(Opinion/Review) Audio Technica ATH-E40

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Post 27 Nov 2018

Screw the usual foreplay, let's dive in and get to the sound!

They advertised it as having powerful bass, but honestly, it's just right for my taste. Not gonna lie, I expected a bit of sub bass boost for joy listening, so at first I wasn't like "OMFG!!!", but "well, this is good". xD Like, you know, it's right, how it should be. I just expected something far superior to my Shure SRH240A headphones. However, it definitely is superior by other means.

As I started listening to songs, I immediately noticed that lovely wide sound for which I'm very much kissing good bye to on-ear or over-ear, open back, whatsoever headphones, as well as speakers (at least for working on my own audio projects - it's the medium I'll be targeting). That's just a personal preference. You can choose between said lesser dynamics/realistic-sound-stage with in-ears or headphones; OR the crosstalk and less clear detail with speakers.
But you know, there's this thing about my hearing: when I mixed some sounds on headphones 3 years ago; when I recently tried, I mixed to the exact same values, starting from zero, on speakers. That says something, for me at least. With these in-ear headphones, I decided to try panning. I was sure I'll mess it up, but just for fun, I decided, without looking, I want to pan half way to the right. When set, it was dead-accurately at +500 (out of 0 to 1000 value). Weird, huh? I will still deny it xD but it seems like I have some gift. - So much for explaining things, before anyone would freak out like "What are you, crazy? You can't take in-ears seriously!" ~ I mean, it looks like I can work with anything, so let me choose what I enjoy! : P

So, I really-really dig how wide the stereo field is. Songs had much more room and sounds were more separated. It's simply an experience, only in-ears can give.

The other thing I noticed, that is simply incomparable with other media, is the detail. You can hear the tiniest clicks, and the quietest reverb. It's unbelievable.

So, the stereo field and detail was very much an "OMFG!!!" moment. xD

When checking a sine sweep, I think in the 4th octave, there is a range for a few notes, that goes a tiny bit to the right. Is it the device? Maybe my hearing? It's tolerable. I'm not going to make too much of a fuss about frequency response - everything seems more or less fine ~ boosts and drops depend on each listener's unique hearing anyway. But like I said songs sound pretty good with it.

Personally, I can't wait to get the big dog E70 one day, if this had such nice surprises. This E40 reproduces every frequency, and lower subs are finally audible, too. That's what I wanted in the first place.

All in all, music sounds really good with it. If I consider dynamics and frequency balance (for in-ears), I'd give 4 out of 5. But detail and wideness is definitely a 5 out of 5, especially in this price range (about $ 100). So, I'd say 4.5 out of 5 total.

What about looks? I don't care. xD Not bad, nothing fancy.
Structure? It feels strong. Cables are the type that go behind ears, and even so are replaceable. The short part that comes out of the in-ears, has some harder coating, that you can fit around your ears. These cables will probably last pretty long. Probably multiple years.
Fit? I tried the medium sized silicon eartips which might be a bit too big, but even so, it pretty much was in place on its own. I'll try the smaller ones later. This is not something that will fall out of your ears. So it's really well made! They seem bigger than most in-ears, but in a good way. You don't get that "cheap shit" feel.
Noise cancellation - I'd say damn good. Can't hear background noise, nor laptop ventilator. But ya can hear the blood flow in your neck. xD Still, it's not bothersome at all for me.

What I will use it mostly for? Sound design (I think it's my strongest skill). The amount of detail is simply dreamy.
So far, definitely worth the money!

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Location: Los Angeles

Post 27 Nov 2018

Cool stuff. I haven't tried the in-ears, but I recently picked up the ATH-M40x model and had a similar "wow" experience. Audio Technica is making some great headphones, especially if one does a little research and finds the sweet-spot models.

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Joined: 10 Mar 2018

Post 29 Nov 2018

cognitive wrote:
27 Nov 2018
Cool stuff. I haven't tried the in-ears, but I recently picked up the ATH-M40x model and had a similar "wow" experience. Audio Technica is making some great headphones, especially if one does a little research and finds the sweet-spot models.
Compared to headphones, you also get this feeling like you're wearing nothing at all! : ) So I understand why they call these "in-ear monitor headphones".
When I bought my previous headphones, I originally wanted Audio Technica ones, too, but sadly the shop ran out of it...
Nevertheless, I finally got a taste of their products, and I agree they really do a great job!

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