Audio Technica ATH M40x Review: WORTH IT in 2024?

Odi Productions Apr 26, 2024
44 People Read
Audio Technica ATH M40x headphones on desk

Disclosure: Some of the links in this article may be affiliate links, which can provide compensation to me at no cost to you if you decide to purchase. 

In this article, I'm going to share my HONEST Audio Technica ATH M40x review for those who are wondering whether they are still WORTH IT in 2024.

For this review, I have put hundreds of hours into testing my own personal pair of Audio-Technica ATH-M40x throughout the years, so I'm very familiar with how they sound and operate on a daily basis. I'll go over comfort, battery life, noise cancelling performance, sound quality, and overall value.

I'll be sharing my critical opinion with 10 years of experience as a professional music producer, audio engineer, and tech journalist.

I've also reviewed the ATH M30xATH M50x, and ATH M70x as well, if you're interested.

If you're cross-shopping the different models, you should also check out my M40x vs M50x comparison as well.

Let's dive right in!



Should you buy the Audio Technica ATH M40x?

Holding Audio Technica ATH M40x in hand next to M50x

Buy if

  • You want a neutral, accurate sound for mixing, monitoring, and tracking audio

  • You want a great studio headphone for under $100

DON'T Buy if

  • You want a "fun" headphone for casually listening to music (the Audio Technica ATH M50x is a better choice)

  • You need Bluetooth wireless or noise cancelling features

  • You want the most neutral and analytical headphone in the "ATH-M" series, with the M70x being the best choice


Audio Technica ATH M40x Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Mostly accurate sound quality

  • Great for studio use

  • Less than $100

Cons

  • Not great for casual listening

  • Wired only

  • Not good for travel


Audio-Technica ATH-M40x Price

At the time of this writing, the ATH M40x is available on Amazon below for as low as $99 brand new.

Order here for the LOWEST PRICE AVAILABLE (Do NOT pay retail): 

Disclosure: These links may provide a discount and in return, give us a commission in order to run the website 🙂


Audio Technica ATH M40x Comfort: 3.0 / 5

I personally find the Audio Technica ATH M40x comfort to be quite average, not incredibly uncomfortable, but also not up to par with more modern and plush wireless headphones like the Sony WH 1000XM4.

On the downsides, the clamping force from the factory is too strong and that can create a lot of pressure and discomfort.

Also the earpads are a big point of contention for many others, and I do think they benefit from an earpad replacement, something I've done on the M50x as well.

On the plus side, they are fairly light weighing in at just 240 grams on my scale, and the top headband has good padding.


Features / Build Quality / Drivability: 2.5 / 5

Top of Audio Technica ATH M40x headband

Features

The M40x is not a modern headphone, so it lacks features like Bluetooth wireless and active noise cancelling.

It is strictly a wired headphone only, but at least the wire cable is now detachable.

The closed-back earcup design is great for studio use for tasks like recording, tracking, and monitoring vocals and instruments. Closed-back earcups will leak much less sound than open-back headphones.

The earcups swivel 90 degrees so it's useful for studio use and perhaps DJing.

Build Quality

The build quality of the M40x is not terrible, but not nearly as impressive as the M50x which features more metal and overall feels sturdier and more durable.

Even with less premium materials and a lot of plastic featured in the headphones, I think these can still last a long time and withstand a decent amount of wear and tear.

Drivability

The M40x is fairly easy to drive even from a smartphone, although you can unlock some more power with a headphone amp or stronger source chain.


Does the Audio Technica ATH M40x have good sound quality?

The Audio Technica ATH M40x has pretty good sound quality, especially for the price.

Being designed for studio use, they boast a "neutral-ish" sound signature.

I add the "ish" because I think they probably have a much milder and balanced version of the M50x's V-shaped frequency response.

They still have some slight bass emphasis, and the treble is pushed forward a bit, but not as exaggerated as on the M50x.

I'd say the mids are a bit recessed in comparison to the bass and treble end of the spectrum.

The M40x has decent technicalities in its resolution with a fairly average soundstage, not bad but nothing to write home about.

Overall, a solid studio workhorse and one I wouldn't mind using for tracking or light mixing work, whether that be for audio or video editing as well.

Audio Technica ATH M40x Wireless Sound Quality: 7.5 / 10


Is the Audio Technica ATH M40x worth it?

Overall, the Audio Technica ATH M40x presents a compelling package for under $100 if you are looking at these for studio use primarily.

However, these were originally introduced in 2014, so it has been a decade of technological improvements to other headphone categories such as wireless and noise cancelling.

Under $100, I'd say there are a handful of more "fun to listen to" headphones, both wired and wireless.

An example of one of my picks under $50 would be the Samson SR850 semi-open back headphones.

But I still think they have their place as a tool if you are seeking accuracy, details, and a more neutral sound as opposed to the consumer-friendly frequency response of modern headphones.

Value: 3.5 / 5


Scoring Breakdown

Comfort: 3.0 / 5

Features / Build Quality / Drivability: 2.5 / 5

Sound Quality: 7.5 / 10

Value: 3.5 / 5

Total: 16.5 / 25

Our Rating: 6.6 / 10


Order here for the LOWEST PRICE AVAILABLE (Do NOT pay retail): 

Disclosure: These links may provide a discount and in return, give us a commission in order to run the website 🙂


Frequently Asked Questions

Which is better between the Audio Technica ATH M40x or M50x?

The M50x is better for casual music listening due to its V-shaped frequency response, while the M40x is better for studio usage due to its more neutral and accurate sound.

Is Audio-Technica ATH M40x Bluetooth wireless compatible?

No, the Audio Technica ATH M40x is strictly a wired headphone only and does not have Bluetooth support.

Is Audio Technica ATH-M40x good for listening to music casually?

For most people, there are better options for casual music listening as the M40x has a neutral sound that may be considering "boring", but it is quite detailed and accurate for critical listening and studio use.


How We Tested and Our Methodology

RecordingNOW.com is a 100% independent publisher with over 10 years of experience testing and reviewing consumer electronics and headphones.

We currently purchase the products we test with our own money, and are not paid by any company or manufacturer to influence our opinions or decisions.

After purchasing the product, we conduct up to hundreds of hours of detailed hands-on testing in a controlled, acoustically-treated environment.

ODi Productions is our resident expert and author of this article, with 10 years of experience as a professional music producer, tech journalist, and audiophile.


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Disclosure:  Some of the links in this article may be affiliate links, which can provide compensation to me at no cost to you if you decide to purchase.