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Audio-Technica ATH-M40fs Circumaural Studio Headphones - Closed Reviews

4.0 stars based on 78 customer reviews

Sweetwater Advice

  • Jeff Barnett

    When people ask me why I use ATHM40's, the answer is simple - and selfish. They sound as good as any other pair of similarly-priced headphones, but they are at least twice as comfortable to wear. That can become a very big deal when you are wearing them for any extended period of time.

  • dls
    from central ca. August 20, 2014Music Background:

    great tone

    these headphones can putout good low tones as well as highs.comfortable too.thnks patrick cobley for the advise.

  • Glen Crimson
    from United States August 18, 2014

    Phones and preamp work great.

    Phones and preamp work great.

  • Walt O'Brien
    from Fargo, North Dakota August 13, 2014Music Background:
    10 years' study of classical piano, principally under Dr. Georgia Kerabos, Mary Wells' (of the Supremes) piano teacher; arranger and copyist for Sammy Nestico/Brian Setzer type Big Band orchestras (best gig prior to accident involving right hand--playing

    Perfectly suited to the tasks at hand

    I bought these as in the past I have had excellent luck with Audio-Technica headphones and mikes: they never promise more than they deliver and are sturdy enough to actually be considered a work tool for daily use. As I spent the last 3 years teaching myself the 2D animation trade and am working on my first solo feature length roll-my-own improvisation from resources extremely limited by the cost of what I can afford, these are the answer to cranking out and synching the soundtrack with a professionally acceptable level of precision using Audacity as my mixer.

    It has been a decade since I had a proper set of headphones and the only complaint I have is that it is terribly difficult to get any meaningful work done as on breaks I wander off to Ronnie Scott's Jazz Club postings on Youtube and the next thing I know it is 2 hours later and my face hurts from smiling so much lol

    I really do not know how they do it at this price point. A gift from above is how I think of this very serviceable tool.

  • Bill Heilmann
    from Fair Oaks, CA July 10, 2014Music Background:
    Musician, recording technician

    Great Headphones

    Excellent quality for a very reasonable price. These headphones are great for monitoring and mixing, and they are comfortable to wear. I have problems with "hearing fatigue" during long mixing sessions, but these headphones seem to give me much more endurance.

  • Roger Morton
    from St Petersburg July 10, 2014Music Background:
    writer, artist, musician

    Audio-Technica ATH-M40fs

    I use these for monitoring and for mix-down Having had a pair for several years I picked up a second for duo recording. I'm not a big fan of cans but these are some of the best sounding you can get for the price point. They are about as natural and flat as can be. If there is coloration to them it's not noticeable. Have replaced the ear pads once in my original set after several years of heavy use. These are fairly comfortable, being a closed cup they block outside sound very well, it takes me several hours to experience fatigue.Highly recommended.

  • Billy W. Prince
    from Nashville, TN June 20, 2014Music Background:
    Recording Engineer, Pro Musician, University Instructor.

    Audio-Technica Mic & Headphone package from Sweetwater

    I've used the Audio-Technica ATH-M40fs headphones in the studio for many years. They have given us excellent service, and withstand a lot
    of (should I say abuse?) When I saw the package of these headphones paired with an audio technica large diaphragm condenser microphone, I couldn't believe the price .. Amazing !!

  • Michael Entzminger
    from Lancaster, PA USA June 3, 2014Music Background:
    Intermediate Guitarist

    Great gift

    My wife got these for me to plug into my amp and practice guitar. After showing her how much they rock, she now steals them and uses them for everything

  • James Anderson
    from North Dallas, Texas April 30, 2014Music Background:

    Audio Technica A TH-M40fs - Excellent

    The quality and comfort of these studio earphones is exceptional. The frequency range is also exceptional. It can take anything thrown at it. You can't blow them and equally important is the comfort of wearing these phones for long periods. Fitting over the ears, you wear them and forget them. No annoying discomforts as is the case with some lower quality earphones. I highly recommend these.

  • Tim Casey
    from Boston MA USA April 15, 2014Music Background:
    producer / engineer, keys/vocals/guitars

    Great isolation headphones for a great price

    I bought two of these on closeout. I came back and bought a third because they sounded so great and were so comfortable. They're also VERY good at isolating sound - you can't hear anything else in the room when you put these on, and if you're recording an acoustic guitar to a click track, there's not even a hint of the click on the recording. At this price, these headphones are a no-brainer. Nice long cords, too! Get 'em while you can!

