Master & Dynamic MH40

Average User Rating:
4.08333/5,
  1. ryanjsoo
    4.0/5,
    "Master & Dynamic MH40 Review – Pure Decadence"
    Pros - Exquisite build and design, Comfortable for a portable headphone, Dynamic bass, Smooth and refined mids, Spacious stage, Excellent accessories
    Cons - Can sound dull and overly laid-back, Thin headband causes some discomfort over time
    Introduction –

    New York City-based Master and Dynamic first emerged in 2014, making a big entrance into a market already crowded with portable headphones. Despite this, the company rapidly caught ground though their classic luxury designs and unique yet distinguished tuning. The company have since expanded their product line to include wireless and in-ear models, but the MH40 easily remains one of their most popular designs as the headphone that first popularized the company.

    And much of the MH40’s appeal stems from its fully-featured design that holds an important place in the $400 over-ear portable headphone category. Of note, the MH40 offers luxury and quality that many competitors either don’t aspire for or fail to quite wholly encapsulate. But that’s not to discount the fierce competition offered by rivals Oppo, B&W, B&O and even Denon that all provide myriad acoustic flavours with strong combinations of build quality and distinct aesthetic design. Let’s see how M&D’s portable headphone stacks up.



    Disclaimer –

    I would like to thank Andrew from Master and Dynamic very much for his quick communication and for providing me with the MH40 for the purpose of review. I would also like to thank him for his ongoing support. All words are my own and there is no monetary incentive for a positive review. Despite receiving the headphones free of cost, I will attempt to be as objective as possible in my evaluation.



    Accessories –

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    The MH40 has one of the most lavish unboxings I’ve experienced from a portable headphone and though it has quite a typical accessory set, the presentation is top notch. Master & Dynamic provide buyers with two cables, a 1.25m unit with a 3-button remote and mic and a 2m audio-only cable for use with desktop amplifiers and perhaps electric instruments.

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    They also include a 1/4′ adapter, a very nice leather cable box and a soft pouch with an internal pocket that carries the cable and a few accessories.

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    It’s a nicely comprehensive setup overall, I do usually prefer hard cases, but the MH40 is solid enough and the fabric pouch is sturdy and hard-wearing while consuming less bag space.



    Design –

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    Master and Dynamic harken back to the classic Grado style aesthetic with a twist of contemporary opulence; the MH40 is an absolutely gorgeous set of headphones with a timeless design realised through meticulous manufacturing. This starts with the forged aluminium earcups coated in a resilient cowhide leather and extends to the super supple lambskin earpads and stainless steel slider mechanisms. The MH40 implements a complex yet thoughtful combination of complementary materials to promote both hard wearing and ergonomic properties.

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    Master & Dynamic’s particular choice of leather does lack the ultra-supple feel of B&W’s lambskin P7 but the MH40 has worn better over my past months of testing, this is a headphone designed to last well into the future. Moreover, the finish on each element is immaculate and the design is eye-catching in the best possible way. The right cup also has an additional button that mutes the headphones, a practical addition when attempting to hear alerts and co-workers.

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    The MH40 makes use of a smooth slider with unlimited adjustment points over a traditional stepped mechanism. However, due to their design, they have an especially narrow range of adjustment so I would recommend interested buyers with especially large or small heads to try a set out in person. I usually set my headphones to roughly 2/3 of their maximum length though I had to fully extend the MH40 for a comfortable fit.

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    Apart from this, the headphones produce a mostly ergonomic experience but run into similar issues as the B&W P7 due to a combination of weight (at an astonishing 360g) and a thin, inadequately padded headband. And though clamp force is well-judged, not too firm but with enough pressure to promote a stable fit, the MH40’s tended to form a mild hotspot at the top of my head after just half an hour of listening. After two hours I was always forced to take a break, the headband is simply too thin to support the weight of their metal housings.

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    Luckily, the supple, plush and deep earpads delivered outstanding comfort as one of the few models that fully encompass my ears without contact. With dense memory foam innards, they easily conform to produce an incredibly strong seal. Fabric lines the inside of the pads making them a little scratchy at first, but they quickly wear in and are far more breathable than typical leather and especially faux leather competitors. Though my set has hardly worn at all over my 2 months of testing, the pads are also easily removable using a magnetic mounting plate and a replacement pair from M&D are a well-priced $49 USD. Those having issues with the stock pads may also want to look into the MW60 ear pads that are softer and more comfortable at the cost of sounding a little darker.

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    The headphones are semi-open with rear facing mesh obscured by dampening fabric. This does affect isolation to a degree, but in my uses, their strong seal offsets their semi-open nature, producing similar isolation to certain closed sets like the P7 if not quite as much as the class-leading Oppo PM3 and B&O H6. None of these headphones attenuate nearly as much as a good set of noise cancellers like those from Bose and Sony but they do provide a considerably more engaging sound in low to moderately loud conditions and the MH40’s were sufficient for public transport.

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    Though the headphones uses a single side entry cable, the bottoms of both earcups contain a 3.5mm jack, enabling users to choose their preferred side and daisy chain several headphones together. Of note, my newer revision unit has recessed plugs so I didn’t run into any of the issues outlined by Nathan or Tyll in their reviews though the stock units are still easily swapped with any case-friendly cable due to a lack keyed housings. The cable itself is also of very pleasing quality, one of the best included units amongst portable headphones. They instantly impress through their supple and flexible nature in addition to their tough fabric sheathing.

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    The terminations are aluminium with tactile knurling and pleasing strain relief. The 1.25M cable has a clear mic and clicky remote. Interestingly, all 3 buttons functioned on both my Android (Fiio X7 II and HTC U11) and IOS devices.



    Sound –

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    Tonality –

    The MH40 has an L-shaped tonality focussing on sub and upper bass with a sprinkle of added upper midrange and treble energy. They are a clearly sculpted headphone but one with tasteful and purposeful deviations in line with competitors like the Bower and Wilkins P7 and Bang and Olufsen H6. Of course, the MH40 doesn’t sound similar to either of these headphones but it does demonstrate a similar mastery of signature alteration and Master and Dynamic ultimately deliver a sound that is simultaneously full, clear and spacious. The MH40 focusses on smoothness, excelling during long-term listening; bass is full but doesn’t pound the eardrums and neither their midrange nor treble ever sounds forward without sounding veiled. This is an atypical headphone presentation that almost emulates a speaker style sound though results inherently differ due to form factor.



    Bass –

    The MH40 has a strong low-frequency response focussing on rumble, slam and an organic hump into the lower midrange. It’s a very unorthodox presentation, but one with plenty of appeal whether you’re looking for balance or engagement due to some interesting tonal weightings. Sub-bass extension is excellent with tight yet physical rumble that blitzes the looser P7 on tracks with double bass. Sub-bass is elevated above more linear sets like the Oppo PM3, granting enhanced slam, and deep-bass feeds quite evenly into the mid-bass frequencies. As a result, bass notes aren’t especially full or organic like portable Denon and Meze sets, but sub-bass sounds more defined and separated as a result. There also isn’t too much bloat spilling over the smaller details though a considerable upper bass emphasis makes bass sound somewhat tubby and the MH40 can drone on slower tracks.

    That said, texturing is quite good, among the best I’ve heard from a portable headphone and definition is commendably high considering their tone, especially with regards to deep and sub-bass. Bass does lack separation between notes and the MH40 loses a fair amount of detail due to their uneven tuning, but they still sound noticeably more nuanced than the P7 and Sony MDR-1A, they just fail to match class leaders like the PM3. Resultantly, the MH40 sits within the middle upper pack in bass quality but with nicely tuned quantity and emphasis that will certainly find fans. Their notable lack of mid-bass warmth imbues a cleaner tone though they still sound coloured due to other emphasis. I’m not a huge advocate of their tubby upper-bass and lack of articulation and delicacy at times, but this is a highly dynamic and engaging headphone that doesn’t present as overly bloated or sloppy.



    Mids –

    The MH40’s upper-bass hump imbues lower mids with a warm, full character. This precedes rising emphasis into the upper midrange and some little frequency response bumps throughout that grant the middle and upper midrange with increased clarity. Mids still sits behind the MH40’s larger bass response though enhanced upper midrange clarity creates what is subjectively one of the more balanced tones among portable headphones. Lower mids are notably recessed and deeper male vocals can sound somewhat veiled due to some over-warming and bass spill. That said, though male vocals tend to sound thick and a bit distant, rising emphasis into the middle and upper midrange does prevent muddiness. Though this, instruments such as piano, higher male vocals and female vocals all sound considerably less coloured. In fact, the MH40 has clearly enhanced clarity within their upper midrange with smooth, present and layered female vocals and guitars.

    Despite their brighter tilt, they aren’t the most resolving headphone with a presentation that lies on the smoother, more laid-back side. This is mainly due to their more relaxed upper-midrange/treble transition that lacks any aggression and enhanced bass that makes vocals and instruments sound fuller than neutral. As a result, they aren’t the most realistic or transparent sounding headphone on the market, but they don’t sound as unnatural as the thinner, more clarity orientated sets either. By nature of their tuning and semi-open form factor, the MH40 also provides notably strong midrange separation and space which benefits background detailing. So ultimately, this is a perfectly enjoyable presentation with fine balance that works especially well during longer listening. Resolution isn’t the headphone’s strong suit though the MH40 does retrieve plenty of detail, it just doesn’t bring it to the fore.



