Master & Dynamic isn’t exactly a stalwart of the tech industry, but by delivering phenomenal audio coupled with the most striking aesthetics, they have managed to acquire the same shelf space as companies much bigger in size and popularity. Their products exude class and exceptionality; this is particularly true of their MH40 Wireless.
Thoughts While Unboxing
Every single time I am in the process of unboxing an M&D product, I can’t help but notice how generous the brand is in terms of the quantity and quality of its accessories. While stripping the box of its accessories, I came across a USB-C to USB-A charging cable, a USB-C to 3.5mm audio cable, a carrying pouch and, of course, an incredibly rich-looking pair of cans.
The pouch is a quite decent canvas carrying case with magnetic closure and an extra pocket to carry the two cables when you’re on the go. I instantly fell for it and knew I was going to be using it for my other headphones. M&D doesn’t do anything half-heartedly, even if it’s producing a simple charging cable. Both the cables are made with carefully-woven Nylon wires. The loaded box also included a cute, little postcard illustrating the company’s New York outlet location. It was a small but appreciated detail.
Thoughts While Navigating
My excitement over the accessories, however, subsided when I stumbled upon the headphones. Offering a luxurious build the inclusion of anodized aluminum, canvas and a lambskin leather plush, the ridiculously good-looking MH40 still manage to be surprisingly light-weight. They emanate a strong retro vibe through two of its well thought-out features: M&D’s trademark metal grilles on the exterior of each ear cup and the laser-etched numbers as unique extenders on the sides of its headband. Again, these extenders don’t do much to enhance the functionality of the headphones but it just goes into showing the amount of thought the company puts into its products, and that thought goes a long way.
A little fidgeting with the MH40’s lambskin earcups revealed to me that they’re magnetically attached. This means I can detach them easily if they need to be cleaned. Upon detaching the left earcup, my eyes fell upon a set of a set of coordinates. I later found out that they represent a cultural landmark that inspired the team when they were making the headphones. The exterior of the left ear cup hosts another set of coordinates . It was as if the company hid a number of little surprises in their product for their customers to find. The process of unboxing was extremely pleasant and, until I tested the cans for their audio, mic or connectivity, it was these seemingly little but highly admired details that worked for me. Aesthetics, build and finish-wise, the MH40 was a 10 out of 10 for me.
Thoughts While Testing the Audio
Let’s just say I wouldn’t have been a fan of these cans five years ago when I was in my EDM phase. The MH40 aren’t the most bass-forward headphones you’ll find. They slightly subdued the bass on the most bass-heavy song I know of, Low Life by Future, and didn’t pass the bass-check on a sound test as well.
I may be biased because a lack of bass doesn’t affect me as much, but I wasn’t disappointed with the audio quality overall. It was incredibly detailed and delivered pretty spacious highs, mids and most lows. The songs sounded full and didn’t leave me wanting for more. I listened to five different versions of Havana by Camila Cabello, all played on a different instrument. As expected, it sounded best on acoustic and other stringed instruments, but the bass-heavy launchpad version was not the most impressive. The MH40 delivered precision and depth, but if you value power over these qualities, then you might want to stop reading.
One major complaint with the headphones arose when my sister complained about my music being way too loud. I realized the set suffers some sound leakage. She could even tell what song I was listening to — something I want to strictly avoid when I’m listening to my guilty pleasure music. The Neodymium 40mm drivers came through with their performance in terms of audio loudness. But what’s the point of that volume when everyone in the room can hear it? All in all, the sound wasn’t as well-rounded and neutral as the M&D’s MW07 Plus, for instance. It wasn’t bad at all, but it didn’t blow me away.
Testing While Testing the Fit and Controls
A major purchase point for me when it comes to headphones is fit. I have a slightly small head and it’s not easy to find extender settings that are snug enough. Unfortunately, I faced the same problem with the MH40. Even at 0, the headband had the tendency to shift around on my noggin. I didn’t face any discomfort while I was on a quite long call with my friend. However, when I stood up to do some yoga, I found myself shifting it back in place every few seconds. Still, though, the MH40, because of how light it was, required little clamping force and provided great comfort proving how suitable it is for extended listening.
Its perceptive controls also impressed me. Unlike a lot of other headphone companies, M&D steered clear of making the grave mistake of cramping all its controls on a single band. The MH40 sports a wide range of controls but executes them in a strategic manner. There is one big power/connect button on one band and three intuitively-programmed pause/play and volume buttons that the band next to it splays. I adjusted to the controls within minutes because once my thumb had found one of the three buttons, it was only a matter of intuition to be able to locate the other two. There are a number of other features the controls facilitate. But thankfully, the same three buttons have to be pressed for varying amounts of time in order to access those features.
Across the board, the MH40 had its share of good and not-so-good parts. It has a solid mic that delivered great intelligibility and thoroughly impressed. Living up to its quoted battery life, it also performed relentlessly at a considerably high volume. It provided strong, fast and lag-free connectivity and was able to connect to my laptop and phone simultaneously.
However, and these are the not-so-good parts, it didn’t come with mobile app support. This means making EQ adjustments without using third-party apps is impossible. MH40’s huge over-ear cups did their best to eliminate a good amount of passive noise. However, a $250 pair of headphones should ideally come with ANC.
Is it Hardcore?
Yes and no.
While the MH40 excelled in design, navigation, battery and most aspects of audio, it faltered in bass and the ability to encapsulate its sound. It’s priced as a high-end product and I hesitate to claim that it lives up to its price.