Audio Technica is a well-known for its monitoring line of headphones such as the famous M50’s. We got quite the surprise when the package for E40’s arrived at the office with their “in-ear professional monitoring class” of earphones with a lot of interesting technology to boot. Technology is one thing, however, how does it really sound? Let’s find out.
Build and Design: 9/10
How does one put these on? The earphone design isn’t like the regular designs. On top of it, the earphones have an independent swivelling option right at the earphone driver area making it rather unusual when trying the earphones on. After several fumbles and understanding how the design works, I got the right fit after interchanging the ear tips.
These aren’t particularly good looking (depending on whom you ask), rather downright geeky with the see-through encasing. These earphones are straightforward, completely no frills technology.
These earphones are meant for pure music pleasure, therefore it doesn’t come with a mic attachment. And the cord on these is fairly long (1.6m) and is prone to entangling. The design is very interesting and newly developed with detachable cables for earphones, called the A2DC (Audio Designed Detachable Coaxial). And no, one cannot get mic attachment cables with this design as Audio Technica doesn’t make them for the professional E series.
Unbeknownst to me, the earphone’s peculiar loop can be shaped to fit your ear, unlike similar designs which force you to wear it in a particular way.
These earphones are aimed at serious music listeners as they are sold under 'Professional in-ear monitor style earphones' category. This shows in the care for the design with Audio Technica’s “proprietary dual phase push-pull drivers”.
What is this jargon? As per their official blog, “Two dynamic drivers are mounted facing one another, wired out of phase. They move simultaneously – as Driver 1 pushes air and moves forward, Driver 2 pulls in air and moves backwards, hence the name “push-pull driver.” The advantage apparently being lower harmonic distortion, tighter bass, clear and even mid-range and accurate high-frequency response. Very interesting indeed.
In the box
Audio Technica ought to get the “Best packaging award” for the E40’s simply because of the well thought of ear tip storage in a plastic mould rather than in a pouch where ear tips are easy to lose. The E40’s also come with a smart sturdy carrying case and 6.4-inch adaptor for big amps.
Objectively: The earphones have a very clear, crisp quality of sound to them. The earphones are relatively flat across the frequency range. They have a surprisingly wide soundstage for earphones missed much on the famous M50 headphones of Audio Technica itself. The bass is tight and well-balanced, though you’d need to up the EQ in this for Hip-hop, EDM, techno genres. Having 12 Ohms drivers, these earphones are pretty loud by themselves, so watch your volume level before putting these on. The passive noise cancellation is pretty good on these too, don’t expect the earphones to block outside sound away completely.
Subjectively: The earphones sound superb. I really enjoyed the crispness and clarity coming from it. Hearing the usual favourite tracks of mine, it was incredible to hear instruments unheard clearly before, such as the prominence of the background violins in Storms in Africa by Enya, the crisp acoustic guitar in Nara by E.S.Posthumus, was an incredibly refreshing change.
Comparing with the Audio Technica M50 headphones, I needed to scale down the bass a bit, the E40’s, on the other hand, I needed to scale the bass up a bit in some tracks to really enjoy. You might find the highs a bit sharp at times at higher volume, however, after these are broken in (or get used to), I expect that to even out.
Verdict and Price in India
These are available for an MRP of Rs 7,999 and a street price of Rs 6,500. They are best suited for those who really care for the music they enjoy. The Audio Technica E40’s are a music listener’s earphones, not really aimed at the casual listener.
Interestingly, the professional in-ear “E” series of Audio Technica starts with the E40, E50 and goes to the E70 with prices jumping double each time with the E70 costing well above Rs 20,000 mark. The E40 is an excellent buy to consider for serious music listeners and doesn’t hurt the pocket either.
Go for Audio Technica E40’s:
- For clear, crisp and well-balanced sound
- Wide soundstage sound
- Those who really enjoy “listening” to their music
Don’t go for Audio Technica E40’s:
- No mic, these are pure earphones
- Want thunderous bassy sound
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