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Audio-Technica ATH-M50 Professional Studio Monitor Headphones

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Audio-Technica ATH-M50 Professional Studio Monitor Headphones. The ATH-M50 can be trialled free of charge under our First Impression Scheme, visit www.audio-technica.com/firstimpressions for more information.

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With the ATH-M50 professional studio monitor headphones, Audio-Technica has achieved an exceptionally accurate response and long-wearing listening comfort. Designed especially for professional monitoring and mixing, these studiophones feature an efficient collapsible design for space-saving portability and storage. Circumaural ear pieces swivel 180° for easy one-ear monitoring and luxuriously padded ear cushions create an outstanding seal for maximum isolation. The adjustable headband is generously padded for ultimate comfort during long mixing sessions. A coiled cable at the left earpiece terminates to a gold-plated mini plug with included screw-on ¼" adapter.

Audio-Technica’s sophisticated driver technology and superior components deliver exceptional power handling and very high SPL capabilities while maintaining clarity of sound throughout their extended range, with deep, accurate bass and outstanding high-frequency extension. The headphones feature propriety large-aperture drivers with neodymium magnet systems for ultra-efficient signal transfer.

  • Exceptional audio quality for professional monitoring and mixing
  • Collapsible design ideal for easy portability and convenient storage
  • Proprietary 45 mm large-aperture drivers with neodymium magnet systems
  • Closed-back cushioned earcup design creates an outstanding seal for maximum isolation
  • Adjustable padded headband for comfort during long mixing/recording sessions
  • Single-sided coiled cable terminates to gold-plated mini plug with screw-on ¼" adapter


  • 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: 10 oz (284 g) 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
  • Accessory Included: Protective pouch

£ 134.00 Web price, inc VAT

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£ 152.17
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Audio-Technica ATH-M50 Professional Studio Monitor Headphones Reviews


Very Nice

These headphones are fairly expensive, but the sound quality is brilliant - definitely worth the price. The low-mids and bass especially sounds better than some others I\'ve used, but it\'s not hyped in any way. I\'m really impressed by the sound.

They\'re very well made and comfortable, so you could wear them for a good while if you wanted. The coiled cord is a useful, as it stops me rolling over the cable!

You can\'t really mix through headphones, but I\'d definitely recommend these for tracking and critical listening. I believe AT also make an slightly less expensive open-back model if you don\'t need to track with them.


Studio Mixing / Monitoring phones you can take on the bus

I remember when Sony rebranded their MDR-7506 headphones as the Sony MDR-V6, every catalogue part except the input jack stayed the same, but they changed the written frequency response. The Sony's were and are both good headphones, but when you are choosing it's infuriating that these details tell you so very little - and there's always that dubious promise that with the next model for just another 30 quid we can get right down another 15Hz - and with little to say what is going on through the range.. It's very hard to know if a less impressive written spec is in fact rare profesional honesty - just as an impressive spec is often a sales con.

So these were bought to be tried - and then exchanged if they were dissapointing using Dolphins returns policy. Even in the city, there is still a lack of places where headphones can be tried for any meaningful length of time in comfort to make a judgement. More expensive doesn't always mean any better and so this is a good way to find out. It was important to me that my choice could be a trustworthy counterpart to monitors, as much as possible I wanted a flat response with a full range of reproduction so that rudimentary mixing done on my laptop away from the studio would sound similar in the studio. I also wanted enough detail to enable critical listening alongside monitors to help with tracking and tweaking, and good enough isolation to use with microphones. So then - where to begin? Well, I already had a pair of MS-40fs Audio Technicas and I was impressed by these being fairly linear and rounded in character when I got them a few years back - so the larger 45mm driver and fuller enclosures of the MS-50 seemed a good place to start looking. They have impressive endorsements from George Massenburg et al - and while no-ones expecting a silver bullet - I was hoping to be impressed.

So what are they like? What are they succesful at doing?
What really makes headphones like these do their thing, and something you'll never get without trying them out, is the quality of the design/construction and seal. And this I noticed immediatly. They are proper circumaural fullsize headphones, and with superb isolation too - that efficeincy helps enourmously with both comfort and, of course, the transmission of pressure waves to the ear. Even at volume there is very little bleed, they immediately struck me as having great potential for using to track vocals. The pads are large and swallow the whole of average sized ears like mine - and they swivel and pivot to be level with and seal against your headshape. The plastic headband is moulded with two bends under the leatherette - the plastic arms come down at a slight angle from either side of the gently cuved top part of the band. These pull gently against the sides of the head so that the headband is not at all cumbersome sitting as it does very close to your head. This, along with positive fitting circumaural cushions, also means that these aren't likely to slip off your head. In contrast to this, my old MS-40fs' are supra-aural and sit on the ear and the band tends to slide off. I bought the MS-40fs' to track with, but leaning forwards tended to have them slip off - certainly not good halfway through a take. The MS-50's are quite superior here, they stay put and sealed round the ear the whole time.

