I’ve had the ATH M50’s for a long time, and just recently decided to pick up a pair of 40x’s for craps and giggles. I was curious about the sound signature and if it’s as neutral as everyone says it is. I would say they are more neutral than the 50x for sure, but neutral by themselves? Not quite. The bass is still accentuated a bit, but it feels nice. It doesn’t seem bloated or cheap at all.
I would say overall these really benefit from high quality source files. They really start to come alive. With youtube videos and the like, it’s hit and miss. So anything that’s 320kbps and up these will sound fantastic.
A lot of people complain about the clamping force, but I don’t mind it too much. They seem to fit me pretty well and feel solid in my hands. They twist and contort in many of the same ways as the 50x’s, but the only difference is that the ear cups don’t actually rotate towards you. With the 50x’s, they rotated inwards and outwards. It’s a bit odd that Audio Technica would neglect to include this range of motion, but I digress. It’s not really a huge deal, but something to consider.
The interesting part about this is that it may be the leading factor that contributes to them breaking around that very area. A lot of people complained about this and it makes sense. My 50x’s are ridiculously durable because they can be folded pretty much any which way. So maybe it is kind of a big deal. Lol. Mine have not broken yet, so that’s good news.
Overall I’m liking the build quality, and feel like people are overreacting a bit about it. Both the 50x’s and 40x’s have a metal headband adjustment inside, so that’s a plus. Time will tell if they do hold up as well as the 50’s.
Level of detail in some songs is impressive, and is something I missed in other headphones.
Replaceable cables, and 2 chords included + a leather case.
Because they don’t rotate inwards, this creates a high stress area that is prone to snapping.
Clamp force tight.
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Click to see the M40x!
Again, the most important thing about the 40x’s is sound source in my opinion and many others. They sound lively with good sources, and rather dull without them. The sound seems to open up considerably with high quality files.
These definitely aren’t going to need amplification. They will sound great right out of your phone, and you can use them with your audio interface as well. If you happen to have a Schiit Magni/Modi stack laying around, they will work great out of those as well. 🙂 Learn more:Schiit Magni 2 Review.
Hip-Hop. Don’t buy them strictly for hip-hop however. You may do better with the 50x’s in this regard.
Thoughts from Stu’s notepad
They come with 2 chords which is nice, one coiled and one straight. Both are pretty long (3m), so not the best for portable use.
Plugging in the proprietary removable cable was a bit of a challenge at first. To make it simple: You insert the cable, then half turn until the white marks line up. I did not notice them at first. I just kind of haphazardly plugged it in. Make sure it’s snug and in place. 🙂 Snug like a bug in a rug.
I’m enjoying the textures in some of the music I listen to. It’s like a veil was being lifted off of certain areas in the track. This is of course highly dependent on your source files however. Make sure you have good ones.
The treble will be a bit piercing/sibilant at first, but really settles in after a period of burn in time. What does sibilant mean?
The 40x’s are light, but not extremely light like the AKG K240 Studios. Loved the 240’s sound, but they felt like a cheap toy.
Some people like to EQ these just a tad to get the desired sound.
They are mixing headphones but at the same time not truly. The level of clarity and detail is definitely there, but they may be a bit heavy on the bass to be called true mixers.
A crisp sounding pair of headphones with a tight clamping force and a piercing treble range (at first). The sound really opens up with high quality source files and some burn in time. They prove to be pretty versatile with different genres and overall provide a nice level of detail and clarity.
I would definitely consider these some of the best headphones for the price. There isn’t really anything I don’t like like about them. If you’re looking for something strictly to mix at around this price range, I wouldn’t go with these first, but I would consider them. For mixing at the entry level: