Audio Technica ATH M50S vs. Sennheiser Momentum | STRAP IN!
Greetings brethren and Welcome aboard!!
Before we get into the Audio Technica ATH M50S vs. Sennheiser Momentum Comparison, grab a snack, sit back and relax because..
You’ve come to the right place!!
What I will bring you today
For the purposes of this article, I will outline the M50S, compare it to the Momentum, and then give some recommendations towards the end. 🙂
The 3.5mm Jack
The 3 M50’s
My M50 Review!
The Many faces of Momentum
Similarities & Differences
Now without further ado, let’s get rolling!!
I’ve had the pleasure of the M50’s company since January of 2013. Throughout our relationship, we’ve gone through ups and downs. The high when we first met, to her breaking down somewhat as she aged, to now. 😛
Through it all, she has been and still is my first love. Well second, if you count the MDR 7506. That was an abusive relationship due to my gross negligence and immature former character. I still feel bad about what happened, but that’s neither here nor there. 🙂
The M50 introduced me to a whole new level of sound that I was not prepared for. A lot of people say that a closed back headphone can’t really provide to you an adequate soundstage, but I beg to differ. The Soundstage on the M50 is surprisingly good, all things considered. I was hearing stuff that I thought came from the outside, but in reality was part of the song. This caused me to rip the headphones off and look around, only to realize that the gravity of the situation was beyond my control. To this day, I will never forget that initial wonderment that I felt in the beginning stages of our relationship. What is Soundstage?
Over time, our love blossomed into something beautiful, but she started going through changes.
I would say that after around the 2 year mark, the ear-pads will begin to crack, peel, and harden. Unfortunately, this is an inevitability but not something that you should be ashamed or upset about. As the bible says, Time and chance happen to us all.
As upset as she was about this perceived flaw in her makeup, I quickly reassured her that her padding could be easily replaced. I told her that it had nothing to do with her spirit, but that flesh breaks down over time. Luckily, we took her in for an examination and easily replaced the ear-pads. She chose the Brainwavz HM5’s, which will open up the soundstage but minimize bass response more. If that’s an issue, you could always opt for these standard replacements. Good as new, honey!
Another component that tends to stiffen over time is the wiring. It’s not really a negative so much as just something to keep in mind.
The legendary 3.5mm jack
One of the most impressive things about the M50 is the 3.5mm jack termination, which I had never before seen in any pair of headphones. Granted it was only my second pair of real cans, but I just knew deep down that I wouldn’t see something like that again, and to this day I have not. Well I lied. The New Fantasia chord that I purchased aftermarket for my Sennheiser HD 558 has a similar protective coil for strain relief, but it’s not nearly as solid all around as the original M50 one. Take a look! >
The 3 M50’s
If you were wondering, all M50S means is “Straight cabled.” With the original M50, you had to choose which cable you wanted shipped with the headphones. I chose the straight version because I don’t like coiled cables. That was basically all. With the new and improved 50x’s you get 3 detachable cables:
1.2 m – 3.0 m (3.9′ – 9.8′) coiled cable
3.0 m (9.8′) straight cable
1.2 m (3.9′) straight cable
The 50x also differs from the original M50 in a few ways.
The M50x’s improvements:
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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Now that that’s out of the way, let’s see how the Momentum measures up. But wait, there’s a few different versions of the Momentum too! Agh!
Really the only one we will concern ourselves with today is the Momentum 2.0, which improved tremendously upon the original. How so?
Fit. The main difference between these two was that even though the original Momentum was marketed as Circumaural, the cups weren’t large enough for most ears. This was the crux of the issue with them, and is the reason why the 2.0’s came into existence. If you have very small ears, the original Momentum may work for you. However, if you have normal to bigger ears, you will need the 2.0’s.
Fold-able. The upgraded 2.0’s are fold-able while the originals were not.
Rotate. The ear-cups on the upgraded 2.0’s also rotate better for an easier fit.
Mid-range. The mid-range was a bit recessed or lacking in the original model, while it’s more forward in the 2.0 version. Some people claim that this makes the 2.0’s have a bit more of a “shout” which is understandable.
Price. The original Momentum’s are more affordable than the 2.0’s.
