Make the Audio-Technica ATH-M50 headphones the last addition to your audio arsenalIt's clear from just a few listens that the Audio-Technica ATH-M50 are among the best headphones available that cost less than $200.
-Hey, I'm Justin Yu headphone editor for CNET with the Product Spotlight on my pick for best all around over-ear headphone. It's the ATH M50 over-ear from Audio Technica. You can find these online for about $160 and the company calls these a pro-studio monitoring headphone which means they're designed and marketed for recording engineers to achieve a balance and uncolored response. These are absolutely not the same breed as the Monster Beats by Dr. Dre's. Those ones add artificial boost to the low-end. But don't let descriptive words like flat fool you into thinking that these headphones don't sound great. Their natural signature means you're gonna hear the music the way it was originally intended. But, before I go into a more about sound quality, let's look at the hardware. To keep the retail cost low, Audio Technica uses a fake leather to line the padding on the ear cuffs and on the head band. But it's really breathable and it hasn't caused me ear fatigue on me as far as I can tell. And I've been using them as my daily headphone in the office for a few weeks now. You'll know this well if you've used cheaper headphones but comfort is a huge deal for something you have on your head for 8 or more hours a day. And Audio Technica really gets it right here. The cushions have just the right amount of squeeze against your ears to distribute even pressure across your temples and the top of your skull which is also important for achieving passive noise isolation. These are closed headphones meaning they'll do well to isolate noises from the outside world. And again, these are ideal for busy workplaces or other loud environments. Now, by the same token, they also won't leak music to your neighbors if you're using them on public transit or in a quite room. But, if you are taken them on the go, you may just like the fact that it don't fold up neatly like other competing headsets designed for traveling. The joints above the ear cuffs do push in for comfort however and the swiveling ear cuffs and a long curled cable make them a good candidate for DJ-ing. Also the manufacturer offers another model of the ATH M50's with an [unk] that features a straight cable if you don't like the curled version. But both do feel very durable and are likely to withstand plenty of abuse. Now, back to how they sound. These are a top to your value for audio files looking for a life-long stable to recording studio or home listening station. Supremely balanced tops, mids and low frequencies are all great with definition and sensitive stereo imaging that means you're gonna hear music exactly where the original recording engineer plays the instruments during their recording. Also, you're gonna hear the term low impedance throwing around a lot when describing these headphones that basically means that these will make it really easy to drive loud volumes from a portable device like an mp3 player or a smartphone which is where I suspect that most people are accessing their music nowadays. But if you are listening to them at home, I recommend using them with a desktop amplifier. That combination will really make your music shine. So that's it for this video spotlight. You can read all of the details in our full review on cnet.com. But if you're looking for a set of reference cans and that's gonna be the last piece of your audio arsenal, you don't have to spend a lot. Just pick up the Audio Technica ATH M50 you won't be disappointed, you won't empty your wallet and that sounds good to me.