The Audio-Technica ATH-M50 are specifically designed to 'take out' the competition in the $100 to $200 headphone market range -- purely through their pure build and sound quality. But here we ask -- do they achieve this goal? In this article we are reviewing the ATH-M50 headphones and will also delve into sharing some of the feedback from customers who have been using them full time. While an expert review can 'paint a pretty picture' i.e give you a great idea of features and technical aspects, it won't ever really match up to nor beat a 'full on; real customer review for finding out how everything comes together -- and an aspect after the initial 'new toy' phase.
The ATH-M50's Sound Quality
As always the first thing to ask is if a set of headphones, actually do their job i.e do they sound good?
The noise cancelling cans work rather perfectly and are actually surprisingly comfortable with their extra squishy soft lined padding. As should be expected, these don't have the same range as a $500+ headphone set, but they certainly blow away almost all other noise cancelling headphones within this price range.
Headphone Jack, Connections and Compatibility
This set features a reinforced 1/8-inch standard headphone jack that works with smart phones, computers and all other devices with stereo headphone jacks. In addition to this it also comes with a 1/4-Inch adapter so that you can use it on your guitar amplifier or with older stereo systems and recording equipment. The only stand out point with this device, is that it does not have a native USB support. However this being said, any headphone to USB adapter will work perfectly well with the ATH-M50s and these can of course be bought from most good electronics stores for no more than $20.
The Cable Woes Have Gone
The biggest fear any good headphone owner can know is the fear that they are going to roll over the cable with their chair. This is something that even top brands like Seinheiser suffer from with their long and thin cables. The Audio-Technica ATH-M50s do away with this fear completely with their thick, untouchable, old-fashioned telephone style cables. This cable line offers superior strength and length without having your cable trailing all along the floor. Credit to audio-technica -- it's a simple solution and it works flawlessly. Combined with the reinforced headphone jack you would be very hard pressed to break this cable accidentally.
Storage is a pretty common issue with headphones, especially noise cancelling designs with large cans such as this particular model. There is nothing worse than breaking one of the cans within a week of buying the set because you couldn't store it safely. However, this particular set features something that pretty much every set should in my eyes - the cans fold flat in line with the band. This therefore means that they are much less likely to break and can easily be stored in a small draw. It also makes them much easier to hang on a wall hook as they will sit flat against the wall.
The Pricing of the ATH-M50 Headphones
As mentioned earlier these headphones are designed to compete with the best of the best in the $100-$200 ranges of headphones. As far as the pricing goes this is somewhat undercutting their performance and may even be leading people to believe these aren't as good as they are (hence almost in some regards -- it can be argued to be backfiring or them).
Pricing is a pretty powerful marketing tool and many audiophiles wont even look at the below $200 market for quality headphones. Although Audio Technica's pricing strategy is somewhat questionable this is nothing but good news for people looking for a great pair of headphones on a tighter budget. Anyone who has tried these headphones will tell you that they are much cheaper than they could be, a sentiment echoed later in customer reviews -- hence a real value for money buy.
My and the General Overall Opinion
These are headphones for tuning into your favorite music at home or for using your computer when you wish simply to not be disturbed. They also work very well as studio headphones with their amp connectivity. The noise cancelling design is comfortable for long practice sessions and does a great job of allowing you to focus only on your playing. However, these headphones for some people are perhaps a bit too large for walking around or travelling. Despite their iPhone connectivity I would not be inclined to use them in this way as they are quite bulky. That said, if you are looking for the best possible sound quality at home or in the studio for under $200 then these are a truly great option.
Customer Reviews and Opinions on the Audio-Technica ATH-M50s
As mentioned earlier you can only truly know how a set comes together after reading the reviews of actual customers. These are technically proficient headphones but do they pass the customer review test?
The answer to this question is "Absolutely great" -- as spoken by numerous customer themselves. These headphones do fantastically in customer reviews with the set scoring an almost perfect 4.9 stars out of 5 on Amazon and similar review sites (amongst more than 600 reviews and ratings). One customer said the "lows are very tight and punchy, mids are solid and highs are crisp" and another said that the set offered great sound and good isolation. Many comments focused on how customers almost passed these headphones up, not expecting much for the price tag. However, after trying them they were sold and convinced that they are severely underpriced for their performance.
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