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Audio-Technica ATH-M40x Headphones Review

Tested using Methodology v1.4
Reviewed Apr 20, 2016 at 05:14 pm
Audio-Technica ATH-M40x Picture
5.3
Mixed Usage
7.2
Neutral Sound
4.7
Commute/Travel
5.3
Sports/Fitness
5.3
Office
4.2
Wireless Gaming
6.2
Wired Gaming
2.0
Phone Calls
Type Over-ear
Enclosure Closed-Back
Wireless No
Noise Cancelling No
Mic No
Transducer Dynamic

The Audio-Technica ATH-M40x are decent headphones with outstanding, studio-quality sound. They feel sturdy and are fairly comfortable but offer no control options for your audio. They also only provide passive isolation, which might not be enough to block the noise of some listeners' commutes.

Our Verdict

5.3 Mixed Usage

Mediocre overall design. They would perform reasonably well as everyday headphones but lack a decent control scheme, and the passive isolation is a little weak.

Pros
  • Good audio reproduction.
  • Sturdy build.
Cons
  • Poor isolation.
  • No buttons or audio controls.
7.2 Neutral Sound

The Audio-Technica M40X deliver a reliable bass, mid, and treble response for neutral listening. They don't have much soundstage because of their closed-back design, but their well-balanced sound will still satisfy most listeners.

4.7 Commute/Travel

Not ideal for commuting and loud noisy environments. Their passive isolation doesn't block much noise.

5.3 Sports/Fitness

Not designed for sports. They're a bit too bulky and unstable to stay put during intense exercises.

5.3 Office

Mediocre for office use. They won't block the chatter of a busy office and leak a bit too much for a quiet one.

6.2 Wired Gaming
2.0 Phone Calls
  • 5.3 Mixed Usage
  • 7.2 Neutral Sound
  • 4.7 Commute/Travel
  • 5.3 Sports/Fitness
  • 5.3 Office
  • 4.2 Wireless Gaming
  • 6.2 Wired Gaming
  • 2.0 Phone Calls
  1. Update 2/7/2020: Converted to Test Bench 1.4.
  2. Update 11/21/2019: Converted to Test Bench 1.3.1.
  3. Update 11/21/2019: Converted to Test Bench 1.3.
  4. Update 2/16/2018: Converted to Test Bench 1.2.
  5. Update 8/10/2017: Converted to Test Bench 1.1.
  6. Update 3/1/2017: Converted to Test Bench 1.0.

Test Results

Design
Design
Style

The Audio-Technica M40X have a very understated studio design that might look a little bland for some. They have an all-black color scheme with silver highlights on the back of the oval ear cups. Their design is very similar to the ATH-M50x. They look good but offer nothing remarkable with their design.

7.5
Design
Comfort
Weight 0.55 lbs
Clamping Force
1.1 lbs

The large ear cups of the ATH-M40x fully encompass the ears and do not apply too much pressure to the head. They also swivel, which makes them easy to adjust. They are more comfortable than the Beyerdynamic DT 770 but the padding used for the headband and ear cups is a little rigid and squeak when moving or adjusting the headphones on your head.

0
Design
Controls
OS Compatibility
No Controls
Ease Of Use No Controls
Feedback No Controls
Call/Music Control No
Volume Control No
Microphone Control No
Channel Mixing
No
Noise Cancelling Control No
Talk-Through
No
Additional Controls No
6.2
Design
Breathability
Avg.Temp.Difference 6.5 C
5.9
Design
Portability
L 5.12 "
W 6.50 "
H 3.54 "
Volume 111.2 Cu. Inches
Transmitter Required No

The ATH-M40X, like the ATH-M30X, are decently portable headphones. They are on the larger side of over-ear headphones but fold into a more compact format that will fit in a backpack or handbag but will be too large for most jacket pockets. The thick or very long audio cable is also a bit cumbersome to carry around but unlike the lower-end model of the series are detachable.

6.5
Design
Case
Type Pouch
L N/A
W N/A
H N/A
Volume N/A

Comes with a soft fabric pouch that does not add extra bulk and protects the headphones from scratches. However, it does not protect them from falls.

