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18 Responses to “ATH-M50”

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  1. Mike says:


    Just watched your review of the M50s. Very good, so good in fact that I have decided to get a pair! I have just bought the E17 and I am just knocked out by the sound coming from my Sennheiser HD 518s, but I also want a pair of closed back headphones for travelling and use at work and these seem to fit the bill while potentially improving on the quality of the Sennheiser.

    BTW – what do you think of the E17/E10 combination sound quality wise. I have use by FiiO as a dac only with a Neco headphone amp and found that even though the sound was more powerful, it lost the ability to communicate the vibe in the music, if that makes sense… does the E10 do this are do their individual strengths combine to give a better sound?

    Regards, Mike

  2. Mike says:

    Hello again Allen,

    Got my FiiO models mixed up. I got the E10 confused with the E9. Do you have any experience of the E9 amp?


    • Hi Mike,

      Glad you found the review of the M50’s helpful – you’ll be happy with these headphones – they actually compare very well with a set of Sennheiser HD540’s (a much older set of reference headphones that were $500 more than 20 years ago) – and believe me, those things still sound incredible. I think you’ll be more than surprised by what Audio Technica has done with a sub $200 set of headphones!

      As far as the E9 is concerned, I actually do have a review of that up as well. Here’s what I can tell you about the E17 in general (I have a review of that as well), I like the amp. It seems to excel at the treble and upper midrange more so than the bass. So, depending on what you’re talking about with the vibe (or I like to say the emotion) of the music, I do know what you’re talking about. It really depends on the type of music I’m listening to. If I’m listening to stringed instruments or anything that has that higher register, then the E17 seems to do an outstanding job. Most of the time though, I do prefer the E11 to the E17, MOST of the time simply because the E11’s EQ’ing of the bass regions is just so good. Now, all that being said, to answer your question.

      The E9 is a killer amp, especially for the price, and it really does have some oomph. Paired with the E17 it really is a quality combination. The E17 gives you the ability to EQ a bit before going through the E9 which gives you a little extra control. And the E9 amplifier has a pretty flat response, maybe just a tiny bit warm in the mids which isn’t overpowering at all. I do believe that the two together is a powerful combination.

      Definitely check out the reviews of the E17 and the E9 on here – on the E9 review I show the E17 plugged in and how they interact. If you have any questions, let me know. Also, let me know what you think when you get your M50’s. I think you’re going to be pleasantly surprised.

  3. J says:

    Thanks a lot for the reviews! I just got my ATH-M50 headphones in and I love them! Man, they are incredible. Now, I’m trying to decide what amp I should get. I understand the E9 is a little more bass friendly, which is appealing to me, everything else in general is telling me to pick up the E17…

    My thoughts are either go for the E9 to use with these new headphones, or maybe pick up another pair of headphones with a better low end and get the E17… This wouldn’t bother me at, since I’d like to have different pairs for different moods, and I was able to score the M50’s for $100, which doesn’t hinder purchase anything else.

    So a couple questions…
    Is the low end on the E9 the main reason you opt for that more often over the E17, even with the E17’s features and versatility?

    What pair of headphones under $500 would you recommend for great sound, but really good, notable bass frequency reproduction? I’ve heard the Ultrasone Pro 900’s are great. Have you heard them?

    Thanks again for the reviews. Keep them coming!

    • Actually, the E9 doesn’t have any bass boost or anything along those lines – it’s completely flat. It just has a ton of power compared to the portable amps. Honestly, if I were going to pick up an amp to extend the bass on the M50’s I wouldn’t go any further than the E11 (assuming you don’t need a DAC). The E11 is one of my absolute favorite pieces of equipment because the performance for price is just outstanding.

