Master & Dynamic MH40

Rating:
4.08333/5,
  1. grizzlybeast
    MASTER & DYNAMIC MH40 REVIEW
    Written by grizzlybeast
    Published Oct 5, 2014
    4.5/5,
    Pros - full mids, punchy sound, sturdy build, replaceable pads,good bass,decent soundstage,tangle free cables, smooth rich sound,scalable
    Cons - upper mids could use some presence, needs some air in its balance, a little too much leakage,fit can be awkward.
    MASTER & DYNAMIC MH40 REVIEW
     
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    While I believe that this price range is crowded, I don't believe that there are many headphones that cover enough bases all at once out there. Questionable build qualities, over coloration, small ear cups, gaudy designs, weird cables, and tons of predictable company house signatures. 
     
    Enter the Master & Dynamic MH40 that takes a crack it with the loaded bases for a home run and knocks it into the bleachers. While I do have some minor gripes, this headphone is an easy one to recommend for a number of reasons.
     
     

    BUILD/ACCESSORIES/PACKAGING

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    I have to admit where confession is due that these do not appear to have any weak spots in the build of the headphone.  To quote the back of the box... "Forged aluminum body with stainless steel components in all high strain areas. Heavy-duty woven cables and replaceable lambskin ear pads. All metals are anodized or PVD coated, not painted." Well I'll be impressed because there is an exceptional amount of thought put into the construction of these headphones. Everything feels heavy duty. 
     
    Oooh Ooooh and the pads come of via magnets!!! So you simply pop them off and pop them back on with no issues at all. Why didn't anyone else think of that!!!! Id imagine if Master & Dynamic decided to provide different color pads, it would become somewhat of a personalized headphone. 
     
    The headphones swivel about 120 degrees and can lay flat on a table. They have dual entry for the cables.  The fit is adjustable with numbers on the sliders for those wishing to match slider heights. There is also a mute button on the right cup that works fairly easily.
     
    Ooooh the cables again. They are tangle FREE and very pleasant on the eyes in a simple way. It comes with two cables. One longer one for home use and the perfect length of cable for mobile use with volume control, mute, and microphone that works fairly well for phone conversations where peers affirm me sounding clear to them. 
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    The headphones are packed decently. It comes in a box that has the has an outer cover that the headphone packaging slides out of.  I like the presentation when you open them though. The headphones lay flat in a foam insert that has a cylinder leather case in it for the cables and 1/4 inch adapter. Underneath is an canvass carrying pouch for the headphones and a manual incase someone doesn't know how to use them, or wants to understand the warranty.
     
     

    COMFORT

     
    Hmm. Well They are not uncomfortable and do better than a lot of other compact models. My ears tuck inside without fuss even though the opening isn't that big. They are fully circumaural and my ears aren't crammed up against the driver housing. The padding is actually pretty good as well. The headband is pretty thin but contrary to what I assumed its not bothersome. It has a very practical and simple design that fairs well in comfort.
     

    LOOKS

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    *member gelocks loaned pair
    Of course this is purely opinion but I think they look stunning. I had a *pair of the brown and silver on loan and they looked great in my hands but undesirable on my head. The black ones look less impressive in my hands but stunning on my head. They have the letters M&D etched in unexpected places to remind you how much they care about detail. They look and feel their price. 

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    ISOLATION

    While these headphones isolate fairly well, I will make a gripe about leakage. As easily as these seal around my ears I would expect them to leak a little less. They leak a little more than average without striking them out from being portable. If I was on a loud bus I would be able to enjoy my music easily but the person next to me would be hearing much of my music if it was loud. I wouldn't say you would be obnoxious though. This is not deal breaking leakage but also not ideal.
     

    *update 10/25/14: FIT

    The ear cups require a good seal for optimal performance which fortunately isn't hard to get. However when laying down if you are not careful the cups will swing open and you will have to readjust them. The clamp isn't too tight or too loose but I did notice a little less of a seal at the bottom. Dropping the cups down a little more than normal will give better seal at the bottom. While adjusting the fit you will notice the sound change drastically in volume, almost sounding like you turned them off and on due to pressure changing which is pretty unique. Once you have a good fit you are ready to rock.
     

    SOUND

     

    BASS

    The bass on this headphone is somewhat addicting. I wouldn't go so far as calling it bass-head level in quantity but I would say that it has some of the qualities that most bass-heads covet. It is a pretty fast bass that keeps a decent amount of texture in it. It is not planar magnetic driver-tight, but among the dynamic drivers I have heard this headphone keeps an ideal composure. It is a very dynamic bass that for its quantity will hit extremely hard. You would be hard pressed to find a more impactful bass than this that isn't extremely boosted. The Vmoda m100 for example will hit harder but is also a lot more in quantity.  If eq'd to have the same quantity the MH40 will hit harder. The MH40 bass has a very focused and enjoyable punch that is very hard to find. Honestly its hard to find punchy cans like the MH40 that aren't super bloated. While Vibro with all plugs open can hit as hard as this can and a shade harder with better resolution, the MH40 will take better to bass boosting and has more of a focused punch. I have guiltlessly  eq'd the bass on occasion to be senselessly consumed by it and found it to take very well to eq'ing and boosting.  I think the words smooth yet punchy would apply here. The bass is not the tightest I have heard but I find it to be closer to the tight side of the spectrum than loose. 
     