    Highs –

    Treble assumes a similar presentation to the midrange with some subtle deviations similarly enhancing energy in certain areas. While extension is good, overall, the MH40 definitely falls into the more laid-back category through a somewhat smoothed-off transition between upper mids and lower treble. As aforementioned, details aren’t brought to the fore and the headphones can lack some edge to treble notes; noticeable through slightly softer cymbal impact and guitar strums. That said, they have a little extra middle treble zing that grants some air and shimmer to their high-end thereby retaining enough energy for genres like rock. Moreover, their rich low-end and spacious stage is thoroughly engaging and treble has sufficient attack when needed. So though the headphones sound immediately smooth and laid-back, they are never dull or boring in any way.

    The MH40 can thus be categorised as a well-detailed and naturally presenting headphone but not a resolving one. Again, this isn’t to be taken as a negative, the MH40 is tailored for louder listening volumes prone to causing fatigue, which it never does, though certain competitors such as the Oppo PM3 and Denon MM-400 do carry a similarly smooth high-end but carry greater nuance due to a more linear tone. And that said, the MH40’s middle treble lift grants them with more air and space than either of these headphones and complex tracks do sound more composed on the M&D headphone as a result. This is a clean, lush treble presentation if one that doesn’t excel with lower-treble energy or absolute upper-treble extension.



    Soundstage, Imaging and Separation –

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    The MH40 creates a large stage through its slightly enhanced treble air and upper midrange clarity in culmination with its open design. It doesn’t quite extend and resolve like the P7 and H6, but its sound is similarly expansive in many circumstances due to a combination of these aforementioned factors. Imaging is good but not outstanding, its sculpted tone creating inconsistent instrument placement. Separation overall is commendable, their low-end is congested but their upper half is layered and spacious with clearly delineated notes. This is a very immersive presentation that eclipses the majority of portable headphones that tend to sound quite intimate even if it doesn’t touch the enthralling experience offered by full-sized open backs. Arguably, the MH40 finds a nice compromise between practicality and spaciousness while keeping things coherent and in focus.



    Drivability –

    The MH40 isn’t particularly difficult to drive on paper with a modest 32ohm impedance, but it is a headphone that benefits from some tonal synergy and clean amplification. And like the P7 and PM3, the MH40 scales notably well with higher quality sources, however, unlike those headphones, its mellower tuning can compromise enjoyment from inferior ones. Any decent smartphones like Apple’s iPhone or those from LG and HTC will serve the MH40 just fine, but more compressed or darker sources can make the headphone sound overly laid-back, even muddy. An affordable dedicated source like the Dragonfly Black can provide a noticeable step up and a nice transparent amplifier can similarly enhance the listening experience.

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    My most preferred pairing was the iFi Black Label, an incredibly powerful, dynamic source that really opened up the MH40; low-end definition greatly improved and mids and highs were granted with extra clarity and resolution. The Fiio X7 II and Oppo HA-2 both provided a similar experience while the darker X3 and fuller X5 III subjectively sounded too warm. So they are susceptible to sounding a little muddy and closed in on certain sources and while a DAC like the $850 Black Label isn’t necessary to extract the potential from those 45mm drivers, I would definitely recommend some form of amplification or a neutral to clear source for an optimal experience.



    Comparisons –

    Meze 99 Neo: The Meze isn’t quite as solid as the MH40 nor as streamlined, but it is more comfortable during home listening due to a well-implemented suspension headband and larger, ultra-plush earpads. In listening, the MH40 is a little more balanced while the 99 Neo is bassier and slightly darker but also more linear and even in its tuning. As a result, the Meze is slightly more detailed and textured but sounds very full. The Meze is notably warmer with more bloat and a looser low-end though it is well-defined throughout, due to its linearity. The MH40 is tighter with greater sub-bass focus and a cleaner bass tone in general.

    The M&D is also noticeably more balanced with regards to midrange tuning where the 99 Neo is a little more recessed. As such, the MH40 sounds clearer and more present to both male and female vocals, it is slightly less coloured but still warm and smooth int he grand scheme of things. In terms of treble, the MH40 has a little more air while the 99 Neo has more energy to its lower treble and can sound crisper and more detailed as a result. Both stage very well, the MH40 sounds deeper and more coherent while the 99 neo is a little wider but some elements sound overly distant. The 99 neo images better but separation suffers due to its thicker sound.

    Bowers and Wilkins P7: The P7 is perhaps most comparable, as it is similarly sculpted and has a matching leather/metal construction. The P7 feels softer in the hand, using purely lambskin leather, though it is also more prone to dents and scuffs than the hardier MH40. Both are heavy and wear on the top of the head over time with similarly poor headband design. Sonically, the MH40 is more balanced and subtle in its approach while the P7 is more V-shaped, utilising greater high-frequency presence to offset its powerful bass. The P7 focusses on great sub-bass slam with cleaner mid and upper-bass creating a slightly thin but very clear midrange.

    The MH40 has a similarly clean mid-bass presentation but its upper bass is more pronounced, spilling more into the lower mids. Upper mids are similarly forward but even clearer on the P7 at the cost of sounding slightly more unnatural. Treble has a lot more energy and air on the P7, it extends further and retains quite a lot of detail and texture. It can fatigue but as a result, the P7 has perhaps the grandest stage I’ve heard from a portable despite its closed nature. Imaging is similar on both, perhaps slightly better on the more revealing P7 and separation also goes to the B&W due to its incredibly vivid sound.

    Oppo PM3: The Oppo has the cleanest, most understated design and an excellent build that matches its western competitors. It is also one of the most comfortable of the bunch despite being one of the heaviest due to a well-padded headband, perfect clamp force and plush albeit shallow earpads. What makes the PM3 rather unique is its use of planar magnetic drivers that theoretically deliver superior transience to dynamic drivers; it was the first portable headphone to do so but a few competitors have since popped up. That said, the Oppo remains one of my favourites on account of its incredibly balanced, realistic sound that demonstrates refinement beyond its asking price.

    Immediately, the PM3 is leaner and more defined than the MH40, it is more detailed throughout and almost neutral in tone besides a small sub and mid-bass lift that grants its midrange with sligthly greater body. The MH40 is warmer and fuller yet, mids sound less natural but smoother while the PM3 is more transparent with considerably greater resolution. The PM3 has a similarly relaxed high-end though it has a more linear mid/treble transition that retrieves more detail. Neither extend particularly well and neither excel with air and shimmer. The MH40 has a noticeably larger stage than the more intimate, slightly drier PM3 at the cost of imaging precision that the quicker, more linear Oppo excels with.



    Verdict –

    From perusal of their marketing material, Master & Dynamic’s prime selling point is undoubtedly design. The MH40 is a stunning headphone regardless of gender or age, with an industrial feel and intricate look offered in copious colour schemes all with their own unique charm. The headphones have also worn incredibly well during my months of testing which reflects well upon their ultimate longevity, a grossly understated factor integral to an expensive luxury product. They are also an ergonomically pleasing if not flawless headphone, with a thin headband suiting portable over lengthier stationary use. That said, during such usage, their breathable yet well-sealing pads create a far more agreeable experience than the majority of competitors.

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    However, the MH40 is more than just a fashion statement and its sonic expression is far more profound than its superficial luxury may lead buyers to believe. This is a headphone that thrives on the duality of its voicing; a headphone that is concurrently smooth and lush, clear and layered. Its higher-frequencies carry plenty of nuance, a surprising amount at times despite its mellow tone, set to defined rumble and physical bass impact. This only improves with an energetic source that invigorates their laid-back tuning to provide more balance and immediacy. Of course, headphones like the purpose-built PM3 offers more detail and intricacy through their more balanced and linear tuning though few headphones engage quite like MH40 while retaining such balance and long-term listenability.

    Verdict – 8/10, Where some manufacturers design the headphones around the sound, M&D tune their sound around the headphone, producing a charming and rather unique listening experience. They do lack that last iota of refinement and linearity but make up for it through class-leading design and construction. Despite some headband comfort niggles, the MH40 is an impressively well-rounded portable headphone.

    Thanks for reading! If you enjoyed my review, please see my website for more just like it:

    https://everydaylistening.net/2017/11/26/master-dynamic-mh-40-review-pure-decadence/
  2. dalesky
    4.5/5,
    "Amazing clear sound, first rate materials and the highest quality build. "
    Pros - I find these very comfortable, and with the longer cord they are right at home when I am in my recliner of a very similar brown hued leather.
    Cons - none noted
    I am not an obsessed audiophile, but have enjoyed headphones and music in general, for a very long time. Only recently, in the last 3 or 4 years, have I had been buying high quality headphones. I prefer closed over the ear, but since I enjoy them mostly at home, by myself, open are fine also.
    I listen to a lot of jazz, both old and new school, and also blues of all types.
    I do not travel with headphones very often, and never use them for commuting, since I am retired.
    I have been using these for a couple of months now, and have used them amped with a couple of different pieces of gear, as well as straight from a music player, and straight from a CD player, without an amplifier.
    What ever I have listened to I have been very pleased with these, perhaps as much or more as with my planar heaphones, which are my standard for great sound.
    It is obvious that a LOT of time went into the design and aesthetics of these. Also a significant amount of time was spent getting the sound just right. I agree with others who have talked about the amazing design, which is unequaled in my experience. I find nothing to criticize about these.
  3. BloodyPenguin
    4.0/5,
    "The Master & Dynamic MH40 is a Classy Beast"
    Pros - Made From the Finest Materials, Over the Top Design, Comfortable, Multiple Detachable Cables, Warm Fun Sound Signature
    Cons - Headphones can be a little Noisy when moving them around, Not the Cleanliest Audiophile Sound, Pricy
    The first time I laid eyes on the Master & Dynamic MH40, I could not believe what I was seeing. The design is the classiest, premium looking headphone I had ever seen. I had to know more about them.  Below you will find my full review.
     
