Audio Technica ATH M50 vs. Beats | NO MORE CONFUSION!
Aloha friend and Welcome aboard!!
Before we get into the Audio Technica ATH M50 vs. Beats comparison, grab a snack, sit back and relax because..
You’ve come to the right place!!
What I will bring you today
I’m going to give a blurb about some of my experiences with the M50, and then compare it to the Beats line with a recommendation towards the end. 🙂
The 3.5mm jack
My M50 Video!
The Beats line
Similarities & Differences
Now without further ado, let’s get rolling!!
The M50 has stuck with me since January of 2013, and it’s been a rock since then. Durability wise, it’s up there with some of the best in my mind. Folding and moving in so many different ways has greatly contributed to it’s near indestructible nature.
When I first put them on, I was so shocked at how good they sounded that I was convinced there wasn’t a headphone out there better. Over the years I’ve come to accept that the M50 was only the beginning.
They provide a pretty solid bass slam and plenty of high end clarity, but the treble can get “essy” at times. In fact, I would probably EQ 9k down by a few decibels. It just ends up being too much of a good thing.
Aside from all that madness, the M50 is a bass head entry that will satisfy the hungriest of consumers. I consider it a high end consumer headphone and not a “studio headphone” that it’s marketed as being.
The only real downside to the M50’s is the issue of the ear-cups peeling, cracking, and hardening over time. While this is pretty standard across most headphones, it’s still a bit discouraging but something that we must live with. The good news is that you can easily replace them. I chose the Brainwavz HM5 pads. Do take note that while the HM5 pads will open up the Soundstage, the bass is more subdued. It’s still crisp, but it doesn’t have nearly the impact. Also, the treble might sizzle a little too much, as mentioned before with that 9k peak. If that’s an issue, you could always opt for these standard replacements. 🙂
The Wire (not the television show)
One thing to keep in mind is the wiring. It does tend to stiffen and harden over a period of time (2+ years). It’s not something to fret over but will happen. I’m not too sure if it affects the sound, but that’s always a possibility. I would have to demo a brand new model to see for sure.
The legendary 3.5mm jack
One of the most impressive things about the original M50 was the 3.5mm termination. Since I bought them, I’ve only come across one wire that employed the same type of strain relief, and that is the aftermarket NewFantasia Replacement Audio Upgrade Cable.
The jack on the M50 is one of the best ideas Audio Technica could have come up with. That’s why it’s a shame not to see it on the improved M50x. Oh well. If you were wondering the differences:
A choice of different colors. Subject to change.
Contoured ear cups that seal tighter for improved isolation.
A tad more bass.
My Video Review!
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Other than that, the sound is very similar, and pretty much identical in my estimation. Now that all that’s out of the way, how does the Beats line measure up?
Let’s find out.
The Beats line contains, well, a lot of Beats headphones, most of which are duds unfortunately.
Please refer to this video (Lol).
Instead of comparing them all, I will give a quick outline of the Series, and then choose some of the better iterations as the basis for my analysis.
Beats Studio Wired (Discontinued)
Beats Studio 2.0 Wired Over-Ear (Circumaural)
Beats Studio Wireless Over-Ear (Decent)
Beats Studio Wireless 2.0. (Decent)
Beats Studio Wireless On-Ear (Supra-aural)
Beats Pro Wired Over-Ear (Decent)
Beats Executive Wired Over-Ear
Beats EP Wired On-ear
Monster Beats Solo (Discontinued)
Beats Solo HD Wired On-Ear(Discontinued)
Beats Solo HD “drenched in color” 2.0 (2013). Really? No.
Beats Solo2 Wired On-Ear (Good)
Beats Solo3 Wireless On-Ear (Better)
Beats Mixr Wired On-Ear (Decent)
Generally speaking, the models in green are pretty decent, but I would give the nod to the Beats Solo 3. It’s actually quite good, and one of the only you should concern yourself with. The Beats Pro is a little too bass heavy for my tastes, but has an excellent (if extremely bulky) build. Learn more:Beats Solo 3 Review.
The Studio Wireless is also bass heavy, but it comes across as loose and not very focused. This contributes to a recessed mid-range, and a general lack of clarity or detail. While the treble has plenty of sparkle, there isn’t much accuracy or instrument separation to speak of.
The Mixr is as close to balanced as you’re going to get with the Beats line, but it’s treble is a bit harsh and it’s not as comfortable.
The Beats Solo 2 is a little less detailed and crisp than the Solo 3, but by and large it’s a very similar headphone with the the same build. The comfort on the Solo 3 is better, and it’s got that really convenient W1 chip. Learn more:Beats Solo 2 vs. Solo 3.
Whew! So how does the Solo 3 compare with the M50? Glad you asked.
Both have good noise isolation, although I would say the M50’s are a bit better because they cover your ears a little better.
Treble. The Solo 3’s have a more toned down treble response in comparison to the M50. Like we discussed earlier, the M50’s have a somewhat harsh peak at 9k that should be EQ’d down. The Solo 3’s is darker by comparison. Darker meaning not as much sparkle or brightness.
Mid-range. The mid-range on the M50’s is more forward than the Solo 3’s. The Solo 3 kind of takes a dip at around 300 Hz and then gradually keeps sinking. The M50’s is much more in your face.
Bass. The M50’s bass is a little more uneven. There’s an odd mid-bass hump at around 60-70Hz, and then another subtle one between 100-200 Hz. The Solo 3 has a similar one at 100-200 Hz, but by and large it’s a straighter line. I would say the Solo 3’s feels more punchy, while the M50’s is a bit more boomy.
Build. The Solo 3’s are much more compact, but they only fold up one way. The M50’s by contrast fold and contort in so many ways it’ll make your head spin. They are also a bulkier headphone, and don’t do as well on the go. I feel like the M50’s would last longer if I had to bet on it, but that’s not to say the Solo 3 isn’t durable. They are just very different headphones in that regard. I will say that the M50 is built for the long haul.
Replaceable parts. The Solo 3’s have a detachable cable, while the original M50’s did not. The M50x’s improve upon this as mentioned before. However, the Solo 3’s ear-cups cannot be replaced, while the M50’s and 50x’s can.
Fit. The Solo 3 is Supra-Aural and rests on your ears, while the M50’s are Circumaural and fit around your ear.
Finish. The M50’s have a standard matte finish, while the Solo 3’s have a finger print ready glossy finish. 😛 This is one of the only things I dislike about the Solo’s. They are a bit tacky in my opinion (as far as the gloss is concerned).
Overall sound. I would say that the M50’s have a more audiophile type of sound, even though I don’t consider them an audiophile headphone per se. The Beats line is more consumer oriented, while the M50 targets the consumer looking for high end quality. It’s just that the M50 borders on a very professional sound, while the Solo 3 doesn’t. I have used the M50 extensively in studio, but I wouldn’t call it a studio headphone (as it’s marketed).
What about a more affordable headphone? The M50x is a great solution if you’re looking for a high end consumer headphone with plenty of bass slam. Between the M50 and 50x, both have massive amounts of reviews to back up the quality, and to this day it remains a more than viable solution to your bass head needs. Interested?
Looking for an audiophile type of bass head experience? The V-Moda Crossfade M100 gets everything right, and is the go to solution for the bass head looking for a more serious sound. It’s treble is toned down, the bass is tight, slamming, and yet controlled, it’s comfortable and durable, and it’s got better instrument separation and detail than the aforementioned (above). Interested?
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.