An industry stalwart, the Sony MDR-7506 has been a favourite of sound professionals and record engineers since 1991. Going strong for more than two decades ,these headphones are still favoured for their comfort, clear and high quality sound reproduction; all at a modest price of Rs 7490.
The Audio Technica ATH M50x are the young upstarts. From Audio Technica's signature M-Series line of studio-monitoring headphones, these have been established and approved by pro audio reviewers and sound engineers for their accurate, clear and balanced sound, design, comfort and durability.
These closed-back over-ear headphones come with a foldable mechanism that ensures ease in portability. They're a little heavier than usual. However, the plastic build is strong and the outer earcups themselves are made of metal. The headphones may not be as padded as the M50x but they are still very comfortable for long use as the head clamping mechanism is moderate.
The headphones come with a permanently attached coil cable that can stretch upto 10 feet long. Since it comes without a mic or remote, it may not be very ideal for use with smartphones and portable audio players.
Just like the MDR-7506, the Audio-Technica ATH-M50x has a rather old fashioned and functional design. Rather than trying to look sleek, and employing expensive-feeling materials like aluminium and leather, these are largely – and unashamedly – plastic.
The M50x is definitely very comfortable. The large earcups sit on the ears and can be used for long hours. However, they do tend to clamp down on the top of your head which can cause discomfort. That does reduce as when the headphones are broken in, but out of the box, there might be an issue for large heads. Noise isolation is also more effective than the MDR-7506.
The biggest advantage over the MDR-7506 is of course the 3 cables that are included. There's a 1.2m straight cable, a coiled cable and another long straight one for use in the studio.
The headphones come with a large 40mm driver that provide incredibly accurate sound. The balance between the bass, mid range and the treble is on point, nothing is out of place. The sound is perfect for all genres, balanced and open and it's no wonder that studio professionals have depended on them for years.
These headphones also have minimal sound leakage and the sound isolation is also quite good.
Compared to the the M50x, it is thinner and brighter. The M50x sound is richer and weightier in tonal balance. Another drawback is that Sony only provides a warranty of 90 days on the headphones.
It's very difficult to find fault in the M-50x's sound performance.
Vocals and instruments are have a good deal of texture, and are nicely separated on a well-organised soundstage. There’s liveliness and it's an immersive listen.
Tonally, the ATH-M50Xs aren’t quite balanced; they lean a little towards the low end. It’s a warm, controlled rumble that’s just enough without being overwhelming. As for the rest: the midrange is well defined and well assimilated with the treble, which is smooth enough to avoid harshness, even when cranked up.
The imperfections come in with the lack of a more dynamic punch. Also, a little bit of clarity would help the treble sparkle – as it feels a little muted.
Just like the MDR-7506, the ATH-M50x also has an impressively wide soundstage that you can immerse yourself into.
Which earphones do you prefer? Do let us know in the comments below!
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