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Sunday, July 21, 2013

My Thoughts on Audio Technica's ATH-M50 Professional Studio Monitor Headphones

Let's start by introducing the pair I got in the mail.




These are Audio Technica's ATH-M50 headphones and the site has them listed as professional grade studio headphones. That's all well and good, but when you see the price you wonder if it can really live up to that label. At anywhere between $160 to $180 online these headphones are priced well below what you will find most other studio cans. 






































As you can see, I opted for the white version as I prefer their looks to the slightly more plain black version, but they're also available in a limited edition silver and a limited edition red color.

They also fold up for ease of carrying. 






























































In the box you get the pair, some documentation, a matching carrying pouch, and a ¼" adapter in case you have some other professional audio equipment. These headphones also come with a one year limited manufacturer warranty. All you have to do is fill out the included documentation and send it in within 10 days of purchasing them.







































The pouch is pretty plain; no embossing or logos. It has a nice clean look. It's made of the same leatherette material as the cups on the headphones.


 



































It's nice that they included a ¼" jack adapter so that I can use it on my guitar amps/preamps. The adapter simply screws onto the threaded end of the 3.5mm jack.

The jack itself feels to be really well built and I like the spring to relieve tension where the chord terminates. 







































I knew going into this that, unlike other mid-range professional grade headphones, this pair were constructed of exclusively plastic as opposed to a combination of plastic and aluminium that you see on other headphones in a similar price bracket. 

Now onto my experiences with this pair of headphones.

What I liked

Sound

First and foremost, if you're spending this kind of quid on a pair of headphones this is what you are most concerned with. Well you should be at least. And I'm pleased to say that, by no means, does this set disappoint in this area. It's also worth mentioning that the sound is good out of the box, this isn't a set of headphones that you'll have to 'burn in' in order to get the sound you're after.

With 45mm Neodymium drivers powering this set you'll have no problems hitting the lower registers of your music. The bass is powerful, but not overly so. It's well pronounced and well balanced with most every genre I've listened to. I really enjoy the level on this set as opposed to the muddy bass and scooped mids/highs I've heard on others. *cough cough Beats

The range of these headphones is what I find most impressive personally. Lows, mids, and highs are all present and extremely clear. With this kind of clarity you'll be finding new dynamics in your music that you may have not noticed were there previously. 

These are closed-back headphones so the amount of noise cancellation you get is extremely good. You won't be bothered by anything going on around you and likewise no one will be bothered by you. 


Price

Like I said you can find these on Amazon and similar stores for as low as $160 typically. If you have a Prime membership these are a no-brainer. 


Coiled Cable

A few of the headphones (black/white I believe) have the option of a coiled, or standard cable. I opted for coiled so I wouldn't have to sacrifice length to get portability. It's a nice feature and just something to consider if you're like me and plan to carry these around with you for use with an MP3 player.


Comfort

The leatherette on the cups of these headphones is really soft and the cups themselves have quite a lot of cushion. The underside of the headband is also padded and has a softer, more cloth-like material on it. The fit isn't too tight or too loose. I've had no problems or complaints about wearing this pair for extended periods of time.


Looks

I catch a lot of flack for valuing aesthetics a little too much when it comes to my purchases, but I believe here it's necessary. These are something you are going to be seen out in public with, and, in my opinion, that means they have to look good. I like this pair because they're simple without being boring. Other sets are festooned with outlandish logos or painted in some tacky color scheme. 

What I didn't like

Build quality

Like I said, I knew going into this that the construction was primarily plastic, but all the reviews I read said that the build quality was still phenomenal. I suppose I didn't take this into as much consideration as I should have. While they still feel particularly sturdy there's no changing that they are made of plastic. The plastic feels a little cheap to the touch and they creak, squeak, and groan loudly and often. 


