Home Headphone Comparisons Audio Technica ATH M50 vs Pioneer HDJ 2000

Audio Technica ATH M50 vs Pioneer HDJ 2000

by Stuart Charles Black

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Hi friend and Welcome!!

Before we get into the Audio Technica ATH M50 vs. Pioneer HDJ 2000, grab a snack, sit back and relax because..

You’ve come to the right place!!

What I will bring you in this review

of each headphone

  1. Specifications
  2. Summary
  3. Pros
  4. Cons
  5. Consensus/Conclusion
  6. Amp/DAC requirements
  7. Who these headphones benefit?
  8. Similarities & Differences
  9. Final Word

So without further ado..

Audio Technica ATH M50

and 50x for all intents and purposes


  • Price: check amazon! | check eBay!
  • Type: closed-back
  • Fit: circumaural (over-ear)
  • Impedance: 38 ohms. What is Headphone Impedance?
  • Frequency Response: 15 – 28,000 Hz
  • Material: Plastic & Metal
  • Color: Black & Silver


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

Other than that they are exactly the same, and one of the best pairs of high entry-level headphones on the market. 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. These have been one of the most commonly reviewed, talked about, and purchased sets over the last few years.

They are not a neutral set by any means but do excel in the studio for mixing/monitoring. Their bass extension runs pretty deep, so deep, so deep put her a** to sleep. Sorry had an Ice cube moment there.

The bass never feels cheap, artificial, or bloated. It’s a tight, authoritative response that will really make you feel some type of way (in the best way possible).

So in short, they do extremely well as monitoring headphones and in a pure listening capacity.


  • Deep, tight bass response
  • Extreme and vivid clarity between each instrument
  • Great channel separation
  • Crisp highs, booming lows
  • Great sound-stage for a closed-back model
  • Great for hip-hop/rap (a bass-head 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
  • Great for mixing in the studio
  • They are pretty neutral, and although there is an emphasis on the low end, it doesn’t feel artificial or bloated


  • The earpads are prone to cracking after some time.
  • While great 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 you’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 your support! 🙂

Amp/DAC requirements

At 38 Ohms, none. They will do just fine with any mobile device, tablet, phone, iPad, iPod, etc. How to choose a headphone amp!

Who these headphones benefit?

  • Bass-heads.
  • Producers & beatmakers.
  • People looking for a long-term solution. A headphone that will stand the test of time both in solid build quality as well as great sound.
  • People looking for convenience. At 32 Ohm, these will sound great with any device you may have.
  • EDM (electronic dance music) listeners.
  • In general, everyone! They are a great all-around set. I’ve had them since January of 2013 and have used them every day in just about any application you can think of. They are remarkable in that sense. They can handle almost anything you throw at ’em. Just don’t actually throw things at them, they will be sad 🙁


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 earpads are prone to cracking after a couple of years, and they can get a bit fatiguing after really long listening sessions. They are the best example of an all-around great headphone that does well in nearly every instance you can think of.


Pioneer HDJ 2000


  1. Price: check eBay!
  2. Type: closed-back
  3. Fit: circumaural (over-ear)
  4. Impedance: 36 ohms
  5. Frequency Response: 5 – 30,000 Hz
  6. Material: Metal, Protein leather surface with memory form padding
  7. Color: Black & Silver


An extremely comfortable and durable set, the HDJ 2000 has been praised mightily for its rock-solid build quality, and pristine sound. The sound signature could be best described as pretty even across the spectrum, and there isn’t an added emphasis on the bass. It’s not a bass-head headphone by any stretch, but the response is natural and not forced. It’s not in your face like a cat trying to wake you up too early 😀 Sound isolation is also good, but not mind-blowing.

The construction of this set to many is second to none, as the headphones are known for being able to take a lot of abuse. They are constructed almost entirely of metal, a magnesium composite that is almost unheard of in the industry. Just know that these are by most accounts strictly for DJs only. Both the swiveling cups and the mono stereo option are great for single-ear monitoring, and they come with a really secure mini xlr cable as well. What is XLR?