     
    (All photos taken by me).
     
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    Let's start with the basics first:

    *Packaging*

    From the minute you start unboxing, the MH40 oozes high class. Layer after layer of well thought out, precisely made packaging. Master & Dynamic spared no cost protecting these VERY high end headphones. They sit so wonderfully still and comfortable in the laser cut padding.
     
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    *Accessories*

    Includes the following:
    - 3.5/6.3mm Gold-Plated Adapter
    - 1.25m Cable with Remote & Mic (iPod, iPad, & iPhone)
    - 2.00m Standard Cable
    - Canvas Headphone Case
    - Leather Cable Box

    As with the packaging, all accessories are designed professionally and are very well built. Both cables are tough, yet flexible. One standard cable for home use and a portable cable with a Remote and Mic are great for on the go. The Canvas Headphone bag is surprisingly sturdy and has cool little magnetic clasps to keep things together. The little Leather Cable Box is quite fancy and fun. All accessories are premium products to mirror the beautiful MH40 Headphones.

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    *Fit*

    The MH40 is an over the ear headphone. The ear cups ever so gently caress your ears as you put them on. For me, the fit was perfect, leading to a high level of comfort. The pads themselves are made out of plush, soft lambskin that is like a pillow surrounding your ear. I found wearing these for extended periods can lead to a slight warming around the ears, but never became hot or uncomfortable.  
     
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    *Build*

    Master & Dynamic went all out with the MH40. Materials used are of the highest quality and are put together flawlessly. You know these are top of the range headphones from just the feel. There is a weight to them that just screams high quality. The forged aluminum body is machined to perfection, with no imperfections in sight. I also thought these were opened back headphones when I first saw pictures. The aluminum mess on the outside of the earcup is sealed underneath. These headphones are fully closed.  The only slight issue is that the Aluminum can make some metallic noises when you adjust the headphones, a side effect of using the highest of materials.
     
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    *Sound*

    “45mm Neodymium High-Performance Drivers”, or a fancy way of saying, these sound fantastic. Master & Dynamic did a wonderful job tuning these headphones and below you will find more details.

    Let’s break down the sound:

    Bass – Big, Deep and controlled. Bassheads would be pleased with the MH40, though these would not be categorized as such. While the bass is substantial, it never bleeds into the mids. It stays down low where it belongs, kind of like a subwoofer in your basement. If you want a bass kick right to the ears, then these are right pair for you.

    Mids – The middle frequencies are warm and rich. Vocals are smooth for both female/male voices, while still saying clear and precise. Being closed back, I do wish they were a little more airy, but they are far from congested.

    Highs – The upper range is rolled off a little early. Giving the MH40 that continued warm sound as mentioned before. These smooth highs help to keep the music easy on the ears, thus one would be able to use these for extended periods without fatigue.

    Soundstage – This is usually a troubled area for headphones that are closed back. Though Master & Dynamic did manage to add more depth than would be expected. I also found this to help out the instrument separation which stays quick and apart.

    Isolation – Lambskin is not only super comfortable, but help to create quite a nice seal, thus keeping the music in and outside noise out.
     
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    *Overall Thoughts*

    Master & Dynamic hit a homerun with the MH40. From top to bottom this thing looks spectacular. Though, it is not just a pretty face, it also has quite the musical bite. Tuning throughout the range is spot on, leaving a warm, fun sound signature.

    The MH40 is a premium headphone with premium sound.
     
     
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    ..
  4. AnakChan
    3.5/5,
    "Master & Dynamic MH40 Impressions: A fashionable headphone that's comfortable on the head and decent tonal signature"
    Pros - Very comfortable headphone, fashionably stunning looks, tonally decent
    Cons - Congested sound with a small soundstage

    Thank You's

    With big thanks to @shigzeo who's patiently loaned this to me since early this year and I've still hung on to it till now.
     
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    Introduction

    I've not heard of Master & Dynamic until @shigzeo asked if I was interested in giving it a listen. I have to say that I fell in love with its looks when I first googled it up. Aesthetically it's extremely fashionable and would really fit into the fancy shopping districts in Tokyo. But let's get into the product more. The MH40 uses 45mm Neodymium drivers, with lambskin earpads and cowhide-covered headband. Metal components are made from aluminium.

    There are 2x 3.5mm ports leaving the listener to choose plugging into the left or right earcup, whichever he/she feels more comfortable with. It comes with a 2m long detachable cable or with a 1.25mm mic/remote. It comes with a portable durable clothed case.

     
    The earcups are circum-aural  with an inner diameter of 65mm x  35mm and a depth of 25mm. The cups swivel out so that the headphone can be laid flat.
     

    Comfort Wear & Aesthetics Design

    These are probably the strongest traits of the headphone from my personal perspective. I find the headphones very comfortable to wear. Despite being circum-aural, they still do rest on my ears. The lambskin earpads are very supple and the depth from the drivers provide sufficient space that my ears don't feel too warm. Overall they're also decently light on my head at 360g.
     
    I think it does a decent job in isolation however I think to the colleagues (or strangers surrounding), the headphone does leak.
     
    The design though of the MH40 is probably the most attractive point in my eyes. There was a "alternate" design styling to it that make sit perfect for some of the fashionable districts in Tokyo. In fact whilst googling up the MH40's, I was rather bummed the limited edition Proenza Schouler MH40-PS white leather with black earpads ones were sold out - I found out about the Master & Dynamic too late!
     
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    Sound

    I have to admit, when I saw it I was yearning for it to sound good too. Overall I feel the tonal balance of the MH40 to be mostly neutral but with a slight added bass boost. There is no doubt these headphones have a strong bass but all the way to the midrange and trebles it's pretty neutral to my ears. I'll start with the trebles, that they are pretty well extended with a decent sparkle. The midrange is also full extending down to the midbass which starts to bloom into the subbass level. Overall tonal signature is quite decent and palatable to the ears.
     
    Unfortunately it didn't have the clarity across the frequency response I was hoping for. The sub & mid bass to me were a little too flabby for my tastes whist the midrange although full didn't have the detail I wished for. Similarly, whilst the trebles were extended and sparkly, it seemed to have lacked the air and finesse I had hoped for. The soundstage was somewhat small and has an overall congested presentation that if I listened to a reasonably fast track with lots of instruments and vocals, it all sounds rather "cramped in" that it starts to sound noisy.
     
    I'm not a headphone designer but I can't help feel if cups are too small for the 45mm drivers it houses. I had high hopes for this aesthetically beautiful headphone to exhibit a premium sound too. Unfortunately,  there are other headphones which are a little cheaper that produce a somewhat (what I define to be at least) premium sound.
     

    Summary

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    Overall these headphones are pretty decent. Although they may not provide the premium sound the audio enthusiast seeks, they are tonally palatable to the ears and for the average listener they suffice. Aesthetically they're visually stunning to my tastes - extremely fashionable and for those who have in mind a an overall artsy presentation, these headphones fit right in. If Master & Dynamic ever consider revamping these, personally I do hope they don't change the style so much but tweak and improve the sound instead.
    trellus likes this.
  5. avitron142
    5.0/5,
    "Perfection in a Portable Headphone!"
    Pros - Premium Components, High Build Quality, Comfort, Accessories, Sound Profile.
    Cons - None for this type of headphone.
    I am in no way affiliated or work for Master & Dynamic. For this review, the Master & Dynamic MH40 has been provided to me as a review sample.  
     
    Introduction:
     
    Master & Dynamic has hit the market with a headphone that is as luxurious as a Lamborghini or Ferrari – not only in looks, but product quality as well. Some of us have been through headphones in the $400 price bracket, but mostly have experienced open-back cans. The MH40 is not – leading it to be top of the line in terms of closed-back quality.
     
    Closed back and at $400? Why would I spend so much on a portable headphone?
     
    Well, the same reason you’d get a Lamborghini, if you could afford one. Producing a headphone is not easy – designing the sound is difficult enough, but then the build quality, materials, and design for mass production limit the options somewhat.
     
    The MH40 is an exception to this rule. When you take a look at it, you realize that the creators took every effort to create something beautiful, something unique, that stands out on its own – if I had a personal designer “renovate” one of my headphones, when all is said and done, it couldn’t look nicer than the MH40.
     
    It’s the finest headphone I’ve ever seen, period – no matter the price range. So why would you buy a closed-back headphone at $400? Because it doesn’t really get better than this, both outside and in.
     
    Packaging & Accessories:
     
    The packaging is excellent; on the front is an enlarged picture of the MH40’s ear cup, while the back shows a summary of the MH40 and list of accessories, both in English and in French. Sliding off the cover and open the jet-black box underneath reveals the MH40 in a foam cutout, a round leather case (for the cables and adapter), and a few cards from the makers themselves – one for support, another with a longer explanation of the headphone, and a third with high quality pictures of the said product.
     
    And just to go back to the round cable case, it is a fine case, let me tell you. I’ve received $500 IEM’s and the like, and I have never seen such a magnificent case – save Master & Dynamic, who now gave it to me… for the cables, of all things. The packaging exudes so much quality it’s astounding.
     