    The extension is not wanting by any means and though I can see some wanting more sub bass, this headphone goes low and clear.
     
     
    My 808's sound weighty and strong. My drum and bass kicks knock with authority. I can feel the pressure of the pulsating baselines. Hey, I am satisfied!!!  
     
    *updates 10/25/14: bass impact is seal dependent like most headphones but even more so with this one. 
     
     

    MIDRANGE

    If anyone says the midrange is recessed I will be very surprised. It is actually the opposite and I sometimes wish for a slightly less heavy presentation in the midrange which is unusual for me. Master & Dynamic describes this headphone as having a rich, warm sound profile. That statement is 100% accurate. The tones sound really sweet and sultry with what sounds to be a nice amount of fidelity to them. I personally desire to eq them to be a little airier. The Focal Spirit Professional for example sounds airier and less rich than these but are more dry and less musical. What is funny is that when A/Bing them side by side I preferred the MH40 instantly even though I recognize this headphone as skipping out on the Focal approach in neutrality. This doesn't become tiresome because the headphone is not shouty by any means. No way.... its far too smooth sounding to be called anything close to shouty, harsh, or abrasive in the midrange. I believe that this level of richness I am not used to. This is due to there being what I perceive as a dip in the lower treble or somewhere close by, namely the upper midrange, that takes the lightness out of it.  Male vocals sound full and weighty but miss just a tiny bit of presence and projection that fully convince you they delivered from their diaphragms.  This may be perceived differently by others but it is not that bad of an issue for me. 
     
    The music doesn't sound too dry or too wet. My pianos sound pretty convincing and it has a little bit of reverb to the notes while staying clear.  How ever each individual tone is very realistic and non metallic. It has good texture to it as well. 
     

    HIGHS

    I like these highs a lot. Sorry to start this section that way but I really do apart from the lower treble that would help the mids some, the highs here are not sibilant yet are fairly detailed and make a case for its price tag. I read elsewhere that these were considered sibilant but I have to respectfully disagree. The area of sibilants ("s") is emphasized compared to the rest of the upper mids to upper treble section but its not painful.  The Yamaha hph mt220 for example was more sibilant than these, as well as the k545, k550 and Denon D2k, to name just a few. The headphone can come off as dark and rich sounding but the treble is snappy and smooth as is the rest of the headphone. There is a very steep roll off in the upper highs though that may be the reason I feel it is missing some air in the vocals. When I eq +4 db in the upper treble, this up along with the lower treble dip at 4khz it awakens the sound a bit.  It has a good amount of response in the mid treble by itself as to not miss too many details. This headphone can be called relatively detailed. The reason why I like them a lot though is because they are not splashy or mushy, but rounded and straightforward with a smoothness about them.

     

    BALANCE SUMMARY 

    When I leave the bass right where its at, take down the middle mids just a decibel or so, bring the area of sibilance down a bit, and raise the upper mids and high highs up a few decibels then I am met with a lifelike sound that is very convincing. My eq setting can be a little fatiguing for long listening so I often just set it back to flat . This headphone takes to eq'ing extremely well. ALL BY ITSELF, its a colored listen, but a very likable one with a slight bass bump, full mid range, and dark treble. I could def leave it alone and listen for a long time. This headphone reminds me of the Sennheiser hd8dj in the fact that it has a steep treble roll off after 10 kHz and needs some upper mids. BUT its far less extreme in its coloration and the more enjoyable.  Its close to being a genre master but those that listen to Jazz and classical music may wish for a slightly less colored sound. I however enjoy these very much so with jazz and acoustic music. 
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    Quick eq in Audirvana plus (clarity eq)
     

    SOUNDSTAGE

    I like this soundstage. I have come to not expect to much in terms of soundstage from a headphone of this kind(portable). To say this headphone has a small soundstage would be inaccurate. To say it has a good sized one is more like it. It has some height to it if not much depth and a decent amount of width. The panorama of this headphone is a breathable one that isn't cluttered, nor compact, or extremely wide. It has respectable imaging capabilities that are really good but don't boast too far beyond its price category into Alpha dog territory. Possibly less wide than the akg k550 but far more natural sounding. Also these have a far bigger soundstage than the momentum, and maybe bigger than the Focal Spirit Professional.  I do prefer its scene to the Pandora hope VI however because the instruments have good layering and are bold/soft against each other, whereas the Pandora Hope is bigger and sounds more open but less clearly layered(this MH40 headphone doesn't sound as good overall though, the Pandora is in another class above it by a good margin).  
     
    *updates 10/25/14:
    The more I listen I find it to have very good instrument separation and placement. This would be one of its stand out qualities. It never sounds like mush but has great focus to the notes. 
     

    ATTACK

    This is a very admirable quality of these headphones. A lot of its musicality resides here. simply put, though the music is a bit rounded, it pops and snaps with intention. It has some decay to keep it from sounding dry and harsh while its doing all of this action. I find it quite enjoyable. 
     

    AMPING

    None required though I find it very scalable. I would say its more source dependent than amp dependent. My iPhone gets them fairly loud and sounds fine but they deserve more than just an iPhone out. Once I plugged them into my Bushmaster MKII they sound excellent and the clarity is night and day.
     

