back headphone, it’s more prominent because the sound has room to breathe (Some of it literally escapes through the backs of the headphone).

Have you ever thought you heard a noise while you were listening to music and subsequently taken off your headphones and looked around?

That’s what I mean. Good headphones can sort of fool you into thinking that you are right there with the band. What is Soundstage?

As good as the sound is here, the downside is that they can become exhausting after a while. Being that these are closed-back, the music can get trapped in your head and you may have to take frequent breaks if you blast them non-stop. This happens more so when you are mixing a track in the studio, because of the fact that you are sitting and analyzing the song for a good number of hours.

Comfort

Comfort-wise, these are phenomenal. They fit snugly on my dome piece, and I rarely notice them. I’ve had them since January of 2013, and I will say that the ear cups have worn down considerably. Fortunately, they can be replaced, and I eventually purchased the Brainwavz HM5 replacement pads. Keep in mind that because they are larger, they will distance your ears farther from the driver. What is a Headphone Driver? This means that a) the sound will have less impact overall, and b) the soundstage will improve considerably. The sound really opens up a lot with these pads.

The headband is slightly padded, and I’ve never had a problem with it. There’s just enough padding where I don’t notice it’s on my head.

Over the years I’ve been able to wear these for hours in the studio mixing tracks, but just be aware that the original ear cups will deflate over time. They are definitely not as comfortable as when I first purchased them.

That said, they are circumaural and fit around your ears rather nicely.

Build Quality/Longevity

I’m still impressed with how tough these things are. They’ve certainly been through a lot. Anything you can think of I’ve probably experienced with them. They’ve been dropped, tossed, stuffed in book bags, the chords been pulled and run over more times than I’m comfortable admitting, but they still somehow come out on top.

They are heavy enough to where I don’t get worried about breaking them but light enough to remain portable. It’s a nice balance, and the materials (while plastic), do have some tinges of metal in the headband adjustment, which adds a nice touch. The headband also stretches out quite far, so if you have a gigantic melon, you’re in luck! Lol.

The protective coil

The famous indestructible 3.5mm jack.

One of the most unique and impressive things about these is the stainless steel coil that protects the cable from damage. It appears on the end near the 3.5 mm jack and has probably prevented these from having to be replaced numerous times. Lol.

All that tugging and pulling really takes its toll, and I’m not sure I’ve ever seen such a measure taken to ensure that much longevity. Audio Technica most certainly went the extra mile with this set.

Flexibility

Another impressive feature is the fact that they fold and contort in basically any shape and size. This adds to the durability factor as well as longevity. While other headphones may break because they weren’t meant to twist that way, the M50’s stay strong and solid.

Earcups

My only gripe as far as build quality goes is a minor issue with the ear cups. They will start to peel after a while, though you may not have to worry about it for a few years. One piece of advice: Try not to wear them right out of the shower. I have, and I feel like it’s contributed to this issue.

The wire

I opted for the straight cable, other folks may prefer the coiled. The cable is still of high quality regardless, and as I said before, it’s been tugged so many times you wonder how it’s still even intact.

The headphones also come with a case and 1/4″ adapter, which is a nice pairing with the Scarlett 2i2.

Check out my Focusrite Scarlet 2i2 Review!

Pros

  • Deep, tight bass response, with crisp highs.
  • Extreme and vivid clarity between each instrument.
  • Great sound-stage for a closed-back model.
  • Great for hip-hop/rap (a bass-heads dream).
  • Very comfortable over a long period.
  • Sturdy build quality, not too heavy, not too light.
  • They contort in a myriad of different ways for added flexibility.
  • Great carrying case.
  • The wire is protected by a chromed metal coil at the end. The adapter and plug are both very rugged.
  • They can really take quite a bit of abuse.

Cons

  • The earpads are prone to cracking after some time.
  • While pretty decent for mixing in the studio, the closed-back design (sound trapped inside) can be fatiguing after a while. You will need to take a break every so often.
  • Straight cable is a bit long, making them a little less portable. You will need a rubber band or twist tie if youโ€™re looking to wear them out and about. There is also a coiled cable version of these as well.

My Video Review!

