Audio-Technica ATH-E40 Professional In-Ear Monitor Headphone


100+ Head-Fier
Audio technica ATH-E40 :: Story of an IEM customized
Pros: - beautifully balanced sound
- excellent sound separation
- great imaging
- neutral tonality... Ideal reference monitor
- good & clear bass... Just enough but not overwhelming
- very wide Soundstage... Widest within the range
Cons: - TOO BIG & very unconfortable
- Proprietary A2DC cable
- Soundstage depth is quite low compared to the width
- comes with not so good eartips
Audio Technica ATH-E40 :: When customizing the IEM shape becomes a necessity


I have bought this IEM with my own hard earned money and no one has paid me anything or supplied me with any review unit. So, everything mentioned in this review are purely my own based on my experiences with the IEM.


Type: Dynamic
Frequency Response: 20 – 20,000 Hz
Sensitivity: 107 dB/mW
Impedance: 12 ohms
Weight: 10 g (0.3 oz), without cable
Cable: Detachable 1.6 m (5.2') with A2DC connectors
Connector, 3.5 mm (1/8") gold-plated stereo mini-plug, L-shaped

Build & Comfort:


This IEM is too big for most ears. It's significantly bigger tha other IEMs ( LS50is and Tin T2 compared in the picture above to give some perspective)

The edges of the IEM are also quite sharp and started to hurt the ears after wearing it for a short while. But the sound performance was so significantly good that I took my chances and shaved off the sharp edges.

In order to achieve what I wanted to achieve it took me a while and uninterrupted attention to the details.




The results finally were quite good.
The edges were no longer hurting my ears and I was finally able to use it for longer sessions of listening without feeling uncomfortable or hurt.

Please note that I had bought the unit from "GEARS FOR EARS"... One of the leading stores for audiophiles in Bangladesh. They sell AUDIO TECHNICA products with proper wrraty and are very helpful.

However, making the above changes definitely meant that warranty was void. But I just didn't care. I cared about how I could make it work more.

I sincerely hope someone from Audio Technica sees this and rectifies such design flaw in future IEMS.


This is where the IEM truly excels and quite honestly it's way better in many ways than many other IEMs in this price range and even beyond the range also.



Very clear and adequate bass. A bit lacking in depth... But more than makes up in terms of quality

Mids & Highs:

Clear & great tonality without any sibilance. Just what you would expect from a reference monitor.

Tonality, Imaging & Separation :

A very neutral tonality with excellent imaging & separation.


Soundstage is both its strength & weakness. Soundstage is very wide. But it lacks depth. Height seems average.

E40 vs Fiio FH3:

FH3 comes with a good & comfortable design unlike E40.
In terms of sound, FH3 has slightly more pronounced Bass, instrument clarity is almost equivalent but FH3 soundstage is much narrower and doesn't go beyond the head. I found E40 better in terms of Imaging, separation & timbre. While E40 has a very neutral tonality, FH3 is more bright toned and not neutral.




E40 is a great IEM if only sound is considered and performance is far beyond its price range.

However, the design remains an Achilles heel and will be the key bottleneck towards purchase consideration.

I hope AUDIO TECHNICA takes these inputs as it seems appearing in every other review also.

I hope this review helps others to take decision.


100+ Head-Fier
Pros: Beautiful balanced sound, good clarity, detachable cable, decent carry case, engaging sound signature.
Cons: Not for bassheads, not the most comfortable IEMs in the world, it will break your heart when it stops working.
I was in love once. Her name was ATH-IM70 and and her honey dripping tones enchanted me.
One day, she passed away and I moved on to the ATH-M40x.
It was not the same.
I flirted with the ATH-LS70is and the MSR7 but none could quite get there (The MSR7 got really close though).
Trawling through Addicted To Audio's online store, I found the ATH-E40 on special.
I had given the E40 the cold shoulder in favour of the LS70 previously, but it was so cheap that without thinking l bought it.
I’m in love again.

Packaging: Decent.
You get 4 pair of silicone tips and a really handy hard carry case. Nice!

Comfort: Okay.
This is an older model in Audio-Technica's catalogue, something that becomes very apparent in the design. It's neither slick or immediately comfortable.
You'll need to fiddle with it to get it to seal and sit on your ears properly.
Once they are in place, they sit there quite nicely. Not as comfortable as the LS series but it doesn’t feel like your ears are being ripped apart like the IM series.

Sound: Just great!

Treble: Nice!
Clear, detailed and relaxed. There's a decent amount of sparkle that gives the treble plenty of energy, despite this, sibilance is practically non-existing.

