Audio Technica ATH M40X review

An amazing set of studio headphones praised by music producers and listeners alike.
(Updated on September 15, 2021)

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Rating

Pros

Cons

Box Contents

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9.1

  • Dynamic and balanced sound signature

  • Detachable cables

  • Feature-packed

  • Comfortable

  • No microphone or remote

  • Limited soundstage

  • Headphones

  • Carrying pouch

  • 2 cables

  • Warranty

Our Conclusion

The ATH-M40X by Audio-Technica is eerily similar to the M50X. The target audience for both these headphones are musicians, studio producers and DJs but that shouldn’t stop any ordinary audio enthusiast from getting a pair of these. They are a strong and reliable pair of over-ear headphones.

Especially for those seeking the same sound experience you get in a studio, this device is capable of delivering that. There’s a reason for it being the most popular and recommended pair of Audio-Technica headphones.

So if you’re searching for an exceptional pair of monitoring headphones at a reasonable price then these are an excellent choice. For music producers and DJs alike; calibrating and mixing with these are a breeze. They produce substantial bass, mids, and treble. The closed-back design limits the sound staging capabilities but still achieves a well-balanced sound.


What’s In The Box?

Audio Technica ATH M40X review

The size of the box of the Audio-Technica ATH-M40X, similar to the ATH-M50X, is rather large when compared to the box sizes of most headphones and even speakers.

Within the box is a section of cardboard that contains the carrying pouch, the manual and the warranty card information. Below the cardboard section are the headphones that you bought.

Along with it, the two included 3.5mm audio cables, coiled and straight. And with it a tiny pamphlet that contains information on securing the locking connectors which are used on these cables. You also get a 3.5mm – 6.3mm(1/4″) stereo adapter.

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Build Quality

The ATH-M40x looks fairly similar to the M50x. The material used in its build is mid-grade plastic, so it’s clear that they’ve had to cut some corners. Despite it being a mainly plastic build it feels durable and sturdy and is capable of withstanding a reasonable amount of physical stress.

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Their huge and slightly heavy design isn’t the most suitable when travelling compact. The headband is bolstered with a metal frame to improve its structural integrity. The headphone also uses hinges to give you the ability to fold them up easily for added portability, though these also could prove to be weak points and attract damage over time. However, this is quite common in big headphones so you needn’t worry as much.

Coming to the earpads, they are made out of artificial leather and can be easily replaced. This brings us to the earcup which can be dismantled with a screwdriver, in case one or both of the drivers fail and need to be replaced. The copper-clad aluminium wire which connects the earcup drivers is susceptible to damage, this is where a replaceable cable is a neat addition as it improves its durability and longevity.

They work really well in a studio or work environment. The closed-back design headphones have a hardy build and sturdy construction with a couple of shortcomings that can be cared for easily.


Look and Feel

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The looks of the Audio-Technica M40X may seem a little flavourless to some for being a set of studio headphones. Similar to the ATH-M50x. They do come in a variety of colours but have access to only one colour option that is the black with silver highlights version on the rear of the oval earcups for the AT logo.

The ATH-M40x was clearly designed with an understanding of the long durations of time that its users would spend wearing it. Because of this, they feel very comfortable and reduce fatigue despite their large size. Another factor is the heating of earcups, especially in warm weather, was at a minimum.

Also, even though the headband isn’t densely padded it didn’t show to be a sacrifice on comfort. The earcups can be rotated smoothly without any resistance. Give all this, most users consistently complain about initial comfort so keep in mind that these have a break-in period before they deliver you the peak comfort performance.


Sound Quality

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The M40x drivers are smaller than its elder brother, the M50x. This difference of just 5mm affects the bass the most but not to the extent that it would be disappointing. The bass is thumpy and full, not to the limit that would be irritating to us.

The mids is where the ATH-M40x truly shine; delivering sharp guitar leads, vocals etc. These frequencies are particularly relevant when it comes to studio monitor headphones. Overall the mids is bright and precise.

The highs produced by the M40x is stimulating and specific. Music producers would easily be able to spot if the sounds used in the mix are clashing with each other.

Headphones designed for consumers come with emphasized soundstage but that’s not the case for these studio monitor headphones as they deliver a nearly flat response. This is great for people that want to experience studio sound, as for the rest, the sound may feel cramped.

The ATH-M40x does deliver decent noise isolation and limits sound leakage.
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Noise Isolation

The seal that the earcups create does provide passive isolation. It does a satisfactory job of blocking external sounds. The effectiveness of this passive isolation drops at lower wavelengths.

Leakage

The ATH-M40x has some level of sound leakage. While you’re enjoying your music, chances are someone around you might be enjoying them with you too. Still, the overall leakage isn’t excessively loud.


Compatibility

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The ATH-M40x is targeted towards musicians and music producers and is built with that in mind. Proof of this is the lack of a mic and remote or Bluetooth connectivity for that matter. Listening to music is the only thing you’ll be doing with these on.

Audio-Technica has provided us with two cables, one standard straight cable and a coiled cable which. The purpose of the locking mechanism is to prevent unintentional unplugging of the cable.


Additional Features

These studio monitors come with two detachable cables that connect to the left earcup. It makes use of a twist-lock design that is very firm and wouldn’t unplug unexpectedly. A screw-on adapter comes included and also a simple drawstring sack.

The earcups can be rotated a complete 90˚, this feature makes them quite convenient for DJs. Audio-Technica also produces BAL-M40x which is a Bluetooth adapter/amplifier that can be used to quickly transform these wired headphones to function wirelessly. This is sold separately. The ATH-M40x is a fitting closed-back headphone for the price considering its performance and features.


Should you buy the Audio Technica ATH M40X?

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The ATH-M40x may not beat the M50x but they do come real close. They are a great choice for someone who is looking for a great pair of headphones for sound monitoring, if he/she is a producer or just for listening to music regardless of profession. You are sure to enjoy the amazing sound that they are capable of delivering to your ears.


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