  • Mark
    from West Hartford March 14, 2014Music Background:
    listener. I can fake the harmonica if I have to.

    These headphones rock

    I really wanted a great pair of phones that produced an accurate reproduction of my music. I'm not interested in artificial bass. Or making a fashion statment (cough, cough, Dre. Beats, cough, cough)For the price I paid I coldnt be happier. I wear these for hours at a time in complete comfort. They fit snug enough over my ears that they are effectivley noise cancleing as well. I'm no audiophile, but to my ears these are the best headphones I've ever owned. Go get you some!!

  • B'jay
    from NY March 12, 2014Music Background:
    Musician, Producer, Recording engineer.


    These headphones have the best audio quality for the price range that I've heard and the acoustics and frequency response is just unbelievable. Add in the fact of the great build quality (I.E. are not flimsy, have great comfort and ear/head support and good connector materials utilized for the 1/4 jack) and I absolutely love the cord length...VERY LONG CORD=Happy Musician/Sound engineer and I don't have to worry about moving and forgetting they're on my head and accidentally pulling on my computer and headphone jack when moving around. All around great product and I'm probably going to buy a few more of these if they're on sale.

  • Bill Moskowitz
    from Greeneville, TN March 12, 2014Music Background:
    Volunteer church sound guy for 17 years


    I do the sound at our church on a 32-track board & needed a good set of headphones at a budget price. I love these, especially compared to what I had been using. The reproduction is excellent & it makes it a lot easier to fine tune the mix. As usual, Bart Goode was great executing my order.

  • Art Stuckman
    from fremont, Ohio May 1, 2013Music Background:

    I love them!

    It's rare for me to get my expectation's met and exceeded, but these Headphones doe's the trick. I originally wanted the M50s model but when I heard these in action I'm confident they'll be fine in my project studio.

  • Leonard Rosen
    from Lawrenceville, GA August 17, 2012Music Background:
    Musician, Music Teacher, Band Director

    I am very happy with them

    I am an instrumentalist and a music teacher. I want to hear a pure instrument sound that is not distorted. I want it to sound like I am sitting in the same room with the live band. These cans do that! I am blown away! They are very comfortable even with glasses. My only concern is the reports that the ear & head pads deteriorate rapidly. I did some research and that is a common complaint with other earphone manufacturers as well. I read that sweat is the main enemy of pleather. I also read that if you wipe the earphones down with a soft cloth sprayed with Windex it will add to the life of the pads.

  • Ken
    from New Baltimore, MI April 25, 2012Music Background:

    Audio-tech ATH-M40fs

    Excellent headphones....I listen to music, practice my guitar and play games. Their comfortable, soft and sound great!!

  • Peter
    from BC March 3, 2012Music Background:

    ATH-Mro fs

    Excellent head phones...

  • Adrian Heath
    from Paris area, France September 12, 2011Music Background:
    Classical violinist with good acoustical background

    ATH-M40fs vs Sony MDR-7506

    I use both sets for equalising different makes of LP for transfer to CD.
    For a 60-year-old with some high frequency loss, the Sony accentuates sibilance, surface noise, and tape hiss - it has a peak (and remanence?) around 4kHz and another around 10kHz - good for cleaning-up operations!
    The Audio-Technica has sweeter but more extended highs, a rounder but not invasive bass, and a definite bump baroud 1kHz - good for voices and mid-range instruments but a wee bit tiring.
    I noticed that if I separate the speaker (with that annoying hidden ridge) from my ear a little, the 1kHz hump is reduced : I shall try adding a ring of foam to the ear-pad.
    As regards isolation, the m40 hugs my (fairly small) ears less well than the 7506, thanks to that ridge...
    I am very pleased with both sets, but if I had to choose one , it would be the m40 : the discrete but extended highs can be reinforced with the equaliser for chasing fizzy distortion. Also, it folds flatter.( And it was much cheaper! )
    On both sets, I have replaced the cumbersome left-only cable with a Y-shaped shorter one and a 1/8th inch jack. Sorry !

  • Delta Mors
    from San Diego, CA USA May 6, 2009Music Background:
    Pro Musician

    Better than the rest...

    Ok, so I've owned the one pair of audio technica M40fs for almost (yes, get ready for this) 10 YEARS. I emailed my Sweetwater rep today to find out about replacing the ear pads. After 10 years of consistent abuse and use the outer cover on the ear pads and headband is disintegrating leaving little flakes all over me. But come on people!! 10 YEARS!!