They are good for travel, and PC gaming, and do well for people with glasses. They don’t squish the head too much and are a really comfortable set overall.

Some caveats include the cable being a bit short for some people’s tastes, and your replacement parts have to be bought from Pioneer at unreasonable prices. If there are a few things that I could tell you about these that you absolutely must know, they are the following:

  1. The HDJ 2000’s are made for DJs only. They don’t really do well as a casual listening device, and aren’t designed to be used with your mp3 player or mobile device. Some people however claim that they will sound just fine in this capacity. It’s a bit of a mixed bag.
  2. Even at low impedance, these benefit from a headphone amp. However, it’s not mandatory by any means, and most people won’t notice much of a difference.
  3. I have read an issue dealing with counterfeit models of these headphones. If you receive your pair and it sounds opposite to this review, it means you got a fake version and it needs to be replaced.


  • Great DJ headphone *made for use in clubs and studios*
  • Build quality is top-notch, called the best around (Like Mr. Miyagi). “No ones gonna ever keep you down” 🙂 In all seriousness, it can withstand a lot of abuse.
  • Memory foam and protein leather give an added plush to these babies.
  • Very comfortable, easy to wear for long hours.
  • Longevity factor. These will last a long time.
  • Mids and highs are accurate and crisp.
  • Bass isn’t overblown. Very tight and natural.
  • good for travel, PC gaming, live monitoring on guitar.
  • Swiveling ear cups work great for single-ear monitoring.
  • Can be bought as a coiled cable or straight cable option.


  • Cable a bit short.
  • No service options past the warranty date. Not so good customer support from Pioneer.
  • Replacement parts must be bought from Pioneer at high prices.
  • Ear cups tend to break down after a couple of years (cracking, peeling, etc.)

Video Review

Credit to Tyll at Inner Fidelity!

Amp/DAC requirements

None, but they have been known to pair well with the Fiio E12. Even at low impedance, these will benefit from an amp. Just know that it isn’t mandatory. You can always add one later!

Who these headphones benefit?

DJ’s first and foremost. Across the board, they have been endorsed highly for use in clubs and studios, but not so much anywhere else. They don’t do well as a casual listening can, but I’ve seen a reviewer say they are great for live monitoring on guitar.


A rock-solid set of DJ headphones that have a really nice overall sound signature. They are built to last and are made of materials that you generally won’t find in other cans. Ear cups have been known to break down over time, and the counterfeit issue is a bit alarming. Overall, they do exceptionally well in their element.

Similarities & Differences


  • Type. Both the M50 and HDJ 2000 are closed-back models with a circumaural fit. What is the difference between Closed back vs. Open back headphones?
  • Compact. Both the M50 and 2000 can be folded up and do well on the go for travel.
  • Ear-cups. Both sets of ear cups have been known to break down over time. My M50’s cups are cracking slightly, and aren’t quite as comfortable as when I first received them.
  • Habitat. Both the M50 and HDJ 2000 do well in studio/mixing environments. Check out Zardonic’s (a well-known DJ) high marks for the HDJ 2000!
  • Longevity. Both of these are built to last. Expect to be talking favorably about them years down the road.


  • Sound. The M50’s are marketed as “studio reference” while the HDJ 2000’s for DJs. While the sound of each does well in these types of settings, the M50 has a more pronounced low end, conducive to bass-heads and casual listeners who like that added emphasis. By contrast, the 2000’s low end is a bit more natural, and even across the spectrum. They are more of a neutral set.
  • Build. The M50’s are an incredibly durable set of headphones. I have owned a pair since Jan. 2013, and do vouch for their build. However, the HDJ 2000’s are said to be even more rock solid and made of heavier material.
  • Material. The M50’s sport a sort of leatherette/faux leather material for the ear-cups, while the HDJ 2000’s have plush, soft memory foam. The M50s are also made mostly of plastic, with some bits of metal in the headband adjustment. The 2000s by contrast are made almost entirely of metal (magnesium composite) which contributes to their startling build quality.
  • Features. The M50 does not have that swivel mechanism that the 2000’s have. The HDJ 2000’s also have that mini xlr detachable cable, which is super convenient in a hectic environment such as a party. The M50s do not have a replaceable cable, but the 50x’s do.