Please don’t forget to like, comment, and subscribe to my growing channel! I would really appreciate any support. ๐Ÿ™‚

Click to see the M50!

Sun bathing.
Closeup.
Hinge worthy.
Legendary.
Still legendary.
Battle tested.
Tight but right.
It's a string of beauty.
The gang's all here.
Velour.
Another look.

Amp/DAC requirements

At 38 Ohms, none!!

Who this headphone benefits?

  • Hip-hop heads.
  • People who need an all-around great headphone for mixing as well as casual listening.
  • People who listen to a wide variety of music. These can do it all.
  • Fans of bass. Lol.
  • people looking for exceptional value out of their purchase.

How they compare with the M50x’s

As I mentioned in the open, there really isn’t a great deal of difference between these and the 50x’s. The good folks at Audio Technica figured “If it ain’t broke don’t fix it.” What they did do was enhance and improve upon an already exceptional product. Some new features include:

  • Removable cable
  • A choice of different colors. Subject to change.
  • contoured ear cups that seal tighter for improved isolation
  • A tad more bass

Consensus/Conclusion

An all-around great pair of studio headphones that also function as casual listening cans. The bass is tight and hits hard, but isn’t overindulgent and bloated. The build quality, longevity, and value in this set are almost unmatched, especially at this price range.

The ear cups are prone to peeling after some time, and the padding does lose its fluff, resulting in some discomfort. The treble range can also become “tinny” at times, and somewhat harsh.

 

 

All in all, an excellent set of headphones that will last you a very long time…

Well, that’s about it for today my friend! Hope you enjoyed this Audio Technica ATH M50 Review.

If you have any questions or comments, please contact me!!

Do you think the M50’s are a good value? What are some of your favorite headphones? Let me know!! I would love to hear from you…

All the best and God Bless,

 

 

-Stu

[Xtr@Ba$eHitZ]

Canโ€™t decide which headphones to purchase? Interested in a complete buyers guide outlining over 40 of the best options on the market? Click on over to the best audiophile headphones to learn more!!

Be sure to also check out my Reviews and Resources page for more helpful and informative articles!

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Audio Technica ATH M50

4.65

Comfort

4.5/5

Sound

4.3/5

Durability

5.0/5

Longevity

4.9/5

Pros

  • Comfortable
  • Crisp sound
  • Solid and Durable
  • Longevity
  • Tight bass

Cons

  • Ear pad crackage after 2 1/2 years
  • Recessed mid-range

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20 comments

Michael January 2, 2015 - 3:09 pm

Nice information and Products you are sharing on this Website.

Reply
Stu January 2, 2015 - 3:17 pm

Thanks Michael!!

Reply
A. Marc January 2, 2015 - 3:58 pm

what’s up Stu,
Fun review as usual. I might pick them up, do me a favor and try them with that song Fat Joe – Ballin feat Wiz Khalifa, Teyana Taylor. Wanna see ya face after hearing it with audio technica ath m50. Can you handle it?

Reply
Stu January 3, 2015 - 3:57 am

Lol I still haven’t gotten around to it.. bout to go to bed now.. i will tmw brother. Hope you’re well. Thanks for the love
-Stu

Reply
James January 2, 2015 - 4:37 pm

Great review Stu. You certainly know your stuff. Keep it up
James

Reply
Stu January 3, 2015 - 3:56 am

thanks bud!!

Reply
djolence March 27, 2015 - 4:24 am

could you please tell me the combination between ath m50x and scarlett 2i2 ? im making electronic music (dubstep/big room house),and i need studio headphones and some sound card (in the future maybe i would buy krk 6 g3) for now,i have money only for m50x. I really need your thoughts. Is good all that combinations? thanks

Reply
Stu March 27, 2015 - 5:55 pm

Hey Man! Yeah actually right now I have my M50’s on (not listening to music because they are so comfy) hehe, and the headphone jack is plugged into my 2i2! It’s really just the perfect little interface.. I can’t recommend it enough!! The M50’s as well as the 50x’s come with a 1/4″ adapter that enables you to plug your headphones right into the front of the interface. In all honesty, these headphones are the best I’ve ever had (Sony MDR 7506 being a close second).. GET EM you won’t regret it
-Stu

Reply
djolence April 2, 2015 - 5:01 am

Thank you for your answer, i really do appreciate it ๐Ÿ™‚ So the M50x and 2i2 is great combination? Can I can just plug them into my computer without 2i2?