    But we’re not done yet. If you remove the cutout to get to the bottom of the box, you will be greeted by a magnetic clasp, extremely high quality cloth carrying bag, and a very well designed user’s manual. When I say “high quality cloth”, I mean just that, and then some. The cloth is thick, very sturdy, and is better built by far compared to other carrying bags I’ve seen. There is also an extra pocket on the inside of the bag, presumably for cables and the like – a smart move, and one I would love to see implemented on other cases I own. The user manual is also of higher quality than others I own – leading me to think that Master & Dynamic took every single aspect of a headphone and the accessories that come with it, and raised the bar so fast it hit everyone else on the chin. More on that later, though.
     
    Let’s talk about the cables for a second. We’re not talking about run-of-the-mill cables here, either – not even $400 headphone’s run-of-the-mill cables. Each of the two cables provided are braided (woven cloth) and have metal straight connectors. This is all standard for audio cables, but what’s not standard here is the design and quality put into the cables. Both looking stunning, and have an ergonomic grip on the housings – much more so than other cables I’ve tried. One cable is 1.25 meters long and has an inline mic/remote (for smartphones), the other being 2 meters long. Adding an extra cable is a nice touch, and well appreciated.
     
    So overall? A smashing success, in my opinion. They showed me how much the quality can shine through even in boxing and accessories. To say everything is of high quality here is an understatement – from the carrying bag to the cables, case, and user manual, everything was excellent, and simply much better than what other headphones offer.
     
    DSCN4409.jpg DSCN4410.jpg DSCN4423.jpg DSCN4422.jpg DSCN4426.jpg DSCN4412.jpg
     
    Build Quality, Design, & Comfort:
     
    The build quality of the MH40 is something out of a dream. Every part of the headphone is made of the highest quality components I’ve seen – there’s so much of a difference it’s almost absurd. The leather headband is made of premium cowhide, while the ear cups are made of lambskin. Yes, lambskin – Master & Dynamic doesn’t kid around. The high-strain areas sport stainless steel, while the rest of the headphone is a forged aluminum body. We’ve discussed the cables before, but now I’ll say that they are OFC cables, and like I said, of high quality both inside and out.
     
    The ear pads are very comfortable memory foam wrapped in lambskin leather, and are extremely forgiving to your head – at 360g, this headphone is not light, but the weight is solely from the high quality components they use – that you probably won’t get anywhere else. When on the head, the MH40’s weight is distributed very fairly, giving you the illusion that it’s lighter than it really is. The headband, while not heavily padded, is comfy as well, and I don’t have any complaints in the comfort department overall. On the contrary, comfort is excellent on the MH40, and I don’t have any suggestions as to how to improve it; that’s pretty much the best compliment I could give here.
     
    The headphone adjusts through a slider system – not what I usually call by that name, but a literal “slider” system. It’s well implemented, looks fantastic, and works like a charm. While I have yet to see the long term effects on the adjustment system, from the time I’ve had it I feel confident saying it should hold up just fine. The MH40 sports a mute button as well on the right ear cup - this is the first time I've seen that, and I really like the functionality of it. It can be extremely helpful at work, when someone starts talking to you - instead of fumbling with whatever music player you have running, you simply press the button and begin talking. 
     
    The design? While it’s hard to describe it in words, it’s the most stunning part about the MH40 – the look is jaw-dropping. Consider it like the Lamborghini of headphones, it looks that good. I’m going to stop here, because whatever more I say will limit the greatness of the design. But please do refer to the pictures, and you’ll know exactly what I mean.
     
    Overall? I’ve used the word “fantastic” too much, and now I need a better word – because fantastic doesn’t cover it here. The MH40 is one of the most comfortable closed-back headphones I’ve worn, has components that outclass all my other headphones entirely, and looks so good I would consider this end-game for design.
     
    DSCN4434.jpg DSCN4442.jpg DSCN4435.jpg DSCN4436.jpg DSCN4441.jpg DSCN4443.jpg DSCN4445.jpg DSCN4447.jpg DSCN4448.jpg
     
    Sound:
     
    While I won’t be doing my 15 sound sub-sections like I usually do (since this is a closed back design), don’t let that take away from what I’m going to say.
     
    After looking at the design and build components that they used, I though there must be a caveat. After all, companies have a limited budget, and if they spent most of it on the fabulous design and premium components, there wouldn’t be much left for the sound. Thus, I was afraid that the MH40 would be geared for a mainstream audience, and as such wouldn’t sound good/accurate to us head-fi’ers, who really care about the quality of our music.
     
    Boy, I was wrong. Like “epic fail” kind of wrong. I was the one who failed, of course.
     
    I plugged these into the Shozy Alien, and simply haven’t unplugged them since. Mainstream sound? I think not. Hip hop, rap, and the like are genres I pretty much hate with a passion, yet feeding it audiophile quality recordings did not disappoint me in the least. The MH40 has a smooth sound - yes, and isn’t a Beyer T90 in terms of detail – no. But the MH40 does so much right that even at this price range, the sound holds its own. The bass, while slightly above neutral (and I do mean very slight), is layered, detailed, and overall excellent, while the mids and highs are as perfect as can be. Instruments of all kinds sound excellent, whether it be piano, guitar, violin, drums, or cello. Electronic music sounds fantastic on it too – while the bass is hardly “boosted”, it carries a nice punch that isn’t anywhere near “basshead” scary, and the coherence of the sound spectrum is perfection – everything works together, not against each other. And while I’ve seen headphones where the bass, mids, and treble are over the place and devastatingly separate, all three on the MH40 are a whole, one unit. It has an addictive sound that is hard to stay away from, while staying very true to the source. The only potential downside I can think of is the average soundstage – but as a closed-back portable, that’s inevitable, and should be expected.
     
    The MH40 is by far my favorite headphone unamped out of the Shozy Alien, and that says something important about this headphone – its sound is not to be underestimated.
     
    Value & Conclusion:
     
    It may seem that I'm overhyped about this headphone - and that's because it deserves it, every bit. Do I sound exaggerated? Good, because everything about this headphone is about as great as it can get. At $400, the MH40 is not cheap. But you get a heck of a lot of value, much more than is expected at this price range. They’ve not only done everything right, Master & Dynamic has gone way beyond that here. Looking for sound quality? You’ll get it here, absolutely. You’re looking for the best looking headphone money can buy you? I challenge you to find a better looking headphone. Workmanship that is second to none? You can stop searching – the MH40 is definitely the headphone you’re looking for.
     
    DSCN4408.jpg
    trellus, RockStar2005 and H20Fidelity like this.
  6. sk2290
    2.5/5,
    "All my big-headed brethren, be cautious..."
    Pros - Sound, build quality, probably about as stylish as they come.
    Cons - Comfort, weight.
    Forgive me in advance for this review won't be focused too much on the sound.  From the little while that I was able to listen to these headphones, they sounded amazing.  They had a neutral tone and clarity.  They were certainly capable of putting the low end out there, and they worked well with my Cowon IAudio 9+ without an amplifier.  They were built like a brick outhouse, they'll turn heads when your wearing them out and about, and if you have a small enough head, they'll be highly comfortable.
     
    Of course, that's only if you have a small enough head...
     
    If you have a prominently sized cranium, you should probably steer clear.
     
    For one, they might not even fit.  When I first put them on, I had to set the rods on the highest setting.  Doing so, I thought maybe I had lucked out, but that's only where the issues started.
     
    After about 30 minutes of listening, I started to feel the effects of the clamping factor of the headphones where the bottom part of the earpad was making contact with my neck.  It wasn't much, but it was enough to notice, and if the pads themselves hadn't been as soft as they were, then who knows how much more intensified the discomfort would've been.
     
    About 2 hours in, that tight clamping factor started to diminish, giving way to a fit that was less than secure when coupled with the headphones relatively massive weight.  On top of that, the middle of the headband started to press down into the top of my skull, skipping discomfort and going into pain territory.
     
    I suppose I can't put fault on Master & Dynamic for the fit of their headphones.  They can't make a headphone that's suitable for everyone.  And I'd still recommend these to anyone with regular sized noggins.  Anyone else....well, make sure you hold on to the receipt.
  7. lin0003
    4.5/5,
    "Excellent Portable Headphone"
    Pros - Sound, Build, Design, Accessories
    Cons - Quite Expensive
    I must admit, until recently, I was not aware of the Master and Dynamic brand. I had heard about them on the forums, but never really read anything about them. Their recent model MH40 is their current flagship and retails for $400 in the US. Master & Dynamic themselves are a New York based audio company which offers a range of premium headphones targeted towards both the masses and audiophile world.
     
    MH40_Banner1.jpg
     
    From what I gather, the MH40 is a model that was put out very recently, a little over half a year ago. With technology moving forward rapidly, it was certainly very interesting to see just what a company that is relatively new to the audio scene can bring to the table. Every now and then, a new, innovative company pops up and puts out a terrific and exciting product; to my mind, the MH40 is certainly a premium example of this. Maybe this remarkably original headphone will spark a trend of similar portable headphones.
     
    The philosophy of the company is one that is very hard to criticise. They want to bring us, consumers, premium products that will last and sound great. As I mentioned briefly, the MH40 seems to be not only geared towards the Head-Fi community, but also meets the general public’s appeal. Could this headphone possibly be the one that changes the portable headphone market? We will have to wait and see, but there is simply no denying its unprecedented style and design.
     
    **Disclaimer** These headphones were given to me free of charge by Master & Dynamic in exchange for an unbiased, honest review.
     
