When it comes to wireless headphones, its hard to beat Master & Dynamic for sheer style and distinction. The new M&D MH40 Wireless Over-Ear Headphones are no exception. M&D has stuck with its unique retro aviator aesthetic that combines premium leathers and metals for a truly stunning-looking headset.
Global retailers like Amazon for approximately $450 USD or approximately $700 AUD; exchange rate permitting. That’s a phenomenal amount of money to be sure but if you were looking at a Master & Dynamic headphone, you shouldn’t really be surprised. This is a premium headset through and through.
The MH40 isn’t a new model but is certainly one of the most iconic of the Master & Dynamic lineup. It’s a case of “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”. While it looks the same, M&D have made several improvements to the MH40 to make it better in every way than the previous generations and they are definitely for the better.
Master & Dynamic MH40 Review
The MH40 is an Over-ear, wireless Bluetooth headphones and as far as those go, probably the most beautiful set of headphones you can buy. M&D uses lightweight anodized aluminum for the frame and a coated canvas offer durability. The headband is made with lambskin-leather and ear pads are so soft and comfortable. The clamping force is just right and the lightweight of the headphone steers clear of pressure on the top of your head.
The MH40 headphones are exceptional in their attention to detail. The headband stitching, textured metal hangers with adjustable levels, and metallic grill on the earcups make for a stunning headset. Its premium price is justified by the high-quality craftsmanship, and it is sure to catch the eye of anyone who sees it. M&D offers the MH40 in 7 colors, but my personal favorite is the Silver Metal with Brown leather, which I am reviewing.
On a personal note, aside from the excellent M&D MG20 gaming headset, I’ve always had issues with the shape and size of M&D earcups. They always cause some really uncomfortable pinch on the outer edges of my ears after very short periods of wear. The same is true here with the MH40 which really sucks because they are otherwise lovely to wear.
I’m not a big fan of the button design on the M&D headphones. While the Power/Bluetooth pairing button is flush with the metallic ring on the right earcup, which is fine since it’s not used frequently, the media controls are quite small and uncomfortable to press. The volume buttons are tiny knubs and the pause/play button is only slightly larger. It took me a while to even find them when I first used the headset.
Of course, you don’t need to use those buttons so it’s not really a deal breaker unless you are someone who intends to use the MH40 for doing a lot of hands-free phone calls and music while working out.
Connectivity, battery life and performance
The MH40 are Bluetooth 5.2 with quick pairing so the minute you set it to pairing, smartphones and Windows PC’s immediately notify you of their presence. This makes connecting to new devices a breeze. In my testing while I could get the MH40 to connect to my iPhone and PC at the same time, it would only respond to one or the other depending on which one connected first.
However, when a phone call would come through, the headset would immediately default to the phone connection which is what you want, I suppose. The connection is rock solid and has a great range of about 30 meters from the host device. It’s also pretty good at holding on to that connection and doesn’t abuse your ears with squeals and static as it grasps for connection out of range.
Battery life is one thing that will have owners of previous generation of MH40’s scrambling to upgrade. This new MH40 boasts 30 hours of battery life on a single charge — that’s a 67% improvement in battery life over its predecessor. That’s not the greatest battery life you’ll find on a Bluetooth headset; I’ve seen up to 60 hours on Sennheiser’s Momentum 4. However, for most people, that’s about three full workdays of use which is more than enough.
Thanks to some USB-C fast charging, you can quickly get 6 hours of use with just 15min of charging. Even better, the MH40’s will deliver audio over the same USB-C cable to your device which means you don’t have to sit around twiddling your thumbs waiting for it to charge. M&D includes a USB-C to 3.5mm cable for use with devices that don’t support Bluetooth — think Xbox or PlayStation console or even airplanes. This makes the MH40 a totally viable gaming headset for those who want to eke the most out of their hefty investment.
Audio and microphone performance
Being a Master & Dynamic headphone, audio performance was always going to be excellent. The MH40 utilizes improved 40mm titanium drivers that produce a rich and warm sound signature. The bass is solid without being pronounced while the mids are rich and comfortable. There’s plenty of detail in the high notes without ever being fatiguing.
Listening to Fields of Dusk from the Star Wars Jedi Survivor soundtrack, the leading drums are deep and resonant while the strings from the violins tug at my heart strings. The same was true for another favorite, Beats of Water Drops from the Genshin Impact soundtrack. Its a clever mix of deep house bass beats with classical quartet violins on top and both come through very cleanly and detailed on the MH40.
Turning to some vocals, Iniko’s vocals in her viral hit Jericho shine against the bass beats allowing you to clearly hear what she’s saying while still bobbing your head. Listening to Coi Leray’s hit Players convinced me that Hip-hop lovers will have a great time with the MH40.
And thanks to the excellent stereo imaging, I could easily pinpoint where enemies were approaching from even when they were off screen. And though I didn’t test any first-person shooters, I’m confident that you will get great enemy positioning and accuracy too.
However, one thing blatantly missing at this price point is Active noise cancellation. The MH40 offers only passive noise reduction which is also very dependent on the fit on your ears — and being an on-ear design, that means not so much. It’s kinda funny to buy a pair of Bluetooth headphones without some form of ANC these days and it’s strange the M&D didn’t include it on such a premium headset.
As for the microphones, the MH40 has a dual microphone array with a proprietary noise reduction technology. For the most part, it sounds fine but there is clearly some compression from the noise reduction tech that makes my voice fade in and out. Sometimes callers will need you to repeat something you said especially if you’re outdoors on the street and the headphone is trying hard to cancel out the background noise. It’s perfectly usable for your phone and video calls but nothing spectacular.
It’s understandable that you may be drawn to the Master & Dynamic MH40 wireless headphones for their unique design, aesthetic appeal, and impressive audio performance. They certainly have a lot to offer, including hi-res audio and compatibility with consoles, which makes them a great choice for both gamers and music enthusiasts. However, with a price tag of $700 Australian dollars, they may not be the best investment for those who don’t have a strong brand loyalty.
There are other headphones on the market, such as the Sony WH1000-XM5, that offer similar features at a much lower cost. In fact, these headphones are priced at less than half the cost of the MH40 and provide greater comfort, as well as the world’s best noise cancelling, which the MH40 lacks.
While the MH40 is undoubtedly an excellent headset, it may not be the most practical choice in this highly competitive Bluetooth headset market, especially with the availability of better and more affordable models. However, if you prioritize exceptional detail and performance in your gear, the MH40 is certainly worth considering.
Master & Dynamic kindly provided the MH40 Over-ear Wireless Headphones to PowerUp Gaming for the purpose of this review.