    CONCLUSION

    Just like my other favorite closed back this has the moniker "Musical" written allll over it. I would say it is the most musical closed back I have heard under 500 dollars. It only lacks a tiny bit of neutrality to make it a genre master. Some may want a little more bass or air but it has a very good punch and snap too it that keeps it from sounding dull. With a couple of tweaks can be a swiss army knife to a playlist. As it is I recommend it for ambient electronic, hip hop, jazz, reggae, soul, country, blues, acoustic and anything modern(honestly it will work well with most genres). This would go into the sennheiser hd650 category of warm, smooth, but potentially potent. The fact that they got the cables the right length, the fit to be fully over the ears, the build to be practical and easy to carry around, and the sound quality worth its penny, makes this headphone a worthy recommendation. I feel like I am listening to a high quality headphone that will scale up with what you plug it into. It has a good amount of fidelity to it and the gripes aren't deal breakers. 
     
    IM FEELIN THIS SET... NAH MEAN!
     
      iano, warubozu, NYGator and 3 others like this.
    1. View previous replies...
    2. grizzlybeast
      Thanks a lot! I do like them a lot. Pretty good cans!
      grizzlybeast, Nov 17, 2014
    3. istirsin
      Are these a noticeable upgrade over the momentums?
      istirsin, Aug 12, 2015
    4. grizzlybeast
      in my opinion yes
      grizzlybeast, Sep 18, 2015
  2. mikemercer
    Master & Dynamic Couldn't Be More Aptly Named! MH40s: Well-Built, Stylish & Sound Terrific. At $399 - C'Mon, If Needed, Just Do It
    Written by mikemercer
    Published Nov 16, 2014
    4.0/5,
    Pros - Refreshingly Sharp Design. Modern & Tough. Functionality pluses (mute button/ear-cup) & Excitable, Dynamic, & Detailed Music! +Wearable All Day for Me
    Cons - Ear-pads Need Re-Work (angle/padding/etc) for Deeper Low-End & I'd Like to See em get a lil smaller, around the Head - maybe more room on the slider?
    3.12.15
    I wrote the review of the Master & Dynamic MH40s below while I was in the Impressions phase - as indicated in my first introductory sentence below.
    Since writing this piece I've had many listening sessions with my MH40s - and I still LOVE & prefer the gun-metal finish to the wildly popular brown-leather  - but that also looks great IMHO. I'm going to include some updates - and hopefully some of the original readers of the review will catch em'.
     
    **I'm not sure if users receive updates because they commented or interacted with the review at some point.
    I'll check w/ the good peeps at Head-Fi bout that.**
     
    My updates will be labeled and appear at the END of this initial essay.
     
    I'm admittedly still in the Impressions phase w/ my Master & Dynamic MH40s (gun-metal & black finish) but I felt obligated to, at the very least, get something down here and update it when I've got the MH40s totally broken-in...
     
    Is that Kosher?
     
    I'm just so taken w/ these cans, and haven't been so since my LCD-X & XCs arrived last year! So I thought that might warrant an on-going review (NOT forever obviously, not intending to break ANY Rules or Regulations - I'm gettin' that out in the open NOW [​IMG]) because at $399, I feel obligated to share about these smart, stylish, musically powerful headphones NOW!
    I first heard em' this year in our hotel room during Rocky Mountain Audio Fest /CanJam w/ the then very new-to-all-of-us Cavalli Audio Liquid Crimson hybrid amp! And that sound was glorious - 
     
    my MacBook Pro SSD/Amarra Symphony was source
    CEntrance DACPort LX (same as DACPort - but just the DAC) for D-to-A
    and the Master & Dynamic MH40s - in this kinda seventies brown-style that alot of peeps have. Those are cool - but when I saw the gun-metal & black that was I for me! 
     
    They've shattered my expectations - which weren't low, but I didn't consider these high-end reference-quality cans. Didn't have enough time - and they sounded wonderful on the Cavalli Liquid Crimson (a funny, but the right mismatch - if you wanna test your headphones  sonic capabilities) But when I heard em on a couple other things (honestly can't remember what others people had w/ them) they just sounded like good, solid headphones, and certainly worth more in musical performance than their MSRP! So I'm psyched my boy Chris Sommovigo had that pair with him in my room at RMAF/Canjam this year!!
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    So I reached out to the guys there.
    They seem really down to Earth and committed BTW. I was psyched when they asked me about something on the cans and I brought up the pads, the lack of a seal sometimes - but you can also use that as a sort-of Free Earth EQ ( [​IMG]), if you like...  Seriously: Scott was really cool over there, and it seems like they have a solid team.
    What's the result of these down-to-Earth fellas work? 
     