     
    Unboxing & Accessories
     
    MH40_brown_gallery_5.png
     
    The first way that many judge a product is via their box and outward appearance. Luckily, Master & Dynamic’s MH40 has one of the most impressive presentations that I have come across on a piece of audio gear regardless of price. The headphone is certainly not cheap and the company makes you aware of that. The only way to describe the MH40 is that it is gorgeous, and it comes with the packaging to match. Upon sliding the slick black box out of the outer sleave, we are greeted with the headphones under a flap. The foam is perfectly cut out, providing ample protection during shipping and there is the round, leather cable case just under the headband. Under the foam section, there is a folded velvet soft case that feels very well made as well as a manual in multiple languages. It is easy to see the painstaking planning that went into the presentation of these headphones and it really shows.
     
    The quality of everything that accompanies the MH40 is impressive to say the least. The cable case is made very well, but just a little big. It comes with 2 cables, a standard 1.2m cable with the remote/mic and another plain cable that is 2m long, which is much more convenient to use at home. The case has a small pouch inside it and it soft and seamless, locked with magnets. If I was going to carry the headphones around in my bag full of other stuff, I would probably not use this case – it doesn’t really protect the MH40s much, if at all, but is great if you just wanted to store them at home to avoid them getting scratched or dusty. There is also a pretty standard ¼ adapter that is recessed to fit the plugs of the cables. Fantastic from M&D here, no complaints from me whatsoever.
     
    MH40_brown_gallery_4_3dd408e2-d582-451e-b007-c27226d8ce13.png
     
    Design, Cable & Isolation
    Boy, is the MH40 unique… I don’t think I have ever seen another headphone that looks remotely similar and it looks fantastic. The gunmetal grey option is one of the most beautiful headphones I have ever seen. It is made mainly of metal and leather, making is very sturdy, but surprisingly light and comfortable. I had no issues with the comfort or fit of these at all. The M&D symbol is all over the headphone, on the cup screws, the inside of the headband, and on the grills. There is also a mute button on the right side of the headphone, which I found to be somewhat odd, but is a welcome addition. Build is impeccable, although I can’t comment on the durability of these yet, I have no doubt that if you treat them well they will last a long time. The leather feels really nice on your head, feels much better than pleather. The adjusters are very well thought out as well, smooth and marked. It has inputs/outputs on both sides of the headphone, allowing for the more conventional left sided input or the sight sided input if you prefer that. Another cool feature is its ability to “daisy chain” to another headphone via the port that is not being used. Would be very helpful if you were stuck somewhere with only 1 music source lol. To me, the MH40 is one of the most well thought out headphone designs and it has no flaws for me, as close to perfection as anything else I have used.

     
    MH40_black_gallery_3.png
     
    The cables are have a cloth lining that makes them very quiet and there were no microphonics issues at all. Apparently they are made out of pure copper for a “pure” sound, take what you want for that. If you are a cable believer, than great news for you; if you are not, then let’s move on. The remote works perfectly with the iPhone 6, but only the pause/play works with my android devices, which was predictable. The strain relief is very good on both cables and even the plugs have small M&D symbols on them. Some of the nicest cables I have used.
     
    Being semi-open, I was expecting these to have atrocious isolation, but I actually found these to be quite good. A way I test isolation is to listen to my normal music at normal (75-80dB) volumes and play music in the background at around the same volume and if it doesn’t get in the way, then it is good enough for me. The MH40 was quite good, obviously not as good as the average IEM, but over the ears portable headphones rarely are. They should be acceptable for normal use, but just don’t expect them to work wonders on a plane or something. Definitely better than some IEMs I have experienced. Oh, and these do leak a little bit of sound, so perhaps don’t blast these in the library…
     
    MH40_black_gallery_2_999ec892-70be-4c58-b672-fb4042b90f8b.png
     
    Testing Gear
    This is the area that was a bit weird for me. Usually I don’t experience large change between pieces of gear, but the MH40 changed drastically when I switched between an amped sources and my phone. When I first received them, I put some music on through my Xperia Z2 and they sounded very nice, clear and slightly warm with nice, punchy bass. Changing to my iBasso DX90 bore unexpected results. The headphone became significantly bassier, which goes to show that they need some juice to bring the bass out. Does this make it better though? Not really, it just makes it different. I know that many people would like these unamped more, whereas others will prefer the extra bass from an amp. The thing I found was that the DX90 seemed to be a more controlled than the Z2 and had better soundstage/imaging as well as details. TBH, I think I preferred the so9und signature of them from my phone more, but there is no doubt that the overall performance of the MH40 improves with a better source. I would recommend that you invest in a small, cheap budget amp for the MH40 if you don’t already have a DAP.

     
    master-and-dynamic-mh40-product-photos07.jpg
     
    Sound
    On the whole, I have not been impressed with portable headphones, but there have been a few exceptions, one of which is definitely the MH40. If you have read a few of my previous reviews, you may know that my sound preference lean towards a neutral headphone, but of course, I still enjoy my warmth and bass once in a while. The issue I have found is that many warm headphones tend to sound a little veiled and lifeless, lacking the excitement that I crave. Well, the MH40 is certainly a warm headphone and it gains a big recommendation from me.

     
    MH40_gunmetal_gallery_1_4321521f-ae61-41d6-8e59-17ee856a16d8.png
     
    Bass
    The bass is sublime, weighty, but not overpowering to say that least. At no point was I left asking for more quantity or feeling like the midrange was being overshadowed. The MH40 has this particular way of presenting bass notes that makes it so appealing to me. The bass is never intruding when it is not needed, and actually seems like a neutral headphone at times, but it slams hard when it is called upon. This is not something that many headphones achieve, not even flagships like the Audeze headphones can do this like the MH40 does. The mid bass is not overly prominent, but always there and is very detailed. What was impressive was the linearity of the bass, I sensed no roll of towards the sub-bass – if anything, it was a bit boosted. There is a very satisfying rumble to it, but it has a fast decay and I must stress again that despite the bass being heavy, it does not interfere with other frequencies. It is because of the various bass qualities that I can confidently say the bass of the MH40 is simply the best I have heard on any portable headphone regardless of price.

     
     
    Midrange
    From my experience, a warm midrange is often associated with veiled vocals, which is something that I simply cannot deal with. Very few headphones and IEMs do I recommend that are warm and this is the reason for it. I was really hoping that the MH40 would be different and it is. The midrange is liquid, rich and very smooth, but that is not to say that it is not detailed because it most definitely is. I feel like the midrange is centred and not recessed whatsoever, but not forward either. It strikes a nice balance between cold/warmth and also the positioning. There seems to be a lower midrange boost that makes male vocals seem a little accentuated and mellow, but that is not a bad thing. In fact, I quite enjoy the different presentation to the HD800, my main headphone, which the MH40 produces. They actually sound very natural despite the lack of neutrality in the midrange, providing authentic scope into the music. To put it simply, if you want to use these to analyse music or as studio monitors, than these may not be great, but they bring a remarkable level of music enjoyment.

     
     
    Treble
    I’ll state before I go into this section by saying that I like my treble, I’m a little bit of a treblehead at times, but I appreciate warmer headphones which perhaps don’t have as much of a sparkle as well. The MH40, as you might have guessed by this stage is not a bright headphone and has a slightly rolled of treble. I must stress the slightly, but it is not very rolled off by any means. The treble is actually quite flat and there is a seamless transition from the midrange. I did not experience any spikes at all and it was a smooth and trouble-free experience. To boost the treble would mean that the entire tonality of the headphone changes, and I and I am content with the quantity. Cymbals have a bit of a shorter decay than neutral headphones, but they were actually really detailed. I found that these were not in the least dull, they are reminiscent of the Momentum’s treble, but better in every way. It is not the most detailed treble I have heard, but it is definitely not bad at all. I wouldn’t go to say that it is one of its strengths, but it is not a con.

     
    533205_mrp_in_l.jpg
     
    Soundstage & Imaging
    Being a semi open headphone gives it a little bit of an advantage over fully closed headphones in the soundstage department and the MH40 is actually pretty good. Portable headphones have never really had a large soundstage, I have always found similarly priced IEMs to be better, but the MH40 does quite well. It presents a sense of depth and height very well, but the height is not spectacular. I don’t have the Momentum side by side to compare, but from memory, these are significantly better with the soundstage and it beats the Beats Studios 2.0 by quite a margin as well. Not bad at all from M&D. A very solid soundstage from a portable headphone.

     
    The imaging was actually much better than I expected. It was generally quite accurate and handles most tracks with ease. Compared to the Beats Studio 2.0 (which are much better than the original version), these were much clearer and partly due to the larger soundstage, it was significantly easier to tell the instruments apart and where they were accurately. There is a nice sense of air between the instruments that is quite rare to see on a portable headphone, but maybe this is due, once again, to the semi-open nature of the MH40. It does very well in these categories.
     
    10_headphones.jpg
     
    Separation, Detail & Clarity
    The potential of these drivers continues to impress me. Although it may not be evident at the start, the MH40 has actually got very good separation. This is especially the case with vocals, I found them to excel in that areas. A way I test for vocal separation is by running several of Fun.’s songs from the album Some Nights. These passed with flying colours – they sound excellent with male vocals, no complaints here whatsoever. With instruments, the MH40 is also very strong, being particularly good with midrange instruments. Rarely did I feel like some instruments were lost in the background, but it did happen on a few tracks. However, this is really the tuning rather than the drivers, and changing the tuning or EQing them would result in the MH40s losing their magic.

