You’d be hard pushed to tell the difference between these two pairs of headphones if you saw them side by side in a store or online. They appear almost equivalent, and many of the specifications are nearly the same on paper.
However, the ATH-M50X is almost half the price of the M40X, so what gives? There are a few tiny variations between these two sets of cans, and we’ll go through them below. Are the differences significant enough to warrant the price difference?
If you are interested in these models, keep reading our Audio Technica M40x vs M50x review for more information below.
Winner of Audio Technica M40x vs M50x: Audio Technica M50x
The Audio Technica ATH-M50x is comparable to the Audio Technica M40x, although it has a little advantage. They are sturdier and more solidly made than the M40x, and their audio reproduction is somewhat more precise and balanced.
Also, because the M40x has considerable distortion, it may sound unclean at high levels, but the M50x would sound cleaner. Both headphones provide excellent sound and are excellent choices for critical listening, but the M50x provides one of the greatest bargains on the market due to their excellent price-to-performance ratio.
Audio Technica M40x
Description: The Audio-Technica ATH-M40x is a big headset with odalisque headphones and 40mm dynamic drivers.
Features: Even people with wider ears will find the ATH-M40x comfortable, albeit the synthetic ear cushions absorb heat and aren’t ideal for those wearing glasses.
While the ear pads could be more premium, the controlled clamping force is a wonderful feature that allows you to use the headset for extended periods of time. But be careful: anyone too close may pick up on what you’re listening to.
The ear cups may be freely rotated and swiveled, making the ATH-M40x seem like a giant fidget spinner. While this level of play can compromise frequent failure spots, the ATH-M40x is a solid headset.
Because the ATH-M40x is designed for monitoring, the only method to connect it to a source is via the supplied wires. When you wish to connect it to an audio interface, use the 1/4-inch adaptor. That’s all. This is a no-frills application designed just for recreating and modifying audio.
The Audio-Technica ATH-M40x is not an active noise canceling (ANC) headset; instead, to block out background noise, you must correctly fit the ear pads around your ears. Passive isolation performance is comparable to that of a headset with synthetic ear cushions.
- Audio quality
- Strong construction
- Value for variable frequency response
Audio Technica M50x
Description: The ATH-M50x was formerly the greatest choice in the ATH-M range, and it is still an excellent choice for casual listening and audio recording.
Features: It’s a mixed bag with three cords and proprietary connections, especially when compared to the Bluetooth version and the ATH-M40x. If you can get it at a reasonable price, you won’t be sorry for the fantastic sound, but it’s an uncomfortable sibling these days.
The Audio-Technica ATH-M50x is the second most premium selection from the purely wired ATH-M bunch, and it looks a lot like every other member of the ATH-M family. The Audio-Technica ATH-M70x, its bigger sibling, costs nearly twice as much and is less popular.
The ATH-M50x features a mostly plastic body with metal notched headband adjusters and folding and fit hinges. The closed-back ear cups may be flipped 90 degrees in either way from neutral, and the arms articulate to fold it down.
This makes packing the ATH-M50x into its supplied vinyl-cinched bag a breeze. The bag mostly protects against surface scratches and offers little else. These days, there are cheaper headphones with nicer casings available.
The ATH-M50x headphones are reasonably priced for wired over-ears, but the concept is that you can use them for both everyday use and audio production. While it isn’t a matter of either, the ATH-M50x is suitable for both casual listening and mixing.
Because the headset does not require extra amplification, you may plug it into almost any device and the volume will be adequate.
- Ear cups that rotate and swivel
- Design that is well-made and foldable
- Very nice sound.
- Three detachable cables are supplied.
- The cable connector is unusual
Audio Technica M40x vs M50x Comfort
The Audio-Technica ATH-M40X headphones are rather comfy, with leatherette ear cups and a cushioned headband. They aren’t the lightest headphones, but at 8.8 ounces, they aren’t the heaviest either.
You’ll notice that the M40s are a tad snug around the head right out of the box. This will fade with use, and after a while, these headphones will be comfy enough to use for hours.
In terms of comfort, there isn’t much of a difference between the M40s and M50s. However, the Audio-Technica ATH-M50X weighs 10.4 ounces against 8.8 ounces for the M40X, so they seem slightly heavier.
Audio Technica M40x vs M50x Sound Quality
The Audio-Technica ATH-M40X is an amazingly competent set of headphones that are more than adequate for the ordinary audiophile. They feature a frequency range of 15Hz to 24kHz, which is more than the audible spectrum, so you won’t miss anything vital.
Overall, the reaction has been quite flat and not overly enthusiastic. Bass aficionados may be disappointed, but then again, they aren’t DJ cans. The Audio-Technica ATH-M50X headphones sound quite similar to the M40s, but since they have slightly bigger drivers, they have a somewhat greater bass response.
The M50s’ stated frequency range extends a bit higher, all the way up to 28kHz, but given that humans can only hear up to around 20kHz, this is kind of a non-issue.
If you put them on your dog, they could notice the difference, but you’ll need to be fluent in Labrador.
Despite being a touch heavier on the bottom end than the M40s, the ATH-M50X is a polished rather than hyped pair of headphones.
Audio Technica M40x vs M50x Bass
The mid-bass has a tiny rise/bump to M40X, which may range from somewhat strange to downright horrible. Tracks have a small fuzz/bloat to them, which might detract from the mids and the overall clarity of the sound. It has the sensation of a fine cobweb or something
To be honest, some may refer to this as a bass-head can, while others will claim it as a reference. We would never use these for reference, and we despise the fact that they have been sold as such throughout the years.
Overall, the bass response does not appear to be too bad from a graph, but it will most certainly irritate you after a while.
The bass on the 50x will have greater slam and impact, and we would consider it more of a bass headphone than the 40x. Another thing we appreciate about the 50x is that, while having a 5dB bass shelf spanning almost the whole low end, it’s handled much better and seems more balanced.
Audio Technica M40x vs M50x Connectivity
The Audio-Technica ATH-M40X headphones are analog-only (no Bluetooth) and come with a detachable headphone cord. It really comes with two cables: a straight cable and a coiled cable.
This is fantastic news, not just because you can pick between the two designs, but also because if one breaks (as they inevitably do over time), you can quickly replace it. The Audio-Technica ATH-M50X is similar to the M40s, but with a shorter straight cable that is suitable for connecting to your phone while it is in your pocket.
Still, there’s no Bluetooth, which, to be fair, isn’t the style of these headphones, but it would be great.
Audio Technica M40x vs M50x Earcups
The Audio-Technica ATH-earcups M40Xs are leatherette-finished over-ear (circumaural) headphones. They could feel a little snug at first, but they will break in with time.
The 90-degree rotation of these earcups allows you to walk around freely as the cans adjust, and they fold flat when placed on your desk.
The earcups of the Audio-Technica ATH-M50X are similar, except they can rotate up to 180 degrees. This makes them an excellent choice for anyone who wishes to pick them up and place them in one ear, DJ-style.
Conclusion: Audio Technica M40x vs M50x [2022 Review]
Overall, they are both excellent pairs of headphones. The ATH-M50X, on the other hand, has a higher bass response, better connection, more flexible earcups, bigger drivers, and a more appealing finish.
The only point where the M40X truly excels is when the price differential between these two sets of headphones is considered. The M50X costs $50 more than the M40X, which is quite a deal given the M40s are just about $100.
So, what’s the ultimate result? The M50s are superior headphones, but if money is tight, go for the M40s.