Audio-Technica ATH-M50 Headphone Reviews

Manufacturer Audio-Technica Model ATH-M50
Headphone Type Closed Circumaural Headband Type Single
Weight (g) 280 Driver Type Dynamic
Enclosure Material Plastic Isolation (dB) 10
Impedance (ohms) 38 Cable Length (cm) 340
Frequency Response (Hz) 15 - 28000  
Connector 3.5mm Street Price US$140
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Average reviewer scores
Bass Extension 7.8 Bass Impact 8.0
Bass Quality 7.5 Mids Quality 7.8
Highs Quality 7.8 Soundstage 6.8
Detail 8.3 Portability 6.8
Isolation 7.0 Comfort 7.5
Durability 7.8 Improvement With Amplification 5.5
Value for Money 9.0    
Overall Score 7.8 Total Reviews 4

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Reviews by our members

Review by Senior Member dalethorn on 10 Jun 12  15:58
Individual review
Bass Extension9
Bass Impact9
Bass Quality7
Mids Quality6
Highs Quality7

The newer white M50 sells now for about $160 to $170 USD, and the sound compares well above the $250 range in my opinion. I find a very slight treble peak and/or sibilance on some tracks, a small midrange coloration, and a bass that actually increases slightly below 50 hz to about 30 hz. The bass can get slightly boomy or muddy on perhaps two percent of my music tracks, which in my view is a bargain price to pay for the bass extension and impact at this price level. Overall I would rate this as an excellent hi-fi headphone for audiophile systems, given the things I noted above.

Review by Senior Member NA Blur on 29 Jul 09  07:08
Individual review
Bass Extension6
Bass Impact6
Bass Quality6
Mids Quality7
Highs Quality7

The ATH-M50 headphone is one of the finestI have ever listened to. The sound is simply amazing. My personal response when I first tried them was Wow. Especially after they burn in the Wow factor increases.

I was in Headroom's main store in Bozeman Montana when I first tried these. I opened the session with some Sennheiser HD 600s with the center headphone ear cushion removed, which greatly increased sound depth. I tested Denon's AH-D2000 and then moved onto Beyerdynamic's DT 880. The final set I tried were Audio-Technica's ATH-M50. The results are as follows:

Sennheiser HD 600:
These cans sound great. They are smooth and have a good amount of bass and swift highs. The pair I tried sounded better than a standard pair of DH 600s due to the center ear cushion being removed. The tech said it makes a huge difference and I certainly agree. Although the HD 600s are good if you want the finest of Sennheiser you better go at least to the HD 650 or even the impressive HD 800.

Denon AH-D2000
These have a slightly slow high section with the mids feeling washed out. The bass is great, but with a frequency response down to 5Hz the bass can be too punchy for some. These are a nice set of cans, but not quite in contention with the Sennheiser series. I would recommend the Denon cans for anyone who desires punchy bass.

Beyerdynamic DT 880:
They are flat. The bass was not punchy and the highs were no where near fast. The comfort was outstanding and wearing these cans for long hours would be a pleasure. If you are looking for a nice set of non-isolating headphones for sound engineering I recommend these.

Audio-Technica's ATH-M50:
These cans were suggested to me by a tech that works at Headroom ( ). I tested them with my iPod nano plugged into the Total Bithead mini amp on high gain. I decided to listen to some Beck as they typically have good bass with super clear mids, but most of all fast highs. With these phones all three zones sounded great. I can honestly say I found nothing wrong with the sound at all. They are engineered with some of the best technology such as (large-aperture drivers with neodymium magnets) which provide tremendous sound quality. I suggest these to anyone looking to upgrade from Sennheiser HD555 or 280pro cans. They give good isolation, not as sealed as the 280pro, but good enough to keep the sound in your ears and not your neighbors. Try these the next time you are near them and you will certainly be impressed.

Frequency Response Synopsis: The entire range is adequately represented. After 2-10 hours of burn in the bass is very nice and will rumble your head if the source has low bass in it. The soundstage sounds 3rd row for bass and highs but more like 9th or 10th row for the mids. I recommend listening at 55-65% volume on an IPod for best tonality and detail.