      As far as other headphones under $500 and bass – are you looking for accurate reproduction or more volume (or obviously both). The reason I ask is there’s a pretty big discrepancy between people’s opinion on what bass should be, how loud it should be, etc. For instance, there’s a guy that I work with that is a master pianist and he thinks the M50’s and the Beyerdynamic DT990’s have too much bass, but he tried the Audio Technica AD 900 and he liked the way it sounded (which to me was very light on the bass). As far as louder bass, I’ve not come across much that I liked better than the M50’s when you consider accuracy as well – I’ve listened to the Beats Studios by Dre and while they were insanely loud, the notes were not discernable – everything sounded the same.

      Let me know what you’re looking for and I’ll be able to direct you a little better. I’ve not heard the Ultrasone’s yet but I’ll definitely try and get my hands on them.


  4. J says:

    Thanks for the quick reply. I checked out your review of the Beats by Dr. Dre Studios, I think that after thinking about it, that’s a great point you made, as far as the bass goes… It’s almost just sheer volume when it comes to the bass, not much detail between frequencies. I would say what I’ve learned from listening to the Beats some my music leaves me hungry for liuder lower frequencies, I would say maybe 40-70Hz… That could be considering what I’ve done for a living for my entire adult life: mobile electronics installation. Although a lot of the audio systems I’ve installed and enjoyed have been just subwoofers and pure bass, I’m a supporter of Sound Quality, rather than SPL. I would like to take a flat sound, and just add a bit more to the low end. Haha.

    I recently kicked up the EQ for 60Hz while listening to my Audio-Technica ATH-M50’s and they sound great! They hold their accuracy at high levels without clipping. I would almost say that I’m now satisfied, but… that’s only when listening from my MacBook Pro. I listen to FLAC files on the laptop, but 256/320kbps when I’m away from home…

    Half of my listening would be while I’m on campus, using my iPad. I’m thinking the Fiio E17 would be nice, being able to use it with the iPad at school, and then as a DAC at home of the laptop. So portability and a DAC, are both the appealing factors in the E17, even there is no dedicated bass boost, (right?)

    Thanks again for all your advice. I’m in love with my Audio-Technica ATH-M50’s. My whole music library is now back in my current rotation. LoL. I dont know to listen to next.

    • Man, I gotta tell you that your comment made me smile. What you describe is how my love of music and true fidelity came about – I was an absolute nut for mobile (aka car) audio when I was in college. Then it moved onto home theater (which is a super expensive realm) and that made me dive into headphones. Much like you I’m a fan of a little boost in the bass range, although I can appreciate a truly flat EQ. All that being said, that’s one of my very favorite things about the M50’s – they can handle a lot of power and EQ’ing and they NEVER clip!

      Onto the E17 – it actually does have a bass boost! While I would give the edge to the E11 as far as the actual EQ for the bass region goes, the M50’s smooth that difference out because it can handle almost any signal thrown at it. That being said, the E17 will bring out that airiness of the M50’s even more while giving it that bump you want on the low end. Either amp pairs just insanely well with the M50’s. I think I prefere the E11 just slightly more in terms of SQ, but the sheer versatility of the E17 is unparalleled at that price point. So you won’t lose either which way you decide to go.

      And yeah man – a great set of headphones make you start exploring – I love listening to music now more than ever. Quality brings on an obsession of sorts when it comes to these headphones!

      If you’re a fan of female vocals, a woman I just discovered recently, Rebecca Ferguson – check out “Nothing’s Real but Love”…just buttery smooth.

      Seriously man, thanks for stopping by – brought a smile to my face. I love to read that same enthusiasm I feel when listening to high quality music with great equipment.

  5. J says:

    One more thing… Have you heard the Denon AH-D5000’s? I read those are warmer with low frequencies, while still providing a fairly balanced and great detailed sound. It’s frustrating not being able to listen to these headphones BEFORE purchasing. Haha. I haven’t found anywhere locally offering higher end head-fi for demo. Magnolia in Best Buy had a few lower Denons, Sennheisers, and AKGs, but that’s it. I’d love to get a pair of Senn. HD 650/700/800’s around my ears, just to see what it’s like. LoL.

    Looking forward to more of your video reviews. Thanks again.

