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383 of 398 people found the following review helpful
on August 24, 2008
Verified Purchase
This review is for:
Audio Technica ATHM40FS Precision StudioPhones

First of all right out of the package they look expensive. They do not look cheaply made and the matte black coloring and shape of these headphones is pleasing to the eye.

From the top down:

The headband is approximately two inches wide and covered even on the top with some type of soft to the touch material. The underside of the headband is very well padded and the padding extends almost down to the hinge where the earpieces are connected to the headpiece. The padding is nice and squishy, but not so much that you can feel the hardness underneath. The thickness of the padding is approximately 3/4 of an inch thick.

These earphones are very light, I've been wearing them all day with no neck fatigue, or headache from too much pressure around the ears.

The tension of the headband is enough to hold the earphones on my head, but they rest comfortably without pressure around my ears.

The hinges where the earpieces meet the body are made from some type of heavy duty, hard plastic(I don't know the technical name for it). The hinges are nice and thick. They look well made and able to take a lot of use.

The earpieces:

The shape is sort of an elongated oval. They are lined all the way around by padding that is approximately 3/4 of an inch thick, and one inch wide, and they're covered by the same velvety soft material as the headband padding. This padding feels wonderful against the skin. The padding that touches the skin is flattened to fit against the head better, giving these headphones excellent sound squelching qualities.

The inside of each earpiece is oval in shape and the inside depth is between 1/2 and inch and 3/4 of an inch. The inside wells that hold the speakers are covered with some type of soft fabric as well.
The holes under the fabric where the speakers are located are shifted slightly toward the back side of the ear pieces.

The outside housing is a some type of matte black high density plastic, and the R and L on each one is molded into the plastic rather than being painted on so that it won't rub off eventually.

The hinges:
Move smoothly and easily. There are two sets of them. One allows the earpieces to be rotated out when they're being worn, so outside noises or conversation can be heard without taking them completely off. They're made of matte black high density plastic also. They're nice and thick, and the part that attaches the earpieces to the headband meets the headband smoothly. If you didn't know the seam was there, you'd probably miss it. Each earpiece can be rotated out to the front approximately 180 degrees, and to the back considerably less.

The other set of hinges are the same color and material, and they fit sleekly against the earpieces in their own grooves, giving the earpieces a smooth appearance when on the head. There is nothing sticking out, and it's very aesthetic. When they're on the head the hinges and earpieces look like they're all one piece. I don't know who designed them, but whoever it is they're smart, LOL.

The Cord:

Runs from the left earpiece, and is not reinforced at the point it meets the earpiece. The cord is very long and has a nice thickness to it. It's not flimsy at all. If you don't need the length, I suggest tying it up with a zip it, or something similar, to keep it out of the way. I like the length personally. If you're like me and you forget you're wearing these headphones and get out of your chair to get something it doesn't pull everything off the shelf:D

The cord terminates in a 1/4 stereo plug, and is reinforced at the back end of the plug with a flexible metal spring that's approximately an inch long. The plug itself is textured for easy gripping.

If you're going to use these headphones for your: computer, tv, portable CD player or whatever. You're going to need to buy a 3.5 mm adapter because these headphones don't come with one in the box, like some of the other Audio Tecnica headphones.

But it's easy to find an adpater, and not much hassle. You can buy adapter kits. There is an adapter kit with four different sizes of adapters, right here on Amazon for 5.00 or so. Sound and audio stores should have them as well as electronics stores, I think even Wally World has them. Radio Shack has a kit that's a little different from the one here on Amazon, but it still has four different sized adapters. Just make sure you get a stereo to stereo adapter, not stereo to mono adapter.

Isolation:

These really do a good job. When I'm listening to music I don't hear anything else unless the sound is extremely loud.

The sound:

The sound of music through these is excellent. I can hear everything the way it was meant to be heard. Nothing added or taken away. But listening pleasure is subjective. I really enjoy the music I hear through these headphones just playing MP3s on my computer without a fancy sound card on my computer. DVD movies sound very good also. The soundtracks sound great.

