Master & Dynamic has gained a reputation for its headphones’ design, and its latest product, the second-generation MH40 Wireless, is certainly no exception.
The headphones employ the signature mix of metal and leather found in the wired MH40 which arrived all the way back in 2014.
A wireless version arrived in 2019 and now an updated wireless model makes its debut, boasting improvements in audio quality, battery life, and other areas.
I’ve long been a fan of the Master & Dynamic brand, taking care to keep its products in tip-top shape and using them for truly enjoying music. I don’t use them all of the time, but when I do, it’s truly a treat.
Let’s take a look at the new MH40 and compare it to its predecessor. Is it worth spending $100 more for the 2023 edition?
The over-ear headphones feature aluminum construction and a coated canvas-wrapped headband color-matched to removable lambskin leather ear pads. With all of those high-end materials, the MH40 weighs 280 grams, but it still feels lightweight and comfortable and it looks every bit like you’d expect. There’s something timeless and “cool” in the design and I’m glad to see Master & Dynamic doesn’t change things up.
The cushiony ear pads keep you from feeling the outer rim of the ear cups. Like others in the brand’s lineup, these are soft to the touch, comforting, and comfortable — even in longer listening sessions.
The on-board controls reside on the right ear cup, with a three-button array positioned near the headband hinge, giving you controls for calls, music, voice assistant, and volume.
The M&D Connect app is the companion software for the MH40. Here, battery level is the most prominently displayed item, along with a note to advise if the headphones are up to date in regards to the firmware.
The app’s sound menu provides four different EQ presets: Bass Boost, Bass Cut, Podcast, and Audiophile – along with the option to enable Sidetone for phone calls. This feature basically lets you to hear your own voice in your headphones when you’re on the phone.
While the Sidetone feature is useful, it can only be activated within the app, which is sort of wonky. You’ll need to access the menu before making a call. I’d love to see the mobile app let me customize the buttons on the MH40; I can imagine some who would prefer to activate Sidetone instead of using their voice assistant. The controls menu lets you customize the device name, shut-off timer, and even trigger a factory reset.
I’m glad to see the M&D Connect app evolving and look forward to seeing new features added over time. I might suggest the ability to create a custom equalizer setting or perhaps an audio test that lets new users better balance the sound based on the individual. As we age our ears don’t always hear the same from right to left and certain frequencies are more difficult to pick up.
The MH40 headphones are equipped with enhanced 40mm titanium drivers that deliver an even more impressive audio performance than their predecessors. While the original version was already outstanding, this new model provides a noticeable improvement to an already excellent set of headphones.
The sound quality is deliberately designed to be warm and pleasing, with a perfect balance across all frequencies. The bass is deep and gratifying, the mids are rich and prominent, and the highs are not overly sharp. The overall result is a remarkably cohesive sound that creates a delightful listening experience, regardless of the music genre.
Master & Dynamic headphones are my favorite option for those times when I want to immerse myself in Pink Floyd’s Wish You Were Here as they seem to pick every little nuance. Moreover, they really show off that warm and soothing sound, rich bass, and crisp reedy saxophone found on Shine On You Crazy Diamond (Pts. 1-5).
The headphones feature up-to-date codec support, including AAC, SBC, and aptX Adaptive, which means you can stream audio at a high quality of up to 24-bit/96kHz. This is higher than the standard CD quality, which has a bitrate of 44.1kHz. I’ve loved working my way through my favorite albums with the second-gen MH40 headphones.
The MH40 headphones by Master & Dynamic now offer a longer battery life of up to 30 hours, compared to the first wireless version which had 18 hours of battery life. While this is fantastic, it’s worth pointing out that this is not as long as some models that have Active Noise Cancellation (ANC).
The headphones have a quick-charge feature that provides up to six hours of use after only 15 minutes of charging. Most users will be able to get a full week or more of usage without worrying about charging.
The headphones also come with a 1.5-meter audio cable if you want to go wired, as well as a carrying case that’s the same premium quality as the headphones themselves.
Tthe MH40 have Bluetooth Multipoint, which allows you to connect to two devices simultaneously and switch between them easily.
ANC is something that many people find very useful for blocking out background noise but it won’t matter much if you’re primarily using the headphones in quieter environments. That is to say these are not your headphones for mowing the grass or working out at the gym.
There’s a flight adapter included in the box which makes it convenient to listen to content when flying on an airplane. It’s not something that everyone needs, but it’s helpful to have and speaks to that $100 price delta from the first generation.
The Master & Dynamic second-generation MH40 Wireless offers great sound quality and design. However, compared to similarly priced alternatives, the headphones lack features such as noise-canceling and wireless charging. Despite that, the MH40 Wireless is an excellent option for those looking for a stylish and comfortable pair of headphones that deliver great audio quality.
I used to be skeptical to the concept of spending more than a few hundred dollars on a pair of headphones but my opinion changed with time. I can speak from experience and say that Master & Dynamic’s products stand the test of time. Its products are a case of “getting what you pay for” and some of that definitely comes from the build quality and design.
If you’re shopping on price, comparing bullet points, and looking for the “most” you can get for your money, there are headphones that will beat the new MH40 and its $400 sticker.
On paper and in practice, the second generation bests its predecessor in a few key areas. Battery life is boosted, you get a newer version of Bluetooth, added codec support, mobile app support, and a flight adapter. Then you also get a souped-up 40mm driver that tweaks your experience for the better. Oh, and they’re available in five colors instead of three.
I have no reservations in recommending the MH40 Wireless 2nd Gen to anyone who will listen. This goes double for people who value craftsmanship and design.
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