It should be noted that the M50’s are a bit different from the 50x’s. The 50x’s are in essence a slightly updated version, and come with:
A choice of different colors. Subject to Change.
contoured ear cups that seal tighter for improved isolation
a bit of added bass emphasis!
Outside of these things, the two are nearly identical in sound & build.
Expect to put these on and be amazed. After listening with them on for the first time, I really got a sense of what I had been missing. If this is your first foray into audiophile type equipment, these will really make you look at music in an entirely different way.
They aren’t neutral per se, but do excellent as a mixing/reference headphone. They are colored in a sense, but to me it never feels over the top. I would describe the sound as huge, full, and detailed. You will start to hear things in recordings that had previously been lost. These reach down really low, and give you a nice thump, without sounding bloated or artificial. They are tighter than a panty hose homie!
Think of it this way: They do extremely well in a variety of different listening situations and musical genres. My friend who just purchased the 50x’s bought them for this purpose. There’s a reason these are so popular. They are a remarkably versatile set of cans.
Versatile. Expect to be using these as your go to cans almost (if not outright) daily for a variety of different things.
Bass. It’s tight and controlled, while at the same time being loud and hard hitting. Contributes to the “wow” factor upon first listen.
Comfort. These are a bit more comfortable overall than the 280’s, and you will find yourself wearing them over a longer period without adjustment.
Flexibility and build. Contorts and folds in many of the same ways as the 280. A bit more flexible in this regard. This is one of their strongest suits contributing to longevity. There are simply less ways these can break given their ox like build.
3.5 mm jack. The little things are what impress me most, and the fact that these come with a protective coil at the end of the chord running into the 3.5 mm jack is priceless. I’m sure it’s saved these on many occasions since I’ve had them. Truly extraordinary.
Choice of coiled or straight cable. I normally opt for the straight cable, but the fact that you have a choice is nice. If you plan on using these out and about, I’d suggest the straight version.
Out of your head. Even as a closed back model, these do exceptionally well with instrument separation and sound-stage. You may frequently remove them from your melon to see where the sound came from. They have very impressive imaging in this regard. What is Soundstage?
Ear cups. While comfortable, the ear cups are prone to cracking over time. I wouldn’t advise wearing these right out of the shower, as this has probably contributed to mine having this issue. The ear-cups can be replaced, and should be because they also flatten out a bit over a long period of daily use.
Even being able to wear them over a long period, the sound can get trapped inside your dome, leading to fatigue. Take a break man!
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Bass-heads will love the tight, controlled, yet thumping quality these provide. Prepare to be amazed.
Producers who need a good mix-down. While not entirely neutral, these do excel in studio as a reference monitor.
People who are looking for longevity and versatility from their purchase.
Those who want to be able to listen for long sessions with the occasional adjustment or break.
A slick set of studio monitoring/reference cans that double as easy listening devices. Highly versatile, comfortable, and built to last. The ear-cups have been known to crack over time, but are replaceable. Closed back design will force you to take a break every so often. Overall an amazing set.
There’s so much to be said about the 7506’s that it’s hard to begin. These were the first pair of “higher end” headphones that I purchased when I made my foray into the world of audiophiles. Being that I had never spent more than $20 on headphones, it was quite a monumental purchase to say the least.
These were the 1st headphones that made me look at music in an entirely different way. The 2nd pair being the Audio Technica ATH M50!
These are studio reference cans, and really improved my mixes ten fold when I was first starting out. They have a ton of clarity in the treble range most notably, but be aware that they can get harsh and shrill at times, especially after a long listening session.
The best way I can describe them is technical, and analytical. They can bit a bit cold at times, which is perfect if you’re looking for an honest reference headphone. They do well as pure listening devices, but the main focus with these should be in studio.
After putting them on for the first time, you will quickly see why they have been an industry standard for decades. You may have seen them on TV and radio in various instances, they are used heavily by professionals and amateurs alike.
Amazing reference headphones. An accurate reproduction of the music.
Neutral and flat, ideal for mixing.
Durable and long lasting.
Balanced mids, lows, and highs, and a very pronounced mid-range.
Subtle nuances will be heard in your favorite records, which lends to a really enjoyable listening experience.
Folds up for easy storage.
1/4″ adapter and synthetic leather carrying case included.
Pretty good movement in the ear-cups.
Coiled cable is not detachable, and can get tangled frequently.
Potential to sound a bit boring, being so analytical.
Harshness in the upper mid and treble range, leading to fatigue.
A bit too bulky for consistent portable use.
Ear cups may start to peel after about a year or so, and leave little bits of black in your ears. One of mine actually came off and I had to frequently re-attach it.
Producers, or anyone looking for neutral and honest sound for their projects.
People who want a crisp clear sound, with a lot of detail. They are very revealing in this sense.
These are the industry standard for a reason. They are some of the most reliable and honest headphones you will find at this price range or otherwise. Build quality is above average overall, but the ear-cups may present problems. They are meant for studio, and don’t really do well on the go.
Similarities & Differences
They have a similar look and feel, although the 7506’s are more throwback.
Both can be fatiguing and harsh in the high end, though overall the 7506’s more so.
Both have a similar headband adjustment (flashes of metal).
Sound. The M50’s are warmer and less neutral than the 7506’s, and have a deeper bass response. While the 7506’s are more conducive to mixing, the M50’s are a “fun” and enjoyable listen. They do better overall in a wider variety of applications.
Comfort. Overall the M50’s are more comfortable and can be worn for a longer period of time.
Cable. Both are suited for studio use, but the M50’s are a little more portable if you opt for the straight cable version. The 7506’s do not have a straight cable option.
Headphone jack. The M50’s jack feels more durable and of a higher quality than the 7506’s.
Build Quality. The 7506’s feel less durable and there are certain components of the headphone that are prone to breaking down/falling off (The ear-cup most notably). By contrast, I haven’t had a major issue with the M50 since I bought them in Jan. 2013. They are built to last a long time.
Ear cup. Both are prone to cracking (in the case of the M50) or peeling (7506). The M50’s cracking doesn’t have much of an effect other than a cosmetic blemish. The 7506’s actually leave little bits of of the material behind in your ear!
Flexibility. The M50’s fold and contort in a variety of different ways. While the 7506’s are somewhat flexible in this regard, they simply don’t compare.
As much as I like the MDR 7506, I think the MDR V6 is a better option. It’s got a similar sound, but isn’t quite as harsh and fatiguing in the treble region. I had around 2 years of experience mixing tracks with the 7506. It has a tendency to tire you out because of the very bright treble. The bass is also a little more realistic on the V6. The V6 has been around since the mid 80’s, and represents just about the best price to performance ratio closed back headphone on the market. It works as a mixing/reference headphone as well as a casual one, and has a very flat sounding mid-range that provides a lot of subtle detail. Interested in learning more about them?
Early on, I would almost always recommend the M50 as a bass heads delight. Nowadays, I believe there to be better options out there. While I still enjoy the M50, I think the V-Moda Crossfade M100 is better. It’s got just as much bass thump, but comes across as more realistic. Not only that, but It’s comfortable, durable, and has an incredibly detailed and open sound for a closed back. Interested in learning more about them?
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.