Audio Technica’s ATH-M50 Is Killer for Bass [Review]


image: Audio-Technica

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.

What’s Hot:

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.

What’s Not:

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.

[xrr rating=70%]

image: Audio-Technica
  • Kruser4life

    i had these these were the best headphones i have ever had until my dumb dog chewed through the cord totally worth the money

  • Erich

    I would recommend looking at the Sennheiser HD558’s for this price as well; they sound amazing, are insanely comfortable, and the only problem that they bring are that they are Open-Ear so you can’t use them in public. Also most of its components are self replaceable which is an added bonus.

  • Instinkt

    Excellent headphones for reference! Not for playback!

    These are intended as mixing headphones with a flat frequency response and may leave some listeners wanting more!

    For the average listener, any $20 would suffice!

    Also check out Shure SRH-840 – Great for mixing!

  • eyeseeyou

    Completely agree.

    The “bass” that the high reviews these headphones receive are not the “bass” the average consumer would consider BASSY.

  • kriswm

    what if i am an audiophile? what then would i use? i like the sound of great bass, but i’m worried that lack of treble could annoy me. also the ventilation is probably a problem. how do the beats rack up to these side by side?