7.0
Design
Build Quality

The ATH-M40X feel robust and durable. They have a mostly plastic design that's dense and able to handle a fair amount of physical stress. They have a metal frame that reinforces the headband, and the ear cups feel sufficiently sturdy to withstand a few drops without damage. The joints, on the other hand, are susceptible weak points where these headphones could get damaged and may weaken over time.

6.5
Design
Stability

The Audio-Technica M40x are decently stable on the head. They are not designed for sport, so they will easily slide off your ears while running or jumping. However, for casual listening sessions, they will stay in place even if you put them on, tilted and little further back than usual. The detachable cable is also a plus for stability, as long as you remember to unlock the cable from the ear cups.

Design
Headshots 1
Design
Headshots 2
Design
Top
Design
In The Box

  • Audio-Technica ATH-M40x Headphones
  • Carrying pouch
  • Audio cables (x2)
  • 1/8" to 1/4" Adapter

Sound
Sound
Sound Profile
Bass Amount
0.33 db
Treble Amount
-0.15 db
7.0
Sound
Frequency Response Consistency
Avg. Std. Deviation
0.62 dB
Sound
Raw Frequency Response
6.9
Sound
Bass Accuracy
Std. Err.
4.35 dB
Low-Frequency Extension
16.82 Hz
Low-Bass
1.61 dB
Mid-Bass
4.54 dB
High-Bass
6.09 dB
8.4
Sound
Mid Accuracy
Std. Err.
2.15 dB
Low-Mid
0.4 dB
Mid-Mid
0.69 dB
High-Mid
3.13 dB
7.8
Sound
Treble Accuracy
Std. Err.
2.97 dB
Low-Treble
1.42 dB
Mid-Treble
2.67 dB
High-Treble
0.32 dB
7.3
Sound
Peaks/Dips
Peaks
1.67 db
Dips
1.44 db
7.9
Sound
Imaging
Weighted Group Delay
0.33
Weighted Amplitude Mismatch
1.76
Weighted Frequency Mismatch
2.17
Weighted Phase Mismatch
4.33
5.9
Sound
Passive Soundstage
PRTF Accuracy (Std. Dev.)
1.56 dB
PRTF Size (Avg.)
4.72 dB
PRTF Distance
7.21 dB
Openness
5.2
Acoustic Space Excitation
4.2
0
Sound
Virtual Soundstage
Head Modeling
No
Speaker Modeling
No
Room Ambience
No
Head Tracking
No
Virtual Surround
No App
6.9
Sound
Weighted Harmonic Distortion
WHD @ 90
0.300
WHD @ 100
0.542
Sound
Test Settings
Firmware
No Firmware
Power
Passive
Connection
Wired
Codec
PCM, 24-bit, 48kHz
EQ
No EQ
ANC
No ANC
Tip/Pad
Default
Microphone
No Microphone
Isolation
4.7
Isolation
Noise Isolation
Isolation Audio
Overall Attenuation
-11.21 dB
Bass
-0.09 dB
Mid
-9.09 dB
Treble
-25.22 dB

Poor isolation. The passive isolation provided by the ear cups does a decent job of blocking treble sound. However, as the frequency lowers, so does the effectiveness of the passive isolation. Their effect below 400Hz is minimal.

6.4
Isolation
Leakage
Leakage Audio
Overall Leakage @ 1ft
43.12 dB

Average leakage. These headphones do leak some sound, and the majority of that happens between 500Hz and 4KHz, which is rather broadband. However, the overall leakage is not too loud.

Microphone
Microphone
Microphone Style
Integrated
No
In-Line
No
Boom
No
Detachable Boom
No
0
Microphone
Recording Quality
Recorded Speech
N/A
LFE
N/A
FR Std. Dev.
N/A
HFE
N/A
Weighted THD
N/A
Gain
N/A
0
Microphone
Noise Handling
Speech + Pink Noise N/A
Speech + Subway Noise N/A
SpNR
N/A
Active Features
0
Active Features
Battery
Battery Type
No Battery
Continuous Battery Life
N/A
Additional Charges
N/A
Total Battery Life
N/A
Charge Time
N/A
Power-Saving Feature
No
Audio While Charging
No
Passive Playback
Passive Headphone
Charging Port None
0
Active Features
App Support
App Name No App
iOS No
Android No
macOS No
Windows No
Equalizer
No
ANC Control
No
Mic Control No
Room Effects
No
Playback Control
No
Button Mapping No
Surround Support
No

No compatible app.

