Usually when you read a review about a product, there’s always some witty catchphrase to reel you in, so here goes: Master & Dynamic’s M40 headphones ($399) are the classiest pair of headphones that you’re going to fine on the market, and you’re going to pay every dollar for them.
Having the opportunity to review these headphones, I was already excited. I’ve had Bluetooth headphones, corded headphones, headphones that were described as premium, and even some that were labeled as “industrial”, whatever that means. But the MH40’s are in a class all their own but let’s get one thing out of the way, they look damn good. The headphones themselves certainly aren’t cheap at $399, but let me tell you exactly why you should go sacrifice the Chipotle and maybe even a haircut for this investment.
Designed of cowhide and lambskin, the MH40’s certainly are “premium”, so you can check that off. Walking around in public, these headphones are beautiful, and will garner some attention. Having received the blue and black colorway, I even had a woman come up to me and say “what are those?”. Now be clear, she wasn’t the most knowledgeable about quality headphones, so she mentioned that her son had a pair of those headphones with the lower-cased “b” on them, so I had to explain to her exactly why her son needs to upgrade his listening experience. It went something like this:
The MH40’s might look heavy on your head, but trust me, they are light with or without a hat on. The sturdy build of them can be felt when you move your head, and you don’t find yourself having to adjust them on your head out of habit like you would most of the headphones on the market.
With the sides of the headphones being cowhide, you’ll get yourself a couple of glances from which never hurt anyone, and the leather on top of your head will be so soft, you don’t have to worry about the ever-present problem with plastic headphones where if you have hair, occasionally when maneuvering your cans it tugs at the longest piece it can find, randomly. Telling her this, she laughed and mentioned that her Pink “b” headphones did the same, sucks to be her… however I wasn’t anywhere near finished in my advertising my “glory cans”.
Attempting to cater to her, I told her there are a few colorways that she might look, one being the brown (tan) and silver, which is a bit unconventional, but as you probably know, I’m not a fan of just having “all black” products if I can get away from it. Master & Dynamics obviously has this colorway as well if you chose though. All of the colorways have the same anodized aluminum which gives the cans that “industrial” label we talked about early. The earcups are not only replaceable but they are memory foam as well so you’ll never have to deal with those annoying moments where your ears have discomfort after 45 minutes of listening, especially since the earcups aren’t your typical “circular”, but have more of a wide bottom round shape to them.. The headphones themselves have a mesh grill look to them, which to me look nice as well.
The MH40 come with two different cables, one with a multi functioning play/pause button and volume control, and then another without. Most folks will go for the volume control option, both being made of a woven fabric material. . Both of these cables come included in a round leather case that I thought was pretty slick. It’s not pocketable by any means, but it’s certainly a case you’d expect to get after spending $399, with the company’s logo engraved, coupled with leather and stitching.
Master & Dynamics made sure to make their MH40’s as luxurious as possible. On the right side of the MH40’s there is a convenient mute button that sits right outside of the oval engraved with the “M” logo. Sometimes your phone is in your pocket, or you are in the middle of typing up something and don’t want to switch back to iTunes to control your music, now you have the option to silence whatever you’re listening to.
Now enough with the actual look of them, you’re probably concerned about the audio quality. After using for two weeks, I can tell you for certain that you’re getting a sound to match the price tag. I’ve heard quite a few headphones out there on the market that claim to be the best listening experience, but it’s all subjective. While these aren’t the all-time greatest headphones you’ll ever hear, they perform well. The audio gets loud without getting muddy, and personally, I feel like they sound has improved over their own P5 headphones. Me personally, I feel they left a little to be desired in the bass aspect of it, but it tries it’s hardest. The bass is deep, however if you’re listening at a moderately high level, you’ll notice it’s just “loud noise”. Master & Dynamics did manage to get their trebles right. Listening to The Foreign Exchange’s “Work it To The Top”, the percussions, horns, and even keys all sounded crystal clear. Listening to Travis Scott’s “Rodeo” album obviously as a fan of Hip Hop, I cranked up the volume a bit, and vocals sounded nice, although the bass itself could’ve been a bit louder.
Overall, these are certainly a pair of headphones that people will say “who in their right mind would buy those”? But the price being the ONLY caveat of these headphones. An audiophile will tell you to look for things like frequency range and impedance, things that the average consumer probably will not care twice to even attempt to figure out. But unlike other consumer headphones, the MH40’s aren’t just a fashion accessory with a fancy name, they are an experience. Albeit an experience that should have Bluetooth connectivity, if you prefer a premiere sound experience with a luxury comfort feel to your headphones, I would like to think the MH40’s are the way to go. You can pick them up today at Master & Dynamic’s site for $399.
Source: Manufacturer supplied review units
What I like: Overall comfort; Volume control is not too far down the cable to access; Cable length is perfect length.
What Needs Improvement: For $399, Bluetooth should be included