Home Headphone Comparisons HD600 vs ATH M50 | VASTLY DIFFERENT!


by Stuart Charles Black
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Hi friend and Welcome!

The differences between the HD600 vs. ATH M50 are pretty vast so…

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. Video Review
  6. Amp/DAC requirements
  7. Who this headphone benefits?
  8. Consensus/Conclusion
  9. Similarities & Differences
  10. Final Word

Now without further ado, let’s get rolling!

Sennheiser HD 600

  • price: check amazon! | check eBay!
  • type: open back
  • fit: circumaural (over ear)
  • impedance: 300 ohms
  • frequency response: 12 – 39000 Hz
  • material: metal grilles, carbon fiber, velour ear pads
  • color: speckled blue finish, black


What more can be said about these? Well, I’ll tell you! For starters, they may be the best reference headphone that you can buy. This is across the board pretty much a consensus among-st audiophiles. I will never forget the first time I read this review on amazon. The reviewer claimed that buying the HD 600 would revolutionize not only the music you may listen to in the future but also what you already own! It’s a very powerful concept that stuck with me. Being able to re-discover old sounds is something that is truly priceless and timeless. Everyone loves music. Imagine if the feeling you got from an old album was like hearing it for the first time again, only better and completely amazing?

That’s what these headphones provide. They provide the subtlety and details you’ve never heard before in recordings. They also reveal quite a bit of flaws in a mix/master, so be wary that these headphones were made for good quality recordings from good sources. Also, make sure to purchase a decent enough amp to power these correctly. At 300 Ohms, it is pretty much mandatory. I will get into amps more a little later!


  • Great bass and low end. It’s not overpowering but rather strong, clear, and well-defined.
  • Build quality is solid.
  • Gold standard for neutrality and accuracy in the studio. Everything sounds exactly as it is, with very little coloration.
  • Great sound-stage. What is Soundstage?
  • Airy, open, and detailed but at the same time doesn’t sound thin.
  • Velour earpads make these extremely comfortable.
  • The price to performance ratio is virtually unmatched. Buying these may be the best investment you make, with audio equipment or otherwise.
  • Detachable cable. If your cat decides to munch on your chord, you can simply buy a new one!!
  • Great mid-range, very natural (their bread and butter)
  • Great vocals, especially female.


  • Sub-bass lacking.
  • A bit “veiled”, meaning the upper registers and treble frequency may be lacking as well.

What is the Sennheiser Veil?

Check out Metal571’s Review! I have the utmost respect and admiration for him. His reviews are honest, straightforward, informative, thorough, and insightful. Just the facts.

What they are good for/with:

  • Critical listening and mixing
  • Jazz and classical
  • Acoustic
  • Soft rock
  • Instrumental music

They sound good with just about every type of music and have been called a genre master.

What they aren’t good for:

  • They are really honest and will reveal flaws in your everyday recordings. Another reviewer I came across mentioned that he was tempted to throw away all of his old badly mastered stuff. Make sure your source is of good quality!
  • These aren’t really for bass-heads.
  • Office and portable use, etc. They will bleed sound and aren’t really made for on the go situations or where there’s the potential for disturbing others.

Amp/DAC requirements

These are going to need a good amp to deliver optimal sound quality and volume. I have done a bit of research and a few great options are:

  1. The JDS labs 02
  2. Magni/Modi combo
  3. E09k paired with the E17
  4. Bottle-head crack

These across the board are considered the go-to options in regards to quality and convenience. Of course, you will encounter really high-end amplifiers if you look hard enough, but for your first foray into the world of audiophiles, any of these will more than suffice. The Magni/Modi combo in particular is quite popular and of amazing quality!


Perhaps the most transparent and honest set of cans you will find. The bass is clear and precise but doesn’t really hit as hard as some would like. Just be aware of your sound source before passing judgment on the headphones themselves. Also, a good amp is highly beneficial, if not mandatory to bring out the best in these. They have been called the genre master, and the best price to performance ratio out there!


Audio Technica ATH M50

(and M50x 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 “first foray” (if you will), 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.


  • 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.
  • The Audio Technica ATH M50's protective coil

    The Audio Technica ATH M50’s protective coil

    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 ear pads 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.
  • The 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 any support. ?

Amp/DAC requirements

At 38 Ohms, none. They will do just fine with any mobile device, tablet, phone, iPad, iPod, etc.

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 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.

Similarities & Differences


  • Both have a strong build quality overall and will last you for years.


  • Sound. The HD600 is an open back headphone that leaks sound, while the M50 is closed back and isolates sound. The bass response on the 600 is also noticeably more subdued but still is tight and well extended. The sub-bass is a tad lacking, however. With the M50, you get that hard-hitting bass that hip-hop heads will undoubtedly enjoy. While I’ve used the M50 for mixing to fine effect, the “reference” moniker that it gets is a bit misleading. It’s definitely more of a colored headphone that appeals to the consumer looking for audiophile quality that won’t leave them poor. Lol. The HD 600 is a purely mixing/reference headphone that will also blow you away with an amp paired. All that said, these sound signatures are pretty much the complete opposite of each other. The HD600 is much darker (especially in the treble range), and as close to neutral/flat as it gets. The M50 by contrast is all color. Think big sound, but not overblown. The treble does have a tendency to get a tad shrill/sibilant at times, so be aware.

