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Audio-Technica ATH-M50 Professional Studio Monitor Headphones

100% Positive Reviews
Rated #2 in Headphones


Pros: Well balanced, Good price, Comfortable, Stylish, Coiled cord, Portable

Cons: Still only entry level so quality and sound could sound better.

I'm doing a follow up review on these headphones since i've learned a lot about headphones since I initially made this review years ago.
My old review is inside the spoiler below. Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
awhile ago i took it upon myself to listen to as many different headphones as possible so i could get a better understanding of what it sounds like to listen to quality headphones vs. cheap ones. just recently i got my hands on a pair of these and decided it would be worth writing a review on.

i'll try to keep this short since i am aware that this is a computer forum page and not a headphone/IEM review site.
to begin, i try to keep my tests short, and consistent. seeing as most of the time the headphones i test belong to a friend of mine and so i don't have an entire day to test every song i have on them. the good part about this is that most of the time the headphones have already been burnt in by my friends. i have to make a note here that i just took these out of the box so they have had no time to burn in so this is straight out of the box sound.

i begin by testing six different songs in order to get a good idea of how they sound for different styles of music.
all songs used were either FLAC or WAV files to prevent song quality from being a factor.

the first two songs i use are to test how deep of bass it can hit.
it doesn't hit really deep bass notes, which is perfectly acceptable as they are headphones and not subwoofers. just something to keep in mind so if you like to listen to music that has bass that reaches in or below 120 hz such as some rap songs do. for that you would probably be looking for beats by dr. dre anyway. for other songs that don't have quite as much low bass such as bahl fwd, they work great. they can capture all the ranges of sound without distorting or dampening out any of the mids or highs. which is pretty key when it comes to headphones and where brands like beats by dr. dre fall.

the next two songs i use to test just how well balanced they actually are. both songs have a good feel (at least IMO) that can only truely be achieved when each part is being balanced out. sometimes when there are a lot of things going on in the background of a song, the headphones can't accurately play all that noise through a single speaker and you get distortion. it handles both songs quite well, although it is a bit different of a feel from my monoprice mep-933's.

the last two songs i also use as a balance test since both of them have intro's that i particularly enjoy on well balanced speakers. on headphones that don't have good balance, parts start to get drowned out or buried in the background. each headphone is different and it's common to see some that concentrate so much on the mids and highs that the lows get left out. or just the opposite, the low ranges are so excessive that the mids and highs get drowned out leaving you with "muddy" sounding headphones. with the m50's, i never really felt like a certain section was being left out. which is always good.

in terms of comfort and features, i'll reference my audiotechnica ath m40fs headphones as a comparison.
i want to make a note first that the m40's and m50's are for different uses. the m40's are directed for studio use hence 11 foot cord for moving around a desk, while the m50's are aimed more for portability and uses such as queuing another song as a live DJ hence the coiled cord and rotatable ear pieces.

other features of the m50's that the m40's don't have are being able to collapse in on themselves for portability.
lastly i would like to say that based on my experience with the two headphones, the m40's have a pressure point on the top of the head and on the driver thanks to a ring that sticks out of the headphones which i can only assume is to protect the drivers. i have not yet experienced this sort of discomfort wearing the m50's but after i wear them for hours on end i'll be able to make a more accurate statement on comfort.

to summarize all of this, they are great headphones for a relatively cheap price. if you aren't looking for the best headphones in the world, but you still want better quality headphones than the stuff they sell at radio shack and best buy, then these are a great option. i would recommend these headphones to anyone. the reason i'm only giving them 4 stars though, is because simply, there's better headphones out there and it wouldn't make sense for me to rate anything but the best at 5 stars.

I'd like to start by saying whenever one of my friends is looking to get some good entry level headphones I always direct them to the Audio-Technica ATH-M50's.

When I initially did a review on these headphones I had my mind in the right place trying to get some variance in the songs i tested with, but for some reason I chose to use entirely EDM.
I have since bought owned a pair and tested A wide variety of different genres and thousands of songs on them so I can say with much more confidence these are some of the best budget headphones you can get.

They are fairly well balanced, even when a song get's crowded and A lot of things are happening at once. Comfort wise, i have since tried A lot more headphones that are more comfortable than my M50's, but once again for the price they aren't bad. Especially for being closed back. The "leather" on the ear cups has degraded a lot over the years and it took me awhile to notice this but the ear cups are now very scratchy and unpleasant after trying on new headphones and realizing just how bad my old ones were. But it took several years of use before they got to this state.

They are good for the price, and I would still recommend them to anyone looking to get the best headphones they can get around the $100 range.


Pros: Extremely well made, fantastic price/performance ratio, comfortable, clever (will explain)

Cons: For the price it's to pick out any.

These were bought mainly to be used as my travelling and work headphones. I catch the train to work everyday and quite regularlry go to London to watch Arsenal play which is a 2 n half hours journey.

I was needing something a bit better than iPod earbuds to service me for these runs. My home headphones in the dedicated set up are Denon AH-D7000 which lets be honest will never leave my house due to fear of damage.

Audio Technica M50's get thrown around a lot as THE headphones to get at the £100 price point. I found these limited edition ones brand new for £125.

And well it's safe to say that people do a good job recommending them.

I'll keep mentioining this but for so little money it's hard to go wrong with these, let me explain;

- Build quality is incredible fake leather headband and earmuffs surround a seamingly steel type metal construction, the exterior for the majority is plastic.

- Comes with a clever little screw type 3.5mm jack with a 1/4 inch adapter that screws on and seems to "complete" the jack.

- Come with a soft touch bag for storing the headphones in.

