Duel of the DJ Headphones: Audio Technica ATH-M40x vs Sony MDR7506

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Duel of the DJ Headphones:  Audio Technica ATH-M40x vs Sony MDR7506

As with most competing duos, there’s usually more in common than either would have you believe.  Pepsi vs Coke, Mac vs PC, Canon vs Nikon, Star Trek vs Star Wars.  The list goes on.  Generally speaking, one is as good as the other.  But when it’s down to the Audio Technica M40x vs the Sony MDR7506, one isn’t as good as the other.

Audio Technica M40x vs Sony MDR7506

Every once in a while, I get somebody asking about the Sony MDR7506.  And every once in an even greater while, I get someone asking about the M40x.  Usually, though, in either case, I tend to steer people to the M40x for nothing more than the low price, excellent performance in most conditions, and build quality.  But that aside which is the better headphone?

The Sony MDR7506 features a wider frequency range of 10-20000 hertz, but also a higher impedance of 63 ohms.  Meanwhile, back at the ranch, the Audio Technica ATH-M40x has a slightly different frequency range of 15-24000 hertz, but also a lower impedance of 36 ohms.  With the Sony, then, it should come as no surprise that extra power (or and amp) is needed to get the full benefit of the frequency range.  However, the M40x will offer better performance on mobile platforms without an amplifier, coming off as clear and detailed in stark contrast to the cardboard and featureless sound of the MDR7506.

Of course, with an amplified setup, one loses much of the benefits of the ATH-M40x, and the MDR7506 will pull ahead, offering its full frequency range to edge out the the M40x.

Taking build quality into consideration, again, our money is on the M40x – with it’s interchangeable cables, this headphone is a no-brainer.  Of course, both offer a relatively slim profile with the Sony perhaps just a little less bulky.

audio technica M40x

In all, either headphone will present you with decent sound and fairly robust design, with major differences arising from individual users’ particular tastes.  On the part of Audio46, the general consensus among our employees is that the ATH-M40x offers just a little bit extra in terms of design and sound – though this may stem more from casual listening experiences than clinical tests.

Which would I personally recommend?  If you have an amp, go with the Sony MDR7506.  If you would prefer to use your headphones on the go, and not necessarily with an amp (or you tend to be rough on headphones), I would definitely recommend the Audio Technica M40x instead.

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2 comments

  • Hey Bev,

    That’s a tough one. All-in-all, I’d probably go with the M40x. They are both light, but I like the comfort and isolation of the Audio-Technica a bit more.

    Garrett @ 46
  • Hi – I would be using these for medical transcription, which is basically listening to dictations done by doctors. I would be wearing them 5-6 hours a day. Which of these 2 headphones would be lighter and more comfortable and provide the most background noise reduction. Thanks for your input.

    Bev
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