What does Sibilant mean?

  • Construction. Both sets are constructed quite solidly, but the M50 is a bit more flexible. It contorts and folds in a number of different ways, and is quite portable even with the long cable. The HD 600 by contrast has a very tight clamping force at first. You must take extra care in stretching these, as they have been known to snap. Aside from that, they will last you for years. I can’t say enough good things about the solidity of the M50’s. They can take so much abuse that it doesn’t even seem real to me at this point. I actually dropped them on purpose at work the other day just to show a friend how much they can withstand. I’ve slept on them, the chords been tugged countless times, run over by chairs, etc. and they still hold up magnificently. I literally shove them in my pack every day and travel with them everywhere. They haven’t flinched since Jan. 2013.
  • Ear-cups. The M50’s cups are made of leather, and will crack over time. Mine has also deflated over the years, but replacements are always just a click away. The HD600’s sport that nice velour, and while they don’t crack, they will have to be replaced every 4-5 years. They also deflate over time. The ear-cups on the HD 600 are also larger and deeper than the M50’s.
  • Headband padding. The padding on the M50 is quite minimal but still gets the job done. The padding on the 600 is considerably more voluminous and comfy.
  • Cable. The HD 600’s come with a straight, detachable cable by default. It’s also replaceable. In addition to the velour cups, you will have to replace the chord every few years as well. A small price to pay for an amazing set of cans. The M50’s do not come with a detachable cable. However, the 50x’s do. Another thing to note is that on the 600’s, the cable comes out of both ears, while on the M50 it only comes out of the left side. This makes the M50 more convenient in on-the-go situations. Metal 571 also said the cable on the HD600 was a little debatable, especially for a headphone of this price and caliber. The M50’s are pretty much indestructible and feel quite substantial.
  • Amp/Impedance. The 300 Ohm HD 600’s benefit greatly from an amp, and luckily for you they aren’t amp picky at all. Some have noted that they sound fine without one. You can always add one later. The M50’s by contrast are 38 Ohms and do well plugged into any source. They don’t need an amp.

Final Word

If you’re looking for a closed-back can that isolates sound well and is an absolute joy, the M50 may be for you! It’s a rewarding experience, and if it’s your first time hearing higher-end audio, you will be amazed no doubt. Just know that while it’s pretty good for mixing/reference, it’s ideally more for the casual consumer looking for instant gratification.


If you want to hear what was recorded in its purest state, the HD 600 is the headphone for you. Hands down. About as close to perfection in this price range or otherwise, it’s been called the Gold Standard for a reason. It’s neutral, honest, flat, but also remains immensely enjoyable, especially with regard to sound-stage and its slightly forward mids. The mid-range gives a tinge of color which contributes to a fast-paced and energetic sound that you can get excited about.




Well that’s about it for today my friend! I hope you have a better idea of the HD600 vs ATH M50, and came away with some newfound knowledge..

Did I answer all of your questions? Need a more specific recommendation? Don’t hesitate to reach out below or Contact me! I would love to hear from you..

All the best and God bless,





Can’t decide which headphones to purchase? Interested in a complete buyers guide outlining over 40 of the best options on the market? Click on over to the best audiophile headphones to learn more!!

Be sure to also check out my Reviews and Resources page for more helpful and informative articles!



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Becky February 10, 2016 - 5:44 am

Your personality comes out through your post. I love how fun your post is! Your colors are also fun! Looks like you have looked into and shared every detail you could have. I like how you define some words that are not easy to understand. Very thorough review. Nice work! BTW I LOVE how your name is signed at the bottom!

Stu February 12, 2016 - 5:10 am

Thanks Becky!

I really do try and put it all out there. With headphones in particular it can be tough because opinions do vary from person to person. I aim to come to a consensus in all my reviews, and I think I do a pretty good job of finding out across the board what’s good and bad in a particular peice of gear.

Thanks for stopping by!


Steve February 10, 2016 - 5:47 am

Really enjoyed your website. I thought the layout was awesome and I really enjoyed how you laid out the content of your post.
In particular the inclusion of the YouTube video and your Pros and Cons list are particularly helpful.
I don’t know a whole lot about the different headphones that are out there. So these reviews were very helpful (although the products you blogged about are a little rich for my blood 🙂

Thanks for sharing this.

Stu February 12, 2016 - 5:09 am

Thanks Steve!

Stop back by anytime! If you have a request for a review or a certain type of headphone, Contact me!


Emascap February 10, 2016 - 5:49 am

Great blog particularly with regards to the older style sound quality of the HD 600.

I would love to hear those old vinyl records once again complete with the odd scratch or two. Do you think that these headphones would be able to deliver a great balanced quality that didn’t bring back too many flaws in the original mix?

Stu February 12, 2016 - 5:08 am

Hey there!

The HD 600 will reveal flaws in mixes, and across the board you’re getting as close to flat and neutral as it gets with regard to sound. A lot of people recommend using good source files, because bad mp3’s and 128kpbs recordings will be exposed. The M50 by contrast does pretty well in handling bad files, but you’ll notice some sibilance in certain stuff which can be a bit shrill and harsh. Still though, great set of consumer headphones that do pretty well as mixing cans too. The HD 600? Best mixing headphones bar none. They can also handle just about any type of music.

Any other questions just ask!



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