Audio Technica M40x Review: Headphones

The Audio Technica ATH-M40x is a stunning set of budget studio monitor headphones.  Our review breaks down why they are almost as good as the highly regarded ATH-M50x.


Having previously I owned the Audio Technica ATH-M50x I had heard a lot of good things about its little brother the ATH-40x.  Audio Technica has always been known for making great value for money headphones.  The M40x look a lot like the 50’s but the price is substantially different so does it still retain the same qualities that see its big brother win so many awards? We dive a little deeper into this quick review and discuss why they are worth consideration if you are buying headphones under $100.

Great build quality designed to be used rough


As mentioned the ATH-40x look a lot like the 50’s just a little bit smaller.  I’m happy to report they also feel a lot like the 50 and the standards of build quality is mostly maintained.  These are definitely a monitor style headphone with music production and DJ styling running right through its veins.  

Just like you would expect on any workhorse headphone the M40x is build to take a fair share of abuse.  Good quality plastics are used throughout and they just feel sturdy in the hand.  The headband has reassuring clicks and the earpieces are able to swivel up to 90 degrees.  

The cables are detachable meaning you can use either the included straight cable or coiled cable to suit your preference.  We love detachable cables because usually cables are the first point of damage on headphones and with this, you just swap out the damaged cable instead of replacing the whole unit.

Comfortable and low profile

Most circumaural headphones have a tendency to be physically bloated. It’s common for them to stick out a fair bit from the head making them look overly chunky and unstylish.  The ATH-M40x is a pretty low profile and sit closer to the ears than you would find in headphones from Beats and Sony.

So with the 40 being circumaural (over the ear as opposed to on) they are very comfortable to wear as there is no pressure build up from contact with the outer ear.  That’s a good thing but at the same time due to them being a closed back headphone the also do suffer from a build up of excess heats so it might be best to let your ears breathe every now and again.


Coming from professional monitoring routes its no surprise then that the m40x are excellent isolating headphones.  They won’t reduce the noise as much as a set of dedicated noise canceling headphones would but they definitely block out most external noise and are perfect for traveling and commuting

Sounds very similar to Audio Technica’s professional house sound and the M50x

You know what, side by side, the ATH M40x, and M50x sound an awful lot alike.  They are both fairly neutral and balanced with the slightest hint of warmth coming out the low mids.  Treble is really nice, it’s crisp and clear and over time the harshness lessens.  Detail levels are good even if they can’t quite match more expensive headphones they still do well for something that usually costs under $100.

Bass is tight and punchy.  There is no booming deep rumble to these, more of an accurate depiction than the enhanced low end.  The M50x definitely hits a little harder but I suspect that is more down to the volume of air moved by the larger driver than the actual tuning of the headphone.

Soundstage is ok, it’s not really designed to be open and airy like closed back headphones.  The other good thing is that most of my mobile devices were able to drive the ATH-M40x to too loud to listen to levels at about 60% volume so you should be fine whether using them with a dedicated audio device or a smartphone.

The Final Word: Audio Technica ATH-M40x Review

The ATH-M40x are a great headphone if your use your headphones a lot on the go but they are equally at home when working at your desk or relaxing on the couch.  The sound is balanced and clear and The build quality is excellent for such a low-priced headphone.

Verdict: Recommended





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