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Reviewed on Apr 20, 2016

Audio-Technica ATH-M40x HEADPHONES REVIEW

Usage Ratings - Version 1.2
6.2
Mixed Usage
7.6
Critical Listening
5.5
Commute/Travel
5.8
Sports/Fitness
5.9
Office
6.0
TV
5.7
Gaming
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.

Test Results
Design 6.5
Sound 7.8
Isolation 5.8
Microphone 0
Active Features 0
Connectivity 4.8
Pros
  • Good audio reproduction.
  • Sturdy build.
Cons
  • Poor isolation.
  • No buttons or audio controls.
  1. Update 2/16/2018: Converted to Test Bench 1.2.
  2. Update 8/10/2017: Converted to Test Bench 1.1. Learn more about our new versioned test bench system here.

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6.5

Design

The Audio-Technica ATH-M40x have a bland studio design that's well-built and comfortable. The plastic earcups are dense, and the headband is reinforced with a metal frame. This makes the headphones sturdy and able to handle several drops without getting damaged. Unfortunately, they're not sufficiently stable to be used while doing sports or other high-intensity activities (see our recommendations for the best sports headphones). They also don't have any control options for your audio.

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 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 Controls
Ease of use : N/A
Feedback : N/A
Call/Music Control : No
Volume Control : No
Microphone Control : N/A
Channel Mixing
:
N/A
Noise Canceling Control : N/A
Talk-Through
:
N/A
Additional Buttons : N/A
6.2 Breathability
Avg.Temp.Difference : 6.5 C
5.9 Portability
L : 5.12 "
W : 6.50 "
H : 3.54 "
Volume : 111.2 Cu. Inches
Transmitter required : N/A

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 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 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 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.

Cable
Detachable : Yes
Length : 10.11 ft
Connection : 1/8" TRS

They come with two cables; 1/8" TRS-TRS coiled cable with no in-line controls and 1/8" TRS-TRS cable with no in-line controls.

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Headshots 1
Headshots 2
7.8

Sound

The Audio Technica M40x are a good sounding pair of closed-back over-ear headphones (see our recommendations for the best over-ear headphones and the best over-ear headphones under $100). They have a well-balanced and extended bass, an excellent mid-range and a very good treble. However, their bass delivery is prone to inconsistencies, especially if the user is wearing glasses, their distortion performance is about average, and they lack an open and spacious soundstage.

8.7 Bass
Std. Err.
:
1.88 dB
Low-Frequency Extension
:
20.89 Hz
Low-Bass
:
-0.13 dB
Mid-Bass
:
1.66 dB
High-Bass
:
2.37 dB
8.6 Mid
Std. Err.
:
1.93 dB
Low-Mid
:
-2.41 dB
Mid-Mid
:
-1.98 dB
High-Mid
:
0.26 dB
8.5 Treble
Std. Err.
:
2.92 dB
Low-Treble
:
-0.98 dB
Mid-Treble
:
-0.42 dB
High-Treble
:
1.94 dB
7.0 Frequency Response Consistency
Avg. Std. Deviation
:
0.62 dB
7.9 Imaging
Weighted Group Delay
:
0.33
Weighted Amplitude Mismatch
:
1.76
Weighted Frequency Mismatch
:
2.17
Weighted Phase Mismatch
:
4.33
5.8 Soundstage
PRTF Accuracy (Std. Dev.)
:
1.56 dB
PRTF Size (Avg.)
:
4.72 dB
PRTF Distance
:
7.21 dB
Openness
:
4.5
Acoustic Space Excitation
:
4.2
Correlated Crosstalk
:
-0.4 dB
6.8 Total Harmonic Distortion
Weighted THD @ 90
:
2.942
Weighted THD @ 100
:
15.783
5.8

Isolation

Isolation is passive for the Audio-Technica ATH-M40x. This means that only the seal created by the over ear fit of the ear cup will prevent noise from seeping into your audio. Unfortunately, the seal is not enough to block the low-frequency noise of a plane or train. Fortunately, they do not leak too much but are audible to people around you at very high volumes.

5.5 Noise Isolation
Isolation Audio
:
Overall Attenuation
:
-11.21 dB
Bass
:
-0.09 dB
Mid
:
-9.09 dB
Treble
:
-25.22 dB
Self-Noise
:
0 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 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.

0

Microphone

Integrated
:
N/A
In-line
:
N/A
Boom
:
N/A
Detachable Boom
:
N/A
0 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 Noise Handling
Speech + Pink Noise : N/A
Speech + Subway Noise : N/A
SpNR
:
N/A
0

Active Features

No active features.

N/A Battery
Battery Type
:
N/A
Battery Life
:
N/A
Charge Time
:
N/A
Power Saving Feature
:
N/A
Audio while charging
:
N/A
Passive Playback
:
N/A
0 App Support
App Name : N/A
iOS : N/A
Android : N/A
Mac OS : N/A
Windows : N/A
Equalizer
:
N/A
ANC control
:
N/A
Mic Control : N/A
Room effects
:
N/A
Playback control
:
N/A
Button Mapping : N/A
Surround Sound : N/A

No compatible app.

4.8

Connectivity

0 Bluetooth
Bluetooth Version
:
N/A
Multi-Device Pairing
:
N/A
NFC Pairing
:
N/A
7.2 Wired
OS Compatibility
:
Not OS specific
Analog Audio
:
Yes
USB Audio
:
No
PS4 Compatible
:
Audio Only
Xbox One Compatible
:
Audio Only
PC Compatible
:
Audio Only
0 Base/Dock
Type
:
N/A
Optical Input
:
N/A
Line In
:
N/A
Line Out
:
N/A
USB Input
:
N/A
RCA Input
:
N/A
PS4 Compatible
:
N/A
Xbox One Compatible
:
N/A
PC Compatible
:
N/A
Power Supply
:
N/A
Dock Charging
:
N/A
0 Wireless Range
Obstructed Range
:
N/A
Line of Sight Range
:
N/A
10 Latency
Default Latency
:
0 ms
aptX Latency
:
N/A
aptX(LL) Latency
:
N/A

In the box

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

Compared to other Headphones

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

Audio-Technica ATH-M50x
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com

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.

6.2 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.

7.6 Critical Listening

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

5.5 Commute/Travel

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

5.8 Sports/Fitness

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

5.9 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.

6.0 TV

Above-average for home theater. They're comfortable headphones with a good sound quality and no latency since they're wired. However, the cable may not have enough range to comfortably watch movies from your couch.

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