As much as I love the Google Pixel Buds for daily use (check out the review here), I also value a good pair of over-the-ear headphones for more focused music listening or blocking out noise. This is where the Master & Dynamic MH40 Wireless headphones come in. Like most of M&D's collection, the MH40 Wireless headphones make a great first impression through their unique aesthetic. That's what attracted me to these in the first place, and after further research I decided to make the full purchase. I think there will be two types of people when it comes to how these headphones are received: those that prioritize style and build quality, and those that prioritize the best sound quality possible. Let's take a look at the following aspects of these headphones:
- Build Quality
- Sound Quality
1. Build Quality
Build quality is the best thing about these headphones, hands down - and that can be a good thing or a bad thing depending on what you value. For headphones that cost $249, these definitely feel like it in the hand. They're completely made out of metal and leather, with very little plastic limited to the buttons. Surprisingly, despite being made out of metal, they're actually quite light and sit comfortably on the head. The ear adjustments on either side of the headband are also made out of metal, with a very smooth upward/downward motion - almost as if it's being driven by hydraulics. The ear cushions are made with supple lambskin leather, and are magnetically attached. This is important because you can easily replace them if they get worn out, instead of buying a whole new pair of headphones. The headband is also wrapped in leather with a tad bit of cushioning. It's adequate enough for me, but I can see some people wanting more cushion. When it comes to build quality, these are going to last for a long, long time!
Here at Dapper'd, we not only want to look good ourselves, but we also want the things we use in our daily lives to look good. Looks are usually what draws us to something initially, and I think the aesthetics of these headphones are beautiful and unique. They come in 5 different color variations - silver/grey, gunmetal, silver/brown, black, and silver/navy as you see here. I think these have a cool retro look, and I absolutely love the grille texture on each ear cup. You get the feeling of something industrial, but also classy at the same time. There's a little wire that pops out from the headband to each ear cup - an intentional design choice - which some people may not like, but I think it adds a little bit of character.
Additionally, Master & Dynamic has placed little "easter eggs" such as the coordinates of Grand Central Station inside each ear cup, paying homage to their roots, and an additional set of coordinates on the outer ear cup that varies from piece to piece (mine show the coordinates for the National Gallery in London). When so many headphones out there all look the same, the MH40s are a much welcomed breath of fresh air.
Features are very important, especially when you reach this price point. I think the MH40s get a lot of the fundamental features right, but there are also some features that are missing. Some of the ones I really like are:
- Bluetooth 5.0 (aka better/faster connection and stays connected over a longer distance)
- USB-C for fast charging (50% charge in 30 mins)
- Voice assistant
- 18 hours of battery life
- Rotating cups
These headphones are really convenient in the sense that I always have enough battery and I can sit them comfortably around my neck when I'm not listening to music, thanks to the rotating cups. I can also walk around my entire house, away from my phone, without losing connection. Now for some of the features I wish it had:
- Active Noise Cancellation
- EQ Settings
While these block out tons of sound naturally, there are certain times when really loud noises will peek through my music. Usually these are sharp, high-pitched sounds (like barking or dropping something on the ground) - I've noticed it does pretty well with constant, lower sounds. Nevertheless, active noise cancellation would be nice to have to block out more sound when needed. Also, I really wish there was an app for changing EQ settings - this is a big miss I think, which we'll get into more in the next section. Foldability is a small gripe, honestly, but would add a touch more convenience when traveling with them. These headphones do come with an awesome canvas pouch that feels amazing, so big props to M&D for that.
4. Sound Quality
This is a super important one - after all, you're buying headphones for listening to music, so sound quality is a big factor. Right off the bat, I think these headphones sound excellent. I would say they satisfy most music genres really well - the sound is very enveloping and warm, and you can hear every part of a song clearly. These get pretty loud too, but there is a bit of sound leakage when your crank up the volume. The one caveat here comes to the bass - you shouldn't be expecting a booming bass, but it's sufficient in my opinion, especially if you listen at loud volumes. This goes back to my point on the EQ settings, which would be super helpful in customizing things, such as bass, to fine tune how my headphones sound. Despite that, I think sound quality will satisfy most people.
A big selling point of these headphones is the overall experience. I think the quality of materials and the fact that you have something unique is an intangible aspect that can't be ignored. With that said, sound quality and features do come second - the emphasis here is clearly on build quality and design. I would say that if you love great design, want something unique, and aren't a super basshead, you'll be more than happy with these.