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Audio Technica M50x vs Sennheiser HD 598

Audio Technica M50x vs Sennheiser HD 598: Which One Has the Edge?

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When it comes to high-end audio, Sennheiser and Audio Technica are two of the biggest names in the industry. Sennheiser is known for being top of the line. They produce some of the very best individual models in the world. That’s not to say that all of the headphones they make are incredible, but Sennheiser is generally known for particularly good sound quality.

Audio Technica is known for making some of the best value headphones on the market. Their headphones pack a punch for an affordable price. They aren’t known for producing the very best quality headphones money can buy, but they remain competitive, especially for the price.

In this article, we’ll compare the Audio Technica ATH M50x and the Sennheiser HD 598. They are both very popular models, and are fairly similar in price, so let’s find out what these two have to offer.

Sennheiser HD 598 Over-Ear Headphones

Sennheiser HD 598 HeadphonesSennheiser was founded way back in 1945 in Germany, right after WWII. They’re named after the founder of the company, Frits Sennheiser. Sennheiser has been in the game longer than Audio Technica and arguably has a better reputation.

Sennhesier makes one of the best studio headphones in the world, the Orpheus which cost a whopping $55,000+. Thankfully, you don’t need to pay that much to get great sound clarity. Their consumer models, like the HD 598 are more than sufficient for the average consumer.

Open-back headphones

First of all, the HD 598 are open-back headphones. That means the only thing separating the drivers from the people around you is a grated metal cover on each side. The M50x on the other hand fit around your ears, allowing your ears to fit inside. Closed-ear headphones block out noise and also block noise from coming out, but open-ear headphones produce more natural sound. Closed-ear headphones are more immersive. Open-ear headphones can’t quite match that immersive experience, although if you are in a quiet room by yourself, that is much less of an issue. The HD 598 aren’t good for places like the library where you don’t want what you’re listening to to be heard by others. But there is actually an advantage to that when playing online games.

In-game use

If you’re playing video games, the Sennheisers allow you to hear your own voice clearly while talking. The M50x block out virtually all sound, even your own voice while you’re talking. The result is an awkward attempt to listen to your own voice while having a conversation and not knowing how loud you are actually talking. It definitely takes some getting used to, but for some people, that might always be kind of annoying. But that’s the sacrifice you have to make for total exclusion of outside noise.

Physical features

At 9.52 oz, they’re extremely light. You can easily forget you’re even wearing them on your head. The beige base model looks unusual, but thankfully they are now also available in black as the special edition. If you’re planning on using them at home in your room, their appearance shouldn’t matter anyway. The HD 598 generally feel fine to wear, but they put a bit of pressure on your ears. If you’re going to use them for hours and hours, they might begin to get uncomfortable.

Sound quality

The HD 598 have higher impedance than the M50x. That means they require more power to produce higher volumes. The HD 598 have Ergonomic Acoustic Refinement (E.A.R.) technology. The sound coming from the drivers projects off of what Sennheiser calls “surround reflectors” for increased sound dispersion. The resulting sonic field sounds almost like you’re hearing sound within a room rather than speakers directly against your ear.

The HD 598 emphasize mids and highs, with mild bass. If you’re crazy about deep, rich bass levels that have the power to vibrate your brain, you should probably go with the M50x. Mids in the HD 598 are crisp, bright and realistic. Highs are also quite accurate and clean.

Other features

The Sennheiser HD598s don’t have bluetooth wireless capabilities. Their cable is removable in case you want to replace it. In the box, they come with an extension cable, a jack adapter, and a standard 3.5mm cable. They also include a two-year warranty.

Price – around $150, special edition costs slightly more

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Pros

  • Unique sound from E.A.R. technology offers very extremely crisp mids
  • Very lightweight
  • Great for in-game use

Cons

  • Not many accessories
  • They’re an unsightly beige color unless you get the special edition
  • They cost at least $20 more than the M50x

Audio-Technica ATH-M50x Professional Studio Monitor Headphones

Audio-Technica ATH-M50xAudio Technica is a Japanese company that was founded in 1962. They aren’t known so much for super high end studio equipment, although they do offer some very good models for those purposes. Their most well-known product is the M50x which has garnered rave reviews since their release in early 2014.

M50 vs M50x

The M50 boosted Audio Technica’s status among competitors for being a fantastic value buy. The M50x is the updated version of the M50, which have been around since the early 2000s. The M50x come with some much needed improvements, such as less clamping force on your head, improved padding, a removable cable, and an improvement in sound quality. The M50xs boast a more modern sound signature.

Build quality

The M50x have great build quality. Their metal headband and hard plastic body is built to last. They should survive drops with no problems. If sheer build quality isn’t enough to convince you of its durability, it comes with a two-year warranty.

Accessories

The M50x come with more accessories. They include a bungee audio cable, an extension cable, a standard 3.5mm cable and a travel pouch.

Portability

The M50x folds inwards, allowing them to be more portable. The leather travel pouch that comes with them is good for toting, but doesn’t offer much protection. But as stated above, they are durable enough to take a beating.

Sound quality

The fact that the M50x are closed-ear headphones makes a big difference. The lows are deep and forceful. These are definitely bass-heavy headphones with a subwoofer effect on your ears. So if you’re big on powerful bass, these headphones are a fantastic choice. Mids carry significantly less impact. They’re more balanced out and generally toned down in comparison to the bass. Highs on the other hand are very clean and just as accurate as the HD 598’s.

Price – approx. $130

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Pros

  • Closed-ear design offers immersive sound
  • Powerful bass
  • They’re more comfortable to wear than the HD 598
  • Great build quality and durability
  • Easily portable
  • They include plenty of accessories
  • Roughly $20 cheaper than the HD 598

Cons

  • Significantly heavier than the HD 598 (2.1 lbs)
  • Can’t hear yourself talking while playing games

Conclusion

There may not be a clear victor between these two powerhouses, but there are some clear differences that should help you decide which one is better for you. The M50x are closed-ear headphones with powerful bass, while the HD 598 are open-ear headphones with incredibly clear mids that would make acoustic songs or other evenly balanced music sound amazing.

Truth be told, either of them would be a great introduction to the world of high-end audio if you’ve never owned a really quality pair of headphones before. They’re both very good headphones.

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About Nathanael Rubin

Nathanael Rubin has made a home on the road traveling around the world and writing articles remotely. Originally from Tallahassee, Florida, Nathanael is currently residing in Bangkok, Thailand where he has set aside his passion for music to do what he does best, write and travel.

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