    That's the main reason I'm pushing the limit tonight, as I should be watching a documentary w/ my darlin' wifey - but I needed to start sharing my experience with these, and not merely through social media - and I got tons of gear ahead of em in editorial too - I love Head-Fi for alot of reasons - and this is certainly one of them! Bottom-Line:
     
    If my cousin Kenny or my father wanted a headphone that looks and sounds good for $399 - I'd buy both of em' a pair! That will probably mean more than ALL of my meandering prose in this review! So now, I've heard a wide variety of music at low & loud-levels, and I've heard em' on desktop gear and some of my very best portable stuff. My top references are coming NEXT in the follow-up here!! The MH40s are just the straight-dope musically, with a dash of aesthetics for the Wired-set. Their bass and lower-midrange was surprisingly controlled and extended when I got the pads all sorted (sorry, gotta admit to OCD here - not the biggest deal). Recondites new album Iffy is a thumping, hovering synths-spaced-out electronic masterpiece, and the MH40s reproduced it with clarity and attitude. The sound was sharp, but not in a fatiguing way at all. There was no overhang or sluggishness with regard to the transient attack of the 40s too - with varying genres of music; from underground tech-house, courtesy of my friend Damian Lazarus to acoustic singer-songwriters like Martin Sexton, Ani DiFranco, or Badly Drawn Boy. I especially enjoyed their sound when playing full-bodied, textural, experimental electronic music from artists like Art Department, Hecq, Recondite, and classic boundary burning artist like Aphex Twin and Bill Laswell. The 40s are also happy with tubes or solid state - which is nice. They're not picky. Of course - as the ol' skool engineering wisdom tells us:
     
    Crap IN
    Crap OUT
     
    So you're source, as with any loudspeaker or headphone, has to be whatever best-quality is available at the time! You can't build a million dollar/Impressive stereo reference system based on crap sources! Well, the MH40s are critical enough to tell you about the sonic characteristics of the music, but they also manage to achieve a nice synergy with more systems than at least 50% of the headphones I own. It's a very jolting (positively) experience: Not having to pick certain products to go with other certain products in order to achieve audio Nirvana. Just give me straight-up, well-built, comfortable headphones that do their job - but do it WELL enough to grant me some serenity while imbibing my favorite tunes - and I'm GOOD.
     
    This portable rig built around em' was ill on this mornings hike!
    They're light-enough, but also feel rugged. Their mic is decent for cell calls.
    So this was almost perfect this morning:
     
    Master & Dynamic MH40s
    AstellnKern AK240
    ALL DHC cables: Comp4 mini-to-mini, Molecule Elite headphone cable
    Lehmann Audio Traveler battery-powered headphone amp (CLEAN, powerful, and ran Chris Sommovigos LCD-3s for 30+ hours)
     
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    This has been my go-to system for the MH40s - aside of the Liquid Crimson in for review - but since
    I don't know that amp real well yet (hence: Reviewing it) and I'm new to the MH40s - I just put em' on the Cavalli for Ear-Candy Sessions...
     
    This desktop rig, below, has given me some amazing sundown-to-sunrise listening experiences:
     
    Master & Dynamics MH40s
    Double Helix Cables Molecule Elite
    Woo Audio WA7 Fireflies w/ Upgraded Electro Harmonix Gold-tip tubes
    Black Cat Silverstar USB cable
    MacBook Pro SSD/Amarra Symphony as source
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    The MH40s are easily driven, but I prefer plenty of headroom: Straight-up power and dynamic clarity, without too much excess electro-crap affecting the signal path. I've been glued to the WA7 Fireflies and MH40s for about 10 days now...
     
    Rockin' Art Department & Seth Troxlers' new EP Cruel Intentions RIGHT NOW (on WA7 Fireflies), as I type this, and the title track is BANGIN'. It's surprising, seriously, the lower-mid and bass the MH40s throw - but it takes some messin' with the earpads to get the seal right - and that's my only gripe thus far. I should say, and this doesn't count in the "Cons"  - the low-end could use more heft and velocity - as I know the Art Department EP - and there were deeper ripples to capture and reproduce, no doubt about that.  However, given their colorful (NOT-colored) midrange, open/airy highs, and fascinatingly controlled and extended lower-midrange and bass (just not a lot of sub-bass being blown into my ear-drums) the MH40s could be a new headphone Gem (that's been around for awhile I hear actually) if they play their cards right! Thus far they deliver the sonic goods, less any earth-shattering low-end, and are a pleasure to wear and walk-around with.
     
    I think @grizzlybeast was right expressing their leakage concerns  (meaning, as they said, if you're on a subway - or ending up sitting close to somebody and crankin' the 40s - the people near you might hear the highs of your music). But, hey, we've all had that done to us right?!?!
     
    Forbes DROOLED over em', and I'm beginning to hear why. I'll be updating this review ASAP!
    I want to experience the MH40s on a few more amp/DAC combos AND, IMPORTANT  - listen to some vinyl with em'!!
     
    However, as I just got up to take a break and change (I know, who cares...but) I found my original CEntrance DACport in my sock drawer,
    so I decided, as I know the SQ of the DACPort very well - why not do another quick system change and see what happens:
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    This simple rig:
     
    Master & Dynamic MH40s
    Double Helix Cables Molecule Elite + adapter (2.5mm TRRS to 1/4")
    CEntrance DACport Amp/DAC
    Moon Audio Silver Dragon V3 USB cable for DACport
    MacBook Pro SSD/Amarra Symphony as source
     
    The synergy of this lil' system worked so well it sounded effortless - From top to bottom - so I threw my latest musical acid test track at the DACport + MH40s: Beacons' "Fault Lines" off their up-coming album. This track is like underground, dirty tech-house - Croydon London-style (the Brooklyn of London), broken-beat, Chicago and acid house all mixed up in this fantastic sonic onslaught of pingin' pads and transient stabs, strange sounds weaving in and out of each other, and a kick that'll have you grabbin' your n____s if you sit too close to a loudspeaker when things kick-off! The gradual build-up of the track - right outta the gate, gets my blood pumpin': A pounding kick-drum is surrounded by percussive and synth-like triggered sounds, then there's an echoey grand sense of space; the thumping continues - but it's becomes part of an electronic chorus via this minimal ping that wraps itself around the massive kick; eventually ascending into the crescendo. I couldn't help but move my damn feet to these seemingly simplistic rhythms the whole time. It's got tasteful dance sensibilities, but it's also a chugger of a track. It's the one you drop at 5:30AM, when the sun is cresting over the horizon: and everybody on the dance-floor is starting to sync up. Beacon manages to capture all these vibes in one track! I can't wait to hear the whole record. Sorry, veered off-track there for a second.
     