     
    The MH40 is not the most detailed headphone I have heard for $400, but that is not to say that it is weak. It is not bad at all, actually quite strong compared to other portable headphones, but I feel like portable headphones simply do not have the detail that full sized headphones and IEMs do. If you are desperate to get those microdetails that are missed by the MH40, then I suppose you could EQ them to be a bit brighter, but personally, I love the MH40 the way it is and would rather not touch the tuning.
    Despite the warm tone, the clarity does not really take much of a hit. Sure, brighter headphones will sound sharper and may have that artificial clarity, but they do not possess the organic tone that these do. If I were to really nit-pick though, I suppose the detail and clarity are negatives, but nothing is perfect and the MH40’s “weakness” lies here.
     
    MH30-MH40.jpg
     
    Summary
    To me, it is very clear that I have enjoyed the M&D MH40 immensely and it is the best portable headphone I have ever heard regardless of price. It simply ticks all the boxes – fun to listen to, beautifully built, some isolation, comfortable. Obvious, YMMV, but I do feel like most people will be blown away with the overall product that Master & Dynamic have put out. The MH40 will undoubtedly become my daily portable driver for a long time, perhaps until M&D introduce something new in the horizon.
     
    I’d like to give a huge thanks again to Scott & Micah for sending me the MH40 to review and experience this wonderful headphone that I simply cannot put down. BTW none of the photos are mine, so if you own one and want me to take it down, just tell me. 
    RockStar2005 likes this.
  8. acain
    4.0/5,
    "Looks that will turn heads made from premium materials, with a sound signature that can be listened to for hours!"
    Pros - Build quality, Warm smooth detailed sound
    Cons - Outer cable material, no right angle plug
    Master & Dynamic a company based in New York City, still fairly new to the headphone scene. This review is for Master & Dynamic MH40 over the ear headphones, there is a couple of reviews already. Sound is subjective every one has there own opinion on these so the more reviews the better. I am 38 years old and have been into audio since middle school, audiophile I am not but I do enjoy listening to quality music. I am mainly into headphones and in ears, so I guess you can call me a headphone enthusiasts. First I would like to say thank you to Scott and Micah at Master & Dynamic for sending me a loaner demo unit to review. I am not an employee or am I being compensated for this review. All pictures were taken by me and this review is based on my honest opinion.
     
    I first noticed Master & Dynamic in a mens fashion magazine, I prevouisly reviewed there MH03 ear buds. What really caught my interest was there build quality and over all look. Master & Dynamic is based in New York City but manufactures there products China. Many would believe that products made over seas have below standard quality, Master & Dynamic's products are far from below standard and set a new standard that others should follow. Headphones have evolved in to more then a tool to just listen to music, they have become a fashion accessory as much as a woman's hand bag or scarf. Master & Dynamic MH40 can be purchased for $399 right from there webpage. If you happen to live in NYC they will deliver them with in 1 hour, I am lucky if I can get food delivery with in 1 hour.
    http://www.masterdynamic.com/products/mh40
     
    The MH40 over the ear headphones come in 3 colors, Brown Leather-Silver Metal, Black Leather-Gunmetal, and Black Leather-Black Metal.
     
     
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    SPECIFICATIONS
     
    Dimensions: 200mm x 185mm x 50mm
    Drivers: 45mm Neodymium High Performance Drivers
    Impedance: 32ohms
    Weight: 360g
     
     
    ACCESSORIES
     
    Gold-Plated Adapter 3.5/6.3mm
    Standard Cable 2.00mm
    Cable with remote & mic (iPod, iPad, & iPhone
    Canvas Headphone Case
    Leather Box
    Manuel
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    PACKAGING & ACCESSORIES
     
    Master & Dynamic comes in a really nice heavy duty box with a nice hi-res photo on the front. When you first open the box the headphones are packed snugly into a precut high density foam, with a cut out for the cable case. It's a very nice unboxing experience with a even better presentation, first impressions can go along way The cable case is made from real leather with a soft inside, also included is the 3.5mm adapter. For carrying these on the go they also include a black canvas bag that has plastic tabs on top to grab to open the mouth. It's a very nice bag I would have liked to seen a hard shell case fro throwing them into a back pack. Two cable are included your standard cable and another one with controls and a built in mic for phone calls. Overall I was very pleased with the accessories and packaging, the packaging is really premium and can be used for storage.
     
     
    BUILD & FIT
     
    The Mh40's are over the ear design and sit perfectly around my big head with good clamping pressure that's not to tight or light. If you new me you could say I have a big head and funny ears. The ear cups sealed around my entire ear with no problems, someone with bigger ears might find there ear hitting the driver housing due to it being not that deep. Master & Dynamic pride themselves with using premium material and it shows. Most headphones even at higher prices use 70% or more of plastic materials. The MH40's are all made of forged aluminum, stainless steel, and heavy grain leather. I actually couldn't find any plastic on the exterior of the headphones, they are not overly heavy either.
     
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    The plug is straight and is gold coated with a nice black metal housing that has a knurled finish, with a piece of rubber for strain relief. It is sleeved with some kind of heavy duty paracord, myself have never used a fabric cord and would have rather have seen it rubber coated so it doesn't fray over time. There is also another cord that is compatibly with Apple products , there is a remote that has 3 buttons for controlling your music and phone calls. There is a separate housing that has 1 whole for the mic for phone calls.
     
     
     
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    The headband is wrapped in premium leather cowhide with soft leather lambskin, with steel rods. The ear cups are also wrapped in lambskin with memory foam underneath. Ear cups are magnetically attached to the housing for replacement, I love this feature they are very easy to take off and on for cleaning. The ear cups are adjustable with a friction fitted rod that is laser engraved with numbers, the rod is shined to mirror finish and is machined with a knurled finish. They also pivot side to side with a spring tensioner to sit on your head correctly, they also rotate 90% for storage. Master & Dynamic must have spent a lot of time designing these, there is so much attention to details every time I look at these I find something new.  Even the top of the rods are stamped with there logo and the button heads have there logo etched on them also
     
     
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    The ear cups themselves are a work of art, at first look you might think they are open back but the metal grill is only for looks. The outer part of the housing also has a leather inset with 4 decorative rivets. You can also plug the cable into either side of the headphones, I assume you could daisy chain these with another set but I didn't get a chance to try it out. On both ends of the head band are metal connecting pieces stamped with a L and R. One of my favorite features is the one ear cup has a little button with red paint on it and can be pushed to mute your music. This comes in really handy so you don't have to take out your phone or MP3 player out if someone is trying to talk to you.
     
    In conclusion off the build and fit I don't know any other company that builds a headphone to this kind of quality. They aren't just made to look nice they are built solid and just the machining and kind of materials they use is top shelf. It's like comparing a Ford Focus to a Mercedes and Master & Dynamic being a Mercedes. I can see why high profile athletes have been seen in wearing these, they just have class written all over them.
     
    I don't know how they can be priced at there price point when most companies that charge $399 for there products and are made completely out of plastic. These are the type of cans that you would want to get a nice stand and place on your mantel for decoration.
     
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    SOUND
     
    These gorgeous headphones don't mean anything if they can't perform right, well if they were cheap enough with no drivers I would buy them for decoration (I really like how they look). My main source used to listen to these was Astell & Kern AK100II with WAV files, I also used the Fiio X1, Samsung Alpha, Lenovo Ultrabook with Audioengine D1 DAC. These are very easy to drive and don't need a separate amp to drive these. So do they sound as good as they look hell yes they do, are you going to do critical listening with not a chance. These were not made intended for critical listening, but for enjoying your music for long periods of time. The MH40 have a very rich and warm sound signature, the bass is very punchy and accurate that follows through into the mids. The midrange is smooth and buttery but not at all laid back. I wouldn't say these are for bass heads but the bass is very present. Soundstage is intimate with good width and less depth and height. Now for the high frequency, the treble has good snap but is relaxed and not to harsh. Treble is not as detailed as I would have like, but it fit's right in to the overall sound signature and is very enjoyable but they are very accurate. In my opinion these perform best with Hip-Hop and electronica with there warm sound signature. Listening to rock and roll instrument separation sounded  average but has good dynamics. Kick drums have an amazing thump and hit hard with no distortion. I was honestly amazed of the low end with rock, when the music asked for bass these cans moved some serious air. Overall I really liked the overall sound, if I had to pick a weak point it would have to be the upper frequencies, I am not saying there bad they mix right into there overall sound signature there just not as detailed.
     
     
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    MY OVERALL 2 CENTS
     
    Master & Dynamic has only been around for a few years and they have won me over so far. For the price you won't find anything built to this quality, they aren't built only on looks they perform in function with premium grade materials. The overall sound is warm with a smooth and engaging midrange. If your looking for a headphone that's built to last and want to turn heads these are for you , and I would highly recommend them. There price point might turn you off if your not a headphone enthusiasts, but if you know a thing or to about headphones you would agree they are priced just right. Priced right for the materials they use and the different types of manufacturing processes to make these is pretty amazing. I don't know of any other company that uses all leather and includes a cable case that is all leather. Since reviewing there ear bud the MH03 I have become an instant fan of the company, if you go too there website they are very active in the local community.  I am looking forward to see what they will offer in the future, I hope to be reviewing the MH30's one day so keep an eye out for another review thanks for reading. I hope I helped anyone looking to purchase these.
  9. YoYo JoKeR
    4.0/5,
    "Master & Dynamic MH40: When Passion Meets Perfection"
    Pros - Supreme Build Quality, Pleasant Sonic Presentation
    Cons - Uncomfortable for Larger Heads, Competition from Mainstream Headphones

    Me: I am a 21 year old Engineering student living in a small town in India. I would like to call myself a music enthusiast, rather than an audiophile. I was inspired by music since childhood, and as the time passed, the passion of music grew in me, and that subsequently led me to join Head-Fi. Eventually, I found the pleasure of listening to music mainly by the HD600 and recently, by the seductive LCD2 headphones, and realized the true components of recorded music. I usually like to listen to Indian Classical Music along with Bollywood songs. My main listening genres include classical, vocal, instrumental, jazz and sometimes pop.
     