The longer I listen the better music sounds through these headphones.

The highs aren't sharp and grating, and the mid range is there, the lows are smooth and present. Nothing is muddy sounding to me. All the sounds are separated and discernible but not so sharply delineated that it picks the music to pieces with one drowning out the other. Everything is nicely balanced and flows together like music should. It sounds like I'm hearing a live performance. The bass is there, but it is NOT very pronounced and isn't the focus.

I don't hear any distortion at a higher volume, but then again I can't stand very loud music, it hurts my ears. You don't have to turn these all the way up to hear decently. I'm listening to Illumination by Hemi- Sync right now and I've got my system volume turned up to 3/4 and Winamp volume is at 9%, and that's quite enough to enjoy the music. I can still hear everything very well with no interference from outside noise.

The music accompanies the singer rather than drowning them out. If you enjoy the lyrics, like me, as much as the music, then these headphones are fantastic. The lyrics are very easy to understand,and the voice of the singer is perfectly presented.

Meatloaf "Life is a Lemon" sounds heavenly through these, and so does Garth Brooks "Friends in Low Places". Pink Floyd sounds divine, and so does John Denver. Mozart sounds great too. PussyCat Dolls "Don'tcha" sounds just as good to me. Rammstein - Blade Theme (Techno Remix) sounds as good as all the rest. Roberta Flack is as close to blues as I've gotten yet, and she sounds amazing. Minnie Ripperton's "Loving You" Sounds good too. I haven't listened to anything jazzier. Pantera sounds good, and so do the Heavy Metal soundtracks( 1 and 2). I hope that gives you some idea about the range of music that sounds great with these headphones. Meditation music sounds great also.

Summation:

These are excellent quality headphones for the price. Someone put a lot of thought and effort into designing these. I always look at the details, and if someone paid attention to those I know they care about their product.

These headphones are light and comfortable on the head, and about the ears. They can be worn comfortably for extended periods of time without causing a headache. I believe they provide enough isolation, and outside sound dampening, to satisfy most music afficianados.

If you're looking for very pronounced bass, don't buy these unless you want to adjust the the bass to your satisfaction on your music source.

All in all I'm very pleased with these headphones, and I would buy them again. The price and the quality make this set of headphones an excellent buy.

On a sidenote: The customer service people are very nice. I emailed the customer service department for the amplitude range on another set I was eyeballing which are also made by audio Technica. The frequency response of headphones means nothing if the amplitude is way out of whack. It took about a week for them to answer but he very nice fellow who answered sent me JPGs of the amplitude graphs for the set I asked about, and another set. I'm sure he probably had to hunt the graphs down and then make a file to attach it to the email he sent me. Now that is customer service! Kudos to Audio Technica for their customer service. And that was before the sale!

The two sets were: Audio Technica ATH-A700 Closed-Back Dynamic Headphones With Double Air Damping and Audio Technica ATH-AD700 Open-air Dynamic Headphones.

If you're interested the amplitude range on the ATH-AD700 was much more flat than the ATH-A700, with less variation overall.

Alrighty then, that's all I can think of at the moment.

I'm enjoying my music on these very same headphones while I'm typing away.
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282 of 292 people found the following review helpful
First things first. These are not for kids who wanna listen to all their hardcore screamo death metal at earsplitting volumes. These are not for people who have a 1000 watt sub in their car. These are not for people who take music casually.

These are for recording.

I don't claim to be an expert on what good headphones sound like. I've never had the money to try some 500 dollar audiophile phones. I am a very active musician; I run a studio in my bedroom and my bands practice room. I've been recording in my bedroom for about four years. I use Adobe Audition 2 as my main recording software.

The Audio-Technica ATH M40fs headphones are THE BEST headphones I have ever heard. I'm sure they're not the best in the world. They're just the best I've used, and I'm pretty sure they're the best for the price.