Mids: Great!
Mids for days and days. Meaty, lush and forward. The mids are godly in this IEM. Natural and full ranged without distortion or hollowness. Just perfect.

Bass - Lovely.
Not too much, not too little. The bass has a decent level thump without overpowering the rest of the frequencies. Very clean and articulated. I have not noticed any bleeding into the mids.

As far as I'm concerned, the ATH-E40 is basically perfect. There’s no area where I find it lacking.
They do not have the slamming bass of the LS70 or the detail of the MSR7, but those are overkill and can be overwhelming at times. The E40 is balanced and fun at the same time. I am satisfied.

Of course this is just my opinion and your mileage may vary etc, etc....

Please keep in mind that obtaining a good seal is crucial for these earphones to work at their full potential, so make sure to play with the tips till you find one that fits properly.
cable is too long for daily use IMO, i recommend people buying these prepared for some extra for new cables.
Yes, it is. It's about 1.6 metres and that's just awkward to use. I ordered a 1.2 metre cable from Ebay to alleviate the pain. Unfortunately it's on a slow boat from China... literally.
I don't mind the longer cable as it gives a bit more room for accidental tugs that could damage the headphone jack. However, AT's cable build quality is awful and I was told the shorter cable actually costs more. I agree with most of your review but I do get a certain tall or shallow tone with the E40. With orchestral music it sounds expansive but not organic as the IM70 does. The detail retrieval isn't quite like that of 1More Triple Driver or Fiio F9.


New Head-Fier


Driver: 2 x Dynamic

Impedance: 12 ohms

Frequency response: 20 – 20,000 Hz

Sensitivity: 107 dB

Connector: A2DC

Disclaimer: I am not affiliated to Audio Technica in any way and do not benefit monetarily or in any other form for writing this review. I purchased this in-ear monitor with my own resources and I am simply giving my honest review of the product!

Review by: “Charlie” from The Little Audiophile

Audio Technica ATH-E40 Retail Price (at time of writing): S$138

TLA Score
Physical Attributes
Comfort: 5/10
Durability: 9/10
Ease of Wearing: 5/10
Noise Isolation: 9/10
Microphonics: 9/10
Value for Money: 8/10

Sonic Attributes
Bass: 8/10
Mids: 9/10
Trebles: 7/10
Sound Stage: 8/10
Separation & Imaging: 6/10
Source Matchability: 9/10

I purchased the Audio Technica ATH-E40 during an IT and audio fair held at the Singapore EXPO for slightly under S$130 after having a brief listen to my friend’s well burnt in ATH-E40. My initial impressions were rather positive, so I decided to pick a pair up for myself. From the day of writing this review, I have owned these IEM for just slightly under a year and I am able to give my opinions on the product…


The ATH-E40 comes in a small pudgy box which is what Audio Technica usually uses for it’s mid to high-end line of in-ear monitors. Nothing fancy, but it does serve its purpose. Inside the box, you will find the ATH-E40 with size M tips installed, 3 pairs of silicone ear tips (XS, S, L), a 3.5 mm to 1/4 inch adapter, a black hard carrying case and other relevant paperwork with a warranty card.



The ATH-E40’s housing is made entirely out of high-quality plastic which feels fairly hard and durable. The main body has a matte finish with a translucent circular cap that shows the guts and drivers of the IEM. Cool in my opinion – It adds a unique character to the design language.


The audio jack on the ATH-E40 is a 3.5 mm gold plated TRS plug which is enclosed by what appears to be hard vulcanized rubber with a properly decent strain relief. Upwards, the wiring is made of a thick and durable cable that is separated into 2 individual strands to supposedly reduce signal interference and in turn, provide a cleaner sound to the listener. The wire then separates at the Y-split. Duh…right?

The wire is 1.6 m long which is plenty good if you are using this IEM at home but a hassle when you are out and about. I stand at 1.85 m tall and I realize that the wire gets caught on my knee a lot when I am climbing a flight of stairs or just lifting my legs to step onto higher ground. NOT A GOOD FEELING WHEN YOU ACCIDENTALLY YANK AT YOUR EARPHONE WIRES. Going all the way up, the ear hooks are made of a memory wire which I personally like. I like to contour the hook tightly to my ear shape and therefore the housing stays in my ear securely. The memory wire is also good for listening to music while lying down as the ear hooks remain contoured to your ear shape. Non-memory wire ear hooks will tend to flop out of its place with the slightest movement when lying down, simply due to gravity.


The ATH-E40 utilizes Audio Technica’s latest proprietary removable connection mechanism, which is the Audio Designed Detachable Coaxial (A2DC) connector. It functions somewhat like an MMCX connector, except it does not rotate as freely around the connection and in my opinion, has a more secure locking mechanism.


