The quality of Audio-Technica’s products is legendary, and their ATH-M50 headphones ($200) are no exception. Mids are smooth, highs are clear — and the bass rocks my ears. In fact, these guys are the cans for rock.
The first thing I noticed about the headphones was the heaviness of the bass. They have a superb bass response. It lacks in terms of quantity, but in terms of quality, the ATH-M50 blows the competition out of water. Bass on my Beats Studio sounds muddy compared to the ATH-M50’s crisp bass.
Mids on the ATH-M50 are excellent. Smooth and refined, the mids allow the headphones to serve a great number of applications. The headphones are absolutely wonderful for rock, and I find myself always pulling them out for the genre.
The ATH-M50 is particularly ideal for short-term usage. Its combination of more-than-enough clamping force and soft leather pads ensures comfort and excellent sound isolation.
The ATH-M50 also excels in terms of quality. Build-wise, the headphones are definitely sturdy with a mix of quality plastics and metal. Simple touches like leather and silver accent nicely compliment the sturdy build.
Shocking as it may sound, using the ATH-M50 for extended time periods gets rather uncomfortable. The clamping force feels just too tight, causing some head pressure and fatigue. Heat creates a major problem; the leather pads became sweaty after some use and the inside of the cups got hot due to the lack of ventilation.
Treble on the ATH-M50, simply put, is average. While it is smooth, it sounds weak in comparison to the bass and mids. Things can get just slightly grainy if they go too high. The soundstage on the ATH-M50 is quite narrow as well.
If you are looking for your first set of quality headphones but are not really an audiophile, the ATH-M50 headphones are excellent and live up to their hype easily. With a blend of superb build and sound, they’re worth their price — just as long as you’re not into marathon listening sessions.