    Anyway, they sound like the day I bought them. I can't say many pieces of equipment I own have lasted that long, much less something electronic...

    These headphones are just of outstanding quality and let me state for the record, they are durable. I've used them in my studio for as long as I've had them, and I haven't been the only user either. My sister has used them regularly for years and loves them as well. That 90 bucks I spent back in 2000 was well worth these last 10 years. I LOVE these headphones. Will own them till they are defunct. Will buy again when dead.

  • Robert Allen
    from Harriman, TN April 4, 2008Music Background:
    Recording Engineer, Live Sound Engineer,

    Think: pancake.

    Wow. These phones are spectacular. I've had them for almost 2 years, so I'm not just gushing about them. I've mixed on them a lot, and everything I've done has translated well. I've even had some engineers ask me what kind of monitors I was using to mix! Also, get ready to fall in love with your favorite music all over again if you plan to use them for recreational playback!

    My ONLY complaint is a small one - the 1/4" plug mentioned by others, which doesn't have a small 1/8" adaptor. However, the only time I use really 1/8" connections is with my laptop on the go.

  • Stephen L. Noe
    from Chicago November 20, 2006Music Background:
    mix for TV.

    Excellent Reference

    These AT M40fs headphones are really the best you can get for the price range (and really a couple of price ranges up). They reveal everything about your mix as well as your noise floor and are comfortable to boot. I've had them for about a year and replaced a set of AKG's and Sony's. There is no doubt that these headphones are worth every penny.

  • I'd rather not say
    from New Orleans November 11, 2006Music Background:
    career musician

    As good as my Grados

    These are fantastic zero reference cans. I've been a professional musician for 35 years and studio production is a big part of what I do. These compare favorably with my thousand dollar Grado cans...sad but true. Mix results I would compare to mixing with Auratone near-field monitors. If you struggle to get quality bottom end in your mixes these will help. Well made, field replaceable cord and pads, comfortable for reasonable durations..4-5 hours. Incredible price for this level of audio quality.

  • Tod
    from San Francisco July 24, 2014Music Background:

    First Headphones and I am very pleased

    I never had headphones, well at least since the 60's and the KOss on the stereo while listening to Purple Haze. Anyway, not to digress. I use these while practicing on my electronic drums. very comfortable, block out the ambient noise and I can hear everything well even after 45 year of rocking out. There may be better, but for the $ I am really impressed.

  • Randy
    from Gloucester, Va USA July 15, 2014Music Background:
    guitarist / home recordist

    excellent headphones at a very low price point

    Headband and ear cushions are very comfortable and that's was a concern due to the amount of time spent tracking. I don't hear any exaggerated lows or highs so ear fatigue is minimal. 11' cord is ideal - don't have to use an extension cable. I also like that they come with a good 1/4" phone jack instead of 1/8" and having to use an adapter to 1/4". Very good phones for really low price. Just what I was looking for. My Sales Engineer was very helpful as usual.

  • DJ Deano Browne
    from New Bedford, MA June 24, 2014Music Background:
    DJ, Poducer, Live Peformer and Artist

    I'm very Satisified

    Love the price and the product is on point. u can hear what you need to when mixing without added highs and lows. A solid pair of cans for mixing and recording vocals.

  • Walt Herman
    from Abingdon, VA June 19, 2014Music Background:
    Audio Engineer

    ATH-M49f Headphones

    Again for the price these are great headphones, good for pros as well as home use.

  • Gizmohandyman
    from San Diego, CA June 17, 2014Music Background:
    Ex Sound Engineer, Hobbyist Musician

    Great Pair of Phones

    My half star off is only because they didn't come with and adapter for a 3.5 plug.

    The sound very nice with good bass tone and highs. They are very comfortable and insulate you from the world around you very well.

    Very nice for the $50 I paid!

  • tek
    from TN USA May 1, 2014Music Background:

    Very good all around, but needs alot of gas

    Very good isolation from outside noise. Can handle any wattage you throw at it. It DOES sound a bit quiet qhen hooked up to a consumer level device such as an ipod or mp3 player. But this is also a good thing since you don't damage your hearing. The full size plug is a minor inconvenience once you have a good quality 3.5mm headphone adapter. Over all, for the price, excellent!

  • Paul
    from North Dakota March 16, 2014Music Background:


    I use headphones to practice guitar and listen to music at levels higher than my wife would appreciate. These were on sale so I thought I would give them a try. They are very comfortable, and have great sound reproduction. I am very pleased with these headphones.