Coiled Cable

While I said I enjoy the convenience of the coiled cable, there is one caveat. The coil puts weight at a single point of the cable and it's quite a lot of weight. It apparently is more than my phone weighs so wherever the coil goes is where my phone goes. If I lay it on an edge and the coil slinks off of the surface my phone is going to follow it to the floor. You have to be mindful of where you put the bulk of the weight. 


Headphone Jack

One of my biggest complaints about this pair of headphones is the jack itself.




















In the picture above you can see that the area at the base of the jack is very large and very flat. This means that if anything that you're planning on plugging into has any sort of bevel or obstruction around the jack it's not going to fit. It hasn't been that much of an issue for me yet, but I've seen stories of people not being able to use it on phones with cases and situations like that. 

Another issue I have is that the cable is not removable. I suppose this is where the M50's begin to show their age. It's almost a standard feature at this point to see removable, interchangable cables at this price point, and in my opinion at the price it's also a must. I find myself often wishing I could change which side of the headphones had the connection.

Finally
I've really enjoyed my experience so far with these headphones. If you're looking for a solid, quality pair of beginner headphones these are absolutely perfect for that. You're going to love the way they sound. Some others that I was considering buying are the Beyerdynamic Custom Pro One's and the V-Moda Crossfade M-100's. I'll include a link to both those as well as my pair below. Thank you for taking the time to read my review and I hope this helps if you were on the fence or just in the market for a pair of studio headphones.

Audio Technica ATH-M50 (white, coiled cable)

Beyerdynamic Custom One Pro (white)

V-Moda Crossfade M-100

Sunday, December 2, 2012

The Wii-U. Is it for me or U?

Let me just say this going in: I like Nintendo. I want them to succeed.

The Good

There's a lot of things that I think the Wii-U does right. The controller/screen is a pretty awesome idea, and I much prefer its modern take on a traditional interface as opposed to the scary place everyone was taking it with motion controls.
You can even go as far as, with certain games, using the controller exclusively and never having to look at your television. This makes the controller more of its own separate entity rather than simply a peripheral one.

I like the updated graphics and media features even though it still feels like Nintendo is just playing catch-up at this point as the original Wii really missed out with its lack of internet features.

The Bad

Even though I like the premise of the controller, because the Wii-U is still in its infancy stage, no one really knows how best to use the controller yet. And so far, unfortunately, it's being used badly more times than it's being used well. As stated earlier, for some games the controller mirrors the game as it's being played on the television. This is cool, but not really as inventive as it could be, or nearly as intuitive as it could be. Some games use this in a more annoying way where, almost at random, your television will prompt you to do a segment on the controller and then your controller will prompt you to look back at your television. It's more of a hassle than it is an enjoyable experience.

Now to address the elephant in the room, the problem that's been plaguing Nintendo's platform releases for a while now; lack of launch titles. It seems to have become the norm for Nintendo to launch without its trademark 3D Mario platformer, but to launch with almost none of its franchise characters is a saddening thing. Before we go on, yes I know of the existence of New Super Mario Bros. U, and if you'll allow me to go off on a tangent I'll explain that as well.
There's nothing wrong with the game itself. I loved the "New" reboot when it saw its debut on the Nintendo DS; it was everything fun about the original 2D Mario games with new mechanics, items, and inventive level designs. The problem comes in that Nintendo has released a "New" Mario almost twice a year ever since. The "New" starts to lose its pull on me towards those games. The items are still nice. The level design is still incredible. The co-op, in small doses, is even loads of fun. But it's hardly something exciting enough to buy a new system over. 

So in conclusion, I like the console. It could be something really great. I'm sure Nintendo will get help from a lot of great people in order to make the media features something special. Even though it's early and the controller isn't being used to its full potential, there's infinite room to improve. It all comes down to the games and right now Nintendo doesn't have anything most hardcore Nintendo fans are looking for. 




Thursday, November 29, 2012

Introducing: "Real Talk"!

