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User Review

Audio-Technica ATH-M40x : A step up from the rest.

Value For Money : Correct Audience: Anyone
Searching for "The Sound"

The world of headphones is a world of endless possibilities. One might think all headphones are simply designed to create 'good sound,' but this could not be further from the truth: there are multiple factors that are considered in the design and construction of headphone sets at all price points:

- Frequency range
- Sonic accuracy
- Driver size
- Closed-back vs. open-back
- Noise reduction and attenuation
- Comfort and flexibility
- Building materials
- Style

This list only begins to crack the surface of headphone features, and still one of the biggest motivating factors for headphone choice, not listed above, is the price. Headphone prices range from $5 to $500 and beyond, and it is no easy task to shop for a quality set of headphones without being able to test them individually for sound, comfort, and style. Since many musicians and sound professionals (like myself) do not always have the luxury of testing products in person, the next best option is to find recommendations and research specs. This was the process that eventually led to the Audio Technica ATH-M40x closed-back headphones.

Overview

It's no secret that Audio Technica has been a leading force in the audio industry for years, because they have continually offered exceptional quality at reasonable prices. The advent of home recording over the past decade has only boosted the demand for affordable gear, and Audio Technica has released a vast supply of options for headphones, microphones, and other recording gear to meet every budget on the market. Many serious home studio users often ask the question, "What is the best set of headphones for $100 or less." No doubt, there are a few industry standard options to choose from, such as the Sony MDR-7506 or the Sennheiser HD 280 Pro headphones. But the title for "A step above the rest" belongs to the Audio Technica ATH-M40x closed-back headphones.

The Sound



When choosing a pair of headphones, most audio engineers and musicians are looking for good sound. Now, while "good sound" is somewhat subjective, accurate frequency production is not. The ATH-M40x's produce an even projection across a wide frequency range of 15Hz-24kHz, making them a very 'flat' sounding set. While this may be a "shorter" range than its competitors, the M40x's do not lack in clarity across the spectrum, and they do not expend energy in low and high frequency ranges outside of the human range of hearing (20 to 20kHz). The comparable Sony and Sennheiser models reach frequencies of 10Hz or lower, but this is wasted energy since it is so far below the actual human range of hearing.

The ATH-M40x's feature powerful 40mm drivers (standard at their price point), and have considerably lower impedance levels than their competitors (35 ohms versus to 64 ohms, respectively) making them very compatible with many modern basic home studio setups.

Distinct Features

Not only do the ATH-M40x's excel in the area of sound, but they also provide some very useful features that cannot be found on other headphones below the $100 range. The most distinct difference is that the M40x's use detachable cables, and every brand new set includes two 9.8 ft. cables--one coiled and one straight--right in the packaging. This means that if one or both of your headphone cables wear out and stop working, you can buy a replacement cable for a fraction of the cost of a new set of headphones. This has huge implications for long-lasting use, when comparable models may stop working and you must replace them altogether.

The M40x's also include additional comfort features such as rotating ear cups and firm ergonomic padding all throughout the headphones. They are lightweight and comfortable for long listening sessions, but they do not feel flimsy and weak. And best of all, they don't break the bank.

Bottom-Line

Every person has his or her own preferences when it comes to sound, comfort, and style. These preferences may be subjective, but quality and price are not. The Audio Technica ATH-M40x's may not be the audiophile's "dream come true" in terms of sound and build quality, but they are great all around headphones for basic mixing, performance tracking, and easy listening.