Review by Member LazBro123 on 14 Nov 15  15:00
Individual review
Bass Extension8
Bass Impact8
Bass Quality9
Mids Quality9
Highs Quality9

These headphones are incredible. Fantastic sound quality. The bass response is really, really nice. It's well defined, accurate and strong, but it's not overpowering. The mids and highs are awesome too. Very crisp and I heard things in my music that I haven't heard with my other headphones. As well, these headphones look really nice and are really comfortable. The only things I do not like about these headphones is the very long straight cable. I always have to hold a bit of the cable when i'm listening to music on my iPod or my computer. Overall, amazing pair of headphones, for an amazing price! I would pay more than 200 dollars for these headphones. They are that good. Buy them.

Review by Member GN3RAL KARL on 06 Feb 10  18:09
Individual review
Bass Extension8
Bass Impact9
Bass Quality8
Mids Quality9
Highs Quality8

These monitors will blow your mind.I'll say this first off: I don't record, DJ, or do any mixes with this headphone (no prosumer work). These Audio Technica M50's (straight cable) are used purely for listening to my music. One phrase comes to mind about these cans: O MiE GaWd!

They sound ridiculously good!

Highs 5/5 - Imagine a dedicated tweeter per cup. The highs are PERFECT. Sirens, cymbals, piano notes, you name it comes in crystal clear with a pristine pitch. No harshness or fatigue comes with it. No roll-off or sibilance either, even if you crank it up to stratospheric levels.

Mids 5/5 - Like 2 miniaturized, mid-range drivers for your dome piece. With the M50's, YOU WILL HEAR EVERYTHING. There were hidden voices and notes in songs that I knew by heart. Voices came out clear and articulate in the butter-smooth mid-range. It also isn't recessed here. It's all up in your grill with pleasing authority and with the natural fullness that is to be expected with your tunes.

Lows 5/5 - I wish I could rate this higher. No other headphone (that I've heard) can touch this. Take two, high quality, sealed sub woofers. Shrink them, and somehow stuff them into the M50's. Then listen. Your brain will become grits. Your eyeballs will shake furiously. Your jawbone will uncontrollably vibrate. The bass in this headphone can resurrect the dead (and then some). The bass notes come in with such passion, that you instantly fall in love. It is highly textured, laser-accurate, and tightly controlled with ZERO distortion. There is no need to crank up the EQ on this. You can, but you've been warned. The bass is the best part about the M50. It is FLAWLESS.

Soundstage 4/5 - For a studio monitor, the soundstage is very good. There is a wide sense of space and depth to the sound. Nevertheless, they aren't as open-sounding as others such as the DT-770 pros, which have a closed design as well. This can sometimes take you out of the "scenario" when watching movies or playing games, which is why I use these primarily for music. I use the DT-770 pro's for movies and games, which those excel in this area.

Detail Retrieval 5/5 - Plain and simple, if it's in the audio track, you will hear it with no problem at all. Every nuance, sound, intricate detail, and background voice will have a direct line to your eardrum for your listening pleasure. No complaints.

Value 5/5 - You need a pair of Audio Technica M50's. These are more than worthy to add to your headphone stable. Comfort is also quite excellent. Other studio monitor headphones pinch too tight for me (I also wear glasses), these are just right. Not too loose or constricted. The Beyers beat these in this area though (those are like Serta pillows :).The cord is terminated into a slick-looking, metal housing, with a flexible end connected to a 1/8" plug, that also can be mated to a screw on 1/4" adapter. In other words, you can plug the M50's into whatever device you want; Ipod, home receiver, amp, etc., right out of the box. Durability is also the best I've seen yet. Can't see these breaking in any way, even if it's in the hands of a toddler.

Audio Technica M50's = A slice of musical heaven with whipped cream.

*Burn in definitely changes the sound. Other owners have suggested 40 hours of cooking. The headphones sound more distinct, clear, and the instruments have better separation. Even the bass is more lively and the soundstage is more expanded. All said, don't judge yet until you've pumped tunes through them for many hours. Which then, the end result will surely be a smile on your face.

Audio-Technica ATH-M50