Reply
Stu April 2, 2015 - 3:41 pm

Yes you can! If you bought the 50x’s, you wouldn’t screw on the adapter.. instead you just plug your headphones into your laptop or CPU as normal. But yeah.. the M50x’s work great with my 2i2!! They are the best headphones you can buy for under $200. I’ve had mine for over 2 years now! If you give me your email I’ll send a couple of pics i just took.
-Stu

Reply
djolence April 4, 2015 - 11:18 pm

What i really need is sound quality for sure. I know how they look, its not necessary ๐Ÿ™‚ That’s why I’m here! To seek your advice ๐Ÿ™‚ I think I’m going to buy them; are you sure I don’t need 2i2? will they sound good on my old computer without 2i2?

Stu April 5, 2015 - 12:05 am

Yeah they sound great in my laptop, in my 2i2, in my ipod.. pretty much anywhere… the sound will vary slightly from each device.. but it has nothing to do with the headphones.. You will be blown away when you’re breaking them in. You will start to hear stuff in your favorite songs that you’ve never heard before! ๐Ÿ™‚ -Stu

djolence April 5, 2015 - 4:57 pm

I can imagine that ๐Ÿ™‚ This will be my first experience listening on studio equipment. I do need these because like I said, I’m making music and would love to have them..

Greetings! ๐Ÿ™‚

Reply
Stu April 6, 2015 - 4:14 pm

yeah man, let me know if you get them!! -Stu

Reply
Alex February 10, 2016 - 5:44 am

The T70p is much better for natural classic music, while the more boosted bass and better head seal of the ATH-M50 make it better for popular music.

Reply
Stu February 13, 2016 - 10:22 pm

Thanks! I will have to check out the T70p for myself.

-Stu

Reply
Alex July 22, 2019 - 6:10 am

Hey stu, I did it anyway, I bought the audio technica m50x. I am surprised. It sounds better then I thought. When you play for 24 hours the sound is awesome. I doubt now if the audio technica m50x is less then dt 770 pro. I know how the drivers of the dt 770 pro look like. I find the drivers in the audio technica m50x of better quality. It looks more robust, I did not open this headphone but I look at photos on google. The drivers of the dt 770 pro IMO look vulnerable. I also read opinions of other people with the same conclusion.

Reply
Stuart Charles Black July 26, 2019 - 5:33 pm

Hey Alex!

I had an original M50 for 5 years before I gave it away and loved my time with it. My friend had bought a 50x and I did a side by side back in 2014 or thereabouts. Couldn’t tell that much of a difference but I tested them a long time ago. I know that they fixed the treble issue that was apparent on the original 50 and tamed it down a bit. I do think the 770 is definitely a more comfortable headphone overall. Interesting findings about the driver though. I haven’t heard anything about that although I haven’t researched the 770 in awhile. Keep me posted on your impressions of the 50x!

Reply
Alex August 6, 2019 - 7:26 pm

Hey Stu!

The dt 770 pro is more comfortable yeah I find that too. The dt 770 pro is more noticed concerning the vulnerable driver then you expect.

I have a lot of experience now with the m50x, when you listen out of the box and leave it that way the dt 770 pro definitely sounds not better but nicer, when you eq the m50x the m50x is nicer.

I am afraid that the dt 770 pro is losing my attention. The m40x is definitely losing.

Reply
Stuart Charles Black August 10, 2019 - 2:00 pm

Hey man!

Yeah I definitely got a lot more use out of the M50 back in the day. 5 Years worth. Then again I was just a beginner and it was only my second “good” headphone. The first being the MDR 7506. The 40x purchase came at a time when I had a lot of cans lying around and it just never saw as much use as I thought it was going to. I ended up selling most of my headphones recently and sadly the 40x didn’t make the cut even though it’s still a pretty good headphone overall.

Reply

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