Audio Technica ATH M40x vs. M50x | VERY DIFFERENT!

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Audio Technica ATH M40x vs. M50x

Audio Technica ATH M40x vs. M50x

What I will bring you in this review

Today I’m going to simply outline the Similarities & Differences between these two headphones, and then give various links for your in-depth informational pleasure!!

  1. Introduction
  2. Similarities & Differences
  3. Final Word

Now without further ado, let’s get rolling!


I’ve had the closed back M50’s since January 2013, and I must say they are the most durable and time tested cans that I’ve had the pleasure of listening to. Closed back vs. Open back headphones. Of course there are probably better models out there, with a flatter sound signature, less awkward frequency response curve, etc. etc. But who cares? To my ears and thousands of others, they sound fantastic, all flaws aside.

That said, the 40x’s are a pretty similar sounding set of cans, but with some subtle differences that you should be made aware of.

Similarities & Differences


  • Both the M40x and M50x’s ear-cups rotate 90 degrees. The original M50’s rotated 180 degrees.
  • Both are closed back, circumaural.
  • Both have detachable cable features.


  • The M40x has a different design. It’s a bit more minimalist.
  • It’s a little smaller in size than the M50x.
  • The M40x is much lighter than the 50x, and they feel even lighter on your dome piece.
  • The 40x’s have softer cushions, making them more comfortable.
  • They are more affordable than the 50x’s (around $100).
  • The bass on the 40x is tighter and more integrated into the sound, whereas with the 50x it’s a bit more in your face/hard hitting. The 40x still retains it’s V shape but is overall less aggressive than the 50x.
  • The M40x’s have a little less bass, a flatter response, and a bit of a tighter Soundstage. What is Soundstage? The M40x is a more accurate can overall.
  • The M50x’s come with 3 cables: 1 coiled, and 2 straight of differing lengths (1.2m & 3m) The M40x’s only come with 2: 1 coiled, 1 straight. They are both also extremely long, which many people complained about in my comparison review below (40x vs. 280).
  • The M50’s possess a much better build quality. You can see from the picture that the mechanism near the ear-cups is different. The 40x’s have been known to snap around that point. The 50x’s stand the test of time and then some.
  • There’s a significant price difference between the 2. Around $50.
  • The M50x has a bit of a higher impedance, meaning it requires more power to produce higher volumes, but it’s not enough to notice a difference to the casual listener.
  • The M50x’s are heavier, coming in at 285g as opposed to 240.
  • The 50x’s have clear and classy indicators of Right ear vs. left ear. They stand out considerably. The 40x’s R & L indicators sit on the inside of the headband, and aren’t as noticeable.
  • The M40x’s only come in black, while the 50x’s come in White, Black, Matte Gray, Green, and Blue. Whew!

Final Word

Interested in learning more about the M40x’s? Check out:

The differences between the 50x vs. 50?

An in depth review of the M50’s?

Well that’s about it for today my friend! I hope you’ve enjoyed this article on the Audio Technica ATHM40x vs. M50x.

Questions? Comments? Requests? Did I miss the mark on something? Please let me know down below or Contact me!!

Let me know what you think about the links provided! I would love to hear from you.

Until next time..

All the best and God bless,

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Be sure to check out my Reviews and Resources page for more helpful and informative articles!



  1. Hey Stu,

    Wonderful review.

    Despite so many differences I still can’t decide which one is better.
    M40X is lighter and quality of cushion makes your head not getting tired too fast – you can wear them for quite a time.
    It appears that M40X is even a bit better choice of product – it’s more comfortable, tighter sound stage(if timing is good, then it’s okay).
    But M50X has also it’s own pros – better ear-cup mechanism, if M40X snaps then it’s over. And sound quality doesn’t stand behind M40X either.

    And if there is a problem with cables in both cases, you can purchase spare ones, since those are detachable.

    Which one would you really choose without looking at the price Stu?

    • Hey man!

      They are each headphones that serve different purposes. So if I was just looking for something casual I would go with the M50x, but if I needed something great for mixing I would go with the M40x (if I had to choose between the 2). My top recommendation for mixing in this general price range would be the MDR V6’s.

      Thanks for stopping by brother..



  2. Hi Stu,
    I’m wondering about the audio quality, bass and vocal, (i’m enjoying every type of music and also movies) which one do you recommend?

    • Vincensia,

      I have both and I do prefer the 50’s (or 50x’s) over the 40x’s. I feel like the sound of the 50’s is more expansive, whereas the 40x’s feel boxed in to me. I don’t know it’s weird. I enjoy the sound of the 40x’s but would recommend the 50x’s to you because they also feel sturdier and more comfortable as well.

      Bass is roughly the same on both. The 50’s do have a bit more.

      Hope that helps! Let me know..


  3. Hi STU,
    I came across your page while searching web for headphones that make my ears most extremely pleasant. Main purpose is listening to music and watching Movies. Can you please suggest the best of the best? Thank you.

    • Hey!

      Are you looking for a fun and lively sound, or a natural and more subdued sound?
      Closed back or open back?
      Price range?

      Off the top of my head, the Sennheiser HD 598 is great for watching movies and casually listening to music. Does well with pretty much any genre. But let me know some more information and perhaps I could give an even better recommendation.


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