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!!!
What I will bring you in this review
- Build Quality/Longevity
- Amp/DAC Requirements
- Who this headphone benefits?
- How it compares to the 50x?
Audio Technica ATH M50
Price: Check amazon! | check eBay!
Type: Closed back, dynamic
Fit: Circumaural (on ear)
Impedance: 38 Ohm. What is Headphone Impedance?
Frequency response: 15 – 28,000 Hz
Material: Plastic, Faux leather, Metal
It’s a bit tricky to review these cans because the good folks at Audio Technica came out with a slightly updated model of the M50’s. Enter Sandman, the M50x’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.
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 near flawless.
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 cancelling, 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.
For a closed back model, these deliver quite the experience. For those that don’t know, sound-stage simply means how live 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).
- Check out a more in depth description of Closed back vs. Open back headphones!!
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 awhile. 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 studio, because of the fact that you are sitting and analyzing the song for a good number of hours.
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 wore 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.
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
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 it’s 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.
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.
My only gripe as far as build quality goes is a minor issue with the ear cups. They will start to peel after awhile, 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.
I opted for the straight cable, other folks may prefer the coiled. The cable is still of a high quality regardless, and like 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!
- 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 to heavy, not too light.
- They contort in a myriad of different ways for added flexibility.
- Great carrying case.
- 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.
- The ear pads are prone to cracking after sometime.
- While pretty decent for mixing in studio, the closed back design (sound trapped inside) can be fatiguing after awhile. 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 you’re looking to wear them out and about. There is also a coiled cable version of these as well.
Check out the video review!!
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 5 different colors (White, Blue, Black, Matte Gray, and Green). Subject to change.
- contoured ear cups that seal tighter for improved isolation
- A tad more bass
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 over indulgent and bloated. The build quality, longevity, and value in this set is almost unmatched, especially at this price range.
The ear cups are prone to peeling after some time, and the padding does lose it’s 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, leave them below or 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,