Audio-Technica ATH-M40x Review - Great Headphones under $100?

Audio-Technica ATH-M40x Review

Audio Technica ATH-M40x headphones

The Audio-Technica brand name is synonymous with quality at a great price.

With comfortable wearability, durable construction, and a flat frequency response that is perfectly designed headphones for studio mixing, the Audio-Technica ATH-M40x is a great pair of headphones. Add in the closed back design which blocks outside noise and prevents headphone leakage, plus the under $100 price tag, and you have a real winner.

If you are looking to buy a high quality set of studio headphones then this review is for you.

Pros: Comfortable to wear; closed back design keeps headphone sound in and outside noise out; powerful 40 mm drivers; durable and dependable; comes with an addition cable; cable is removable and easily replaceable; excellent sound quality with a flat frequency response.
Cons: Does not have a hard case but that is not to be expected on a model of this price. Excellent for the price but buying something in the $150 range or higher will give you a better set of headphones; only ideal for studio and home use; too big and bulky for on the go use.

Specifications

  • Type: Closed-back dynamic over ear headphone
  • Driver: 40 mm
  • Magnet: Neodymium
  • Voice Coil: CCAW (Copper-clad aluminium wire)
  • Frequency Response: 15 – 24,000 Hz
  • Maximum Input Power: 1,600 mW at 1 kHz
  • Sensitivity: 98 dB
  • Impedance: 35 ohms
  • Weight: 240 g (8.5 oz), without cable and connector
  • Cable: Includes two interchangeable cables: one coiled and one straight
  • Accessories: Includes protective carrying pouch, 6.3 mm (1/4″) screw-on adapter

Package Contents

  • ATH-M40X headphones
  • Protective carrying pouch
  • 6.3 mm (1/4″) screw-on adapter
  • Two interchangeable cables: one coiled and one straight.

Comfort

I’ve never tried a pair of Audio-Technica over ear headphones that weren’t extremely comfortable to wear and this pair up for review is no different. Just like their more expensive siblings in the acclaimed M-Series, the ATH-M40X is made with top quality materials for outstanding wearing comfort, even though the longest sessions.

The cups wrap around your ears allowing for exceptional isolation and wearing comfort. Although they are larger, they are lightweight enough that you don’t notice the weight on your head.

Durability

Audio-Technica is famous for putting quality professional products within the reach of everyone, and the set used in this review shows us why. The ATH-M40x is engineered with pro grade materials that feel much the same as those on more expensive Audio-Technica offerings.

This set is designed to stand up to the rigors of daily studio use with ease. Also, they come with another cable so that if something goes wrong you can easily change it out. This is something every over ear manufacturer should do. If you’ve ever tried to resolder and fix a broken headphone wire you’ll understand why I say this.

Features

The Audio-Technica ATH-M40X is designed to be low on features but big on sound. There are no bells and whistles, no Bluetooth, no built in microphone, and no inline controls. They more than make up for this, however, in terms of wearing comfort, dependability, and sound quality.

They feature a closed back design that is ideal for studio use. In the studio, closed backed headphones are necessary because they prevent audio from the headphones from leaking into the microphones.

If you’re recording an acoustic guitar track, for example, you don’t want to the sound of the click track leaking into the mics. Something like this can ruin an otherwise great take.

Also, you want to block as much outside noise as you can. This allows you to hear yourself instead of the other loud musicians surrounding you.

Sound

The ATH-M40X in this review really shines in terms of sound. It has a closed back design but doesn’t have a lot of the “band in your head” effect that closed back headphones often have.

The sound is flat and natural, a must for studio use. When mixing, it is essential to hear the music as it really is. If you buy a pair of headphones that are low on bass, for example, you will put too much bass in your mix. Then, when you go and listen in the car or on another system, the amount of bass will be way too much.

Likewise, if you buy pair of headphones that has hyped bass, you won’t add enough low end and your mix will suffer. The goal is to use headphones that will allow your mixes to accurately translate to various systems.

The Audio-Technica ATH-M40x is a great choice for studio tracking and mixing, especially for studio users on a tight budget. The bass, mids, and highs are flat, meaning each frequency is represented at close to the same volume.

I found the bass in this review model to be clear and powerful, with accurate reproduction of the lowest frequencies. The mids are vivid and clear, without being muddy.

The midrange is really the essential frequency area when mixing, as most of your content occupies this range. So this makes them a great choice. Also, the highs are clear and distinct without being harsh or overly bright.
Overall, they have a sound quality that is ideal for studio tracking and mixing.

Our Verdict on Audio-Technica ATH-M40x

If you’re looking for your first set of studio headphones, you would be hard pressed to find a better choice. Also, if you’ve been mixing on less than ideal headphones or headphones that aren’t designed for studio use, then you won’t believe the difference a flat pair of headphones makes.

These are a great overall investment because even if you decide to get more expensive mixing headphones in the future, these will still be highly useful when tracking or when tracking multiple musicians.

The Audio-Technica ATH-M40x doesn’t have a lot of fancy features. But what it does offer is quality construction, extreme wearing comfort, and a closed back design which keeps outside noise out and headphone sound in. When you consider this plus a flat frequency response with a pleasing sound, the ATH-M40x is a great pair of headphones.

  • Andy
  • April 5, 2018

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