Connectivity
0
Connectivity
Bluetooth
Bluetooth Version
No Bluetooth
Multi-Device Pairing
No
NFC Pairing
No
Line Of Sight Range
N/A
PC Latency (SBC)
N/A
PC Latency (aptX)
N/A
PC Latency (aptX HD)
N/A
PC Latency (aptX-LL)
N/A
iOS Latency
N/A
Android Latency
N/A
0
Connectivity
Non-Bluetooth Wireless
Non-BT Line Of Sight Range
N/A
Non-BT Latency
N/A
9.5
Connectivity
Wired
Analog Audio
Yes
USB Audio
No
Detachable Yes
Length 10.11 ft
Connection 1/8" TRS
Analog/USB Audio Latency
0 ms
Connectivity
PC / PS4 Compatibility
PC/PS4 Analog
Audio Only
PC/PS4 Wired USB
No
PC/PS4 Non-BT Wireless
No
Connectivity
Xbox One Compatibility
Xbox One Analog
Audio Only
Xbox One Wired USB
No
Xbox One Non-BT Wireless
No
0
Connectivity
Base/Dock
Type
No Base/Dock
USB Input
No
Line In
No
Line Out
No
Optical Input
No
RCA Input
No
Dock Charging
No
Power Supply
No Base/Dock

Compared To Other Headphones

See our recommendations for the best over-ear headphones, the best wired headphones, and the best audiophile headphones.

Sennheiser HD 280 Pro

The Audio-Technica ATH-M40x and the Sennheiser HD 280 Pro are both decently neutral-sounding closed-back headphones. The Audio-Technica are more comfortable, which makes them better-suited for long critical listening sessions, but they can sound quite boomy and even piercing at times. The Sennheiser have a much more neutral bass and smoother overall sound but aren’t very comfortable.

Sony MDR-7506

The Sony MDR-7506 are better headphones for neutral sound listening than the Audio-Technica ATH-M40x. The Sony are more consistent among various users, have a much better-balanced and more accurate sound profile, have less distortion, and leak less audio. On the other hand, the Audio-Technica have a more comfortable and stable design, have a slightly wider soundstage, and come with two different detachable audio cables.

Audio-Technica ATH-M50x

The Audio Technica ATH-M50x are very similar to the Audio Technica M40x, but they have a slight edge over them. They feel a bit sturdier and better-built than the M40x, and their audio reproduction is slightly more accurate and neutral. Also, the M40x have elevated distortion, so they might sound a bit impure at high volumes, while the M50x will sound cleaner. Both headphones will give you great sound and are also great options for critical listening, but the M50x offer one of the best values on the market due to their great price-to-performance ratio.

Shure SRH 440

The Audio-Technica ATH-M40x and the Shure SRH 400 are both closed-back, open-ear headphones with similar performances for critical listening. The Shure are more comfortable and have a slightly more even sound profile, but they lack a bit in the low-bass. The Audio-Technica, on the other hand, have an overemphasized bass, particularly in the high-bass range, which can make them sound muddier.

Beyerdynamic DT 770 PRO

The Beyerdynamic DT 770 PRO are slightly better than the Audio-Technica ATH-M40x. The Beyerdynamic have a slightly more accurate overall sound signature, but some people feel like they are slightly too sharp and piercing. On the upside, they're noticeably more durable than the Audio-Technica thanks to their full-metal frame and large ear cups. If your budget allows it, go for the Beyerdynamic, unless you’re sensitive to higher frequencies.

Audio-Technica ATH-M30x

The Audio-Technica ATH-M40x are better headphones for a neutral sound than the Audio-Technica ATH-M30x from the same lineup. The biggest difference is that the M40x is definitely more neutral in the treble range, where the M30x lack a lot of detail and brightness. The M40x also come with a nice coiled cable, but other than that, they're very similar.

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