    The MH40s sonics were liquid and engrossing during the Beacon track, just so damn addictive and mesmerizing. The same went for Thom Yorke's Tomorrows Modern Boxes (which I reviewed for Positive Feedback HERE). I listened to that album many times in a row I loved the rendering so much with the Master & Dynamic MH40s and Woo WA7 Fireflies combo. That rig sealed the deal for me on the MH40s I think.
     
    And MORE TO COME!
     
     
    I've been working in the front of the house for a couple weeks (my wifey's sick - so I end up near her in case she needs something - my SS Lab is in the back of the house)
    I have some systems set-up on this corner desk - but it's nothin' like the Sonic Satori Personal Audio Lab for putting cans like these through their paces!!
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    and I look forward to that ASAP!!
     
    Felt I needed to give these an enthusiastic thumbs up thus far, because I can't imagine my opinion is going to change much over the next couple weeks testing period.
    If it does, I know these aren't going to end up boring me, that's for sure. I'm enjoying all aspects of the Master & Dynamic MH40s right now!!
     
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    Another sunrise MH40s session
     
    To Be Continued...
     
    SO: 1/23/15:
     
    I have a few more things to share with regard to the MH40s performance as they've broken-in. I've also used them on some other gear in addition to the associated gear list above, to see just how well they play with various Amp/DAC combos and sources!!
     
    I will be tackling this UPDATE ASAP - hopefully this weekend!
     
    I must say this:
    I think Master & Dynamic have designed fantastic cans in the MH40s from an industrial-design stand-point, sonically, of course, and comfort, forward-thinking (like the mute button),
    it's a great package.
     
    What holds it back the most, or, what held it back the most, musically, for me before I tried other things??
    MANY doubters will dismiss this - but I heard/experienced the significant sonic changes - their stock headphone cables!
     
    W/ the stock cable the MH40s aren't bad. They're actually pretty good. But they are capable of SO much MORE!
     
    When I installed various Double Helix Cables, and tried (for giggles - since the MH40 has a 3.5mm input) my Nordost iKable on the cans-
    the timbre came ALIVE - space just GREW, and the sense of spaciousness is what I expected from the 40s, but always feel JUST short of!!
     
    SO - more on my experiments SOON!
     
    I know, it sounds CRAZY - but other cables have, in many systems, yielded an immediate impact that's tough NOT to hear! IMO...
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    Conclusions comin...
     
    3.12.15
    LATEST UPDATES:
     
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    Well, to be honest I'm not sure I've drawn any permanent conclusions about the MH40s! Though during the time I've spent with them since I wrote the piece above my love for the cool cans has only grown. I say I probably don't have any permanent conclusions about the Master & Dynamic MH40s because I know, in my gut, that a couple of small adjustments to these headphones could make a World of difference sonically - therefore offering greater and deeper reproductions of my beloved music! I'm NOT tryin' to knock Master & Dynamic AT ALL. Not my honest intent here. I felt obligated to share my thoughts on these small changes because I think they will allow the headphones to perform at a level they were meant to play. It's gotta be tough, for product engineers, to keep from looking back I'm sure. They wanna make leaps forward however, - usually with newer products, right? Well, hopefully somebody from M&D will hear about this 
     
    - eh, what am I saying, I'll send these thoughts to Jonathan at Master&Dynamic - he's such a cool guy and his team are equally nice and helpful - and besides, I could be a complete jack __s, therefore no harm no foul! -
     
    And those small adjustments are:
     
    1) Better/different ear-pads. I hate the word better, and I especially hate it when somebody calls a piece of audio kit the "best" blah blah blah. There is NO best - as we all interpret things differently, as we bring our own life experiences to bear when we listen to music, look at paintings, etc. With art, no matter what the medium, we're reacting to something beyond classification - and SO sorry for that deviation/brain-dump. I should've just said "different ear-pads", but I meant to say better as in; I think other ear-pads would aid in delivering the music to our ears in a cleaner, more open and transparent way. What to do to the ear-pads to achieve this? Well, firstly I dig the magnetic attachment of the ear-pads to the MH40s headphone chassis! A nice touch. So why not offer 2, or maybe even 3 different types of ear-pads? I know if these were thicker (listening to my MH40s and new Burson Conductor Virtuoso at this moment) I would, I believe, get better bass response. Thicker and a touch deeper too. Plus - given the current ear-pads are totally flat/level, it doesn't always give me a terrific seal - because of the strange shape of my skull and jaw. However, if they do thick pads like MrSpeakers did on his Alpha Prime, or what Audeze has always provided on their reference LCD-Series headphones  - which means in addition to increasing the thickness and depth of the pads, Master & Dynamic made the pads angular, the music would arrive at our inner-ears in a more natural way. Audeze and MrSpeakers figured this out. If they are angled in a way that merely extends our outer-ears angle, I believe this definitely helps the audio signal arrive and appear more natural to our analog ears. I could be wrong... But that's tweak #1.
     
