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:
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 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-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
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
The ear pads are prone to cracking after sometime.
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.
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.
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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 everyday in just about any application you can think of. They are remarkable in that sense. They can handle most 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 ear-pads 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.
Material: Metal, Protein leather surface with memory form padding
Color: Black & Silver
An extremely comfortable and durable set, the HDJ 2000 has been praised mightily for it’s 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-heads 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 which is almost unheard of in the industry. Just know that these are by most accounts strictly for DJ’s 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 peoples 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:
The HDJ 2000’s are made for DJ’s 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.
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.
I have read an issue dealing with counterfeit models of this headphone. 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.)
Credit to Tyll at Inner Fidelity!
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.
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 DJ’s. While the sound of each does well in these type 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 a plush, soft memory foam. The 50’s are also made mostly of plastic, with some bits of metal in the headband adjustment. The 2000’s 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 50’s do not have a replaceable cable, but the 50x’s do.
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 2000’s. They are battle tested, and get Zardonics highest endorsement.
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.