Saturday, October 5, 2013

Audio- Technica ATH-M50 Review

The Audio- Technica ATH-M50's are, for all intents and purposes, the perfect set of over ear headphones. They are reasonably priced, well built, durable, sound absolutely fantastic and are relatively pleasing to look at as well.  It is no wonder that these headphones have attained such a following in the hifi and professional community. They provide the perfect blend of performance, price, value and aesthetic design.  Of all the many headphones in my collection, I continually find myself coming back to the ATH-M50's, even over some of my more expensive models.  They are simply some of the best in terms of sheer value and price to performance ratio.

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, 99dB sensitivity rating and an easy to drive 38 Ohm impedance rating.  The ATH-M50’s are also available in a regular coiled cable configuration, a straight cable configuration (ATH-M50S, the straight cable denoted by the S) and as of this writing, white and silver limited edition models. The result of Audio- Technicas legendary audio engineering is a headphone that sounds great even when used with varying different types of equipment, even modest and low powered sources.  I personally love the way the M50’s look, and I believe Audio- Technica has successfully merged studio quality sound and premium aesthetic appeal to create a headphone that is arguably one of the best in its respective category.

The Audio- Technica ATH-M50’s are no slacker where build quality is concerned.  The ATH-M50’s 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 this fact into account when designing and building the M50's, as the joints are relatively beefy and the overall build quality is superb for a headset in this price range.  Some cool build features of the Audio- Technica ATH-M50's 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 relatively well.  The ear pads are made from high quality fake leather (or as I like to call it "pleather").  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.  Another issue I have noticed is that over time the ear pads begin to actually harden resulting in a substantial decrease in comfort.  The ATH-M50's are comprised of a mostly plastic construction, however this is a 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.

Sound quality is another areas where the ATH-M50’s shine.  The ATH-M50’s do not have the unforgiving flat frequency response that many other studio monitor headphones possess.  They do in fact, have a certain degree of noticeable sound coloration.  The M50’s really have a gentle U shaped frequency response, with emphasis on the lower range and treble with a slight amount of mid-range recession.  While I would prefer that the mid-range was a little more forward, the M50’s sound quality certainly won’t disappoint.

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 to bring to their music collection.  The M50’s provide wonderful build and sound quality in an over ear package all at an extremely reasonable value making them a go to choice for the majority of people looking a competitively priced, solid performer.

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