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Audio-Technica ATH-M50 Professional Studio Monitor Headphones (OLD MODEL)
- Exceptional audio quality for professional monitoring and mixing
- Collapsible design ideal for easy portability and convenient storage
- Closed-back cushioned earcup design creates an outstanding seal for maximum isolation
- Adjustable padded headband for comfort during long mixing/recording sessions
- Single-sided coiled cable terminates to gold-plated mini-plug with screw-on 1/4" adapter
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With the ATH-M50 professional studio monitor headphones, Audio-Technica has achieved an exceptionally accurate response and long-wearing listening comfort. Designed especially for professional monitoring and mixing, these studiophones feature an efficient collapsible design for space-saving portability and storage. Circumaural ear pieces swivel 180° for easy one-ear monitoring and luxuriously padded ear cushions create an outstanding seal for maximum isolation. The adjustable headband is generously padded for ultimate comfort during long mixing sessions. A coiled cable at the left earpiece terminates to a gold-plated mini-plug with included screw-on ¼" adapter. Audio-Technica’s sophisticated driver technology and superior components deliver exceptional power handling and very high SPL capabilities while maintaining clarity of sound throughout their extended range, with deep, accurate bass and outstanding high-frequency extension. The headphones feature proprietary large-aperture drivers with neodymium magnet systems for ultra-efficient signal transfer.
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This is my new all-time favorite pair of headphones. I've gone through my Beats by Dre phase. I've gone through my in-ear buds phase [high school]. I've been sent numerous pairs of headphones to review for my YouTube channel. Only 1 has received a 10/10 with an outstanding price/performance ratio. And that's the M50s.
Enjoy the video!
PS - You should totally subscribe to the MKBHD YouTube channel =]
OK. So first things first. Do these sound better than the HD-280s? Unequivocally the answer to that question is yes. On every front the ATH-M50s sound better. This is most noticeable in terms of the bass, which the HD-280s are noticeably lacking. I've always felt like that the HD-280s have great mids and highs that are similarly good, although they can sometimes sound a bit shrill to some. The ATH-M50s are just slightly better on these counts, but with the added bass (which is nice and deep, but not overly thumpy like the V-Moda Crossfade LPs) the whole sound package is just a level above the HD-280s. Also, the soundstage is noticeably wider in the ATH-M50s, which is certainly welcome and sounds great.
Moving beyond the sound, the ATH-M50s are decent at blocking out ambient noise, but the Sennheisers are significantly better on this count, so if that's a big consideration for you just be aware of it. I think both are pretty comfortable, with the ATH-M50s maybe have a slight edge in this category. Both fully cover the ears, but the Sennheisers somehow give the impression of creating a solid seal to the head. Overall, comfort wise I would say I like the ATH-M50s a little bit better, but its mostly a wash here. I do think the ATH-M50s look a little bit snazzier if that's important to you.
In the final analysis the ATH-M50s do almost everything better than the Sennheisers, except block ambient noise. Don't get me wrong, I loved the Sennheisers and I have no regrets that I kept them as my primary headphones for such a long time, however, all things being equal I would recommend the ATH-M50s. Its the additional bass and the wider soundstage that really make me lean that way pretty significantly.
I hope this helps anyone that is trying to decide between the two, and happy listening!
The problem with these headphones is in the build construction. After about two years of regular use the components fall apart rather dramatically. The headband and ear foam material starts to shed, leaving bits of black flecks in your hair and on your face. The plastic also degrades, especially at the joints - there are plastic stops to prevent the cups from traveling to far laterally which are under constant stress and will eventually fail, making it impossible for the cups to stay on your ear.
Mine lasted a little more than two years, failing at multiple points just out of warranty. I see with this newest purchase that they have revised their warranty to last only one year, which confirms my suspicions about build quality. For what it's worth, the sound quality never diminished over that time.
Bottom line: The best headphones you can own at this price, although the honeymoon only lasts a year or so and failure is imminent after about two years. While they're relatively new they are very, very comfortable, but become slightly more uncomfortable after the first year as the materials degrade - never frankly uncomfortable, however. Since I bought another pair, I guess I agree that the purchase price is fair for a year or two of fantastic sound, but put these cans in a more dependable casing and I'd be ecstatic.
Update Sep 2016:
Honestly just listened to "Sea of Noise" in these and I'm STILL amazed at how gooooooood they are. Like its live. Seriously. WORTH IT.