Ears potentially broken, need help

Okay. I’ve had ATH-M50x’s for years, currently looking to upgrade. I’ve tried HD 650’s, Fidelio X2’s, T40rp’s, returned all of them within an hour. I don’t know what is wrong with me but my ears are relentlessly telling me to stick with the M50x’s. Nothing sounds better than them. I’m not trolling btw.

Does anyone have any recommendations for a set of headphones that I can truly call better than the M50x’s? Or should I see a doctor or maybe even end my life? Worth noting that I’d prefer closed back headphones because my computer sounds like a leaf blower, not kidding.

By the way, I’m using a Rode AI-1 because it’s what I have on hand and I’d rather not dump my entire bank account on a set of headphones plus an amp. I also have a Sound BlasterX AE-5 (yikes I know) lying around.

Also some notes about my quick experiences with the mentioned headphones.
650: Clamp force too strong, felt like my head was being ran over by a truck. Sound felt very flat and uninteresting, also sounded incredibly muffled.

X2: Was absolutely better than the 650s, but still sounded very muffled, uninteresting and it sounded like I was listening to music from like 50 yards away.

T40rp: Immediately after unboxing I wanted to return them. Felt like a $5 set of headphones, super cheap feeling. Put them on with the stock ear pads and that idea was then 100% solidified that it was marked up by 180%. Sound was again, uninteresting, flat and also sounded distant.

Within an hour seems a bit extreme to me.

If you really want an intense and immediate sound, then there are some planar which do it well or some IEMs.

On clamp force, that is common and will require stretching the band some.

This is not what you’re using is it?

That really sounds like an amp problem. If you want to keep the 650, you need something that can deliver more power. Are you only using your headphones at your desk? Consider the JDS Labs Atom ($100). There are other decent cheaper options as well.

As for you liking the M50’s, you’re far from being the only one lol. I suspect their mainstream popularity is largely due to how they sound pretty good when plugged into cheap devices. Personally, I think they sound awful when plugged into anything high end.

@JVerbit I returned them within an hour because I honestly couldn’t see myself enjoying them any longer than that.

@marcgii That is what I am using. Rode claims it’s headphone amp is top notch in for an XLR interface like that. I don’t really believe it but I haven’t used it really at all for a headphone amp. I am using them only at my desk. I’ve been looking for something to replace the M50x’s so I can use them for monitoring sound recordings, but I haven’t yet found something I like as much.

seems like you just have a type. look for something with no soundstage and a v shape. maybe an IEM or a planar closed back headphone. honestly don’t blame you I’m personally not a big fan of the 650 myself and love the 990 which is a headphone not a loft of youtuber reviewers enjoy due t o how sharp they are. personally I hate the m50’s the no soundstage and no separation really kills the headphone for me

I use the AI-1 for direct monitoring of my NT1 only. Sure, you could have it drive headphones for music, but just know it isn’t purpose built for it.

Your ears don’t just click with new headphones, you have to give yourself time to adjust to their signatures. I originally did one of these exact upgrades. M50X to X2s. When I first put the X2s on I was totally underwhelmed, I kept swapping back and forth and thinking that the difference was minor and not at all worth the cost. But I had days before I had to return them so I kept them and kept listening. After about a day of listening to nothing but the X2s I put my M50s on and they sounded like ass to me.

Not saying this will for sure happen to you but I don’t think you gave yourself time to adjust to the sound of any of these. Also, nobody describes X2s as boring. They’re widely considered one of the more fun sounding headphones around.

If you want fun and closed I would point towards Argons, though I can’t speak from personal experience, that’s just what everyone says about them.

It’s also worth trying EQ if you aren’t one of those purists that refuses to tamper with that stuff. Just because a headphone is boring out of the box doesn’t mean it has to stay that way. I EQ all of my headphones to be more in line with my personal tastes, even if they’re great out of the box there’s usually something I can do to make them sound better to my ears.

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check out the dt 770 more soundstage but to me a much better headphone than the m50’s more sound stage better separation, better musicality, nicer bass , nicer highs, and a decent amount more detaoil retention.

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Are you using them to listen to music in addition to monitoring?

@RiceGuru Before the M50x’s I’ve always used garbage “gaming” gear so I guess I have never really gotten used to identifying whether or not a set of headphones has a good soundstage or not.

The 770’s were next up on my list, then I found out they don’t have a detachable cable, that really sucks.