  • Tom Zink
    from LA California March 12, 2014Music Background:
    Pro musician, engineer, producer, arranger.

    Very Sweet souding

    These close cousins to the M50s exhibit nearly all of the pillowy highs and accurate but pleasant sounding mids and lows as their more expensive counterparts. Very easy to wear and hear for extended periods.

  • Steve Adamczyk
    from Idaho September 18, 2012Music Background:

    Great 'Phones

    Outstanding performance all the way around. Super comfortable for long mixing sessions. Very true bass response and this is my second pair as occasionally I need to split for two people to monitor. Great value especially at this price. However... I didn't give these a "5" rating for one reason: the very cheap material that AT uses to cover the ear pads. As others have reported before me this material begins to flake off soon; in the case of my first pair after seven or eight months of moderate use. One has to go to AT for replacement pad covers (not carried by Sweetwater) and they were inexpensive, under four dollars for the pair. But they arrived loose in a box with no instructions on how to best change them out. If you decide to buy these headphones, and I highly recommend them, immediately contact AT for replacement pad covers and get a couple of pairs. In spite of these hassles I would buy this product again.

  • Shorty Grisham
    from Temple Tx January 11, 2012Music Background:


    The product is great. The Sweetwater sales people, like David, are friendly and easy to work with.

  • MAM
    from NM,USA July 31, 2011Music Background:

    Awesome headphones

    These headphones sound awesome for anything under $100.00. They sound very good directly connected to my MP3 Player and awesome through my headphone amp. For the price, you will not find anything that sounds this good. I can't understand the negative reviews, either your source the headphones are connected to sucks or you are trying to compare these to headphones costing way more $$$. I have had Grado's, Sennheiser's, Sony's, and many more and for the price, these kick butt.

  • Jason
    from Near Branson, MO July 6, 2011Music Background:
    Recording Engineer

    great monitoring headphones

    For the money these are the best headphones for monitoring in the studio envoronment. Drummers seem to prefer m50's but everyone else comes back to the m40's.

  • Customer
    from Kilauea,Kauai,Pacific Paradise,HI USA October 2, 2010Music Background:
    Electronic Tech/dj/Audiofile


    Bloody excellent value!!!Have had multiple headphones over the past 12 years of being a DJ,love the 11' lead,softness of ear pads,quality of the sound.STOKED!!

  • picker
    from San Francisco April 15, 2007Music Background:
    Session Musician

    Problems others forgot

    WARNING!!! I agree with just about everyone else that these are great for the price range. BUT!! They are NOT as flat as others have said. There is definitely a little bass to them. ALSO!! They are not the most sound proof, meaning if you are recording vocals or an something in front of a mic they will bleed a little. Otherwise they are great. I have had them for about a month and have used them up to 14 hours straight with no discomfort. And I haven't had any of the issues with the liner and padding falling apart, yet.

  • Anil Kumar Nallan Chakravarthy
    from October 14, 2014Music Background:
    Music Producer, Arranger

    Good sound and comfort

    I am giving this review as a Music producer and not sound engineer.
    I have been using Sennheiser HD-280Pro for years and recently bought this headphones and I am completely satisfied for this price and its quality. Compared to both, 280pro is a bit heavy and tiresome, little less in bass and highs and little hype in mid, yet it translated quite well, whereas the M40fs are more comfortable, more isolated, a bit hype in the bass, a bit less in mid and good highs, it is more suitable for dance or dubstep music. It has more extended bass, I can now hear those hidden deep sub bass properly and it also doesn't give me tiresome after long usage. I wear specs and small sized head.

  • Daniel Zarate
    from September 23, 2014Music Background:
    recording engineer

    affordable and impressive

    The headphones its very affordable because if you want to get a decent headphones you should invert 100us or more but this headphones have a really nice fidelity. The sound it's very impressive for applications like studio monitoring, a decent isolation, hard work in live sound. About the sound: the headphones have a good low end and the high frequency its very clear. The mids needs a little bit less coloration but for monitoring its OK to eliminate accentuated frequency's around 1or 2khz. The stereo image could be better but almost all the closed headphones have the same trouble. If you want a cheap and very decent sound you should get this headphones

  • Hugh
    from Rogers, AR September 22, 2014Music Background:
    guitar for decades. Some live play with band and church but not enough

    Good reasonable cost headphones.