     
    Intro:  Master & Dynamic is a new US brand specializing in the area of headphones and IEM’s. They are based in New York. M&D rolled out their first product in July, last year. Their products are all designed & developed in New York, but made in China by high standards. Mr. Jonathan Levine is the founder and Chief Executive Officer of M&D.
     
    MH40 is the top-of-the-line offering from M&D, and currently has flagship status.
     
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    Specifications of MH40:
     
    Drivers: 45mm Neodymium
     
    Rated Impedance: 32 Ω
     
    Weight: 360 grams
     
    Plug: 3.5mm Gold Plated 4 pole
     
    Cable: Woven with Oxygen Free Copper
     

     
    Let us see what the MH40 has got for us,
     
    Packaging and Accessories: The MH40 arrives packed inside a strong black cardboard box with a removable outer sheet, on which features and other information have been mentioned upon. Once the box is flipped open, The MH40 is seen resting. Cables are placed inside the hard leather case in the centre of the box. This layer of foam can be lifted off to reveal another storage compartment, in which pouch and user manual are present.
     
    M &D has done some real premium packaging out here. Each and every part has a premium quality and feel to it. Really a nice and satisfying experience. The attention and perfection implemented here is one of the best I have ever seen, and is really more of a lavish style. Even the small paper clip or a velcro is made up of excellent quality material.
     
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    List of accessories in the box, which include the following: 
     
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    Cables:  One short 1.25M cable with mic and volume controls, and another regular 2.0M cable.
     
    ¼” Converter: To plug in the MH40 in the 6.5mm headphone jacks.
     
    Leather cable case: This is a genuine leather case, and supplied to protect and store the cables.
     
    Headphone Pouch: This pouch has a high grade jeans-finish to it, and functions as a storage pouch for the MH40.
     
    User Manual: Contains instructions to operate the MH40 and other warranty information.
     

     
    Design and Build: The MH40 has an excellent overall build quality. It has a top notch build which is as good as any Summit-Fi headphones.
     
    The entire housing shell is made up of high quality forged aluminium. It isn’t painted, but is anodized, which is again a step forward in engineering. These cans are pretty small, and appear to be large in pictures. These are fairly heavy, but manageable by our neck muscles. M&D logo is printed on the rear side of the housing shell. Left and Right markings are particularly hard to see, since the L/R markings are very small. Headband is made up of lambskin leather. Earpads are covered with cowhide, but actually have pleather material inside.
     
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    MH40 has cable socket at both the drivers, but only one need to be used, according to user’s choice. The cable is of very common type, a 3.5mm 4 pole jack. This ensures, even if the current cable breaks, a replacement is easy to obtain.
     
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    Wiring for opposite driver is embedded on upper end of headband, like the DT880’s overhead cabling. Personally, I don’t think this is the best mechanism here, and since MH40 have two sockets of jacks, so instead of overhead wire, which will be unreliable over time, M&D could have used both of these sockets to obtain HD600 cabling style.
     
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    Cable has a good build. It is light, flexible and does not get tangled. But I feel the cables have slight microphonics. Plug is straight and gold plated. Both ends of cable have same connectors, thus the cable can be used either way: topside down or vice versa. A mute button is also present on right cup, which once pressed cuts off the signals and hence stops the sound generation from drivers.
     
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    Comfort:  This is the area where I am not particularly satisfied. I feel MH40 is not very comfortable to wear for larger heads, owing to its nimble and compact design.
     
    Though MH40 is ergonomically designed, it is primarily designed for people with smaller head size and ears. Enthusiasts with larger heads and ears may not prefer the comfort of MH40. Length of the yoke and size of the earpads in particular will be far less for a good comfort.
     
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    Since the earpads are madeup of leather, ventilation is less for ears, along with lesser accommodating space. Thereby causing sweating, especially in tropical climate. Larger ears may not fit inside the earpads at all, and even if they do fit in, ears will touch inner sides of the ear pads and will cause discomfort.
     
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    Since MH40’s are closed back headphones, these isolate the listener from outside noise. This level of isolation is sufficient for a subway traveller. Going by weight factor, these feel fairly heavy, but very much manageable when tried on our heads.
     

     
    Sound: As for the most important part, the MH40 has a warm, smooth and intimate sonic character. A very appealing sound.
     
    Lows: are accurate, tight and refined; have a good impact. Depth is also good enough (but not very good)
     
    Mids: sound very natural, and appealing, and have a prominent warmth and lush (like the HD600’s) I guess that is in a good way, comes very pleasing to our ears. Strong point for vocals.
     
    Highs: Very smooth without grains, Highs convey an image of smoothened darkness, just like a caramel chocolate.
     
    Soundstage: Closed-in, Intimate, natural and circular soundstage. Instrument separation is very good, but definitely not airy or spacious. I feel MH40’s presentation is like sitting in second row of an opera theater.
     
    MH40 portrays music in such a way that, one feels as if the music is all around him. The sonic character here is so natural and eased that the tonality sounds very life-like. According to my observation, these cans sounded good in all genres I tried, and hence I conclude MH40's are also very forgiving to poor recordings, therefore not resolving, but very musical. 
     
    Comfort and fit plays a vital role in sound being perceived to our ears. Especially in case of MH40 where the earpads are very compact, if they fit in a wrong way, they will leak sound leading to missing details. I will not be directly comparing the MH40’s to other headphones since these are quite unique in their own regard. But for the sake of it, MH40's will sound somewhat similar to HD650's.
     

     
    Amplification: The MH40’s are rated at 32 ohms, and designed to be power efficient, and hence are fairly easy to drive, and can be driven by almost any sources, smartphones and DAP’s. Although amp like an Objective2 does increases the sound output audibly, the difference in quality is clearly noticeable. Amplification factor is not very important here, but a decent amp indeed does help;
     

     
    Conclusion:  I feel the MH40’s are a very special and unique set of cans. Build quality is phenomenal, sonic presentation is warm and pleasing, with intimate soundstage. This type of presentation will be useful for casual listen to music, but definitely not for mastering or critical listening. Due to MH40’s compact design, enthusiasts with moderate to large heads will not prefer the comfort in these.
     
    But at this price point of 399$ there are many well acclaimed mainstream headphones like HD600, DT880, Q701, HE400 and many portable/power efficient ones like T51 etc, which sonically perform better and offer good comfort in a handsome price.
     
    So, I will recommend MH40 for those, who would prefer a unique, easy-to-drive headphones which are compact, portable and have a great build with a euphonic warm/smooth/intimate sound signature. Plus, whose head size is relatively smaller inorder to enjoy a decent comfort.
     
     
    The Pros: 
     
    1) Build Quality: The MH40 has a superb all-metal/leather build. No compromise to be seen anywhere.
     
    2) Sound quality: Sound presentation here is natural, and is very much like-able for casual music listening.
     
     
    The Cons:
     
    1) Comfort: This is definitely a downside for enthusiasts with moderate to larger heads. MH40 cannot accommodate larger heads even with maximum yoke length, and same goes earpads.
     
    2) Value:  As per current scenario in Mid-Fi headphones category, there are many better performing and more practical headphones available in the same price range.
     

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  10. twister6
    4.5/5,
    "A beautifully crafted headphones with a nice smooth sound"
    Pros - beautiful design, top quality material, tough build, nicely balanced smooth sound
    Cons - some microphonics, can benefit from a better detail retrieval, a bit pricey
    Before I start my review, I would like to Thank Master & Dynamic for providing me with a review sample in exchange for my honest opinion.
     
    Typically when I receive a new pair of headphones, regardless of full size or in-ear, the first thing I do is to run a quick sound check out of the box before I start my usual 2-day burn in.  When I opened Master & Dynamic packaging box to reveal a pair of MH40 I was sent for review, suddenly I forgot all about my usual routine because I was preoccupied with looking at a piece of art.  I have to admit, it's one impressive move for a newcomer (M&D) to make a grand entrance into already saturated market with a design that definitely stands out from a crowd.  There is a number of great sounding headphones, but when it comes to a build quality and material selection, I see more and more manufacturers cutting corners.  Other manufacturers build their fortune on looks and celebrity endorsements while putting sound quality as a secondary priority.  Master & Dynamic was able to keep their focus on both and to deliver a solid release with their MH40 model.  Here is what I found.
     
    Starting with unboxing, the high res image of MH40 captured my attention right away, especially a curiosity about a mesh-vent since I knew it supposed to be a closed back design.  On the back of the sleeve, you have a plethora of useful info about accessories, details about the cable with inline mic, and a brief yet very detailed overview of the company's philosophy followed by explanation of material selection and sound design which shows how much pride M&D takes in their product.  With an outer packaging sleeve removed, you are presented with an elegant black box where under a cover you see MH40 in a display setting of foam cutout.  In the middle of this cutout I found something I never seen before, a custom leather box designed specifically for a cable storage.  We are talking about a round high quality leather box you would expect to see as a storage case for $1000 IEMs, while here its purpose was just to store removable cables.  Other details like a foam cutout around that leather box with extra room for easier access or ribbons on each side of top foam tray for easier removal of it so you can get access to the bottom of the box - all adds up to a very rewarding unboxing experience!
     
