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great reference headphones: Audio Technica ATH m40x?

Anything about hardware musical instruments.

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3ee
KVRAF
 
2695 posts since 8 Mar, 2006

Postby 3ee; Mon Oct 20, 2014 5:58 am great reference headphones: Audio Technica ATH m40x?

Hello,

Anyone have/want these headphones (or the m50x)?

I'm considering getting the m40x in the near future to have an alternative for referencing my mixes next to my Yamaha HS80m monitors.

If you have any comments on these headphones (good or bad) or suggest any other headphones in that price range (around 100 USD/EUR) , please post below! :)


Cheers"
3ee

PS Not sure how reliable/true can these tests be, but I guess for comparison against other headphones, this is pretty helpful... and it's funny how "odd" the other ATH m(??)x models sound (pretty much any other headphone really) against the "natural" sounding m40x.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sj69-mW ... jegG3u46-v

Other headphones that sound close to "natural" would be the Senheiser HD650 according to the relative comparison on SonicSense, but those are around 500 USD ... but it seems that the m40x sounds better as reference headphones.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DjAjtjd ... jegG3u46-v
Jim Y
KVRist
 
316 posts since 29 Jun, 2008, from Mid Wales, UK.

Postby Jim Y; Mon Oct 20, 2014 9:54 am Re: great reference headphones: Audio Technica ATH m40x?

I don't know about those cans, but the dummy head test recordings often sound like headphones do when you don't have them fitting over your ears properly, so I wouldn't trust them.
budweiser
KVRian
 
717 posts since 14 Oct, 2006, from france

Postby budweiser; Mon Oct 20, 2014 10:03 am Re: great reference headphones: Audio Technica ATH m40x?

The m40 are very good for the price. I used them for years (ath m 40fs) and achieved a considerable amount of mixes without a single glitch. Still use them for tracking vocals, but went to hd 650 & m50 for mixing purposes. You can't go wrong, imo.
3ee
KVRAF
 
2695 posts since 8 Mar, 2006

Postby 3ee; Mon Oct 20, 2014 10:40 am Re: great reference headphones: Audio Technica ATH m40x?

Jim Y wrote:I don't know about those cans, but the dummy head test recordings often sound like headphones do when you don't have them fitting over your ears properly, so I wouldn't trust them.


They say that they carefully placed the headphones... watch from 1:00 onward..
...I'm probably a bit paranoid to think they maybe make some headphones sound better or worse for marketing purposes. :P
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jnK1Gq7 ... jegG3u46-v
3ee
KVRAF
 
2695 posts since 8 Mar, 2006

Postby 3ee; Mon Oct 20, 2014 10:43 am Re: great reference headphones: Audio Technica ATH m40x?

budweiser wrote:The m40 are very good for the price. I used them for years (ath m 40fs) and achieved a considerable amount of mixes without a single glitch. Still use them for tracking vocals, but went to hd 650 & m50 for mixing purposes. You can't go wrong, imo.


Thanks, ideally one has a listen before making the buy, but not really possible here, atm.
Shy
KVRAF
 
4968 posts since 26 Jun, 2004

Postby Shy; Mon Oct 20, 2014 11:18 am Re: great reference headphones: Audio Technica ATH m40x?

Jim Y wrote:I don't know about those cans, but the dummy head test recordings often sound like headphones do when you don't have them fitting over your ears properly, so I wouldn't trust them.

Exactly. Their recordings don't sound anything like what you'd hear from the actual headphones, and the misrepresentations even vary greatly depending on the type of headphones. The recordings sound like the headphones you're using to listen to them + horribly false dynamics, frequency response ("coloration"), and sound localization.

