Audio Technica ATH M50 vs. Grado SR80i

Hey friend and Welcome aboard!!

Before we get into the Audio Technica ATH M50 vs. Grado SR80i headphones, grab a snack, sit back and relax because..

You’ve come to the right place!!

What I will bring you in this review

  1. Introduction
  2. Specifications
  3. Summary
  4. Pros
  5. Cons
  6. Consensus
  7. Video Review
  8. Similarities & Differences
  9. Final Word

Now without further ado, let’s get rolling!


Both of these models sound wise are exceptional, although the M50 edges out Grado in every other category. Reviewers have marveled at the clarity and the sound-stage that the the SR80i’s provide, although most people became very underwhelmed in other aspects of the phone, namely comfort and durability. Channel separation of the 80i’s is great however, with each instrument being clear and not drowned out by another.

Keep in mind the SR 80i’s are a bit of an older model, and are now discontinued by the manufacturer.

Grado SR80i

  1. Price: check amazon! | check eBay!
    (a discontinued model, but they are still available from a few different sellers. There is an updated version of these called the SR80e. I would honestly just go with the e version.)
  2. Type: open back
  3. Fit: supra-aural (on ear)
  4. Impedance: 32 ohms


A great set of cans sound wise, people raved about the little details that you can hear with these on. In listening to an acoustic guitar, you will hear the buzz of the strings, the sliding of the fingers, and the actual contact between the pick and the string. Subtle things that you would have never heard with a cheap $20 set.


  • Astonishing vocal range.
  • Great balance and clarity.
  • Great Soundstage. What is Soundstage?
  • Fold flat for easy transport.
  • Powered easily by an iPod (no amp needed).
  • Accurate reproduction of sound.
  • Great for rock and metal.
  • Good for low level listening.


  • A bit uncomfortable.
  • Build quality is suspect (very consistent throughout reviews).
  • Not great for rap/hip-hop (not enough bass presence, lacks punch)
  • Quite a bit of sound bleed/leakage.
  • They feel a bit flimsy.


The sound quality is amazing, the build quality isn’t so great, and they are not that comfortable. They also lack a bass presence that the M50’s provide in spades.

Check out the video review!!


Audio Technica ATH M50

In studio.

(and M50x for all intents and purposes)


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
Color: Black


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 only 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

Other than that they are exactly the same, and one of the best pairs of headphones for their price. If you are new to the world of audiophiles, these will make you look at music in an entirely different way. That’s not to say that they are better than everything else out there. But as an entry level set, they will change your entire perspective on how music should sound. Unlike the 80i’s, the M50’s excel in nearly every category, and just may be the most common upper entry level headphone reviewed, talked about, and purchased.


  • Deep, tight bass response.
  • Vivid clarity between each instrument.
  • Great channel separation.
  • Crisp highs, booming lows.
  • 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.
    The famous indestructible 3.5mm jack.
  • They can really take quite a bit of abuse.
  • Great for mixing in studio.
  • They are pretty neutral, and although there is an emphasis on the low end, it doesn’t feel artificial or bloated.


  • Ear pads cracking ever so slightly (after 2 years). No effect on sound.
  • While great 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.

My Video Review!

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The Consensus

A great set of mixing headphones that also work extremely well for casual listening. The bass is tight and punchy, and for the most part controlled. The ear-pads are prone to cracking after a couple of years, and they can get a bit fatiguing after really long listening sessions.

Similarities and Differences


  • Both have really great clarity and crispness to them.
  • Both have great Soundstage.
  • Both give an accurate reproduction of sound.
  • Impedance of both is similar (they don’t require an amp to power)


  • The Grado SR80i’s are now discontinued by the manufacturer.
  • The Grado’s are open back, the M50’s are closed back
  • The Grado’s are Supra-aural (they rest on your ears), the M50’s are Circumaural (they go around your ears)
  • The M50’s are great for hip-hop/rap, and have a deep bass response. The Grado’s are more suited for rock, metal, classical and jazz. They are lacking in the bass frequency department.
  • The build quality of the Grado’s is poor by almost all accounts. They M50’s are as sturdy as it gets. Mine have been through a lot of abuse and come out strong man status every time.

Final Word

The SR80i’s have a really great sound, but aren’t that comfortable, and the build quality is suspect. The M50’s by contrast have the total package. Sound, comfort, longevity, and affordability.

If you are more into rock, classical, and jazz, where a strong bass emphasis is not at the forefront, you may want to look into the SR80’s. Go with the e version though!




If you value a deep and tight bass response, and listen to more hip-hop, EDM and the like, then the 50’s are where it’s at. Go with the 50x’s though!


Well that’s about it for today my friend! Hope you enjoyed my Audio Technica ATH M50 vs. Grado SR80i headphones review, and came away with a better idea of each of these headphones strengths and weaknesses.

Questions? Comments? Requests? Did I miss the mark on something? Let me know down below or Contact me!

Which model tickles your fancy more?? I would love to hear from you. Until next time..

All the best and God Bless,





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