This is where the ATH-E40 falls short (for some people). To start, the housing is not heavy and that the ear hooks help dissipate the weight of the housing more evenly. The issue for some lies in the stem and bore of the housing. The stem is substantially long for an in-ear monitor such that it sits deep in the inner ear canal. The bore is not particularly thin either and it will press against the inner ear. With this two factors combined, some users feel a painful sensation in the inner ear when wearing for prolonged sessions. I personally do encounter this problem where the stem presses against the back of my right ear canal and after about 30 minutes of wearing it, pain starts to set in and it can get really uncomfortable for me. Even after taking the earphones out, my inner ear will remain feeling sore for the next 10 minutes or so. Bummer. However, when installed with Comply T400 isolation tips, the discomfort has all but disappeared.


The E40 just has a bit more sub-bass than mid-bass, the upper-mids are more forward and the trebles are rolled off slightly early. The soundstage is wideeeee and instrumental positioning and separation is good. For the price, the E40 carries good detail and clarity.

Of all the earphones I own, I find that the E40 responds the best to EQ-ing. The sound signature can be EQ-ed to your liking without it sounding too unnatural or weird, provided you EQ responsibly. *wink* When pairing with the AK Jr and Fiio A3 Amplifier with Bass Boost on, the E40 sounds pretty damn good, especially in the bass department.


The bass on the E40 is bang on. Not weak such that it does makes music unexciting and not immersive, yet not over the top such that all you hear is something like explosions going on in an action movie. It feels controlled and authoritative and hardly bleeds into the midrange so mids are not muddied. The bass is damn near perfect.


As mentioned, the upper-mids are forward and are really rich. As such, guitars and vocals sound clean and authoritative with a decent amount of detail in them. John Mayer’s “In The Blood” sounds absolutely wonderful with this earphone. The lower-mids blends nicely with the Bass


Trebles are where the E40 lacks a little. It is slightly overshadowed by the forward mids, although its presence can still be heard. Yet, I find the treble to be perfect for this earphone. Why? Because there is little to no sibilance displayed in the treble region and is not so bright in such a way that cymbals sound harsh and abrasive to listen to which can quickly destroy the listening experience. It’s slightly early roll-off might not be for everyone though.



The ATH-E40 pairs well with slightly warm or neutral sounding sources. A bright or V-shaped source might add too much prowess to the upper-mids or trebles as the upper mids on the E40 are already lifted.

Adding an amp into the setup (for some reason) really does help to bring out the best in the E40, despite its low impedance and high sensitivity. The sub-bass and mids really come alive when this earphone is amped up!

Alternative Ear Tips

Apart from using the stock Audio Technica silicon tips, I have trickled down to a couple of other ear tips that has a positive impact on the sound signature, depending on your preferences.

Sony hybrid tips:

I use M-sized Sony hybrid ear tips for improved comfort and to slightly reduce the forwardness of the mids. The trebles become slightly more pronounced as well, for these tips create a bit more distance between your eardrums and the IEM’s driver than having stock tips on.

Samsung stock tips:

Samsung tips? Seriously? Yea. Samsung tips have a larger opening than the Sony hybrids and stock Audio Technica ear tips. As such, Bass has more kick to it and without really drowning out the mids or trebles. If you are in the mood for dem BASS or if you are just a bass-head in general, these tips fit well.

Comply T400 isolation foam tips (without wax guard):

The T400 helps make the sound signature more neutral in my listen. It takes away some kick to the bass and adds a tad bit of treble. I also find the T400 to be the least fatiguing to wear over a longer listening session. However, Comply foam tips has a very short service life and purchasing new foam tips are not cheap at all.


I feel that the earphones could have been designed to be more ergonomic and fit better. But if you can look past that, the E40 is an impressive earphone for under S$150. It performs well with most genres of music and responds well to EQ-ing to suit your preference. It sounds good and is well built, I highly recommend getting yourself a pair of these earphones as they are a good bang for your buck, again, provided you can get the right, comfortable fit.

Do check out our WordPress site at for more reviews!
Samsung tips are the best!
Yea, I actually quite like them


100+ Head-Fier
Pros: Good bass with a neutralish signature; Very good vocals and forward mids; Very wide soundstage
Cons: Fiddly fit; Not much depth in the soundstage; lacks refinement. Slightly coloured signature may disappoint purists.
Simple Man’s review – ATH E40 (99 USD)
This is called a "simple" man’s review because they are based on the sound of these earphones directly from my mobile phone (HTC One S9), using 320 Kbps mp3 tracks.
No expensive gears nor lossless tracks,no EQ, and all that hi-fi stuff.