Final Word

If you’re looking for one of the best overall DJ headphones, and need something about as rock-solid as a steel anvil, go with the HDJ 2000s. They are battle-tested and get Zardonics highest endorsement.


If you are more of a casual listener and prefer an added bass emphasis, go with the M50s. They are rock-solid, reliable, and durable as well, and do better as an all-around type of headphone.


Well that’s about it for today my friend!!  I hope you have a clearer idea of the Audio Technica ATH M50 vs. Pioneer HDJ 2000, and which of these headphones suits your needs better!

Which of these would you be more likely to go with! Let me know!!

If you have any other questions, I would also be more than happy to speak with you. Just leave a comment below or Contact Me!

All the best and God bless,





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ostyosty December 18, 2015 - 6:27 am

Love your post. I currently use the Beyerdynamic dt770 pros. But am looking into getting another pair as my wife likes to sing and the other pair of headphones I have are rubbish and the ohms are different on both of them which causes a problem with the volume when your output is from the same source. Keep up the good work and I hope to see your site evolve and read more reviews soon.


Stu December 18, 2015 - 9:14 pm

Hey man! Thanks for the love. What are your thoughts on the DT 770’s? I actually just did a review on them a couple of days ago. Check it out if you want and comment/let me know if I summed it all up accurately. I appreciate you stopping by as well..


Daniel Lara January 30, 2016 - 12:31 am

Hey, Stu! Seems like you read my mind. I had been looking for a comparison between the M50 and the Pioneer. It’s odd to me that the M50 actually seems to have more bass, as headphones for studio applications are usually more neutral. Since I will use these for mixing, I need something that is more neutral, so I would tend to go for the Pioneer. Do you know how these would compare to Behringer’s HPS5000?

Stu January 30, 2016 - 7:29 pm

Hey man!

Glad to see you again. The Behringer HPS 5000 seems to get really bad reviews overall. I wouldn’t really bother with those to be quite honest.

The M50 is more of a consumer grade can. I’ve actually had them since Jan. 2013, and really do enjoy them. They are probably in the top 3 of most durable headphones on the planet. Some find the low end really unnatural due to that weird “hump” it has in the mid-bass region. For that I may not go with them from a strictly reference/mixing standpoint, but they have done well in my experience. They also have that WOW factor when you put them on for the first time.

I’ve been reading about the absolute best closed back reference, and I would go with either the Shure SRH440 or AKG K550, depending on your budget. The 550 is more expensive, but extremely durable (made mostly of metal), and gorgeous. Some complain of a strange, somewhat odd fit however. This is sort of a nit pick depending on the size of your melon. They are about as neutral as it gets.

The SRH440 is probably the best sub $100 pair of closed back reference. They by contrast have a flimsier build, but the sound is just impeccable as far as mixing goes.

As for the HDJ 2000’s? Rock solid, even sound, but really meant for DJ’s above all.

Thanks for the thought provoking discussion my friend! Any other questions just ask…


cass April 24, 2016 - 10:22 pm

Hello! I am a fan of AT headphones, I have a couple different models. They make great reference headphones for mixing and recording. They seem to last for a long time as well. 🙂 I was a bit surprised to see the frequency response of the Pioneer set, I figured the ATs would be wider than the Pioneers… I definately like the long cable on the studio headphones, they give the user a lot more room to move around with the headphones on. Great review, cass.

Stu April 26, 2016 - 3:17 am

Yeah they’re pretty durable. I’ve had mine for over 3 years now. They do work for mixing, but are more for the casual consumer looking for audiophile quality. The bass is pretty tight, but it can get muddy at times (very seldom). the treble can be harsh/sibilant with certain genres like metal/rock, etc. This is really a bass heads can. Thanks for the comment!




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