    Bought them sort of on impulse when I bought something else. Had been considering several in the $150 range. Wanted good phones for listening, picking tunes apart to play, and to work on my HD500x patches. Comfortable and sound is quite good. Probably better sound would be beyond my ability to discern it- just don't have engineer ears. No need to get anything else at this point.

  • Aaron Yeager
    from WV July 15, 2014Music Background:
    Music Major & Hobbyist


    I wish the speaker output sounded that good.

  • Kevin Miller aka Caevan O'Shite
    from Watkins Glen, NY USA July 14, 2014Music Background:
    Guitar player and music lover

    Audio-Technica ATH-M40fs headphones

    These are great, flat-response extended range headphones that are ALSO *VERY* *COMFORTABLE*. I will very likely be buying some more of these!

  • Albert Iannacone
    from Wurtsboro New York July 11, 2014Music Background:
    Music listener player

    Excellent for the price

    Good all around head set light weight and comfort

  • Larry Kriz
    from Elgin, IL May 9, 2014Music Background:
    Recording Engineer

    buy them NOW!

    I have like 6 pair here in my studio. Just bought two more from Sweetwater. I mean seriously... $50 for these phones is outtasight. Ok - so it's a close out deal. That works in our favor. Here's what I love love love about these phones: they isolate very well, they are very comfortable, they come standard with a 1/4" jack (not those stupid 1/8 adapters), they have survived all manner of abuse here in my studio and it's a single LONG durable cable from the left earphone. Now... the down side: the ear pads are made of a very thin vinyl which wears out quickly. And the headbands tend to give out (become loose or stretched out) after a while. Thankfully those parts are easily replaced. I personally think they are the best tracking phones on earth - especially at this price. Sorry to see them go. Hope the newer versions are as good or better. Thanks Sweetwater! You rock!

  • Bob Jennings
    from Nevada City, Ca April 29, 2014Music Background:
    Piano and organ store owner until 1980. Now retired.

    Comfortable phones

    Very nice comfortable and fine sounding phones. Now I can practice at night without disturbing the rest of the household. I got a really good price here at Sweetwater too on sale!

  • Gina P.
    from St. Louis, MO April 18, 2014Music Background:
    Home recording studio

    Audio-Technica ATH-M40fs

    Great headphones, bought for replacement for old pair used. Sounds very good, comfortable, affordable and has a 1/4" jack which we were looking for. Very happy with them.

  • BlackStar
    from Fort Campbell, ky April 1, 2014Music Background:
    Musician, DJ

    Great for the Money

    I love these headphones, they are cheap enough to warrant multiple purchases and they have a great build even though they are all plastic. For those who have issues with the earpads I suggest a different brand of replacements, I use Shure HPAEC840 earpads with them, you lose a little bass, but gain much more comfort and soundstage. If you want better mids I also recommend using a online pink noise generator for no longer than 8 hrs a day and you will definitely notice a difference.

  • dan reed
    from milwaukee March 18, 2014Music Background:
    recording artist and studio production.

    great monitoring headphones

    Nice and flat. True. Isolating and clear. Lightweight. Comfortable, and only $50. Also, great service from Sweetwater.

  • David Beverly
    from Lodi, NJ July 25, 2012Music Background:
    Recording Engineer and Professional Musician

    Great headphones but not durable

    These headphones are truly great. I have gone through 3 pairs in the last 10 years. They work well for mixing and monitoring when you can't use monitor wedges, or studio speakers. Very comfortable. The only bad part is the material used to wrap the headband and the earcups. Over time, they start to shed. Other than that, these headphones are great.

  • Jon
    from New York August 7, 2009Music Background:
    15 years experience home recording, visiting studios, and helping bands get their sound together!

    Great sounding, BUT NOT FLAT!

    These are very nice headphones, but you can't mix on them like you can, say Yamaha RH5MAs. These cover up the lower midrange (most important range for monitoring) details with their pronounced sub-bass(you can only feel it on your skull, your ears don't hear it) and their huge upper-mid bump (that isn't shown on the spec, but you can hear it. If you are using these for monitoring and mixing, I highly suggest the Yamaha RH5MA...they have a much better impulse response and a flatter curve. That said, the ATH-m40fs are great for picking out high frequency problems before they become a problem. I use Beyerdynamic DT770 to get my bass zeroed in, the Yamaha RH5MA to check mix balance and for isolating extraneous noises, and the ATH-m40fs for clearing up any high-end crunch/tinniness. Can you tell I love closed back 'phones?