Even if they used mics that can properly handle different air pressures to provide fairly accurate, stable dynamics (overall as well as frequency range specific), they could never provide accurate enough representations from headphone recordings, because it's simply impossible to achieve a result that's globally accurate using any dummy head, even high quality ones with accurate ear canals (your head and inner and outer ear anatomy will most likely differ greatly, even if you're "average dummy head size"). And localization will always range from vague to terribly weird and fatiguing. Funnily, it's much easier to solve the localization vagueness issue with mathematical models. As David Griesinger wrote in his "binaural hearing and headphones" presentation, what you really need in order to get frontal localization (as opposed to vaguely localized mush) + a realistic, properly equalized / uncolored result from non-individualized recordings, is luck.

Bottom line: you have to check headphones yourself to know how they really sound. And you better not test ones that haven't been "burned in". The effect of it can vary, but with some models I've used (especially Denon AH-D7000 and AH-D7100), it's seriously like you're listening to completely different headphones with hugely different frequency response, especially.
"Music is spiritual. The music business is not." - Claudio Monteverdi
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fluffy_little_something
KVRAF
 
3534 posts since 5 Jun, 2012

Postby fluffy_little_something; Mon Oct 20, 2014 11:22 am Re: great reference headphones: Audio Technica ATH m40x?

I have the M50 and they sound very good, but I am not convinced of the quality of the materials used.

Since my M50 were falling apart and the HD280 were on sale (99 Euros) at the shop where I bought my new Midi controller, I bought the ancient HD280, believe it or not :) After 24 hours of burning in they sound pretty good in my view (unlike what some people say, they even have pretty good bass, but I read a trick: one has to put the headband way back onto the highest point of the skull, pretty much towards the back of the skull; then the bass is kind of transferred to the skull as a resonance body), and they feel good because there seems to be more space for my ears in the cups, so they sound more open and spacious somehow, despite being closed headphones.

What I also like about them is that one can replace various parts, including the headband cushion, unlike with the M50, where the headband was disintegrating into a sticky disgusting mess after less than two years (before you ask, I do wash my hair and face regularly :hihi: ). The artificial leather of the pads also seems superior to the AT one, much softer and thus less likely to break (on the M50 the pads literally broke because it was rather hard stuff).

Technically the M50x and also the M40x are probably more advanced than the HD280, but I am very happy I resisted buying the new version of the M50. Not least since I don't know if the materials on the X version have really been significantly improved. And from the money I saved I bought a headphone amp for the HD280.

The HD280 have also been improved over the years, they are not the same headphones as 10 years or so ago. They are still used in many studios, especially in Europe.
3ee
KVRAF
 
2695 posts since 8 Mar, 2006

Postby 3ee; Mon Oct 20, 2014 1:29 pm Re: great reference headphones: Audio Technica ATH m40x?

Thanks for the feedback guys! :) ..anyone else?
People all over the internet seem to prefer the m40x over the m50x (as reference headphones)

Fluffy, I understand that the m50x kept the same sound as the m50 (only very small improvements) but the materials used are of higher quality as well of the build.
3ee
KVRAF
 
2695 posts since 8 Mar, 2006

Postby 3ee; Mon Oct 20, 2014 1:38 pm Re: great reference headphones: Audio Technica ATH m40x?

Shy wrote:Bottom line: you have to check headphones yourself to know how they really sound. And you better not test ones that haven't been "burned in". The effect of it can vary, but with some models I've used (especially Denon AH-D7000 and AH-D7100), it's seriously like you're listening to completely different headphones with hugely different frequency response, especially.


:? hmm, good to know, thanks!
... looks like I'll really have to go to this store (about 200 and something kilometers from here) to check some different models. I'll try to get "burned in" versions, although I don't think they'll have them... :cry:

btw, aren't the manufacturers suppose to burn in the headphones for technical control reasons before they ship em' out?
3ee
KVRAF
 
2695 posts since 8 Mar, 2006

Postby 3ee; Mon Oct 20, 2014 2:23 pm Re: great reference headphones: Audio Technica ATH m40x?

it seems that the "burn in" stuff is a bunch of hooey according to this wired article:
http://www.wired.com/2013/11/tnhyui-earphone-burn-in/

... Shure has tested some thoroughly used pairs of its E1 earphones, which first launched in 1997. And guess what? They measure the same now as when they came off the line. In fact, during the 15 years Shure has been actively selling earphones, its engineers have reached the same conclusion again and again: The sound produced by these tiny transducers during final testing is the same sound you’ll get in a day, in a year, and in five years… unless something goes wrong. ...
himalaya
KVRAF
 
3997 posts since 23 Mar, 2006, from pendeLondonmonium

Postby himalaya; Mon Oct 20, 2014 2:33 pm Re: great reference headphones: Audio Technica ATH m40x?

