Audio Technica ATH M50 vs. Audio Technica ATH M50S

Greetings comrade and Welcome aboard!!

Before we get into this quick but effective Audio Technica ATH M50 vs. Audio Technica ATH M50S comparison, grab a snack, sit back and relax because…

You’ve come to the right place!!

What I will bring you today

This is going to be a comparison of two headphones, one with a slight change. Recommendation towards the end. 🙂

  1. Introduction
  2. The Wire
  3. The Sound
  4. The Difference
  5. Final Word


I’ve been a proud owner of the Audio Technica ATH M50 since January of 2013. Over that time, the headphone has proven to be nearly indestructible. The only issue I have had is an inevitable one: The ear-cups wore out and started flaking/peeling.

After awhile, I decided to completely peel the entire layer away because as it does so, it sort of hardens and hurts your ears. So I completely flaked off every last bit, and went ahead and did the same with the headband. What’s left is the foam cushioning for the pads, and a soft cloth type of material for the band.

While still very comfortable in this state, the sound began to degrade after awhile. I looked into some replacement cups, and fortunately the M50’s can in fact be switched out. What I went with were the Brainwavz HM5’s.

I would say that after a couple of years you will have to replace the cups.

The Wire

The other very minor issue is that the wire will really start to get stiff. I don’t really find this to be a problem, but I did notice it. The chord is very long, so I use a twist tie for convenience sake.

The legendary 3.5mm Jack

Legends never die.

This baby still impresses me to this day, as I have not seen a sturdier mechanism in any other pair of headphones. The original 3.5mm jack that came with the M50 was, and still is indestructible. You can take a look at my original picture to the right, taken in the winter of 2014.

The Sound

Of course the sound here leans toward the bass heavy side of things, but to me it never feels artificial, forced, or bloated. I remember being completely amazed the first time I put them on. Granted, it was my second foray into the audiophile world, the first being my amazement at the Sony MDR 7506.

Still, the M50’s have a crisp, clear, and detailed quality about them, which is amazing considering their price. Even now I would recommend them because they do so many things right. When I think about the frequency response, I think elevated. Everything is pretty intense, from the bass to the highs, but is the mid-range recessed (or pushed back) like a lot of people say?

Well that’s up for debate friend. 🙂 Audio Technica attempted to make an exciting sound signature, and they passed with flying colors. The issue for me is that they market the M50 as a monitor/reference headphone, when it’s not even close to being such.

Check out Tyll’s graph. Does anything about that line say “balanced” to you? Lol. It’s a fun headphone, but the fact that Audio Technica tries to brand it as a studio headphone is extremely irritating and misleading. This is a casual bass head affair and nothing more.

The Difference

As far as the difference between the M50 and M50S? It’s a simple one brethren!

With the original M50, you had a choice between purchasing it with either a straight cable or a coiled one. The M50S simply meant “Straight” meaning that it was the straight cabled version. I purchased mine this way because I don’t like coiled cables that much.

What about the 50x?

The 50x improved upon the 50 in the following ways:

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

That’s about it! I got a chance to demo them a few years back because my friend decided to purchase them. The sound is pretty much the same, but you can tell it’s just a bit crisper and livelier.

Final Word

The fact of the matter is that the M50 is still a good headphone in it’s price range, no matter what the naysayers tell you. It’s not a perfect headphone, but honestly what is?

I believe the M50 to be a headphone that anyone can put on and immediately enjoy. Did I use it for mixing? You can bet your buns I did, but I still wouldn’t classify it as a mixing headphone, and it’s not. Consider it a high end consumer headphone that delivers sparkling sound, a tight, authoritative bass, and a durable, long lasting appeal. Interested in learning more?


Interested in learning more about the upgraded M50x?


Well that’s about it for today my friend! Hope you enjoyed this Audio Technica ATH M50 vs. Audio Technica ATH M50S comparison.

Questions? Comments? Requests? Did I miss the mark on something? Please let me know down 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,





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