  • Justin
    from Wilmington, NC, USA January 17, 2008Music Background:
    Hobbyist, musician

    Best by a long shot

    The ATH-M40fs are the best headphones I have. They sound great with nice flat low end responce. Before these I used a more expensive design but with smaller ear pads. I hated them. The M40's are much more comfortable to wear.

  • Brad
    from Parkesburg, PA January 2, 2007Music Background:
    Amateur Recording Engineer

    High Quality Phones

    I have been looking for a decent set of phones for monitoring during recording and mixing. These fill the bill! The sound quality is excellent, and you can clearly hear every part of your mix. For the price, excellent. I don't have a ton of experience with more expensive sets of headphones, but i have been training my ears for a few years now, and i like what i hear.

    Excellent headphones.

  • Peter LaGrasse
    from Rhode Island USA June 12, 2006Music Background:
    recording Engineer

    Im addicted to these

    Im sure there are better headphones out there, but not for the price. The ATH-M40fs have been my mixing reference phones for about 4 or 5 years now.
    Im actually going to buy another pair. Ive gotten so used to them with their relatively flat frequency response. My only issue is that the plether material around the padding does deteriorate over time, leaving little black flecks chipping off.

  • Reed
    from Ohio September 29, 2014Music Background:
    Production, Mixing, Mastering.

    They are worth the Close Out price

    The Sony 7506 model is better, in my opinion. These are cool for tracking and general monitoring.

  • Max Menius
    from High Point, NC July 23, 2014Music Background:

    Uncolored sound

    In comparison, I have used the Sony MDR-7506 for many years and they most definitely color the sound a bit with a mid/high boost - which caused some mixing errors. The Audio-Technica M40fs are much more flat and uncolored. The left right sound separation and imaging are quite good. Small nuances, as well as mistakes, come through which is particularly helpful for critical mixing and correcting tracks.

    Bear in mind, these are not consumer headphones and are not intended to provide any special sweet spot. So they tend to be unflattering and would not be my choice for causal listening. Pretty decent as an alternative for evaluating weaknesses in a final mix and/or during recording.

  • Brian M.
    from June 2, 2014Music Background:


    Very comfortable for long periods of working and just general listening. Impressively transparent. You should however know they come with a 1/4 inch stereo jack

  • Brian
    from Hampton VA March 14, 2014Music Background:
    Project studio owner, recoding engineer, guitarist.

    ATH-M40fs - good headphones

    I have been planning to get an extra pair of headphones for a while now. I typically use the Sennheiser HD 280 pros. The have proven to be very comfortable and good sounding. I have worn them for extended periods with no difficulty. I would definitely recommend them as a solid set of general purpose headphones.

  • Brian
    from Chicago August 28, 2013Music Background:
    Home studio hobbyist.

    Good for the money

    I was looking to add to my home studio's tracking headphone collection with these. For the money, they are pretty good. The only thing I'd like to see is a twisted cord on them so they don't get as tangled. Other than that they're aces.

  • Brett
    from Jacksonville, FL September 28, 2008Music Background:
    Recording/Mixing Engineer

    Not THAT flat..but good for quick monitoring

    these headphones are great for quick monitoring, and for referencd monitoring to hear small details when you can't in your monitors. However, I would not recomend these to anyone who is looking for headphones to mix with... there is definately a problem in the low end and they are a bit bassy. The mid range is a little muddy as well in my opinion. Overall good headphones though.

  • Brett Crawford
    from San Diego, CA February 19, 2014

    Great Sale Item

    I have used noise-cancelling Bose closed ear headphones for a very, very long time (first generation/pre-cursor to the AE2). They needed a vacation after the ear wrapping plush all but came off.

    Let me start by saying the timing could not have been better for purchasing the ATH-M40 with the President's Day Sale.. I took advantage of getting the well-known brand for a great price and am satisfied with the product.

    My only gripe is how easy they can fall off your head. They are considerably bulkier than the Bose and not as contoured. The sound is crisp and full.

  • Victor
    from Maryland March 19, 2012Music Background:
    Recording Engineer

    Decent phonnes, good price

    For the price, these are hard to beat. Good for perfromers while recording.

  • Mark
    from Canada July 18, 2009Music Background:
    Music Producer

    Ear pads falling apart

    Great headphones, but after using them and not abusing them for a year, the ear pads are falling apart. Very disappointed for such an investment. Cost me $150 Canadian.

