The CAD mh310 is a closed over the ear headphone of exceptional value. It features a balanced frequency response with good bass extension and clear, if a bit aggressive, highs. It is a re-branded Superlux from the hd662 family.
Pros: Good price/performance; cheap; clear and overall well-balanced
Cons: Looks atrocious; can be uncomfortable
I was reading a lot of stellar reviews on CAD products online -- not necessarily that they are top-notch performers but that they are an excellent value. Owning one of their microphones, I was intrigued when I ventured onto their site and saw that CAD has some headphone offerings as well.
Saw these on sale one day and just couldn't resist. My reasoning was that if CAD could make quality dynamic mic capsules, they might have an idea or two on how to make a nice headphone. Then I did some research and found these were rebranded china. Oh well.
My first impression was of cheapness. The box reeks of it. Open the box and everything inside reeks of cheapness as well -- but nothing seems out of place. Costs were cut at every opportunity, but nothing about the headphone made me feel that it was "low-quality". There is a small color leaflet printed on glossy paper, magazine-cover-style, which has marketing, pictures, specs, etc. on it. A small, black (nylon?) bag sporting the CAD logo on it in a rich yellow -- a nice touch.
It seems that anything the engineers in charge thought could be made out of plastic, is. The sole metal components apart from the plug appear to be the headband springs -- despite this, every part of the headphone feels surprisingly sturdy. The plastic does not feel thin or yielding, nor does it provoke the impression that it will shatter the moment you drop it on the floor. The overall feeling is cheap, but solid.
This is on the lacking side. The self adjusting headband is the gleaming feature of these cans, but is also where the comfort ends. The headband springs are somewhat tight, but this should get better with time, and can be easily remedied by stretching them out gently, as others have mentioned. The earpads are not the most uncomfortable thing in the world but neither are they a wearable couch -- pleather which is better than Sony's flaky black gunk, but sweats easily and isn't very soft. My biggest gripe about these headphones is that there is some noise transmitted where the cable meets the housing. The effect is not terrible, but a sudden turn of the head or a large cable movement makes noise where the headphone and cable connect.
If you think they look alright in the picture, that may be so, but they will look stupid on your head. Chances are, if you're buying these, you really don't care anyway.
They're big, bulky, and flexible enough that I would consider taking them anywhere to be a chore. Attempting to hang them around your neck will suffocate you.
In comparison to the Sony MDR-7506, a few things stand out:
The bass has greater presence than in the Sony's, but has less extension. Lows are easier to make out and seem more eager, where the 7506's have a deeper but more veiled bass response. The treble response sounds similar to me, but these headphones lack the harsh high-mids peak that the 7506's have. While both the bass and treble appear slightly hyped at times, the MH310s are, without a doubt, not as harsh, and IMO have greater clarity than the 7506's.
The soundstage is wider and clearer than the 7506's. I find it easier to place instruments, and I can distinguish more individual sources of sound in my music.
They seem to be slightly quieter than the Sony's, but for every other aspect except that and build quality, I find them to be superior.
Noticeably clearer, and without any harsh and distracting peaks. Tight bass and playful, shimmering highs make for a fun listen with an over-all controlled character.
Corners were cut, but, at least in this case, everyone wins. All things considered, this is a cheap headphone with great pair of drivers inside. It may not be the most comfortable or pretty thing to hit the market, but in terms of performance, it rivals the MDR-7506, which costs $85.00 on Amazon at the time of this writing.
Cons: Resonance in metal parts - Comfort (gets better with time)
Comfort:- Been said before - strong clamping force. The pads are large but I wish there was a little more room inside for my largish ears. Out of the box not real comfortable but wearable. After having them for a week they have improved some and I believe will continue to improve as they get worn in. I can wear them for hours so they must not be that bad! The sound is impressive though. Using exponential tone sweeps and sinegen they aren't perfect for me but they are much more balanced after 2k than my hd595's with fewer and less extreme dips and peaks, and the low end is no competition. They have the typical headphone scoop in the 4k region with a pretty good jump around 5k. The mids and low end stays even and strong until around 30. Over all I really like them and find them very balanced. Nice balance between kick and bass guitar. I don't hear any strange low or mid resonance like I did with the the rp-htf600. I usually mod everything I get but I just might leave these as they are. Wow. I can't believe I just typed that...Actually I did do one little mod. The metal clamping mechanism has a very annoying resonance so I put a chunk of closed cell foam between them as shown. Looks goofy but problem solved. View attachment After analyzing these more I don't think they are a Superlux hd662f but are closer to a standard hd662. I base this on what I am hearing compared to the Superlux frequency graphs. The hd662f has a low end roll off where as the hd662 does the opposite and that is what I am hearing below 100hz - a bit of a rise in response to about 40hz were they then begin to drop. The upper frequencies also match the hd662 graph with a rise at around 4.8k ( after the 4k dip) slight dip at 5k and another peak at around 6k etc.. View attachment I am not sure but they may not be much at revealing bad mastering compression. Or maybe I should say they may be good at making everything sound pretty good. Elvis Costello's A man out of time, which is horribly compressed sounds better than it should. I can hear it pumping and breathing all over the place with the Sennheisers. I used the mh310 to remix some old tracks using Reaper ( a fantastic program! ) an emu 1212m and a cmoy variant. These cans got me very close which I have never been able to do with headphones. The kick is actually balanced in the mix. With a little more work I think that these would actually make mixing with headphones doable. Not ideal of course but doable. In conclusion, from the perspective of frequency balance these are the one of the best headphones I have heard. Period. Now I don't own nor have heard many high end headphones. I have owned or own Sennheiser hd595, panasonic rp-htf600, and sony mdr-somethings (don't remember). I have tried to mix with akg240's. I have briefly tested the krk8400. For frequency balance these beat them all (except probably the krk) and are highly recommended. Do they have the comfort, soundstage or low distortion of the 595? Of course not but they are so much more balanced that I will rarely use the Senns. I suspect to substantially better them I would have to spend at least $100 more.