The ATH-E40 comes in a small, pudgy box, lacking the opulent appearance of the higher-end IM-series. But underneath that unimpressive facade, just what kind of earphone are we dealing with?
Audio Technica ATH-E40 Review
Inside the box, I find the E40, extra tips, and a decent little semi-hard case.
The eartips that are on the earphones when I first open the box will not stay in my ears. Once I select a slightly larger size, I pop them in and unwind the cable. At 5.2 feet (or 1.6 meters), the removable cable is plenty long. There’s some memory wire just past the earpiece, so once I have the earpieces inside my ear, I can curl the cable back over the top of my ear and bend it so it hangs down the back.
The earpieces are a bit large. Not so much so that they stick out and make me look like I have bolts in my neck, but they are just a little uncomfortable.
With a decent frequency range of 20-20000 hertz and an extra-low nominal impedance of 12 ohms, the E40 gives an impressive level of detail and higher comparable volume than other headphones.
So how does it sound? The first thing I notice when listening to these headphones, is a fantastic level of separation. Better in this regard than the Sennheiser Momentum In-Ear, the Shure SE215, or the Beyerdynamic DTX 160 iE, everything sounds realistic, like I’m a few feet away from the artist while backing instruments are a few feet beyond that.
Bass is okay. It’s not overpowering, nor is it absent. It’s there and mostly accurate, with little bleeding into the midrange. Highs seem just a tad relaxed, but the mids are sweet as pie.
All in all, the ATH-E40 is an articulate earphone with a pretty amazing sound. At $99, they go toe-to-toe with the very best from brands like Sennheiser, Shure, and Beyerdynamic, but there’s very little to fault this headphone with, in the end.
If you tend to have weird-shaped ears like me, it may be better to try these out before you buy. Or opt for something with a more traditional design, like the Beyerdynamic DTX 160 iE or the Sennheiser Momentum In-Ear (both of which would offer a more dynamic sound). Or if you prefer the around-the-ear design of the E40, you could also consider the slightly-smaller Shure SE215.
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