  • M. Moore
    from N.C. June 24, 2014Music Background:
    Musician, live sound and recording engineer, studio owner.

    Well, could do better

    I got these headphones in a product bundle, they do a nice job. However, there are better sounding headphones. Not as good of a sound as my Sony 7506.

  • Eddie Lagos
    from Covina, CA July 31, 2012Music Background:

    Terribly Uncomfortable

    I don't have any problem with how these headphones sound really. It's just that they are terribly uncomfortable. I can't wear them for 20 minutes before they start hurting my ears because the cups push down on my ears, and I don't have big ears, honest. The second thing that sucks is that the plastic from the cups and the headband starts to peel off after awhile, before you know it you have all these little black pieces of plastic all over your shirt.

  • Steven Wenger
    from Memphis, TN January 5, 2012Music Background:
    Studio engineer, producer, composer

    Boxy sounding

    I'm impressed with the solid construction of these phones. Seem built to last. But they are definitely heavy in the mid-range frequencies, resulting in what I would call a "boxy" sound. Not smooth through all frequencies as I would have expected from Audio-Technica, having used their microphones to great effect in the studio for many years.

  • Scott Schumann
    from Atlanta, GA January 2, 2012Music Background:
    Pro Musician

    Sound great, but--

    For the money they sound great. However, my last pair after several years of use began to shred, into little pieces, the soft covering that goes over the foam pads. You can get replacement pads if you don't mind coughing up some extra cash.
    I ordered the same headset because I wanted to match the pair I already had so I could hear what the singer/musician was hearing in their headset. I actually just tore off the covering over the foam in the old headset. They felt fine to wear with just the bare foam and still sound great.

  • osu122975
    from ohio January 6, 2010Music Background:
    worship, rock

    Audio-Technica ATH-M40fs

    Pros: Reasonably priced. Good for listening.

    Cons: Not good for mixing. Coating on foam pads began coming off immediately upon the first use. Had to peel the rest of it off from sticking to my ears.

    Overall: Bought them because of price(I got mine new for under $50). Will not buy this particular one again.

  • Damon Leibert
    from Boston, MA April 24, 2008Music Background:
    audio engineer, pro musician.

    Will wear out

    Four years and all four pairs's protective film is flaking off. Good sound, comfortable. The textile padding is covered in a thin film that from wear and tear (perhaps sweat) has deteriorated. Its now peeling off like paint on my clients heads. I've tried to remove most of it, but it doesn't want to come off with help. I won't buy any more of this design. Don't put them in a road case with other things, the top part can buckle permanently.

  • Daniel
    from TN,USA February 15, 2008Music Background:
    Recording and Live Sound Engineer

    Very disappointing

    I am afraid I was very disappointed with this headphones. Being the most expensive A-T headphones in store and for its price, I was hopping to get a sound quality near the SONY MDR-7506. But I did not.
    - Sound is dull.
    - Bass has no impact.
    - The 1/4 connector does not convert into a 1/8 as other models.

    - Incredible comfortable.
    - Very long cable.
    - Sturdy.
    - Good insulation from outside sounds.

    I would recommend anyone to expend $20usd more, and get something better like the MDR-7506. So far, the best I have used.

  • Scott
    from SoCal September 26, 2014Music Background:
    Recording Engineer

    Ear Muffs Disintegrate

    The sound is ok but these are not good for a musician to use in the studio, The black soft plastic cover over the ear cushions disintegrates leaving black pieces all on your face. Also, having the wire coming off one side is unwieldy for a musician. Better to get a set that has the wires coming from both ear pieces spliced together evenly so that the wire goes straight down your back.

    from LAS VEGAS July 20, 2014Music Background:
    Professional artist and producer/engineer


    First off, let me preface my complaint by saying that ATH has supposedly fixed the problem I'm complaining about with its new "x" series of headphones. These headphones are extremely comfortable,but I wish their performance matched their comfort. Just like "Beats" headphones,these phones have an artificial boost in the lower and mid frequency ranges which can wreak havoc on your tracking,and cause you to "fix it in the mix".I usually use Sennheiser HD280 pros (purchased from Sweetwater) and will continue to do so. I will only use these phones on vocalists while tracking,but never on instrumentalists,as they don't give an accurate reading of what you're laying down,and can cause you to have too much treble on each instrument because the bass and mid response on the phones is so high.The worse thing you can do to your project is record with artificially boosted frequencies.It can ruin your work. Just like my studio monitors,I want headphones that are "flat" and don't color the sound I'm recording.Other than listening to MP3s,I can't think of a professional use for these phones.But they really do feel good.Just don't turn on any music.