With these headphones I can hear subtleties and nuances that I never believed possible. I can hear breath noise on the flute intro to Yanni's Deliverance. I can hear the bass on Dreamgirl by Dave Matthews without it beng muddy. I can hear the rumbling lows on the intro to The Battle from the Chronicles of Narnia Soundtrack. These headphones are not bassy, nor are they harsh on the mids, they're not overly trebly either. They are very flat as far as I can tell. I love that I can hear all the different parts to music without any of them being over-emphasized.

The downfall to these phones is that they let you hear ALL of the flaws in your own music; it's kind of depressing. If you want to sound like an amazing pro musician just by buying a new pair of headphones...look elsewhere, if you want to hear your mistakes so you can improve, and don't wanna spend a month's paycheck...then these are for you.

The thing that mainly attracted me to these headphones was the frequency range which was wider than the Sennheiser HD 280 Pro's that I originally wanted. On top of that, the price was 40 dollars lower; hard to pass up.

Another feature that makes these worth your while is the Field Replaceable parts. I don't know about you, but I don't have the money to buy a new set of headphones if my cable wears out.

These have pretty good isolation. They won't block as much sound as earplugs but they block enough to keep your sound pretty pure.

If you want to hear your music in a way that you never have then buy these headphones.
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58 of 60 people found the following review helpful
on October 7, 2010
Verified Purchase
September 24th, 2010. It's my 19th birthday, and with me being addicted to having quality headphones, I instantly decided to blow half the money I just received on headphones. I'm on Amazon looking up many types of headphones, and I found these for 1/3 of their original cost. "WOW! Amazing deal! Buy now!!!".....

Four days later, I realized I didn't get exactly what I wanted. These are STUDIO headphones....in other words, not meant for my little iPod that can't push out a lot of sound, or my Macbook which can push out a little more. They're also not meant to be heavy in bass like my JVC headphones that I got for $20. I was thinking, "Lower bass response = me feeling A LOT more bass!!! :D". I was wrong. Instead of feeling like my ears are attached to.....ahem....I got headphones that expose EVERYTHING!

I seriously can't believe a mistake turned into something I'll never live without. I went from headphones that were LOUD and punchy to headphones that aren't as loud, but are so amazingly clear....you just have to hear for yourself. I've played some songs over 100 times, and the first time playing them through these headphones made me realize, "I never heard THAT part of the song, before". And the funny thing is, sometimes I won't like the new sound I heard. The bass....I can't find the words to explain it. Like I said before, you don't FEEL it...but at the same time, you kind of do because of how amazingly clear these headphones are. With my JVC headphones, I couldn't understand what some of the songs were saying. Not a problem with these. Even mumbles in some rap songs are understood....which is good and bad. Good because I know what they're talking about. Bad because I now realized a song I used to like is talking about the same thing another rapper said five seconds ago. My techno songs (Hardstyle, Hardcore, Jump, House, Trance) come...alive, with these. Instead of being drowned out by bass, I hear the melody I love so much along with the bass that was forced into my ears by the JVC headphones.

Please note that I would be what some consider a basshead. I LOVE bass. The harder, the louder, the better....sometimes. But even these headphones made me want to avoid those "FEEL THE BASSSS!!!!" headphones because they're not crisp and clean like these. Just a perfect balance of everything you could ever imagine coming from music.

...........now I'm eager to see if I can find anything better. But for the price I paid for them off here ($56!!!!), why wouldn't you buy these?

OH! Another thing. Remember, for those that aren't headphone gurus, you're going to need to buy an adapter. You'll want a male-to-female adapter if you want to use these with an MP3 player or computer.

