Headphone comparison

In early 2015 I decided to spend more money than I have in the past on a decent pair of head phones. I eventually went for the Audio-Technica ATH-M50x, which, 6 months later, I am very happy with. Here's my breakdown of my decision making process.

NAD Viso HP50

Going into the shop, my preference was for the NAD Viso HP50.


  • Excellent reviews
  • $400 -> $100 cheaper than the next ones I was looking at
  • Very good looking carry case
  • Less known brand
  • I found them very light, although a little squeezing


  • Could be considered ugly
  • Apparently could be less comfortable on certain head shapes / sizes



However a consistently highly reviewed set are the PSB M4U 1.


  • Sexier, particularly if you like the big, bold, Beats shiney plastic style
  • Hard shell carry case


  • $500 -> $100 more expensive than the NADs
  • I found them heavy on my head
  • They have a big brother at the same price. Makes you second guess buying them



But low and behold, the PSBs have a brother, with noise cancellation and some sort of headphone amplification, and they're the same price! The PSB M4U2.

  • Most of the same pluses and minuses of their brother


  • The sound in the shop blew my head off when played through an amp with the extra gadgets switched on
  • NZD$500 -> same as their brother
  • The second most popular headphone in the shop


  • I found them extremely heavy on my head
  • The extra gadgets, amplification & noise cancellation, require batteries


Audio-Technica ATH-M50x

Then I was introduced to the best selling headphones in the shop, the Audio-Technica ATH-M50x.


  • Frequently named best headphones under NZD$250
  • NZD$220 -> NZD$180 less than the NADs
  • Stylish in blue
  • I found them quite light and very comfortable


I should also mention those I considered before coming down to the NADs and the PSBs.

Sennheiser Momentum


  • Beautiful looking
  • So light and comfortable


  • Not quite as good reviews as the others already mentioned
  • I'd be a little worried about the light build
  • Maybe a little bit too-cool-for-school?


Bose QC15

Pretty common around town, see loads of them since I started considering buying exxy headphones


  • Incredible noise cancelling. You have to try these things on the demo stand where you stand in front of the screen blasting plane noise at you!
  • So light and comfortable


  • Batteries for noise cancelling I think.
  • Compliements for noise cancelling outweigh compliments for sound quality. Does paying so much more for NC really matter in your life that much?
  • I'd be a little worried about the light build


Logitech UE6000


  • Reasonably priced, you can often get them on sale


Beats - can't remember which one

Reviews are mixed, they've a load of fans, generally hip-hop fans, but among the audiophile sites, they seem to fall short.


  • The bass is killer!


  • Never felt comfortable buying these fashionable things
  • Saw reviews of people slating them, everything from over-bass to build quality

Sennheiser HD201


  • I think I see these all over town
  • Very cheap


  • Not in the same category as the others


1 year after making my decision on the ATH-M50x...

I'm still very happy with the phones I bought. I think it's quite a gadget person thing to wish I spent more or made a different decision, but all-in-all, these phones have been a great purchase. Here are some thoughts gained in hindsight:


  • Used very regularly, on average 1 hour every 2 days, the sound, build and comfort quality hasn't deteriorated
  • I use the coiled, telescopic cord in work so that I can move around in my chair while attached to my PC, but I use the short cord when listening to podcasts on my phone. I've yet to use the long cord
  • I'm confident about throwing them into my gym bag given the build quality and fold-up design
  • They sit reasonably comfortably while extended around my next with the cans facing down on my chest


  • While I don't notice surrounding noise in work while listening to music, I certainly do when walking around streets listening to podcasts
  • Despite occasionally bringing the pouch with me, it's pretty useless so I've never used it