ATH M50 review
The Ath m50 is a closed circumaural headphone from audio-technica. The ear pads go over the ear instead of on top and create good isolation. One of the things you should know is that the m50 comes in two versions, one, which has a coiled cord, and one with the straight. I personally like the straight cord as it is not elastic but I know many who love the coiled one, which makes it more portable and has a “studio” feel to it. I can’t put my finger whether these headphones are supposed to be used for home, studio or portable as they have features for all three categories, so I guess you can say that this is a very versatile headphone. The overall feel of the m50 is plastic, black and professional with the audio technica logo engraved into the cans. It looks sleek and the pads look comfortable. People who are fans of full black headphones will be pleased. The headphones can be folded in and also be folded flat for storage. The cable is single sided and doesn’t get in the way for work if you are using these headphones for studio work. One thing that is to die for is the headphone jack, which is made of metal and is silver in color. It is very sturdy and durable and looks like you had the jack replaced with a custom one due to its stark color difference. The headphones also come with a leather pouch and a screw on ¼ inch adaptor. The headband looks sturdy and has the audio technica logo and letterhead emblazoned on it. Overall a very beautiful headphone, the one gripe I have with it is that it gets hot under the ear pads after awhile, probably due to the material used for the ear pads. Don’t get me wrong, the ear pads are very comfortable and really seals the ears.
In terms of sound, well there is one very definite thing that stands out which is the bass. Bassheads out there, this is the phone for you. I love the bass on these headphones which are really punch and tight without the muddiness which you usually find on plastic cheapies. The bass is really tight and gives a good thump at each beat without merging into the next thump. With these, one can actually separate each bass beat on event the most bass heavy songs without sacrificing the punchy sound. I have never heard bass beats so prominently displayed when listening to AFI before. They fair fine on the mids and highs too which makes this headphone a real all rounder. The highs are clear and crisp, not sparkly and do not go over the top. The mids make vocal performances sound clear and voices and tones sound very natural. The mids may feel slightly recessed due to the beautiful bass that these headphones produce but they are certainly not overwhelmed by the bass. However, on really bass heavy songs, they can drown out the mids quite a bit. The combination of the mids and highs with a well rounded bass makes these really warm sounding headphones. They are slightly laid back in my opinion with a nice depth to it, the soundstage is also decent. The laid back nature of these headphones can be a bit of a turn off since they do well in bass, but I guess this is where the studio sound is placed in these headphones. The detail in these heaphones is decent, good enough to even notice flaws in the recordings, but not as great as the higher end audio-technicas.
Driving these headphones is easy and they work well without an amp. Adding and amp will really make these headphones sound even more natural and emphasize the bass even further. Due its fun sound signature and its non-fatiquing nature, I expect these to gain a huge fanbase. They work great with mainstream music but not so much with classical and opera.
Overall those who love warm sounds and good bass, please give these headphones a go. They are not for those who love bright sounds and super fine detail.