  • Andrew Polemeni
    from June 19, 2014Music Background:
    Sound Engineer


    These headphones hurt your ears after using them for so long I'd advise anyone to save your money and at least get the M40x's or M50's.

  • Customer
    from August 5, 2012Music Background:
    Vacuum tube amplifier design, electrical engineer, organist, home guitar player.

    Only Second Rate

    A few years after buying these, I auditioned the Grado SR-60 and was blown away. Audio Technica phono cartridges have served me well over the years, but these aren't in the same class.

  • Dude
    from Buffalo, NY March 31, 2010Music Background:
    Song writer/SFX designer/VO artist

    Why would one want enhanced bass response

    I mean I could understand if you're a live DJ.....but trying to do legitimate mixes with an inaccurate frequency response (especially in the low end) seems counter-intuitive. I will say I love Audio-technicas flatter response headphones.

  • Mix Man
    from Seattle, WA October 21, 2008Music Background:
    Recoding Engineer, Student

    Not Bad, But not really worth it.

    I've been using these headphones for about a year now, and they're ok. Overall sound is alright, kind of muddy. Bass is decent, but not outstanding. I haven't found them to be really comfortable though. My ears get tired of them very fast. They are decent headphones, but if I were you, I'd just drop the extra $30 bucks and get either Sony MDR-7506s or Sennheiser HD280 Pros. A lot better headphones for just a few bucks more.

  • Greg
    from Illinois January 26, 2013Music Background:
    Musician, Hobbyist Recording Engineer

    I expected a lot more...

    These headphones, though well built and comfortable, fall flat in sound quality. I honestly think the earbuds that came with my iPhone sound better. The worst part of the sound is the midrange and lower midrange, which is a muddied mess. The only way I can describe it is like listening to music with earplugs in. The high end sticks out unnaturally. Strumming acoustic guitar and pianos seem to have this annoying shimmer (not to be confused with the 'air' that many people desire in headphones). I think most would be better off looking for other headphones.

  • Scott Sumner
    from Detroit MI April 10, 2008Music Background:
    Recording engineer,Studio Owner

    $10 sound in a $80 headphone

    I bought three of these to save money instead of sony 7506. Had to use them so I had to keep em. I had to EQ my headphone amp to make them sound usable.
    They sound like tin cans. midrange mud peak. good isolation though.

  • Justin
    from Santa Clara, CA February 23, 2006

    Uncomfortable to wear

    Obviously this review is based on my experience with these headphones, so take it for whatever it's worth. I purchased the ATH-M40fs' recently and was pleased for the most part with the audio quality. Used in a project studio situation, working with DJ gear and samplers/workstations. I soon discovered, however, that they began to physically hurt my ears after about 20 minutes of wearing them. Now I'm not talking about the kind of hurt you get from blasting music through them (I don't listen too loud through my cans)... I mean the way they fit onto my ears, they literally and physically are uncomfortable to wear. They have a circular ridge (either plastic or rubber) on the inside of each ear (under the mesh) that protrudes a bit too far. On my head, this meant that they smashed into the structure of my ear and caused undeniable discomfort. It was too bad because otherwise I would have kept them.

  • Daniel
    from Newark, California October 1, 2004


    Disclaimer: I'm not an audiophile, and I completely lack experience with these things. I can barely tell CD apart from good mp3, but then again, I suppose if I tried, I'd get annoyed.

    I picked these headphones up, and they're very solid and rugged design. Nothing flashy about them, and they don't need to be. They have a really nice reproduction of sound, and you can really juice up the volume with no problems. They have a generous length of cord (which I sometimes manage to trip over) and gold plugs, and swivel ears (I heard these are very popular with DJ's because they reproduce sound very exactly).

    The only problem I have with them, is I don't like to have my ears baked inside them for long periods of time. I don't mind the pressure, because they're comfortable that way, they just get hot. There's also no sound from the outside that get's in the way.

  • Ben Holt
    from March 1, 2004


    My wife bought these for me about 3 years ago, and they are amazing: incredibly clean sound, comfortable even for very long periods (20+ hours occasionally!), and total isolation (I can't hear ANYTHING else, and no one know how much damage I'm doing).

    I could not possibly be happier with them! (or with Sweetwater, for that matter...)

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