    2) This is gonna attract some venim from the cables are a rip-off crowd but I don't care. I've heard what different headphone cables do to the performance of these cans on revealing systems. After discovering that I could detect changes sonically utilizing other cables, I spent a couple weeks deciding which one I enjoyed the most as part of the system. Because, this much I've always agreed to when it comes to audio cables impacting the sound of a system: All a different cable can really do is: Act like less of a filter, with lower capacitance and inductance - therefore helping the system to reproduce the audio signal in a more accurate way. The cable can also aid in lowering the noise-floor or not. If you play around with different component and cable configurations you'll find that some cables are not as good as others in a system - and that's where system synergy comes in. Now, I'm also not a guy that will ever say something like "the ___ cable sound like ____". Because, IMHO: The cable doesn't have a sound of its own - it's the interface between components - so we're always experiencing the system as a whole. Therefore - we can prefer certain cables in a system, or with a headphone - but not because of ITS sound. It's how does it help reproduce the systems sound? After sayin' all that: It was Double Helix Cables Molecule Elite cable that I thought was the best combo. When I compared that duo to the factory cable, and also included my wifey in that test (she's got great ears, worked in the music biz for many years too) we did some single-blind tests - and, NO BS: Both of us picked the DHC Molecule cable every-time! That's sayin' something - which is why I'm reporting about it here. I haven't picked the same cable every-time even with far more expensive cans and cables! Observations do not discriminate - well, if you set it u properly that is... So I think Master & Dynamic should reach out to Peter at Double Helix and speak about an upgrade path that will blow people away. The cool thing is: That's not one of Peters expensive cables. HIGHLY recommended if you already own a pair of MH40s.
     
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    Suggested tweaks/upgrades aside: I enjoy the MH40s every-time I rock em'. Whether that's because I'm headin' out and I wanna use em' with whatever portable rig I'm rockin' at that moment, or, even if I'm using one of my top reference desktop amps - they're just fun to listen to my music on. A big part of that is that they don't discriminate when it comes to all the different genres of music I play. I mean, it all depends on my mood - but I could be bumpin' Afro-Beat one minute, underground tech-house the next, and finish up the listening sesh with a bit of Roberta Flack. There have been many cans that passed through the Sonic Satori Personal Audio Lab and were terrific with classical, jazz, and soft pop music, but fell apart when it came to techno or hip-hop. I don't wanna have to choose certain cans for different styles of music! I want headphones, like terrific loudspeakers, to be able to handle anything I throw their way. The MH40s do that for me, and they play back all the music I like in an excitable, engaging, soulful way. And at their price - that's an amazing accomplishment. I was also psyched to see my peer and fellow Head-Fier @goldendarko felt the same way in his review at DAR this week. NICE one John!!
     
    The MH40s aren't difficult to drive, but they do like headroom. I noticed this when I was using them with my AK240 often. I ended up adding the Lehmann Audio Traveler to the AK240 - as it's such a clean amplifier with an insane amount of power and battery-life! It ran my fellow Audio360.org teammate Chris Sommovigo's Audeze LCD-3s for over 30 hours! Besides, I think the dual-DACs in the AK240 are fine, all it needs is some more power now and then - for my needs. So I was using the AK240/Traveler combo for my LCD-2s, 3s, XCs, and HD800s  - also using all DHC cables for that portable rig - and I decided, just for the hell of it - to try my MH40s on that rig. I knew it was overkill, power-wise, but f___ it! The resulting sound was totally beyond my expectations. The midrange was so luscious, but pristine and wide-open as well. The bottom end was extended, givin' me bass that I didn't know the MH40s were capable of! And, the highs were gloriously transparent with no trace of listener fatigue. As a matter of fact, that became one of my all-time favorite portable combos:
     
    IMG_4341.jpg
     
    So I guess I could safely say that one conclusion is that I kept them for a reason - NOT merely to be able to say:
    "I like it so much I bought it". But because I genuinely love everything about the MH40s. I dig their industrial design. Hell - I even love the mute button! I think that's a terrific little feature. It also has a good click to it - the mute button. That's sounds crazy maybe - but I mean it doesn't feel cheap. That's important to me. Most importantly I love how they translate my music, and how easy they are to deal with. S__t, even the headphone bag M&D provides is better than the average can sack.  I hope these guys continue to grow.
    I can't wait to hear what's up next!
     
     
      iano, Noir13 and gelocks like this.
    1. View previous replies...
    2. gelocks
      Nice review Mike!
       
      Although I wouldn't rank these near as "high-end reference-quality cans", they are excellent! Although, I haven't tried much of the high-end out there so, maybe they are!!! :wink:
       
      Very smooth to my ears in the mids-high transition, no sibilance, and fun bass!!!! Though, sometimes it might be a bit too much bass and uncontrolled but personally I love them. I have been getting rid of headphones that leak, and although these DO leak, I just can't part with them! They look awesome and sound very good to my ears! Seems everyone who tries them end up liking them. Heck, I think even Tyll liked them! :)
       
      Thanks for also posting impressions on different configurations! Not everyone has Cavalli's lol but liked that you went from a high-end set-up to a most simple down-to-earth one. Heck, you should get a "lowly" FiiO X1 or something to also post direct impressions out of a 'cheap' player (no amp, no hassles for easy to drive headphones like these! :wink:).
       
