When comparing Audio-Technica ATH-M40x vs Sennheiser HD 800S, the Slant community recommends Sennheiser HD 800S for most people. In the question“What are the best headphones?” Sennheiser HD 800S is ranked 9th while Audio-Technica ATH-M40x is ranked 13th. The most important reason people chose Sennheiser HD 800S is:
The highs are very clear and revealing, so you will be able to hear even the minute details from the audio that you simply will not be able to pick up with lesser headphones. The mids are also clear and have nice warmth. They are slightly recessed, yet voices and mid range tones will come out full, so the sound is not lean in any way. The bass is not boomy but still has enough power for a satisfying thump. Also, due to the bass' tightness and speed, there is no bloat from the lower frequencies.
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Pro Fairly neutral sound signature
Sound signature is quite accurate, almost flat. Bass is much more controlled instead of boomy, while there is a slight elevation on the highs, resulting in extra energy and detail up top. These offer a nice middle ground between a fun sound and a more reference/analytical sound signature. This sound quality makes the headphones quite versatile as music enjoyment headphones or studio-use cans.
Pro These have a high quality and durable feel
The M40xs feel solid and are known to be quite durable. The plastics used in the build do not easily flex or make creaks, giving the impression that these can last quite a long time.
Pro Can be used in noisy environments
The over-ear, closed back design along with the thick pleather ear pads can block out quite a lot of ambient noise, and will help users to focus in on the music. These make the headphones great for travel or for mixing/monitoring use.
Pro Comes with two detachable cables
The headphones come with a straight cable and a coiled cable, making them useful in the studio or while walking.
Pro Extremely detailed highs, warm and clear mids with tight and accurate bass
The highs are very clear and revealing, so you will be able to hear even the minute details from the audio that you simply will not be able to pick up with lesser headphones.
The mids are also clear and have nice warmth. They are slightly recessed, yet voices and mid range tones will come out full, so the sound is not lean in any way.
The bass is not boomy but still has enough power for a satisfying thump. Also, due to the bass' tightness and speed, there is no bloat from the lower frequencies.
Pro Highly detailed sound with one of the widest soundstages
These headphones sound very immersive. Aside from the highly detailed sound and powerful yet tight bass, the soundstage is very wide, which only a few headphones can match , if any at all.
Pro Relatively lightweight
Despite the massive size of the headphones, Sennheiser was able to keep the weight down by using a special material called Leona, which is very light yet has metal-like toughness.
Pro Very wide sound stage
The HD 800S has one of the widest sound stages of any headphone today. There is excellent separation and you can easily identify where various sounds are coming from and can be very immersive.
Pro Solid build quality
These headphones do not make unnecessary creaks or flex when moved or held. Aside from the use of Leona on the ear cups and headband, the size adjuster is made of lightweight metal, with fine yet durable stainless steel mesh covering the drivers.
Pro Comes with two high quality cables
Out of the box, you get a balanced XLR cable and an unbalanced TRS cable. If you have a balanced headphone amp, then the XLR cable will allow you to maximize your amp's performance with these headphones without the need to buy a different (and expensive) cable.
Pro Really comfortable to wear
The ear pads feature high quality memory foam as cushions with the surface being premium quality velours. This material combo is also used on the headband. They feel really soft and conform to the contours of your head. Due to the fabric material, some air can move through the pads, minimizing heat and sweatiness.
Con Incompatible with cables from other brands
Only Audio Technica cables can be used with these headphones.
Con A decent amp is needed to power these properly
These headphones are quite power hungry and will not produce optimal sound or volume when plugged directly to your phone or laptop. You will need to invest in a separate, fairly powerful amp to get the best sound out of these.
Con Leaks a lot of sound
Only a very fine mesh piece covers the large headphone drivers from the outside. These are basically mini speakers so others can easily hear what you are listening to.
Con Can be picky with DACs/amps
Your choice of amp and DAC can have a noticeable effect on the sound of the HD 800S. You may need to do extra research as to which audio equipment can bring out the best sound from these.