***UPDATE***
3/6/11

I recently played these headphones while listening to music through Virtual DJ. And I gotta say, before when I said the bass wasn't exactly "punchy"....it really is once you find something do deliver the power the headphone needs to deliver such bass. I'm guessing there's an obvious reason as to why these were terminated into a 1/4" plug and not a 1/8" plug that goes into your iPod. I was also thinking of selling these because my adapter keeps bending to a point where it won't stay in my Macbook if I move around too much (I have a history of breaking headphones....ask my mother), but after constantly going back and forth with these and my JVC headphones ($20 everywhere with a response of 12 - 22KHz), I have no idea why I ever thought I would sell these........ever. They are THAT AMAZING. And the best part about me turing the volume WAAAAAY up is they STILL did not distort......again, amazing. I can't imagine too many headphones being better than these, and I'm pretty confident Dr. Dre doesn't have anything on these.

***UPDATE***
12/3/11

This is just to provide more information to help others and to make it so they don't have to read the comment section.

Your iPod, laptop, and anything else with a 1/8" plug will NOT bring the best out of these. For those that don't understand, a 1/8" plug is the same size as the headphone jack on you iPod, and a 1/4" is one you would see on something like a stereo or a center console for a home theater system. If you have purchased headphones (not earbuds) before, the big adapter that usually comes with them is a 1/4" plug. Remember, these headphones are terminated into a 1/4" plug, meaning that you would need an adapter to use them on most of your appliances with an audio-out port, and to get the very best out of them, you will need an amplifier to go along with them. If you're looking for a pair of headphones to record music with, or to enjoy your home theater system without disturbing your neighborhood, these should do just fine. But if you're not willing to spend the extra money to use them with almost anything else, look elsewhere.

****UPDATE****
09/30/12

It's been a while since I wrote this review, but I also have learned A LOT more about headphones since I last wrote it. These headphones are reference headphones. If you're the type of person that loves to hear EVERYTHING your lossless file has to offer, or how horrible 128-bitrate music really sounds, these are for you. If you're looking for anything else, don't waste your money on these headphones. I still have them two years later, but I no longer use them because I wanted more "colorful" (bass-heavy) headphones. I still like having headphones that are unforgiving when it comes to music.
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107 of 122 people found the following review helpful
on December 14, 2006
Finally headphones that pump out the sound I want, with the comfort I want, at a price I can afford!
You just can't go wrong with a pair of Audio-Technica ATH-M40fs's on your ears!

If you like balanced high quality sound that exploits every pitch and accentuates every tone, you can get it right here. If you want headphones that don't hurt your head, don't clamp your ears, and provide good isolation, hey! The ATH-M40fs is your baby!
The build quality is fantastic, complete over the ear circumaural design, very professional in style and durability.
I searched all over to find an amazing pair of headphones that wouldn't rip a hole in my pocket, and I found them.

I am extremely happy I chose these. I was on the skeptical side. I almost bought higher priced Sennheisers, but opted not to due to comfort issues and cheap headband construction.
I was worried about sound quality; as I like to hear every vocal and instrument the way it was intended. For anyone who is looking to listen to music at a higher level with a price suitable for the everyday person. These headphones do justice to the Audio-Technica brand!
I use them for listening to all my music and games; high fidelity classical recordings, popular music (Jewel's intricate voice sounds so good with these strapped to your head), occasional video games (I play adventure, mystery, and RPG's).

The bass is accurate, not overdone and not enhanced. Balanced sound throughout. Great for really getting into the music.
Are these the headphones you've always been looking for but thought they didn't exist? Yes, yes they are!
Are they the best headphone ever made? Well, I wouldn't say that. I've never listed to $150.00+ headphones before. So I am sure there are headphones out there that will make these sound lamer than scary movie 3. But I couldn't imagine needing to. Some headphones can cost over $900! I'm not a recording artist, I don't use these to monitor music. And I don't work as a audio engineer. But I am very picky about, well, almost everything! I am an artist of the visual kind. And these headphone produce high enough audio fidelity for most anyone who can appreciate well recorded audio. I do require a high level of quality, I am very sensitive to subtle details in sound. If there is distortion or a small hiss is my audio equipment, I can hear it.
When comparing headphones and speakers, I can clearly hear pitch subtlties, faded or more pronounced background instruments, and other differences.
Besides, even a farmer in good ol' Georgia can appreciate, and have an ear for good audio fidelity.