More good news came when testing them with a range of material the signal response really does appear to be quite flat - very unhyped actually. That lack of built in loudness hype encourages a higher volume listen to get a present feeling from the material and feels trustworthy while tracking. This also means they are quite unwearing on the ear sonically too (complimenting the aesthetic comfort for longer sessions) - and especially at a higher spl. These are powerful headphones too, capable of fairly high spl - not that you'd ever be advised to blast your ears for hours - but powerful closed back headphones like these are going to survive the signal bumps and inadvised bass experiments you may encounter when you are busy tracking that might kill off an open backed pair (such as DT990pros) rather more quickly. That makes them well suited to tracking; and in terms of secure comfort, detail and reliablility as well as isolation they have ticked every box.

When I look more towards critical listening and mixing - these headphones have struck a compromise with their credentials for tracking and more accesable (and even casual) listening. Not too much is lost in the compromise - while you aren't going to need a special amp just to listen to them they are still very good and the benefit is they are also very useable - indeed almost anywhere. Even sitting on the bus with your mp3 player is worth a mention - as these are actually usable headphones in that context. A shorter coiled lead with a 3.5mm jack hidden under the screw on 1/4" jack makes for a very chameleon like pair of headphones. And the impedance of the drivers means that you can run them off an ipod or some such without the volume completely the way up. They are comfortable and light enough to wear for hours - although as always you might get hot ears in summer. That isolation benefit for tracking also means you can have them up pretty loud knowing that no-ones hearing what you are when you are out and about. However one note here against more typical headphones is that you might find them a bit too linear and unimpressive during a quiet listen - but they do get going when you raise the volume or add a little loudness.

In terms of sound quality for mixing or critical listening purposes - I have to say I was largely impressed. The top end details are there and there's lots of body and depth to the signal too, which really helps with judging bass in the signal. There's lots of deep power from the big drivers which you can literally feel if you touch your hands against them and that's worth a mention as it actually helps with judgement calls and immersion in the material, usually the toughest area to judge on headphones. These have put a smile on my face a few times when playing about in the sub bass area, they remain tonal and balanced even in that area which was pleasing. While they do not have quite the same open airy quality that openback headphones can - they do not produce the claustorphobic boxed feel that closed types may either, and adjusting mastering compression or enhancement throws up quite a backlight to the material. If you hype the mix it really can sound quite gloriously pronounced should you wish it, bassy, punchy or restrained and very acoustic and light - dynamcially there's a lot going for these.

They reference very well to my monitors too, which are a "Behringer Truth" active near field set, both are of a similar price/performance (higher end pro-sumer) point. I think the 'phones are perhaps flatter, but there is certainly nothing that is escaping either the 'phones or the monitors and that helps with confidence. When you listen to the mixdown later on hifi or mp3 headphones although you hear differnet balances and emphasis, you can still recognise that you have heard and balanced these details in your original mix. Overall I found these translations of material I'd mixed with help from these 'phones quite pleasing. In comparison to the MS-40fs' the bottom end of the MS-50's is much more stable and reliable in feel - this may well be due in part to the better fit of the circum-aurals. With a poor fit or leaky seal, such as I have found with some headphones, movement of the head effects the seal of the headphone cup against the ear, changing the balance of the frequency response - one playback or take can feel different to the next and the process can feel very frustrating.

All in all they do everything well. They aren't the zenith of any one area I'm sure (although perhaps near that area for tracking), but they are so useable and affordable that I find myself quite content with them. There's nothing like the simple joy of responsiveness to input, the clarity which minor adjustments come through the mix and the aid it provides in revealing flaws; to work with I think these have an exceptionally pleasing and reasuring range and detail of reproduction. As more and more people listen to music on headphones, small speaker systems and variable quality mp3 - I think a pair of phones like these allows me to use the same magnifying glass through that whole range giving a much clearer idea of how the music is going to appear to the end listener.

Pro's - Quite linear. Comfortable. Well sealed meaty headpones. Good power handling and with good isolation for tracking. Go anywhere design, 3.5mm or 1/4" jack, impedance means they will run off an mp3 player.

Con's - Perhaps still boxy compared to Open backed models. Coiled cable will annoy some.

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Audio Technica ATH-M50 Headphones

These are great headphones! The sound is very precise and they offer all the features that are necessary for mixing and normal audio listening.

They are extremely comfortable so you can wear them for hours without any problem, which is an important issue for any close back headphones which need to keep a good tight seal. The closed back design also makes them ideal for using in public places without hassling the guy on the train next to you, and the low impedance means that they are also suitable to be used with a low output portable player without a dedicated headphone amplifier.

The sound of these headphones is very natural with excellent clarity over all sound ranges and they respond very well to all music types. I hope that my upcoming music project will also benefit from the natural and realistic sound that these headphones offer. Recommended.

This was my first order with Dolphin Music and I am sorry to say that the experience was not quite what I had hoped or expected. This item was out of stock at the time of purchase and Dolphin assured me that the delivery would be made after two weeks... after I contacted them myself. When they failed to arrive it took another two weeks to finally speak to someone again. After that the item was shipped out the same day so i am not quite sure what the situation with availability was. Overall, it took over a month for the headphones to arrive and I daresay it would have taken longer had I not called up regularly to check the status.

Luckily the headphones were worth the wait so I am a relatively happy customer.
Thanks to the guy I spoke to at Dolphin who sorted my order the day I called!

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