Product Specs :
Driver: Dual Dynamic (12.5mm x 2) i think
Frequency response: 20 - 20000hz
Impedance: 12 Ohms
Cable: Detachable 1.6 m (5.2') with A2DC connectors

Build – 4/5
Replaceable cables - check
Thick wires (durability) – check
Neck Slider – check
The wires feel durable, and are flexible. The wire is quite long, same length as E70, and falls to my ankle when i let it drop freely. Stuffing all this length into your pant pockets could be a slight inconvenience. The ear loops are memory plastic and the housings are solid plastic. I don’t see them being damaged unless run over by some vehicle.

Accessories – 4/5
The same zipper case that comes with the E70 are here as well, they are of the right size and quality, and can hold the earphones without any trouble. 4 sizes tips provided, excluding the medium ones in the earphones itself. Plus, a 3.5 to 6.3mm adapter as well is included in the box. All the same as E70 except, with E70 you get a pair of Comply Foams extra.

Isolation & Sound leakage – 4/5
Isolation is not bad, and sound leakage is almost zero.

Microphonics – 4/5
I couldn’t hear any sound while walking with the music on. Maybe just a tiny bit. If any, it still doesn’t interfere with enjoying the sound from these earphones.

Fit – 3/5
Around the ears only, and this can’t be worn down. I personally never had trouble with the fit of any of the 20-odd iems i’ve tried, but with the E40’s I must say it was a bit challenging. The nozzles are a bit longer, and the big housings need to sit properly in your ear to get a proper fit: if they don’t sit, you can’t get it to fit, or, if it sits, it fits. This might be a bummer for some. Nevertheless, for me it’s an A-OK.

Before we get to the sound:
First, tips: I use a very wide bore tip, the widest from my inventory that i got with the L2S (i think). I tried spiral dots, and they are good too. But i felt they made this sound a tad more bassy than i’d like. The stock tips add even more bass to them, and i can’t stand those tips.

Second, Sound volume: they are super easy to drive, more than the E70. I’m mostly between 40 and 50% of max volume on my mobile.

And... You must know that i don’t listen to trance, EDM, or bassy stuff, no metal stuff, so, take my opinion about the extremes of the sound spectrum, and speed,etc., with a grain of salt, as they are just based on the kind of music I listen to- namely Jazz, blues, some progressive rock from the 70s/80s. However, to give a fair review, i include some of my favourite Daft Punk, Tool, NIN, and some Pop songs among my test tracks.

Sound –
E40 was my first ATH earphone, and it made me a fan instantly. These earphones have very good detail, and the signature is rather neutralish – with a very nice, and coloured, forward mid range. The wide soundstage is worth mentioning, and the bass is in no way shy.


This is not a bassy earphone, but the bass has good quantity and it doesn’t have a dip or a hump in the bass region. It is a very well behaved bass, and will offer good presence when required. If you are used to analytic ruler-flat bass, this might come across as quite strong. This bass is on the fatter side, but not flabby. I would also say it’s not a very fast and controlled bass that has a quick decay or anything like that.
The treble is not shy either, and with all that bass the E40 still comes across as a bright IEM. This impressed me most. The lower treble has good presence and shows good detail, although micro details will be missed if you are used to it. Cymbals have good presence and have a good reverb to it. The treble is rather in line with the mids, if not slightly behind, making this a kind of monitor like signature. This also means that cymbals are not going to be flying up high above your head – like V-shaped IEMs, but will play to the sides or in the same line as the mids. A good thing about E40 is that they have weighty notes to them with good timbre, and doesn’t sound thin at all.
Mids are full, mids are forward. I would call them a mid centric earphone and i don’t complain about this. Vocals are especially good, with good clarity and separation. Vocal details are good, and vocal colour is also to my liking. Good instrument positioning and timbre. On the negative side, the colouration sometimes affects male vocals, making them sound a bit nasal.

Select sound comparisons –

ATH E70 vs JVC FXT90
Why? Both are dual drivers. The FXT90s were the earphones that actually introduced me to good sound in the first place, many years ago, in the beginning (like Giovanni Giorgio :p).
Moving from the FXT90 to the E40, the V shaped signature of the FXT90 becomes very apparent, and that they are one warm sounding earphone. Details of the mids are distant, and very feeble in the FXT90, and this makes them dark sounding. The E40 on the other hand sounds splashy coming from the FXT90. The mids have more authority, and you see more in the music immediately. The push-pull drivers have good authority with the bass, and the notes in the highs are thick sounding. The FXT90 on the other had has thinner (just comparatively) treble, but they sound a bit more, how can i say, higher. The FXT90 has a very 3-D feel to it, where you see the cymbals and crashes floating on top of your head. E40 has a wider soundstage and wider instrument separation, and lesser height to it. Introduction of sub-bass beat in the song will get you pumping and nodding with the FXT90, but will be quite meh in the E40. From what we hear in the FXT90, the timbre is really good, but with lesser detail. FXT90 might be better for rock, metal, pop, and such music, which demands an exciting signature. For those who prefer Classical, Jazz, or the likes, would go for the E40.