- Cups rotate and pivot on their frames for flexibility and storage (they also fold up)

Sound quality, well for £125 you don't expect audiophile levels of clarity and flatness. But you do get it.

In aplomb as well. It's not hard to see why recording studios use these as their monitoring headphones, these are for the majority "well balanced" admittedly there is a slight lean towards the lower bass range of things but on a whole these are quite naturally flat headphones.

In a nutshell, these are well worth the asking price and indeed the price I paid, I haven't looked back since buying them and neither should you.


Pros: Good balanced sound, Price to performance

Cons: Uncomfortable for the first few weeks, Does not have ear bursting bass (could be a plus)

Lets start this out with that fact that I have a very sensitive head and hearing.

That being said at first these headphones squeeze the brains right out of your head; their resting position leaves maybe an inch in between each muff. You have two choices from that point on. You can ether stretch them over time (this could take a few weeks depending on how long you can bear to keep them on your head or you can stretch them manually with your hands. After ether of these they are much more comfortable and can be worn for several hours before they become uncomfortable. 4/5 for comfort only change I would make is a slightly bigger cup but that is just because my ears are slightly larger than average.

The sound is excellent great for movies and games. They sound excellent even with on board sound the difference that i noticed in sound quality (could be because of the media i have been playing) from getting a sound card was slightly crisper audio and they get louder, my comfort level went form 55% to 32%. They are balanced, if you are looking for something to thump and blow your hearing then look elsewhere. However these have a nice amount of bass not too much nor too little. My theory is since these are "monitor" they are meant to listen to audio as it is and not influence the sound themselves as they can easily sound very different by adjusting the equalizer (obviously). That being said i defiantly leave them at the stock setting as it is very pleasant 4.75/5 for sound quality because it is defiantly bested by other open ear headphones.

Sound leakage is pretty low compared to other headphone that i have listened to however it is still there.

I am very satisfied with my purchase even though at first i was not because they were very uncomfortable.


Pros: Great bass, descent noise isolation, comfortable

Cons: Cable too long?

My first "quality" headphones that I picked up based on the performance/price recommendations around the net. From the looks of things, they don't have much closed-ear competition at their pricepoint.

These are only being fed by an X-fi Xtrememusic, but still sound great.

They also work well from my phone/tablet.

The long cable (I have the ATH-m50s with 11' straight cable) could be seen as a pro, but i have about 8' in a zip-tied bundle when i use them with a portable device. Mine spend most of their time with a zalman clip-on mic attached at my PC.

I would recommend these to anyone looking for a decent closed set of headphones with a $150 budget.


Pros: Great bass, Clear highs, Sound Isolation

Cons: Recessed mids, Small sound stage

These are my second set of "audiophile" headphones, after the ATH-AD700s.

My thoughts after a few weeks of owning them:

  • Great Bass: Coming from the AD700s, it feels great to actually have bass now. Not only that, but the bass here is clear and not muddy. In contrast to other non-quality headphones I've tried (including an unknown model Beats and Skullcandy), I can hear the individual "BOOM" of the bass line and they don't merge together in a muddy mess. The bass here kicks and sounds good.
  • Clear Highs: For a headphones with a strong performance in the lows, I was surprised to hear how clear the highs were as well. Very well defined and articulate to the smallest details.
  • Sound Isolation: I can listen to Oceanlab in my University library without anyone complaining. Just for fun, I even took my headphones off and put the cups together to see how well these isolate sound. I can't hear anyone when I'm using them at a semi-low volume, and I can have my music up and you'd have to literally be three inches from my headphones to hear any sound leakage. Great isolation both ways.


  • Recessed mids: As someone with vocal-heavy songs, I can definitely say the mids are recessed here. I'm not entirely sure if it's actually the mids themselves or an effected created when you compare the mids to the very strong lows, but they're not as pronounced as I'd like them to be.
  • Soundstage: For a closed set of headphones, they have decent soundstage. That said, it's much smaller than I'm used to, and it's definitely not something an enthusiast would like to game on. It's difficult for me to place instruments through these headphones and harder still to place footsteps in games.
  • Mobility: The headphones does fold up nicely, but it's useless IMO with an 11ft cable. The cable is definitely cumbersome and too long for on-the-go listening. I'd either recable these or limit myself to PC/laptop use.


  • Comfort: I really don't know whether to put this as a pro or a con. At first, these headphones are DEFINITELY uncomfortable. The clamping pressure was a bit much on my head, and it lacked the "pillow" feel of my AD700s. However, over time the M50s started fitting better. I'm not sure if it's because I'm used to them now or if the headphones themselves have changed, but I feel the clamping pressure is spot on. Also, keep in mind that as closed headphones these don't breathe, so it will get a bit warm in the earcups eventually. Right now in the winter months this feels great (almost like geek-chic earmuffs), but it probably won't be fun during the summer.

Overall, I do love these headphones. They perform well, especially for the price I paid ($100 USD). These headphones definitely sound great and at this price point I would recommend to others who listen to music with bass-heavy music. For referencing, I've been running these through a Tianyun Zero DAC w/ OPA627s.
Audio-Technica ATH-M50 Professional Studio Monitor Headphones

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 adapter.

FeatureSingle-sided coiled cable terminates to gold-plated mini-plug with screw-on 1/4-inch adapter
Is Autographed0
Is Memorabilia0
Weight0.63 pounds
List Price$135.99
Package Quantity1
Product GroupCE
TitleAudio-Technica ATH-M50 Professional Studio Monitor Headphones
Model Name/TypeMPNEAN/UPC
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