  6. J says:

    Haha. That’s awesome. I see myself following your same footsteps, at least while playing hopscotch with home theater and pretty much skipping it. Oh yeah, that’s right! The E17 has the mini 3-band EQ where you can tweak the bass… I forgot that was in the review. I think I might pick that over the E11 then, since the pairability with the E9 is an option.

    Man. Thanks for the recommendation! I just bought the album after listening to that song. Haha. I guess I should return the favor, and recommend some of the songs I love, similarly with vocals, but just male vocals though. Check out “When You Come Home” by Fiji, and “When a Woman Loves” by R. Kelly.

    Let me know what you think… Thanks for the song and advice!

    • I’d never heard of Fiji – will be exploring more of that. That’s a nice song. And yeah man, R Kelly can flat out sing. If the dude would just start id’ing the chick’s he’s interested in he’d be doing ok! Thanks for the recommendations man. Both great recommendations.

      A few more for you and I’ll get back to work! Michael Buble – “Feeling Good” and “Home”. Also, check out “Nightshift” by the Commodores – just some killer male vocals and great background instrumentation.

  7. edward says:

    Hi allen, can u give me a short review this bass pair Ath-m50s + fiio e11,I’m a hardcore bass lover,

    • Yeah, I could possibly get that out in the near future -I’ve got a LOT of reviews coming so it’s going to be busy. In a nutshell though, here you go – on EQ 1, it steps the M50’s up into the arena with other great bass headphones. If you put it on 2, you’ll literally get the headphones to shake on your head while staying mostly in control – at times they’ll get a little muddy and a little loose, but if you want some head rattling bass, the E11 will give it to you!

  8. Mike says:

    Hi Allen,

    Thanks for the video review, very highlighting. Would you recommend ATH-M50 to watch movies?
    I am looking into buying a pair of good quality headphones to watch movies and listen to music, without having to spend over US $250.
    What would you recommend?


    • Yes, the M50’s are seriously all-around great performers. They’ll be excellent for watching movies. The one area where more expensive headphones will edge them out would be in the soundstage – the M50’s are good, but “open” headphones (not sealed or closed) will do a better job on the soundstage. Again, the soundstage on the M50’s is still good, and you’ll likely be blown away by the quality.

  9. Derek says:

    Hi Allen. Watched your review and got me mighty interested in these cans. Comfort is #1 for me, ive returned shure440 and klipsch image one because they are uncomfortable so right now using sony xb200s, sound is average but very comfy. My question is how would the m50s compare to those 3 above in regards to comfort and bass. Thanks man!

    • I’ve not had the chance to try out the shure’s or the image one’s yet. Probably the most comfortable headphone I’ve worn to date are the Bose QC15’s and it’s really not even close. Those are just superb in their comfort. With the M50’s I find them not uncomfortable but not lush either. I notice that they’re on, mostly because the ear pads tend to heat up your ears a bit, bot never uncomfortable. Some people put velour pads on them to keep them from heating up your ears…here’s a link:
      Sorry I don’t have the other headphones as references, but again, I never found the M50’s to be uncomfortable at all. As a matter of fact, a friend of mine wears glasses and found that they didn’t bother him either, even with his glasses on.

  10. Derek says:

    Just a follow up, should be xd200 not xb.

  11. Horatio says:

    Hi Allan,

    greetings from Germany ;-)
    After reading your M50 review I was eager to listen
    to these headphones. My experience was:
    Very nice sound, a litte bit too much bass for my taste.
    Sometimes the midds are suffering due to the bass, but
    most of the times it’s quite funny to listen to pop music ;-)
    Unfortunately they are quite uncomfortable to wear, my ears are getting
    warm after 1-2h of listening.
    My actual favorite headphones are Beyerdynamic 990 pro.
    Even for my ears they are big enough ;-), the sound is
    very well balanced and you get the feeling the orchestra
    is right in your room.

    Thanks for your reviews, it’s quite interesting to listen to
    somebody who is so enthusiasic!!

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