      Good stuff!
      Keep on enjoy them!
      gelocks, Nov 17, 2014
    3. grizzlybeast
      they are not perfect but have an addicting quality about them. They are instant gratification when swapping from something sterile, dry, or boring.
      grizzlybeast, Nov 17, 2014
    4. mikemercer
      Thanks @gelocks! yeah, though they leak, they are certainly addictive! I also like em better on tubes or hybrids. The bass seems more silky, more vibrant, and while not totally controlled, it sounds more defined w/ tubes. I can't get enough of em!
       
      @grizzlybeast: GREAT point!! 
      mikemercer, Nov 18, 2014
  3. twister6
    A beautifully crafted headphones with a nice smooth sound
    Written by twister6
    Published Feb 9, 2015
    4.5/5,
    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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      vlenbo and thatBeatsguy like this.
    1. View previous replies...
    2. Jeff Y
      I guess so too. I'm considering to get the AK edition of the T5P for the AK240 atm. I love the Beyer's looks too.
      Jeff Y, Feb 10, 2015
    3. reddog
      A great review, I have been tempted by these handsome set of cans. These puppies are on my wish list.
      reddog, Feb 11, 2015
    4. Coldheart29
      Wow, just wow. As always, a really pleasing read, @twister6.
      I'm looking for a nice headphone to buy around christmas (or as soon as i save enough to buy it), and am looking for a well built, nice looking, closed back over ear heaphone, with a warmish, relaxed and smooth sound signature. As i'm no audiophile, but just a "music lover", i'm not lookinf for ultimate detail retrieval.
      Well, i was looking at the Momentum M2, and noticed these M&D sometime ago. But after reading your review, it looks like these might be the right choice. The design is incredible, they have that old looking stile, but with modern accents and materials, that make them a joy for the eye. And as they're said to be good sounding with the signature i look for, it looks like a solid score for me.
       
      You might have costed me 400€, be ashamed :p
      Coldheart29, Aug 27, 2015
  4. YoYo JoKeR
    Master & Dynamic MH40: When Passion Meets Perfection
    Written by YoYo JoKeR
    Published Feb 16, 2015
    4.0/5,
    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.
     

    DSC01802.jpg
     


    1. DeadEars
      I found this a very useful review.  I am very familiar with both the Senn HD600 and the Audeze LCD-2, which are my main headphones.  Can you give me some comparatives between these headphones and the other two?  I'm thinking mostly of amplified use and occasionally portable amplified use.
       
      thanks!
      DeadEars, May 10, 2015
    2. YoYo JoKeR
      Hey mate,
       
      MH40's bass will be increased in body than both of HD600 & LCD-2 , but at the cost of accuracy. Mids are thick, euphonic( than both HD600, LCD-2) &  pleasing (less accurate/detailed). Highs are very smooth and refined. Sounstage is intimate, with a sense of closeness.
       
      So overall, these are good headphones with coloration in their sonic presentation for casual music listening. But definitely technically inferior in performance compared to both HD600 & LCD-2.
       
      Let me know if you have any more queries,
      YoYo JoKeR, May 10, 2015
    3. DeadEars
      That's consistent with what I've been hearing.  Considering these for mobile use, sounds like a good match for non-critical, just-fun listening.
       
      Thx!
      DeadEars, May 10, 2015
  5. acain
    Looks that will turn heads made from premium materials, with a sound signature that can be listened to for hours!
    Written by acain
    Published Mar 8, 2015
    4.0/5,
    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.
     
     
    IMG_0001.jpg IMG_0003.jpg
     
     
    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
    IMG_0004.jpg IMG_0022.jpg IMG_0033.jpg
     
     
     
     
    IMG_0043.jpg IMG_0042.jpg
     
     
    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.
     
    IMG_0018.jpg IMG_0020.jpg IMG_0021.jpg
     
     
     
    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.
     
     
     
    IMG_0014.jpg IMG_0018.jpg IMG_0021.jpg
     
     
    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
     
     
    IMG_0034.jpg IMG_0042.jpg IMG_0040.jpg
     
    IMG_0051.jpg IMG_0052.jpg IMG_0027.jpg
     
     
    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.
     
    IMG_0023.jpg IMG_0028.jpg IMG_0074.jpg
     
    IMG_0075.jpg IMG_0032.jpg
     
     
    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.
     
     
    IMG_0059.jpg IMG_0060.jpg IMG_0065.jpg
     
     
     
    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.
  6. lin0003
    Excellent Portable Headphone
    Written by lin0003
    Published Mar 29, 2015
    4.5/5,
    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.
    1. dnun8086
      Bloody good review, I am keeping an eye on these and the company. Thanks for taking the time to write up your impressions. :)
      dnun8086, Mar 29, 2015
    2. RockStar2005
      lin, 
       
      Excellent review!! You really covered all the points I cared about most..........bass not spilling over or muddying up mids & treble, bass not being too boomy, soundstage being really good, design, comfort, etc! 
       