ATH E40 vs ZA Duoza
Why? Both are double dynamics, same price range
Switching from the E40 to Duoza on the same track shows that Duoza has a very hard hitting bass. It has what some people may refer to as Slam. The bass is also quick and goes deep, and it’s a good bass in the Duoza. The highs are higher, like i say, and has a sharp edge to it. It makes it more exciting. This is not a bad thing, no sibilance. Mids are slightly recessed, but not so much as the FXT90. Duoza also has a three dimensional stage, and the sound is present from top to bottom, while this also has better width compared to FXT90. Moving from Duoza to E40, you will notice that E40 is very bright and the sound that Duoza was throwing at you was rather warm. There is more detail to E40 in the mids. The vocals are more forward and have better intelligibility. The soundstage is quite wider than the Duoza, and greater separation as well. Of course, the E40 doesn’t have much soundstage depth to speak of. The background of the music is black (or rather dark) in duoza, which is not the case with the E40 which has a kind of noisy background filled with vague micro-details. I can compare the Duoza’s sound to these selfie cameras that have a live make-up option which polishes the face and makes you look good. Whereas E40 is the picture without any effects added, and will show any ugliness as it is. You might get the feeling that the E40 is not so refined – which is only true if you compare this with E70 for instance. But I would say the E40 is truer to the source, and the Duoza is an entertainer which will mask some details for your enjoyment, and assumes that you enjoy a big bass slam!

ATH E40 vs ATH LS50
Why? I got them. LS50 are also dual drivers and are from ATH’s latest line-up. They have the opposite configuration of push-pull, and i thought it would be a nice comparison.
First, you must note that the LS50 are half the price of E40. They carry the same ATH colour, and the LS50 vocals sound a little more awesome, IMO. The E40 definitely has a little more details compared to the LS50, but as in the case of Duoza this plays to it’s own advantage. E40 has the mids forwarded a bit more than LS50 to retrieve as much details as possible. This results in the E40’s sounding a bit shouty sometimes, with some tracks. LS50 has an evident mid-bass hump, but it’s done very tastefully and makes the bass sound rich, and this results in some masking of its sub-bass. Soundstage width is slightly lesser than E40, but it has a nicely rounded stage, and the music shows good depth. The LS50 is the most versatile of the lot, sounding good across genres. LS50 has slightly better timbre, i feel, than the E40. Technically the E40 is superior, but LS50 is more enjoyable in most cases, and doesn’t lag far behind the E40 even in technicality.

Out of these 4 dual drivers -
Soundstage width and Detail
and instrument separation: E40 > LS50 > Duoza > FXT90
3D-ness + depth: FXT90 > LS50 = Duoza > E40
Timbre: LS50 = E40 > FXT90 > Duoza
Vocals: LS50 = E40 > Duoza > FXT90
V-shape: FXT90 > Duoza > LS50 > E40
Bass: Duoza > FXT90 > LS50 > E40

ATH E70 vs ATH E40
I have done this briefly in my ATH E70 review. Please check them out if interested.

Overall Sound rating of E40:
Vocals 4/5
Soundstage 5/5
Instrument Separation 4/5
Detail 4/5
Timber 4/5

ATH E40 is a very good earphone below hundred, and churns out superb detail in a wide soundstage.
It has this coloured tone in a balanced signature, with good musicality and bass, making it a very unique sounding earphone. If you like Jazz and classical musical, and have just a 100 bucks, just buy this one already. It’s great.
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Hey! I recently got VE Monk Plus. I have read many reviews and also tested myself that the Monks obliterates iems up to $150. How would you compare these to Monks?
@SonnyEthan I haven't heard the Monks, so take this with a grain of salt. From the measurements it looks like the mids and highs are tuned similarly. Based on the graph, i would say the E40 is like VE Monks with extra bass. Luckily for you, reference-audio-analyzer has measured both these IEMs. You must consider the E40's fit though, it's not very straight forward and will demand some getting used to. You just might find the E40s to be a great upgrade to VE Monks.