Audio-Technica M50 Review (Limited Edition)
Considered to be one of the best sub $150 headphones in the market today, the Audio-Technica M50 is usually the first step of a lot of people into becoming an audiophile. These cans have an iconic design and they deliver outstanding sound quality that will leave you wanting to learn more about the science of audio.
We unboxed the original model of the Audio-Technica M50’s a few months ago but we never got around to making a review. However it looks like it’s all good since we just got a unit of the Audio-Technica M50 Limited Edition Headphones last week and we’ve also unboxed it and now we’re going to do the full review. The only difference between the Limited Edition and the regular model other than the price is the design so whatever we say about the sound quality here applies to the original model as well. Read on for our full review!
ATH-M50 Spec Sheet
- Type: Closed-back dynamic
- Driver: Diameter 45 mm Magnet Neodymium Voice Coil CCAW (Copper-clad aluminum wire)
- Frequency Response: 15 – 28,000 Hz
- Maximum Input Power: 1,600 mW at 1 kHz
- Sensitivity: 99 dB
- Impedance: 38 ohms
- Weight: 284 g (10 oz) without cable and connector
- Cable: 1.2 – 3.0 m (3.9′ – 9.8′) Coiled, OFC litz wire
- Connector: Gold-plated stereo 1/8″ (3.5 mm) connector with strain relief and professional screw-on 1/4″ (6.3 mm) adapter
As you can see from the photo above the M50’s look like they were pulled out from a Robotech movie. The silver, blue, and black color theme gives a very modern and “techie” feel to the cans. This is a huge departure from the original model which was just plain black.
The headband is padded to make sure that you’re comfortable especially when you’re going to do long listening sessions. The ear pads are soft and will easily adjust to the size of your ear and head. The cable is also very durable as it is covered with some sort of rubbery material. Note that there are two types of M50’s available — one has a coiled cable and the other has a straight cable. The coiled cable model is more for people who want to bring it around a lot since this saves space.
When it comes to portability you have the option of bringing the cans around since you can actually fold them up and they even included a carrying pouch in the box. However it’s not really recommended. The ATH-M50 is more for stationary use whether it be in your house, in the car, or at the office. This is due to the size of the cans, the long cable, and the attention it will attract which is never a good thing when you’re commuting in the Philippines.
If you really want to bring it with you though then I have good news. The noise isolation on the M50’s is fairly good. You can block out most of the sound from the outside whether you’re in the car, walking, or in a crazy LRT station filled with people.
If you’ll use it in the office then we also have great news for you. The leak of the ATH-M50 is very minimal so you can listen away to whatever music you want and the people in your surroundings won’t be able to hear to your guilty music pleasures.
The ATH-M50 is made from a combination of hard plastic, padding, and metal making it a durable set of cans. The hinges don’t creak and they definitely feel sturdy. You can easily extend or retract the ear pads without fear of them breaking apart. Watch this short video we prepared which shows the ATH-M50 Limited Edition in different angles. It gives you a better idea of what it looks like.
There are a lot of reviews available online already about the ATH-M50 and they’re pretty mixed. After trying it out myself for a couple of weeks I agree with the following observations:
- ATH-M50 is generally balanced leaning slightly towards the low end.
- The mids are a bit recessed but I personally don’t mind. Vocals and instruments still come out pretty detailed and distinct.
- I also personally appreciate that the highs are not too forward or aggressive. This combined with the Treble levels helps a lot with decreasing ear fatigue especially during long listening sessions.
- Good bass! Not overwhelming at all. Nice low end impact and just enough extension to make it “thumpy”. However bassheads (people who love bass) might want more.
- Treble is present but not as powerful as the mids and bass. Not really a bad thing.
- Surprisingly good sound stage.
If there’s a word I’d pick to describe the overall sound signature of the ATH-M50 it would be “fun”. Itt can pretty much play all kinds of genres of music well. It shined the most for me though when I was listening to Jason Mraz’s new album, “Love is a Four Letter Word”. I could literally couldn’t stop myself from tapping my feet to the beat of the song! Other songs that shined were those that had bass and percussions in them.
Pricing and Availability
The ATH-M50 Limited Edition Headphones are now available in selected branches of Astro Vision, Astro Plus, and Power Mac Center for Php9,950. The ATH-M50 standard models sell for Php8,950.
The Audio-Technica M50 Limited Edition Headphones are excellent cans that will make a good first step for people who want to venture into the audiophile realm. It’s a huge upgrade compared to your usual headphones and earphones. The fact that it’s also easy to drive (you can use an amp but you don’t really need to) is also a major plus for me. This is also excellent for people looking for amazing sounding cans that they want to use mostly in the office or at home.
The only real drawback is the price. The LE model sells for Php9,950 and the standard model goes for Php8,950 which puts it in the same range as other premium cans. This gives it a lot of competition so it’s really better if you guys audition (try out) it first so that you really know if it’s worth your hard earned cash. 🙂