For me, these headphones are great. They produce sound in a highly respectable manner at the price I am willing to spend. And thats what counts to most people.

Audio-Technica also makes a variant model of these, ATH-D40fs with enhanced bass. I feel some may prefer them to these and find them more suitable for video games, watching certain movies, and those who like that extra thump.

They also make much higher priced headphones for anyone requiring more fidelity. After listening to these I think they are a very viable brand, completely on level with competing against the well known brands of Sennheiser, Koss, bose, Beryldynamic, and Grado.

Audio products I own:
Onkyo TX-SR500 reciever
iAudio G3 digital audio player
Audio-Technica ATH-M40fs headphones (of course)
Koss UR29 headphones
Koss the plug earbuds
Koss Porta Pro headphones
Panasonic RP-HJE50 earbuds
Audio-Technica PRO 24 XY Stereo Condenser Microphone
Audio-Technica Pro5V headphones (returned due to comfort, the lack thereof)
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67 of 76 people found the following review helpful
on January 7, 2009
Verified Purchase
These headphones sound great.

Unfortunately, like some other headphones, these are not comfortable to wear for several hours at a time. There's not enough clearance between the center of the cups and the foam that goes around the ears, such that the center of the cups press on the outer ear lobes. This becomes painful after a while.

I've stretched the headphones apart several times. This helps but I shouldn't have to do this and I'm afraid that they might snap in two.

There is less than 1/2 inch of clearance for the ear lobes when they're on the head. I'd gladly pay an extra $10 or $20 for headphone manufacturers to not be so cheap with the amount of foam they put around the ears. The earphones could still be sealed against the head even if there were another inch of foam. This would make them so much more comfortable.

Update: I've had these headphones for three years now. Although I haven't used them much, the part of the cups that fit against the head are flaking and peeling off. I had a pair of Sonys with the same problem (low-quality material).
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24 of 25 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon October 21, 2005
For the price, these are some of the finest headphones you can find.

They are great for extended use. I have used them during studio recording sessions for hours on end - they remain very comfortable and sound great. The closed-back design filters out a good deal of room noise. They do not surround your ears completely, so the isolation is not complete, but they deliver a full frequency range of response. The sound is flat and true, without frequency boosts in the low end (like some other headphones), so you know that what you hear is what is being recorded.

When these headphones were introduced, they were selling for $100. This is a great deal and I highly recommend them for any application.
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42 of 47 people found the following review helpful
on May 9, 2008
Verified Purchase
In my continued quest for the best reasonably-priced closed headphones, I acted on the other Amazon reviews (and those from another site) and bought these. They might be the best headphones for certain applications (e.g. studio work where a very flat response is extremely important), but for my purposes they are inferior to two other choices: Sony MDR-V6 Monitor Series Headphones with CCAW Voice Coil, which I prefer for listening at home, and Sennheiser HD 202 Headphones, which I prefer for commuting. The Sony phones sound better to me, they are lighter and smaller, and cord management is better. The sound of Sennheisers is somewhat inferior to the Audio Technicas, but again they are smaller and lighter, cord management is much better, and they are much cheaper so I'm not as concerned about losing/breaking them while commuting. Finally, the large-size plug on the Audio Technicas is a problem both because I've had to buy an adapter, the plug/adapter combination is very bulky, and the size/weight of the combination has actually led me to break a headphone receptacle on one of my mp3 players. Finally the Audio Technicas require a higher signal level input for a given volume relative to the Sony phones or the Sennheiser phones, which could be a problem for some portable players. (I guess I am in a very small minority using closed-ear phones for portable audio, but nevertheless...) With all of this said, the construction of the Audio Techicas is probably the best of the three, again arguing for their use in a "production" environment. In sum, definitely recommended as long as your use fits with their strong points - which for me is not the case.
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27 of 29 people found the following review helpful
on November 2, 2005
I purchased my M40fs with a raised eyebrow for about $90, at the behest of my Guitar Center guru who told me nearly every employee in the westside Cleveland store owns a pair. I lived in Stow, OH at the time and got the due warm fuzzy from purchasing a decent set of studio phones made by a company that had a facility literally 1.2 miles from my flat.