This is going to be fairly short and sweet. Just dropping in to say that, in the time to come, I'll probably pick up using this blog again. Hooray, right?!?! Anyways just be on the lookout for posts. (as if I'll let you avoid them)

Friday, October 8, 2010

Birfdays

I think the topic of this week should be birthdays. This is for a couple of reasons; one being that they seem to be almost inescapable this week, the second being that I just celebrated my 20th. (If you're hoping to tell me happy birthday then no.. no you shouldn't. You're a week late). But does anyone else notice that birthdays seem to have this sort of exponential graph that just plummet down in significance? (lemme actually draw the graph for you real quick: \
                       \
                         \
                           \V Bam! Just a downward arrow.) Not even just others' birthdays, but your own as well. Like the day you were born drastically makes less and less of an impact as it fights with you for average daily chores like homework, or going to get drinks, or eating. I guess I'm just sort of waiting for the point where I start to look forward to other people's birthdays more than my own. Or when a birthday means, "Here's a cliche tie, daddy!" With which I'll respond, "Have you ever seen me wear a tie??" And even that's just speculation, I'll probably like ties more than my birthday by then. *shrugs So from me to you, stop and reflect on your birthdays and don't shudder at the thoughts of ties.

EDIT 6/25/2013: Since writing this in school, I've started to wear ties regularly and enjoy shopping for them. It's only a matter of time now...

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Bull-ez

I remember a distinct bully from middle school. Which, I think is agreeably every child's worst experience. There was a bully. Not just to me, of course, there were other kids in the same painful boat. Painful, wooden, hormonally-rocking boat. But I digress. I remember a single distinct incident in which said bully, named Mario... let me stop and tell you about Mario, actually. Mario had always been a symbol of Italian justice in my eyes. He had been ever since I took up my first controller to play as Nintendo's popular Italian plumber platforming title. But this Mario is in no way tantamount to his mustached counterpart. But now I re-digress. This incident occurred on a very important testing day when I had donned my slightly nicer than average clothing. Without warning in what seemed to be one fluid he spit on my pants. Unannounced, without purpose, but with fury. I wanted to just leap from the chair and slug him one right in his un-mustached face, but I knew he would take me like a small deer. A hormonally imbalanced small deer. Well the other day, I caught up with a friend from High school, and she started telling me about how he tries to call her all the time trying to hook up. I, of course, asked why she didn't want to. She says "That's gross! He has like 4 kids and no job, and doesn't even go to school!!" And I wondered.... was this some form of poetic justice. Or just the way the world inevitably works. True it doesn't always work in one's favor, but perhaps karma is real. I think in the end. I won the fight.

Thoughts on Gil Greenburg.

There's a fellow, a fellow student in fact, who's name is Gil Greenburg. Now, Gil is a person who will try to (operate word being try) spout off anything. Any thing at all. Whether it be relevant to the conversation or not. Whether it's completely plausible or not even fathomable. He'll go to great lengths, on the spot, to prove everything he says is a fact. Whether it's instantaneously and with great bias searching the web for his proof, or even making his own site or wiki entry to make you believe. So I'd say that Gil's got numerous "talents". Among these talents is a certain scamming talent. Ethical or not, he has a real knack for it. He has a real passion for it too. He spends much of his time or passions to this talent. Another "talent" I'd have to say is his odd ability to just make anything funny. Things that would never be funny if you or I had said them, but when Gil says them they're extremely out of place and with a hilarious inflection. Above all Gil is a level headed, hilarious friend. Also, ask him to say Samsung. You'll laugh.

Some questions I'd like to ask Gil:
1) How old were you when you first tried to scam someone?
2) How'd you do it?
3) How often do your scams work out?
4) What's your obsession with lemonade?
5) What's the biggest scam you've pulled off to date?
6) Why do you do it?
7) Do you have any other hobbies?
8) Where'd you grow up?
9) You like any sports?
10) Where do you see yourself after you graduate?