Audio Technica M40x vs M50x

Headphones are classed as essential for so many people.

From students needing headphones to study to gamers needing headphones to chat with their friends, to audiophiles looking for a great way to listen to their tunes.

Everyone has a different reason for needing headphones which will make different types more or less appropriate. 

Headphones are available in a variety of shapes, sizes, and models. The headphone industry is an extremely saturated market so you must find the ones that work best for you.

Some headphones will be more expensive than others, some will come with added features to make the listening experience better and some will just offer better sound quality.

If you are looking for a well-rounded headphone, Audio Technica has some great ones on offer.

Today I’m specifically looking at the Audio Technica M40x and M50x models. Both of these models are reasonably priced and packed full of great features which make them amazing options. 

But which model is the best? 

Let’s look at the design, build, sound quality, and additional features in these devices to determine which is the best for you.

Audio Technica M40x vs M50x

[amazon fields=”B00HVLUR54″ value=”thumb” image_size=”large”]

[amazon fields=”B00HVLUR86″ value=”thumb” image_size=”large”]

The Showdown

Design and Build

A major thing to consider when buying headphones is the design of the device and the build.

This encompasses everything from the aesthetic look of the headphones down to the materials made to physically construct the design.

On a basic level, the construction will impact the durability of the headphones and the design will affect whether you want to purchase them or not. 

As the M40x and M50x models are part of the same range by Audio Technica, their design is extremely similar.

You may expect more of a change between the two models, especially as the M50x is essentially an upgrade of the M40x model.

But Audio Technica is a brand that listens intently to their customers, and as the old saying goes ‘why fix something that’s not broken?’

The aesthetic design of the headphones is clearly a success otherwise the company would’ve made big changes when designing the M50x model, but they’ve chosen not to. 

Both the M40x and the M50x models are great options if you are looking for comfort. They are designed with large ear cups to ensure your ears are not squished and provide ultimate comfort with a great fit.

They are also covered with a lot of padding, especially focused around the ear cups and along with the headband.

This prevents you from experiencing any tension from the headphones and allows you to enjoy your music in comfort. 

Both the M40x and M50x headphones are designed with heavy-duty plastic and aluminum as its main build materials.

Both of these materials are known for their sturdiness and durability which protect the headphones against damage.

These models are both available exclusively in a silver and black design with the company logo printed onto the side of the ear cups.

Most companies choose monochrome designs for their headphones, and Audio Technica is no different. 

Despite all these similarities, there are some ways in which the M40x and M50x models differ. This mainly revolves around the ear cups and buds of the devices.

An important part of headphones is the swivel, the amount of swivel available has a big impact on the comfort of the headphones so the larger the angle of swivel, the better.

The M40x has a swivel of 90 degrees, while the M50x doubles this with a swivel of 180 degrees.

Additionally, the M50x also has a slightly more robust design than the M40x and also has a better locking system for extra durability. 

However, the differences between both of these models are so small, it’s impossible to determine which has a better build and design.

Both models are designed with durability in mind so it’s difficult to say which is better. 

Sound Quality

Perhaps the most important thing to consider when buying headphones is sound quality.

You buy headphones intending to use them to listen to audio, so the quality of this is vital to ensure the purchase is worth it. 

The best sound quality for you is determined by several factors including your music preferences, what you are going to use the headphones for, and the level of sound you prefer.

For the best enjoyment, you should consider these factors and buy a set of headphones accordingly.

The M40x and M50x were very similar in terms of build and design, but the sound quality is where they differ.

This can be quite surprising as you’d expect two headphones which look as similar as these models do to emit the same quality of sound, but this is not the case.

In fact, the M40x and M50x differ massively and as such are better suited for completely different tasks. 

Let’s start with the M40x model. These headphones are the best choice for you if you prefer a relaxed and neutral sound.

The M40x model would be better suited if you are an individual who listens to a variety of genres and sounds.

This device is also a great choice if you do a lot of sound editing as the headphones, unlike many others on the market, do not alter the bass sound.

Instead, the M40x offers a sound with the bass, high, and mid-tones balanced perfectly. However, as these headphones offer an unsculpted sound it means they are inappropriate for critical listening. 

Moving onto the M50x, these headphones are very different from their predecessors. While the M40x provides a neutral, unaltered sound, the M50x actually boosts the bass.

The model does not boost the bass significantly, in fact, the difference is so subtle it’s unnoticeable, but it does improve the sound quality dramatically. 

As I’ve already mentioned, different headphones will be more appropriate depending on how you plan to use them. This is also true of the M40x and M50x.

The M40x will be a better option if you plan on using the headphones for listening to podcasts, and gentler sounds.

Whereas the boost in bass makes the M50x a better option for everyday listening. Both headphone models are great, but I’d say the M50x has the edge.

However, you should buy the model more appropriate for your listening patterns. 

Additional Features

Finally, you should consider the additional features included within the headphones. This includes the external accessories which accompany the headphones.

It also focuses on the product specification of the headphones and the level of sound output they can provide.

As the M40x and M50x are models from the same range their additional features are similar, but there are some differences between the two devices which could give one the edge. 

First, let’s look at the technical specifications of the two models as this is one area where they differ greatly.

The two important differences lie with the impedance and the frequency of the devices. The impedance is the electrical resistance which the headphones demand from the attached amplifier.

While the frequency refers to the bass that the headphones can reproduce. 

In both impedance and frequency, the M50x outperforms the M40x. This isn’t surprising as the M50x is the newer model.

The M50x has an impedance of 38ohms which outperforms the 35ohms of the M40x model. 

Similarly, the M50x has a frequency of between 15,000 - 28,000Hz, outperforming the M40x at 15,000 - 24,000Hz.

The difference between these measurements appears small in terms of numbers, but it has a huge impact on the sound quality produced. 

Moving on from the technical specifications, let’s look at the additional features that each device has. Both the M40x and the M50x come with detachable cables.

This has become increasingly popular in recent years as it reduces damage to the headphone cable and makes the device easier to store.

Both models come with a choice of straight or coiled cables, with the M50x offering 2 straight options and the M40x only offering 1.

The cables attached to the M40x are significantly longer than the M50x which may appear to be a good thing, but can actually be annoying as you are left with a significant amount of excess cable.

The M50x comes with cables which are more appropriately sized, and even offers 2 different size options in its straight cables. 

Finally, both models of headphones do not come with a hard case to store them in. For home use this is not essential, however, a hard case is a great way to protect your device while traveling.

They do come with a fabric case, but this is flimsy and will do little to protect your device on the go. This is a disadvantage for both models as it means you would have to buy a hard case separately. 

In terms of additional features, it is clear to see that the M50x is the better model.

Not only does it outperform the M40x in technical specifications, but it also comes with a better choice of cable for you to connect your device to the headphones through. 


Both the Audio Technica M40x and M50x are great models of headphones. They are both packed full of great features which make them an excellent choice.

Both models are extremely similar to each other, however, it is clear to see that the M50x model has the edge so these are the headphones I’d recommend you buy.

Leave a Comment