Audio Technica M40x vs M50x: Which One Should I Choose

The Audio Technica M40x and M50x are both studio-grade headphones perfect for any audiophile or music producer. The M40x is more affordable than the M50x and has a more balanced sound profile. This is why I recommend the M40x headset over the M50x.  

I’m a passionate music engineer and listener with 10+ years of experience using all types of headsets and headphones. Audio Technica produces some of the highest quality studio monitor headphones, and I’m thrilled to tell you about my experience using the M40x and M50x today.  

In this article, I will thoroughly compare the M40x and M50x headphones against each other. Then, I’ll explain which headset is better suited for you.

Let’s jump right in!

Audio Technica M40x vs M50x: Direct Comparison

In this section, I broke down the most crucial rating factors for headphones. These include sound quality, comfort, build quality, and additional features.

Driver Diameter40 mm45 mm
Weight240 grams285 grams
Frequency Response15,000 to 24,000 Hz15,000 to 28,000 Hz
Impedance35 ohms38 ohms
Sensitivity98 dB99 dB
Sound ProfileFlat and naturalHeavy bass and bright treble

Sound Quality

Sound quality is the most important feature of any pair of headphones. Since the M40x and M50x are closed-back headphones, the audio sounds more natural than open-back headphones.

This flat frequency response is excellent for studio monitoring and general listening purposes.

The Audio Technica M40x headphones have a 40mm driver, while the M50x have a 45mm driver. 

Starting with the M40x, the sound they produce is more relaxed and neutral than the M50x. This sound profile is optimal for listening to a variety of genres. The mid notes, high notes, and bass are all well-rounded and balanced.

There isn’t the extra punch of bass seen commonly in high-end headphones. All in all, the M40x headphones produce consistently high-quality sounds. I never get tired of listening to music with these.

The M50x headphones offer a bit more emphasis on the low-end notes and bass. Although they aren’t overpowering, they sound a little more energetic and crispy.

This is attributed to the larger driver they have. The M50x adds some color to your music by adding brightness and liveliness. 

Verdict: Both headphones produce outstanding sound quality. I recommend the M40x if you prefer to listen to the original song as it was meant to be. The M50x is better for people who want more emphasis on their songs.


Comfort is the second most important feature I look at when analyzing a pair of headphones. Headphones that irritate my ears are immediately put away to the back of my storage closet.  

Luckily, both headphones from Audio Technica offer excellent comfort.

I spent more than 10 hours each day switching between both of these headphones for a month-long period to write this review. Although my ears were slightly red after my sessions, they didn’t feel irritated or painful. 

This level of comfort is essential for a daily sidekick like the M40x or M50x headphones. 

The earpads and headbands on both models have a soft leather finish that molds to your ears and head. This means you can wear them for hours without any discomfort. The earpads are also replaceable once the leather starts wearing off. 

They are also very lightweight, with the M40x weighing 240 grams and the M50x weighing 285 grams because of the larger drivers. 

Verdict: It’s a tie because both headphones are comfortable to use for extended time periods.

Design and Build Quality

The M40x and M50x headphones are part of the same series from Audio Technica and are built very similarly. 

When I place both headphones side by side, it’s difficult to tell which headset is which from a quick glance.

However, the M50x does look ‘classier’ with bits of burnished steel around the extenders. This means they are both equipped with a high-quality build and design.

Both headphones are made with heavy-duty plastic, aluminum headbands, and aluminum extenders. They feel robust and sturdy in my hands and around my head. 

I’ve owned these headphones for around 5 years and only needed to replace the leather earcaps once. Other than that, these headphones are still good as new. 

This speaks to the durability of these headphones and how long you can use them. 

In terms of differences, the M40x earcups swivel 90 degrees, whereas the M50x earcups swivel 180 degrees. This means that the M50x earcups are more flexible and easier to adjust.

Verdict: Both of these headphones are built brilliantly, but the M50x slightly edges out over the M40x because of its slightly more premium build quality. 


Both headphones come with a quarter-inch adapter, leather travel bag, 3-meter cable, and coiled cable.

The M50x also comes with an additional 1.5-meter straight cable. This means that the cables are removable on both headphones and add to their overall durability and build quality. 

Diving deep into each headset, the M40x has a low impedance of 35 ohms and a frequency range from 15,000 to 24,000 Hz. 

The M50x’s impedance is about 38 ohms and has a frequency range from 15,000 to 28,000 Hz. However, we can only hear up to around 20,000 Hz as humans, so there isn’t much difference between the two headphones. 

Verdict: These headphones both provide outstanding features but the M50x edges out the M40x.

Audio Technica M40x vs M50x: Pros and Cons

In this section, I’ll give you a quick rundown of the pros and cons of each headset. 

Audio Technica M40x


  • The best sound quality you can get for this price range
  • Lightweight and comfortable
  • Neutral and flat response
  • Detachable cable
  • Replaceable earcups
  • Great for gaming


  • Not the perfect headphones for bassheads
  • No Bluetooth connectivity
  • Earcups only rotate 90 degrees

Audio Technica M50x


  • Excellent bass response
  • Bright treble response
  • Premium design and build quality
  • Lively sound profile
  • Earcups rotate 180 degrees
  • Great for gaming


  • More expensive than M40x
  • No Bluetooth connectivity

My Verdict

The M40x headphones are considered to be the most budget-friendly studio monitoring headphones in the market. The audio response for both headphones is relatively flat and neutral. However, the M50x headphones have more emphasis on the bass and low-end notes.

If you listen to EDM or hip/hop and prefer bass-heavy sounds, I recommend buying the Audio Technica M50x headphones.

If you are a casual listener who needs a neutral sound profile for a variety of genres, the M40x is your best option.

There’s not much that separates these two headphones, and you can’t go wrong with one or the other. Either option will drastically boost your listening experience if you’re using cheap headphones at the moment.

Now I’d like to hear from you: Which headphones are you going to buy? Are there any other headphones you’d like me to compare? Either way, let me know by leaving a quick comment below.

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