I just had a listen to the HD650 vs K702 headphones comparison out of curiosity, since I use HD650 and K701 every day (the K701s are not that different from K702s) and one thing is clear to me: these tests do not show the reality. In the test above, the HD650 come out as brighter sounding than the K702s, whereas the HD650s have a darker top end. The bass is similarly reversed. The HD650 has a stronger bass response than the AKGs and it's not there in the example files. It's almost as if the files are incorrectly placed and what is the HD650 file is actually the K702. I wonder....

3ee, if you are interested in a pair of Sennheisers then I'd recommend that you try the HD600 instead of the HD650, which I do not consider to be the perfect choice for critical mix listening. The HD650s are superb hi-fi headphones great for listening to music, or while watching blockbuster movies where you can pump up the volume without ear fatigue...etc. Pure enjoyment of a silky smooth sound. But not for critical mix decisions simply because the top end is slightly curtailed, at least for my liking.
http://www.electric-himalaya.com
VSTi and hardware synth sound design
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fluffy_little_something
KVRAF
 
3534 posts since 5 Jun, 2012

Postby fluffy_little_something; Mon Oct 20, 2014 4:20 pm Re: great reference headphones: Audio Technica ATH m40x?

3ee wrote:it seems that the "burn in" stuff is a bunch of hooey according to this wired article:
http://www.wired.com/2013/11/tnhyui-earphone-burn-in/

... Shure has tested some thoroughly used pairs of its E1 earphones, which first launched in 1997. And guess what? They measure the same now as when they came off the line. In fact, during the 15 years Shure has been actively selling earphones, its engineers have reached the same conclusion again and again: The sound produced by these tiny transducers during final testing is the same sound you’ll get in a day, in a year, and in five years… unless something goes wrong. ...


I don't really care about whether or not burning in helps. But that article is on
EARphones, which are not the same as the big-diaphragm headphones we are talking about here.
3ee
KVRAF
 
2695 posts since 8 Mar, 2006

Postby 3ee; Mon Oct 20, 2014 4:56 pm Re: great reference headphones: Audio Technica ATH m40x?

himalaya wrote:3ee, if you are interested in a pair of Sennheisers then I'd recommend that you try the HD600 instead of the HD650, which I do not consider to be the perfect choice for critical mix listening. The HD650s are superb hi-fi headphones great for listening to music, or while watching blockbuster movies where you can pump up the volume without ear fatigue...etc. Pure enjoyment of a silky smooth sound. But not for critical mix decisions simply because the top end is slightly curtailed, at least for my liking.


Wow, those HD600s seem great and the freq response graph seems good too, unfortunately they are out of my budget for "my 1st" reference headphones. they are almost 300 euros on Thomann.de :o
3ee
KVRAF
 
2695 posts since 8 Mar, 2006

Postby 3ee; Mon Oct 20, 2014 5:05 pm Re: great reference headphones: Audio Technica ATH m40x?

fluffy_little_something wrote: I don't really care about whether or not burning in helps. But that article is on
EARphones, which are not the same as the big-diaphragm headphones we are talking about here.


My ignorance :oops: earphones.. headphones... didn't realize they where different.
about the "burn-in" process: well, if it's a real thing, I guess it matters especially when deciding on a pair as Shy pointed out...

So far, IMhO, this burn-in process makes sense (a bit) and I probably will try it for a couple of hours maybe with some pink noise and some frequencies...

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