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M-Audio Q40 Full Review + ATH-M50 Comparison

post #1 of 3
Thread Starter 

This headphone really surprised me. It hits the perfect balance between bass quantity and quality. Now, let starts the review:

 

Setup: 

 

Foobar2K > Aune T1 (6992EH) > Q40

HTC One/iPad > FiiO E11 > Q40

 

 

 

 

 

Build Quality/Design: 

These actually look pretty good. Of course they're not as cool looking as some V-Moda's or Denon's but they look great in a subtle way. The build quality, however, is a mixed bag. The headphone itself is made of fairly high quality plastic, almost like the ones you find on the ATH-M50. It doesn't feel cheap, but its not great either. The headband padding and the pads are really bad though. They feel really cheap. Some members recommend getting some Beyerdynamic pleather pads or SRH840 pads. Anyway, this review is based on the stock pads only. 

 

Comfort: 

These are not very comfortable after long periods of use, and the high clamping pressure doesn't help either. The pads are not that soft and the pads presses against your ears hard. This results in better bass of course, and its definitely worth it. 

 

Amping? 

These are 60 ohm headphones, but they're quite sensitive. In fact, an amp is totally unnecessary for loudness because i have it set on 30% volume on my phone and its really loud. So yes, it can get loud out of basically anything. However, with some amping, the bass tightens and gets even better, and the sound gets slightly cleaner. 

 

Sound: 

These are awesome basshead phones and are must for anyone searching for head rattling bass. Overall the sound is fun and the headphone excels at EDM. The level of detail is more than satisfying for a $100 headphone. The clarity is great and the midrange is wonderful. The only complaint I have about the sound is that it can sound a bit too closed in. The soundstage is not that good unfortunately. 

 

Bass: These are bass monsters. They have plenty of subbass and midbass. It can reach so low in the subbass its almost unbelievable. Im not joking, you have to try these. The bass is tight, impactful, and the rumble you get is priceless! To put it simply, the bass is perfect. 

 

Midrange: You'd probably expect this to be the weak spot of this headphone, but its surprisingly not. The midrange is wonderful. Female vocalists sound great and there is no recession whatsoever. BUT, because of the small soundstage and another unknown reason, these are not very good for classical/orchestral. 

 

Highs: The treble is a bit toned down here, but nothing significant. I actually prefer this for long listening sessions as it preserves my hearing. Nevertheless, you're not missing out on anything here. The treble is right where it should be.

 

 

VS. ATH-M50

Note: I dont have the M50's on hand because i sold them, so this comparison is purely based on my memory. 

 

The build quality goes to the M50's. Not only do they feel more expensive, but they also have better quality pads and thicker, heavier cable. Comfort wise, it still goes to the the M50's. The pads are softer, clamp is lighter, resulting in better comfort. Both of these headphones are great for their prices. In the design/looks department, the both look wonderful. The Q40's, though, look much cooler. It also has a detachable cable so thats another plus. Now moving on to sound. I prefer the Q40's for a variety of reasons. First, the Q40's demolish the M50's in the bass department, both quantity and quality wise. It can dig deeper, hit harder, and remain tighter. The midrange is also much better on the Q40's. The highs are smoother and it doesn't lose any of the detail. The M50's dont stand a chance compared to the Q40 in terms of sound. The Q40's only sound problem is the small soundstage. I know its a closed phone, but I was expecting a wider soundstage to be honest. The M50's, in comparison, have a slightly above average soundstage for a closed can. 

 

Q40 Advantages: 

-Tighter, heavier, and more impactful bass

-Better, more pronounced midrange, better vocals. 

-Smother treble. 

-Overall more fun sounding. 

-Detachable cable. 

-Better for movies and games.

-More portable than the M50's.

-Looks better

 

M50 advantages: 

-Better build quality.

-Better comfort.

-Thicker cable.

-Does classical/orchestral better.

-Wider soundstage.

-Better padding.

-Easier to drive.

 

To conclude, i would like to say that i prefer the Q40, and thats the reason i kept it and sold the M50's :) 

post #2 of 3
How does it compare with the phones in your signature?
post #3 of 3
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by tan1415 View Post

How does it compare with the phones in your signature?

Well against the HA S500, they are actually quite similar. The Q40 has more bas and can reach deeper in the subbass, and it has more midrange. The S500's mids are slightly recessed. Treble is about the same, both are smooth. Clarity goes to the Q40, and detail is exactly the same. Both are uncomfortable for long periods of use, but the Q40's have tighter clamp pressure.

Against the Ma900, the Q40 is much more bassy. It actually trumps the ma900's in the bass department (quantity and quality wise) The mids are about the same, ma900 does male vocals better while q40 does female better. The ma900 does instruments much, much better. The highs are very slightly smoother on the ma900. Ma900 is much more comfy. They have about the same clarity and detail.

Against the Dt880, the bass is about the same in terms of quality. But quantity goes to the Q40. Mids go to the dt880. Highs are smoother on the q40, dt880's are brighter. Detail is much better on the dt880 and so is clarity. Dt880 is more comfortable than the q40.
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