Now that we’re finally done analyzing things, let’s dive into the the Momentum 2.0 and see how it stacks up with the M50S.
Similarities & Differences
This comparison will take into account both the M50x and original M50, as the sound is essentially the same.
Neither require an amp or DAC. How to choose a Headphone Amp!
Style and Design. The Momentum’s are much more attractive than the M50. That’s hard for me to say because I’ve been in a long term relationship with M50 going on 5 years now. Lol.
Padding. The M50’s are made of pleather or faux leather (with foam on the inside), while the Momentum’s are genuine. Ouch, the burn! It’s like say my girlfriend is fake. 🙁
Color. The Momentum’s are Ivory and Brown, while the M50’s are black. Keep in mind that both come in different colors.
Material. The M50’s are made mostly of plastic, but do have some metal in the headband adjustment, along with some accents around the ear-cups. The Momentum’s boast genuine leather, and brushed steel for the headband adjustment.
Volume adjustment. The Momentum’s have a volume adjustment on the cable while the M50’s do not.
Comfort. The Momentum’s have deeper ear-cups which contribute to less fatigue during long listening sessions. The M50’s are pretty comfortable, but the ear-cups are more shallow and will irritate your ears after awhile. Kind of like the HD202, the Momentum’s cups slide up and down the headband, enabling a better overall fit. Learn more:Sennheiser HD202 Review. We talked about that stiffness of the ear-cups with the M50. They harden over time, and the genuine leather of the Momentum’s does feel better on your ears overall. Because the M50 is so flexible, it will accommodate most heads due to the sheer number of ways it can move and rotate. That said, the M50’s pads are more likely to make your ears sweat than the breathable Momentum genuine padding.
Weight. The Momentum’s are much lighter on your melon than the bulkier M50.
Noise Isolation. The Momentum’s block out more sound than the M50’s.
Bass. We know that the M50’s are a bass heads can, without question. It’s been discussed ad-nausea in all my M50 articles. But, they’ve always been marketed as studio headphones which is very misleading, if not downright enraging. However, I always thought the bass to be pretty deep and tight, with impact, and never came across as bloated or artificial. In comparison to the Momentum, sadly the bass is just that. The Momentum’s bass is much clearer and better defined, and doesn’t sound as punchy or over the top. The Momentum’s bass is fresher, cleaner, and crisper. Like Crispix.
Mid-range. The mid-range on the Momentum is better defined and less recessed (pushed back) than the M50. It’s more detailed and lively.
Treble. The M50 has a much brighter treble, but it does tend to sound “essy” at times. I would EQ 9k down by a few decibels for sure. It just ends up being too much of a good thing. The Momentum’s treble definitely sounds darker by comparison, and all that means is just not as bright, with less sizzle and sparkle. It could be construed as “veiled” in a sense. What is the Sennheiser Veil?
Soundstage. The Momentum’s have a bit larger of a Soundstage, but like I said before, the M50’s is actually pretty good for a closed back.
Price. The Momentum’s are more expensive.
Overall. The Momentum’s are a much more balanced headphone in comparison to the peaks and valleys of the M50. That’s not to say the M50’s are bad. I will never trash my baby, but after 5 years, I can honestly say that there are better options out there. Ouch! Lol.
Well my friend, sadly the M50 doesn’t quite measure up to the Momentum, but it’s a photo finish for sure. That’s alright though, because the M50 is still a viable option for some people. I would target this headphone at the casual consumer looking for higher end sound. To me it’s a high end consumer headphone and should work well for the majority of people. If you are looking to put on a pair of cans and be floored, look no further than the M50. It sits at a pretty affordable price point, and has lasted me a long time. Interested?
A more portable option, and one with a clearer, balanced sound would in fact be the Sennheiser Momentum 2.0. It’s extremely comfortable, durable, and has a crisp, detailed character with better mid-range clarity and less of a boomy bass. If that’s what you’re looking for, look no further!
If you’re a bass-head, but are craving a more audiophile type of sound, the V-Moda Crossfade M100 is the solution. It’s a better version of the M50, with a more controlled bass, less harsh treble, and amazing clarity. 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.