style, build quality, and sound. These are the highlights of the new MH40, Master and Dynamic’s latest classic update, which harkens back to the New York City-based audio brand’s early days as a market disruptor in 2014.
In the year Not a good formula for $400 wireless headphones in 2023, especially compared to more modern feature-packed models like Sony’s WH-1000XM5 (9/10, WIRED Recommends). But these aren’t your average pair. Crafted from materials such as anodized aluminum, lambskin, and titanium, the MH40’s sleek design sets it apart from the monolithic plastic shells of most competitors. Given the current trend, their low stiffness is almost free, especially since the trade-off for many features is excellent sound and built to last.
The MH40 skips a lot of extras, but its biggest omission is the lack of noise canceling or transparency mode, all of which are prerequisites at this price point. You can get both features in M&D’s step-up pair, the MW75 (8/10, WIRED Recommends), for $200 more. The price and lack of ANC wouldn’t make the MH40 my first choice for most people, but the headphones’ excellent sound and headband style might be hard to pass up for those who don’t want noise cancellation. Or simply those willing to pay for premium headphones that stand out from the crowd.
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You can’t help but smile when you take the MH40 out of the box. They’re just beautiful cans, especially in our review unit’s burnt-brown leather (they’re also available in four colors, including solid black). The enclosed outdoor screens reflect the light like waves on a sun-drenched lake. The metal chassis feels elegant and solid at the same time, thanks to the solid base materials matched with the pointy aluminum finish.
Refined industrial posts on the sides provide smooth action and quant adjustments as you slide the ear cups into place. Even the sheepskin-clad panels are magnetically placed for easy removal and replacement. The pads offer one of the MH40’s best features: good noise isolation that kills a lot of the noise around you when you turn up some music. As I type this review, for example, I can’t hear my footsteps. That’s a great thing for couples who don’t have noise cancellation.
The headphones are very comfortable, thanks to a lot of memory foam, thanks to their quality leatherette, they are soft and comfortable when you wear them. They are not as comfortable as Sony’s classic WH- 1000XM4 or the new XM5, at least not yet, but there are a few headphones out there. My biggest complaint is the lack of a top layer that can wear on your head after a few hours. But the light weight of the MH40s (around 280 grams) keeps this mostly under control.