Audio-Technica ATH-M40X Headphones

The Audio-Technica ATH-M40X headphones offer a flat frequency response and are designed to provide a true representation of audio for mixing and mastering purposes.

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Sound Quality

The ATH-M40X headphones are designed to produce a flat frequency response for studio reference and mixing purposes. It’s pretty obvious when you listen to them side by side with other Audio-Technica headphones such as the ATH-M30X and the ATH-M50X. The sound is uncolored, mostly flat and very clear, making it easier to hear what’s really going on in whatever you are listening to.

RAA Audio-Technica ATH-M40X Frequency Response

Image courtesy of Reference Audio Analyzer.

My experience with these headphones feels similar to what’s shown in the frequency response analysis. It’s always fun to take a look at that and see how it compares to personal experience.

The highs are crisp and clear without being pushed. The high end is very clean and it’s neither overly pronounced or buried, it feels just right. Cymbals and hi-hats come through very well without being overly bright or harsh. If you prefer to avoid screaming highs but still want the clarity, these will fit the bill.

The mid range is balanced and clearly defined. The mids are well balanced, just like the rest of the frequency spectrum. The mids don’t sound enhanced at all but come through very clearly, which is excellent for studio mixing purposes. Some might find the mids to be subdued on these headphones if you are used to headphones that put the mids out front. On an electronic drum kit, the response of the mids keeps things like snares from sounding too much in your face.

The low end is nice and full but also clean without any muddiness. The low end sounds beefy when compared to other Audio-Technica headphones side by side. I like the low end on these more than I do in the ATH-M50X. Bass guitars and kick drums sound great. The respresentation of the low end is excellent for mixing and I like to use these when fine tuning the interaction of multiple instruments in the low end. When you crank up the volume on these, the bass can be very strong and it retains it’s clarity even when pushed harder.

These headphones are closed-back in design which helps with noise attenuation. They will passively block noise and can help reduce environmental noise which is great for keeping the audio experience consistent in different environments. It’s also great for electronic drumming since it will take the focus away from the sound of hitting the pads and put more focus on the sound of the drum module itself.

These headphones are excellent for studio mixing purposes. This is what these headphones are mostly targeted to be used for. The flat frequency response and clean sound is great for mixing audio and can be especially useful for those that don’t have access to a quality studio monitor speaker setup and a tuned mixing room.

These sound great for casual listening as well. It will definitely come down to personal preference though. People that prefer a flat reference type of sound with full but not overly pushed bass will like these. People that prefer a little more excitement in the high end and mid range might not like these and should instead maybe look at the ATH-M50X headphones.

Specifically for electronic drummers – these can be a good pair of electronic drumming headphones if you prefer a flat frequency response to keep a balanced sound around the kit. Kick drums and low end on toms sound great with these. The snug, comfortable fit, long cable and noise attenuation are some other qualities that make these good for electronic drummers.

Audio-Technica ATH-M40X Headphones On Snare Pad

Closed Back Design

These headphones offer a closed-back design and the ear cups are just big enough to fit over most people’s ears. The closed back design helps to create some passive noise isolation. If you are listening to music, most people around you won’t be able to hear what you’re listening to unless you have the volume cranked up. The noise attenuation will also passively block out some environmental noise, which is great for keeping the sound consistent for mixing purposes. This is also a preferable quality when using these with electronic drums.

Audio-Technica ATH-M40X Headphones Top Profile On Snare


These are pretty comfortable headphones as long as they fit your head well. People with larger heads or larger ears might find these to be a little uncomfortable. But for most, these will be a comfortable pair of headphones that you can wear for an hour or longer with no problems. They weigh a little more than the cheaper Audio-Technica headphones but the extra weight doesn’t negatively affect comfort.

The ear cups that are included are slightly harder than the ATH-M50X, but still are soft and comfortable. They can be replaced and upgraded if you prefer different types of ear cup padding. The headband padding is a little thinner than the cheaper Audio-Technica headphones but the headband feels comfortable and doesn’t have any hot spots.

The fit is slightly tighter than the other ATH headphones such as the ATH-M30X. This helps keep them firmly on your head and can be a good quality when using these with electronic drums.

Audio-Technica ATH-M40X Headphones Earcups Closeup

Ear Cup Swivel

The ear cups can swivel 90 degress forward and 15 degrees back. This allows you to use them with one ear a little more comfortably if you have the need for that.

Audio-Technica ATH-M40X Headphones Earcups Rotated
Audio-Technica ATH-M40X Headphones Earcups Face Up

Collapsible Design

These headphones have a collapsible design, so you can fold them up for transport. We recommend to really only ever fold them up if you need to for transport, since the folding mechanism is known to wear out over longer periods of time. If you’re just leaving them sitting around in a studio or at home, and they are getting regular use, it’s best to just leave them in their non-collapsed state.

Audio-Technica ATH-M40X Headphones Closed

Build Quality

The build quality of these headphones feels average for headphones in this price range. They don’t feel cheap, but they do have a lot of plastic in the construction. They have a little more weight than the cheaper Audio-Technica headphones, which makes them feel a little higher quality than those options. The headband and the ear cup padding feels good, even if the ear cups might feel a little shallow for some.

Audio-Technica ATH-M40X Headphones In Hand

Overall, these are fairly well built and if you take care of them they should hold up. Long term you might run into problems with the folding hinges breaking or wearing out, which seems to be common with most Audio-Technica collapsible headphones. The padding on the ear cups can wear out as well but they’re replaceable so that issue can be fixed easily.

Audio-Technica ATH-M40X Band Closeup

Multiple Detachable Cables

The headphones come with two cables – a coiled 10 foot cable and a 10 foot straight cable. The cables attach to the left ear cup. The coiled cable is effectively shorter, since it’s coiled up. The straight cable is great when using these in the studio since it’s much longer, and it’s a nice length for electronic drummers who need to keep their headphone cable out of the way when playing drums.

Audio-Technica ATH-M40X Headphones Straight Cable
Audio-Technica ATH-M40X Headphones Coiled Cable


In addition to the cables you also get a storage bag. The bag is just barely big enough to fit the cables and the headphones, but still it’s nice to have if you will be transporting these around as it can add a little extra protection.

Audio-Technica ATH-M40X Headphones Accessories

Technical Specifications

Use Application

Mixing, Electronic Drumming


Closed Back, Over Ear


 40 mm


98 dB

Maximum Input Power

1600 mW


35 ohms

Frequency Response

15-24,000 Hz

Earcup Swivel

15° In / 90° Out




10 foot straight and 10 foot coiled cables, detachable


  • Excellent studio mixing headphones for the price
  • Long cables
  • Collapsible
  • Comfortable
  • Good noise attenuation


  • Ear cup padding is somewhat shallow
  • Collapsible hinges can wear out over time
  • Can get warm during longer sessions of use

Overall Rating

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Sound Quality

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The Verdict

The Audio-Technica ATH-M40X headphones are a great option for people who prefer a flat frequency response with their headphones and who need something for around $120 or less.

They sound really good when considering their price range. They can work great as mixing headphones or for other purposes like electronic drumming. If you like the look of these but want more of a forward sound in the mids and highs it’s worth it to check out the ATH-M30X or the ATH-M50x headphones as other potential options from Audio-Technica.

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