Never have I been happier with taking somebody's word on the general utility of a piece of gear or with supporting a "local" company. The response and clarity is fabulous through the whole spectrum, true flat sound. I have picked up artifacts with these phones that other phones completely missed. Yes, using them for portable sound means a clunky adaptor, but 1/4" is worth it!

As to the comfort, I find them extremely comfortable. The ear padding is cushy and the headband has much thicker padding than some other studio phones I have used. They are a bit tight out of the box, but like any good phones, the headband can be stretched or squeezed a rather goodly bit without any damage. The swivels are nice and loose. If you wear glasses and intend to use these for several hours on end, just like with any other phones -- you WILL want to play with the headband tension a bit to find the right balance of snug enough to close but not tight.

I work on ambient, space, drone, found sound, and field collage, so falling asleep while listening to playbacks is not even vaguely difficult. I freely admit to having fallen asleep wearing these phones several times (including once while recording on my Korg MS2000 at 2am). Even when I have slept several hours in my chair -- no shift and no headache either, more like a *cradle* effect. No, I don't recommend this, but it won't hurt like falling asleep in other phones can. As long as you don't literally throw your phones around, these will last a very long time!
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50 of 57 people found the following review helpful
on February 12, 2006
Once the "Hifi Choice" says about this Audio-Technica ATH-M40FS " These 'phones have an uncontrollable desire to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. They quite simply take a piece of music and tell it how it is."

If you want the real "High Fidelity" headphones you should buy this one.

No doubt why this headphones become an industrial standard around the world.

A real competitor of the formidable "Sony MDR 7506 Studio Monitor".

Since I have quoted from a review by "Hifi Choice" then I would like to quote more for the conclusion.

" A pair of good honest headphones, which refuse to add anything to the original recording, yet take nothing away. If you like your music to have that raw, 'straight out of the studio' edge then these headphones are a must. A rockin' Recommended. "
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24 of 26 people found the following review helpful
on November 9, 2010
Verified Purchase
Although I always read the reviews and especially those with detailed comparisons to other products, it is seldom that I feel the need to add my two cents to what is already well covered. The AT40s demanded a review because they are one of the best items that I have ever purchased, period. I didn't expect much because at my age with moderate hearing loss and high frequency rolloff from 2k hz, there isn't much hope that one set of headphones can be distinguished from another set. Wow, I was proven totally wrong about that and thankfully I am enjoying my music again and hearing subtle sounds that I thought were gone forever. I feel that I really am hearing again and the music (mostly classical) has depth and a real sound stage and I can hear the instruments cleanly. These phones brought back the magic!
I used a cheapo wireless headset for the TV to view Netflix DVD's because I couldn't understand the dialog and it helped; however, the AT 40's bring back the full spectrum of missing sounds (noted by the captions of door squeaks, birds, clock ticking, etc)and I am thrilled. I now need to filter the faint 120 hz from the TV sound output to the headphone amp.
Note for those needing to understand the nature of hard-of-hearing people is that increasing the loudness only helps a little and makes everyone else suffer, whereas increasing the fidelity at the ear brings CLARITY and real enjoyment. The greatest gift to anyone with hearing loss like me is a natural and clear set of headphones like the ATHM40FS. Note that a quality headphone amp is an important adjunct for these phones to perform at their best.
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