@JVerbit Yeah I realize that. It’s just that I really have no idea what’s good or not when it comes to most audio equipment, even if I do sound design. I know microphones, that’s it. I have absolutely no idea how to pick out a good amp or set of headphones. Every time I get recommended something it’s like I have to be Bill Gates to afford the actual good stuff.

@Thatoneguy335 This might be an unfair comparison but my ears DID just click with the M50x’s when upgrading from “gaming” oriented headsets. I was really, really tempted to force myself to use the X2’s before returning them, but I just really wasn’t feeling it. Compared to the M50x’s they did feel boring to me, perhaps I got a bad set or my ears really are just broken.

The Argon’s though, aren’t those based off of the T50rp? I tried the T40rp’s and that was yet another set I just couldn’t deal with.

@marcgii I mean, I do all sorts of stuff on this PC. That includes sound design, movies, video games, listening to music, et cetera.

By the way, this is what I’m trying to avoid listening to, hence why I prefer closed back.

Topping DX3 Pro, a pretty good starting point.

Topping DX3 Pro LDAC Headphone Amplifier DAC DSD512 PCM32bit/768kHz XMOS XU208 APTX USB Bluetooth Decoder Headphone Amplifier (Black) https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07KG9P3X3/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_i_YUGrDbXMWMYQ1

Well yeah, if you upgrade from a true pile of shit you will be able to appreciate the difference immediately. When you get into actual headphones that are built to sound good you enter the land of diminishing returns and smaller changes from set to set, which is why it takes more time to be able to appreciate what’s different and what you may or may not like about a headphone.

The Argons are based off the T50 yes but they don’t sound anything like them, he mods them into something entirely different. But they’re not cheap and there’s a huge waiting list, and you’re picky, so I assume you won’t go that way.

That computer noise is nightmare fuel, any open back would be wasted as long as you’re near that thing. Hell, even a closed back may struggle to block that out unless it’s built to cancel noise. You might have to go with IEMS, which isn’t bad. You can get the Tin T2s for basically no money and they sound great. You’d probably want to EQ to bump the low end but other than that they’re as good as you’re gonna get in that price range.

If you can stomach something in your ears and need to block out noise, then IEMs may be good.

For gaming I use Westone UM Pro 30’s since they have a very immediate sound, intimate soundstage, and have imaging with great amount of detail. To get the most you will need a solid seal and a quiet amp with very low output impedance.

Man I loved Vegas 2 back in the day. Siege wasn’t for me at all. Anyway the noisy fans are probably a fixable problem though. If you don’t plan to upgrade your machine anytime soon, I’d consider it. You’d most likely have to change out your case fans and CPU cooler. That’s assuming your GPU isn’t the problem.
Are you using a blower style GPU?

@Thatoneguy335 Yeah, that’s what I figured. Eventually I am just gonna have to sit down and really test the limits of a new set, because quite frankly, returning these things so quickly to just order another pair is getting kind of annoying. The Argons certainly look higher quality than the T40’s, especially those sweet looking pads. I don’t think I’m all that picky, I just feel like I don’t know what to look for in a good set of cans. Once I can start to appreciate the differences between headphones, I wouldn’t mind having a collection like Z’s.

@JVerbit Absolutely not. I can’t stand in-ear headphones, so uncomfortable to me.

@marcgii R6 Vegas and Raven Shield are all time greats. Man I really wish Patriots wasn’t cancelled, now Siege is gonna determine that future of that franchise with it’s success, which kinda sucks.

About the PC:
I am using an open-air GPU, blowers suck. The fan sensor on the PCB shorted itself out for no reason and now it will jack up to 100% speed at any sign of load, it will then stay that way until the PC is shut off. I actually just recently emptied my wallet on an entirely new PC, minus the CPU because AMD is having severe stock issues with Zen 2. This leaf blower of a PC will be a non-issue once those stock issues are resolved, but I still feel like I’d be bothered by my PC if I were to use an open-back set.

Also I’d be a little concerned with sound leak being picked up by my microphone given that I spend a bit of time on Discord when I’m on this PC.

It looks like most Ryzen 3000 stuff is in stock right now. Are you waiting for the 3700X?

That or the 3800x or even the 3900x. I’d prefer the 3700x at the minimum because when I work with raw video files to sync audio to, my current computer chokes to death.

Thought about trying the Brainwavz Alara?

just trying to wrap my head around gaming with the t50’s just annoy me. i pay a lot of siege and the lack of any sort of imaging , separation, and soundstage that im used to from y personal pairs of headphones would both kill me and get me killed in game