final rating

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Criteria Comments Rating
  • Sound quality Pretty forgiving, kind of smooth and dark. Has a good soundstage when you need it and works well with a lot of genres. Needs to be EQ'd though. good
  • Design and form factor Flawless in this respect: very easy to use and versatile. Folds every which way and looks classy and professional. great!
  • Comfort Can wear for hours on end, even with glasses. Angled drivers give the ears some extra space. Perfect clamping force, but I wish the pads were softer. good
  • Noise isolation With music on, you can't hear anything around you within reason. Certainly not on par with noise cancelling phones or IEMs though. good
  • Durability Very high quality, thick, matte finish plastics and metal bits seem quite durable. great!
Detailed review
I bought these for college to use in my dorm room and studio, and for this they are perfect. They block out ambient noise, but if, say, a fire alarm goes off, you will hear it. They are very portable, at least for full-size headphones, and fit neatly in my backpack with all my other stuff; and they can be worn while walking around with no issues with cord management, etc. They are also extremely sturdy, and I have no doubt they will last me many years; in particular, the stress reduction on the plug is very impressive, I think their use of a spring is more effective than just about every other method I've seen. These are also comfortable enough, but I'm looking for ways to soften or replace the somewhat stiff pads.
Edit: Doing a sock mod can make these really comfy and doesn't affect the sound. I highly recommend it.

These have a good soundstage and respond very well to EQ, which makes them great for a wide variety of genres. I'd say the only one that doesn't sound great on the M50s is noise rock, or anything that has a lot of mid-range texture, because it tends to gloss over those details (it is very detailed on the high end though) and may screw up the mids with bass if not EQ'd. In general though, they sound pretty alright for most rock music (though I prefer my Grados for this), and even bring forward some needed bass in punk songs where it's often relegated to the background. It's also pretty good with classical, especially string quartets, where I think it hits the perfect level of intimacy and brings out the rich tones in the music. Where it really shines though, is on dark, impacting, or dance-ish music like Massive Attack, U2, New Order, My Bloody Valentine, Kraftwerk, and The Stone Roses. On some of those tracks, it feels like musical nirvana.
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Updated detailed review