Frequency response: 15 Hz to 24 kHz
Impedance: 35 Ohms
At the cheaper end of the headphone market, you have to expect a few compromises. Sound quality probably isn’t going to be as precise and revealing as more expensive models, while build quality and durability might also suffer as manufacturers cut corners to reduce costs.
But it’s still possible to get a good pair of headphones on a relatively tight budget. Audio Technica’s impressive ATH-M40xs are a great example. They’re excellent all-rounders, with decent build quality and a much more precise sound than their price tag might suggest. They’re not the flattest headphones in the world, but they’re revealing and accurate enough for studio use (plus punchy enough for DJ use if necessary).
At this price, it’s a pleasant surprise to see a removable cable, which is easily replaced should it get damaged. The M40s are also supplied with both straight and coiled cables – a very nice touch. The only significant weakness of the M40x is its relatively poor isolation; the cups don’t form a particularly tight seal around the ear, letting bit of sound spill out (and ambient noise to spill in). Whether that’s a problem or not depends on your intended use, but it’s a fairly small issue to overlook at this price.
it’s still possible to get a good pair of headphones on a relatively tight budget
The M40s are listed at £99 but widely available at around £70. If you can afford to step up the range then the M50xs (priced at £159) are significantly better, but if you’re on a budget the M40x is still a great choice. The cheaper M20x and M30x models are reasonable, but we’d really recommend saving up a little longer and going for the M40s if possible.