      I currently own the AKG K553 Pro, and just ordered the MH40 actually too. It will arrive tomorrow. 
       
      So is there ANY chance that the MH40 has as much soundstage as the K553 does? I'm not sure if the K553 are considered "full-size" headphones or not, but their soundstage is INCREDIBLE! I compared them ($170) to my former $399 Oppo PM-3, and I thought they were BETTER! I just wish the K553 had a detachable and shorter cable (10'), which is part of my reason for looking at other headphones, despite having tried many and happily ending it with the K553. I wouldn't mind something slightly smaller too, which the MH40 appears to be. 
       
      So we'll see what happens once they arrive and I burn them in a little. I certainly love their look, as I do my K553. The mute button on the side of the MH40 is cool too. Simple, but unique. 
       
      Let me know. 
       
      Thanks!!
      RockStar2005, Feb 9, 2016
    3. RockStar2005
      (*Or even close to as much soundstage as the K553 has?)
      RockStar2005, Feb 9, 2016
  7. sk2290
    All my big-headed brethren, be cautious...
    Written by sk2290
    Published Jul 29, 2015
    2.5/5,
    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.
    1. RERO
      "I suppose I can't put fault on Master & Dynamic for the fit of their headphones."
      You kinda just did by dunking it with a 2.5 ★ rating.
      RERO, Aug 25, 2015
  8. avitron142
    Perfection in a Portable Headphone!
    Written by avitron142
    Published Aug 19, 2015
    5.0/5,
    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
    1. RockStar2005
      So would you say the MH40 AT LEAST has a bigger/more spacious soundstage than say, the Oppo PM-3? How is its soundstage compared to the AKG K550 or K553 (my current headphones)?? 
       
      Thank You, 
       
      RockStar2005
      RockStar2005, Feb 9, 2016
    2. avitron142
      I haven't heard the others, sorry.
      avitron142, Feb 9, 2016
    3. RockStar2005
      That's fine. 
       
      Let me try it a different way then............... compared to other closed-back headphones you've heard (within the range of say, $150-$500), how would you rate the MH40's spacious soundstage? 
       
      Thanks, 
       
      RockStar2005
      RockStar2005, Feb 9, 2016
  9. AnakChan
    Master & Dynamic MH40 Impressions: A fashionable headphone that's comfortable on the head and decent tonal signature
    Written by AnakChan
    Published Sep 6, 2015
    3.5/5,
    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.
     
    P1050320.jpg
     

    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!
     
    P1050314.jpg
     

    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

    P1050321.jpg
     
    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.
      shoe73 and trellus like this.
    1. View previous replies...
    2. peterdc
      They have the potential to be as deep and punchy as the amazing (underrated) Blue Mofi. I wonder how much the sound was compromised by the excellent design and build. Not a huge fan of the HD600. Preferred the Fidelio X2 but I never use them so selling them.
      peterdc, Oct 6, 2015
    3. AnakChan
      IMHO, I'd be curious to see if the makers would be keen on trying smaller drivers for the same sized housing. Alternatively is to have bigger housing however that'll change the aesthetics of the headphone considerably.
      AnakChan, Oct 6, 2015
    4. vnmslsrbms
      Fully agree.  The form factor is just about perfect for portable use.  With the shape of the HP maybe they can put two drivers?  One for bass?  like one of those racetrack shaped speakers to compensate for a smaller driver for the mids and highs.  Anyway, yeah they probably should hire a better engineer to create a sound that's up to par with the great (not just mediocre) headphones that we have today. 
      vnmslsrbms, Oct 6, 2015
  10. BloodyPenguin
    The Master & Dynamic MH40 is a Classy Beast
    Written by BloodyPenguin
    Published Sep 18, 2015
    4.0/5,
    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).
     
    P1040573.jpg
     


    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.
     
    P1040557.jpg
     
    P1040558.jpg
     
     

    *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.

    P1040576.jpg
     


    *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.  
     
    P1040572.jpg
     


    *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.
     
    P1040569.jpg
     
    P1040570.jpg
     
     

    *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.
     
    P1040575.jpg
     


    *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.
     
     
    P1040574.jpg
     

    ..
      shoe73, trellus, ryanjsoo and 4 others like this.
    1. View previous replies...
    2. BloodyPenguin
      @lehoang15tuoi, Please send me the ATH M50X, Momentum and M100 and I will let you know!  

      To be honest, the collection of Closed Back Headphones I have tried is very limited.  Though, come tomorrow, I am receiving a pair of closed back that has the exact same MSRP as the MH40 and has not been reviewed yet here on Head-Fi.  Look for that review by hopefully by the weekend.
       
      BloodyPenguin, Sep 21, 2015
    3. kutizoltan83
      I have had these HM40s and can tell that you are actually paying for the build and look... :frowning2:
      If you are seriously into good sound quality skip these and any V-Moda cans. The Audio Technica M50x is the best sounding headphone in its class. and it's quite comfortable and well built as well.
      (The new or old Sennheiser Momentums are OK if you prefer a bit smoother or relaxed sound.)
      kutizoltan83, Sep 21, 2015
    4. Seamaster7
      can i replace these cables with my own? or am i limited to the cables that come out of the box? thank you.
      Seamaster7, Sep 24, 2015