Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Audio Technica ATH-M50 review and comparison to Sony MDR-7506 and MDR-V6

Standard Audio Technica ATH-M50
The Audio Technica ATH-M50 over ear headphones are an extremely popular headphone used by budget audiophiles and professionals alike.  The ATH-M50's sport large 45mm Neodymium driver units, a frequency response of 15- 28,000Hz, 99 dB sensitivity rating and an extremely reasonable 38 Ohm impedance. The ATH-M50's are also available in a regular coiled cord configuration, a straight cabled configuration (ATH-M50S) and as of this writing, white and silver limited edition models.  The result of Audio Techicas legendary audio engineering is a headphone that sounds great even when played from all different types of equipment, even from a modest and low powered source.  I personally love the way the M50's look, and I believe that Audio Technica has successfully merged studio quality sound and premium aesthetic appearance to create a headphone that is arguably one of the best in its respective category.

limited edition white and silver models

The Audio Technica ATH-M50 is no slacker where build quality is concerned.  Similar to the Sony MDR-7506 and Sony MDR-V6, the Audio Technica ATH-M50s were designed in part to be used in demanding studio and professional audio applications.  Due to the rigorous usage of headphones in these types of applications, the headset needs to be built to a high quality standard.  Audio Technica has obviously taken a page from the Sony MDR-V6 and 7506, and has built a sturdy and reliable headphone.  Some cool build features of the Audio Technica ATH-M50 is that the ear cups can fold completely flat and swivel, and that customers have a choice between a straight and coiled cabled version.  Where comfort is concerned the Audio Technicas perform better than the Sony MDR-7506.  The ear pads are made from high quality fake leather (or as I like to call it "pleather") that appears to withstand constant usage longer than the 7506's.  The only comfort issue I have is with the pads. After listening for quite some time, my ears do begin to sweat due to lack ventilation and airflow to the ears.  The ATH-M50's are comprised of a mostly plastic construction, however this is quality plastic designed to withstand constant daily usage.  As you can see from the photos, the ATH-M50s ear cups are sleekly and attractively styled with the engraved Audio Technica logo.

Sony MDR-V6 and 7506
Sound quality is another area where the ATH-M50's shine. The ATH-M50's do not have the unforgiving flat frequency response and tonality like many other studio headphones.  They do in fact, have a certain degree of noticable sound coloration.  Through a listening test in which I compared the ATH-M50's and Sony MDR-7506's side by side, I noticed that the ATH-M50's have a lot more bass punch than the Sonys and other similar studio headphones.  They also didn't have the upper frequency range spike that the Sonys have, resulting a much darker sounding headphone in comparison to the Sonys bright tonality.  Many regular every day listeners  love the sound quality of the ATH-M50's as do many studio professionals.  However, some people have commented that having much more neutral and analytical cans make for a better studio headphone.  I personally love the un-equalized sound characteristic of the ATH-M50's.  They are very good for all genres of music, although they especially shine with rock, pop and electronic music, and many bass heavy tracks.  However, I can achieve a relatively similar sound characteristic from my Sony MDR-7506's by playing with an equalizer.
Sony MDR-7506

Interesting picture of
Dr. Dre using ATH-M50's
Through and through the ATH-M50's are a wonderful choice for any entry level audiophile, audio enthusiast, studio professional or even someone who just wants some higher quality sound. However, I would not discount the Sony MDR-V6's or MDR-7506's as a viable choice.  Both Sony models costs less than the M50's, however  the ATH-M50's do have a few things going for them that the Sony's don't. Stock ear pads that of higher quality, last longer and are more comfortable than the included Sony pads may be a factor for some people.  Additionally, the M50's have a generally more pleasurable colored sound for those not looking for super analytical cans.  Furthermore, the ATH-M50's come with a straight cabled version for increased portability, and have a lower impedance allowing them to be sufficiently powered by lesser sources. Both the Sony MDR-V6's, MDR-7506's and Audio Technica ATH-M50's are all great choices, and I cannot simply name one or two as the winner.  All have positive and negative characteristics (as does any headphone), and all perform admirably for the price.

Accessories that come included with the Audio Technica ATH-M50's are the headphones themselves, a carrying bag and a 1/4 headphone jack adapter.

Sony MDR-V6 vs Sony MDR-7506 vs Audio Technica ATH-M50 technical specification comparison:

Sony MDR-V6:                                 Sony MDR-7506:                             Audio Technica ATH-M50:                               
Driver size: 40mm                              Driver size: 40mm                            Driver size: 45mm
Driver type: Dynamic, dome type      Driver type: Dynamic, dome type     Driver type: Dynamic, dome
Magnet type: Samarium Cobalt          Magnet type: Neodymium                Magnet type: Neodymium

Frequency response: 5- 30,000Hz      Frequency response: 10- 20,000Hz  Frequency response: 15-
Nominal impedance: 63Ohm             Nominal impedance: 63Ohm            Nominal impedance: 38Ohm            
Sensitivity: 106 dB/mW                     Sensitivity: 106 dB/mW                    Sensitivity: 99 dB/mW
Max power rating: 1,000 kW             Max power rating: 1,000 kW            Max power rating: 1,600 kW
at 1 kHz                                             at 1 kHz                                             at 1 kHz

CLICK HERE for Sony MDR-V6 product page

CLICK HERE for Sony MDR-7506 product page

CLICK HERE for Audio Technica ATH-M50 product page

1 comment:

  1. The picture of Dre in M-50's is photoshopped sadly. While I wish it was true, it isn't.