I absolutely HATE the stock earpads on the ATH-M40x. I think it muffles and sound. It is totally uncomfortable with heat and sweat buildup that makes them unusable for long sessions. Interestingly, when I placed my Sennheiser HD 280 Pro's earpads on the ATH-M40x, the ATH-M40x suddenly became extremely comfortable with the slightly larger earpads. They became cool, not hot. They also sounded BETTER - particularly when the additional foam layer was removed so that only the cloth was between your ears and the speaker. Amazing transformation. Initially I was going to send the ATH-M40x back for a refund. Now, I totally love them.