    Unboxing pictures.
     
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    But the attention to details doesn't stop at packaging.  As I mentioned before, the intention of round leather box was for a cable storage.  MH40 utilizes a design with removable cables, and M&D included 2 sets of high quality OFC cables, both with woven shielding (velcro friendly, btw) and slim metal 3.5mm connectors, one for audio only purpose (2m long) and the other one with inline remote and mic for smartphone control (shorter, 1.25m).  Interestingly enough, both cables has TRRS connectors, even so audio only cable doesn't require an extra "ring".  The connector housing has an excellent grip and is slimmed down toward the gold plated plug so you can use it with any smartphone case, even something as bulky as Defender.  The cable with smartphone controls has been partitioned where inline remote is separated from mic positioned closer to your mouth for a better voice pickup.  Inline remote, in a metal cylindrical housing similar to mic capsule, is intended for a full integration with iDevices but with an exception of Volume up/down the multifunction button works perfectly with my Galaxy Note 4 where a single click used for Play/Pause/Call and double click used to skip to the next track. 
     
    Also included with cables is 1/4" gold plated headphone adapter with a matching metal body and etched "M&D" - very impressive they didn't go for a generic adapter and instead used a customized one.  To complete this accessories package you will also find a canvas headphone pouch, and honestly I would prefer to call it a case since "pouch" is an insult to its design details.  This canvas material is rather high quality cotton on outside, and soft layer on inside with a small inside pocket for cable storage and magnetic top closure with two handy rubber tabs for opening convenience.  The one thing I wish they would include is a hard storage case, and not because it's necessary to protect MH40 (those headphones are build like a tank), but because I could only imagine it being another piece of art.  Perhaps M&D will offer it in a future as part of a separate accessory just like they have it with a headphone stand.
     
    Accessory pictures.
     
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    With all my gushing about details of packaging and accessories, you can only imagine what awaits you when you actually get to headphones.  I always held B&W and V-Moda on a high pedestal as two of the companies that know how to design nice looking headphones, especially B&W with a selection of their fine material.  In my opinion M&D just raised a bar to a level above both of those manufacturers.  Master & Dynamic used a heavy grain premium cowhide leather on outer part of the headband as well as earcup outer inserts.   The soft lambskin leather was used on inner part of the headband surrounding a shallow layer of foam and also earpads surrounding a plushy memory foam layer.  The headband has 2 partially exposed metal rods and a hidden tubing in the middle for wires between earcups.  The only material used in these headphones construction is aluminum, stainless steel and leather, which does contributes to about 350g of weight (not including the cable), but surprisingly MH40 felt very lightweight on top of my head due to a balanced distribution of the weight.  Clamping force was perfect, which contributed to a decent sound isolation.
     
    At the edges of headband arc, you have a very clever mechanism of y-fork attachment that works both for height adjustment and  earcup rotation (for flat storage).  The actual y-fork attachment to earcups is spring loaded for a more natural control of earpads seal around your ear - something that plays a significant role in sound shaping because pushing on earcups from outside by hand did affect a sound.  Also, outside of the earcup is what appears to be a mesh wire port, but it's only for cosmetic purposes - these are closed back headphones.  Both earcups have 3.5mm port for removable cable and you can use either of them for a source connection and daisy-chaining another pair of headphones from the other earcup.  At the same time, there is a noticeable microphonics affect, perhaps due to all metal construction.  Another very rare feature is a mute button on the right earcup, a metal push-button with a nice spring action which mutes/un-mutes the playback of the sound.  It's a great option to mute the music without taking headphones off or reaching out for your source or inline remote.
     
    As I mentioned before, earpads have a plush memory foam surrounded by premium quality lambskin leather.  The shape of earcups and earpads is oval with an inner opening of about 65mm x 35mm.  I had no issues with my fitment and consider my ears to be of a medium size, no pressure around or my ears touching the grill of the driver, but I can't speak freely for those with larger ears.  Earpads itself are easily removable and attached to earcups magnetically, very B&W like except you don't have to deal with hidden cable connection (something I disliked in P5 and P7).  Once earpads are removed, you are looking at alloy metal (forged aluminum body) earcup housing with a fine grill protecting their 45mm Neodymium drives.  Everything about build and design of these headphones speaks a high quality and durability, and even so MH40 comes with 2 year warranty - they build like a tank and should last many years.
     
    Design detail pictures.
     
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    Now the results of my sound test.  With such a high quality build I really hoped M&D carried their design passion into sound tuning as well, and to my satisfaction they did!  Just like with any pair of headphones, you should expect a different sound signature.  If you are looking for a basshead set of cans or analytical bright sound, these are not for you.  But if a balanced smooth sound with an upfront characteristics is your cup of tea - you will be very pleased MH40.  I don't often use "upfront characteristics" since typically a sound is either neutral or enhanced at low end or upfront mids or v-shaped, but here it felt like a slight boost across low/mid/high frequency bands with everything being accentuated.
     
    Starting with a low end, it has a polite sub-bass extension with a noticeable in quality rumble, though not as much of quantity to balance out mid-bass which is fast and punchy and slightly boosted.  Bass is well controlled with a good separation from lower mids.  When it comes to midrange,  lower mids have a nice body with a touch of warmth, and upper mids are clear and very smooth.  I enjoyed a delivery of both male and female vocals which surprised me with rather organic tonality.  With treble, I didn't find it to be extend too far, thus keeping up with a very smooth and non-fatigue characteristics without a single hint of sibilance - just perfect for extended listening period.
     
    When it comes to soundstage, I found it to have an average width and depth, though it was more wider than deeper.  At the same time, instruments and vocals separation felt a little congested, and imaging wasn't as accurate.  This is not necessary a negative comment, but rather an artifact of sound tuning which focuses around a more intimate staging.
     
    While comparing MH40 to some of my other headphones, I found the following.  Next to MH40, ATH M50x sounds a little thinner and maybe slightly less detailed, it has more sub-bass rumble and mid-bass being less punchy, also upper mids pushed more back and not as organic, while treble having a bit more extension.  Next to MH40, SoundMagic HP150 sounds more neutral, wider and airy, with sub-bass and mid-bass being flatter and more articulate and definitely lower in quantity, also lower mids are thinner and upper mids pushed a little bit back while being more detailed and analytical, and also treble extending further and with more sparkle.  In comparison to MH40, B&W P7 has a lot more bass that spills into lower mids, upper mids are more colored and not as organic though more detailed, and treble has more sparkle and better extension.  Next to MH40, V-Moda M100 sound signature is a lot more v-shaped with a stronger bass, more recessed mids, and better treble extension.
     
    Overall, to say that I was impressed with M&D MH40 headphones would be an understatement.  I wouldn't say exactly they are shining with a stellar audio performance because they stayed on a safe side with a rather balanced, warm/smooth tuning to make it great for listening to any music genre for extended period of time without a fatigue.  But where they completely blew me away was a design details and quality of material that probably surpassed most of the headphones I reviewed in the past.  It looks like Master & Dynamics really done their homework studying a lot of headphones, picking up the best details, and blending it into their own original design which I found to be top notch!  Everything from a premium leather material with use of heavy grain premium cowhide and soft lambskin (the kind you appreciate to the touch and the smell in premium leather jackets), to a forged aluminum body with stainless steel components in all high strain areas, to anodized/PVD coated metals (gunmetal finish looks stunning!!!), and high quality unique custom accessories - all that adds up to a one great looking pair of headphones which you will be looking for any excuse to wear outside.  And sound quality is great too because I would never recommend you a pair of headphones to wear as an accessory without an audio content to back it up.  Definitely gets my recommendation!
     
    *** Update 2/20/15 ***
     
    Master & Dynamic Stand
     
    You probably think I'm crazy writing a mini-review about a stand?  But this is not any stand, but Master & Dynamic headphone Stand!  I still take an extra glance at MH40 headphones before putting them on and even take an extra sniff of that fine headband leather lol!!!  There is no doubt this company pays a very close attention to the design and the quality of materials.  You can say that everything they touch turns gold, just like this very elegant and minimalistic headphone stand I got a chance to review.  Even so their website offers it only in black and silver finish, the one I received was a limited numbered edition with a golden finish.
     
    The packaging it arrived in had a precise cutout and easy access inside of a layered foam insert to accommodate all the pieces of disassembled stand.  It included a weighted solid steel base with a rubber pad at the bottom to protect surface from scratches and to add extra friction so it doesn't slide.  The solid rod of the stand has L-shaped design, and I secured it to the base with included screw and hex key.  Once assembled, the whole fixture is about 280mm in height and approximately 745g in weight.  The top part of the stand where headband rests has a fine diamond cut finish to prevent headphones from sliding off.  I also found the same fine diamond cut around the edge of the base disk and at the bottom of the stand where it connects to the base.
     
    Overall, doesn't matter what finish you choose, this is a great Stand to showcase your headphones with a focus on headphones itself without being distracted by the stand.  It has a very solid build with all steel (electroplated, very durable), a perfect height, and a nicely weighted base for stability.  If you want to show off your headphones, Master & Dynamic Stand does it in style!
     
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