Despite costing up to $ 300 or $ 400, headphones like a Bose, 700, Beats Solo Pro or Sony WH-1000XM3 noise canceling headset don't think they should cost that much. Their sound quality, comfort and ability to take full advantage of ambient sound with noise cancellation are not ready for debate. But their plastic designs just don't make the best impression.
Inverse can be said for the new MH40 Wireless from Master & Dynamic, a wireless version of the original ear cans. They are among the rare $ 300 headphones that actually look and feel worth the investment. Pure leather ear cups and a smooth canvas headband help achieve that effect, but the aluminum detail found throughout the MH40 Wireless drives it home. As a build quality drink, these headphones set the tone, but more importantly, the feeling that I was worth my money.
That feeling does not extend, at least so completely, to the sound quality of these headphones or their feature settings, which is limited. Compared to the original M&40 of M&D, and even to its new MW07 Plus really wireless headphones, the MH40 Wireless's performance sound is poorer, with too much emphasis on high frequency. Usually I can count on this brand to go heavy on midas and heels, without exaggerating at any end. It results in a warm, exciting sound. And while these new wireless headsets are nice to hear in the office (especially since they can keep in touch with my phone and laptop at the same time), they sound noticeably compromised compared to other M&D products.
This may be because the MH40 cordless headphones use 40mm drivers instead of the same 45mm wired drivers. However, this is not a huge difference in size, so I am not convinced that this is the only reason for the change in sound. M&D told me that it is trying to make these headphones lighter so they can be comfortable enough for all-day use.
It achieved that goal by replacing the heavier steel frame of the original with aluminum details. And this fixes one of the biggest problems with the original MH40s. Their overwhelming weight meant that more clamping force was needed to stay vegetarian. These new headphones weigh less and, as a result, are much more comfortable to carry, so the ergonomics change is one I can bring back. Of course, this change is also a cost-cutting measure, and other adjustments to, for example, drivers, ear cups, or other internal hardware are likely to be made in such a way as to affect sound quality.
It's not that the Wireless MH40 sounds bad, they don't. Simply put, based on my experience with Sony's wireless headsets, 2018 leaders and my colleague Chris Welch's collective knowledge of recent competing models, they don't sound nearly as good as $ 300 can get you elsewhere.
As for performing the main tasks of modern wireless headphones – like playing music, handling phone calls and using your preferred voice assistant to tell you the time or the next event on your schedule – the MH40 can handle it all. But they do not go far beyond this small minimum of functionality that I expect to expect from headphones, even those that are cheaper than this model. These have no noise cancellation or transparency mode, and navigation keys are difficult to argue with – and I haven't gotten better at controlling them yet.
These buttons burst behind the barrel barrel, where the headband locks onto the cup on the right ear. Buttons should be easy to find, but they blend in with the M&D wireless headset a little too well, in competition with other touch designs that can easily be mistaken for buttons. For example, the volume knob is too close to the ear cup hinge, which feels like a button. It helps the volume keys and multifunctions to each other, so that once you find one, you find them all. But even so, their unreliable positioning makes them prone to wrong pressures, and it just feels cramped, especially given that the whole glass on the left ear goes unused. The right ear cup accommodates each button, including the power button (which doubles as a pairing button), a USB-C charging port, and two beam-forming microphones.
M&D requires 16 hours of battery life for the wireless MH40. That's less than most other competing wireless headsets at this price. It is a pardon if they make the claim, but they failed to do so during my week with them. Despite having an energy-saving feature that automatically turns them off after 10 minutes of inactivity, they failed to reach the 16-hour mark after each recharge. I estimate that I had about 12 hours of combined use each time. Upside down, these headsets charge quickly via USB-C. They can be fully charged in about an hour, according to my testing.
If you are looking for the best sound and most complete set of features (why not you?) Available in several 300 headphones + headphones, there are other options you should look for – namely the ones I listed above: WH-1000XM3 on Sony, Noise Canceling Noise 700 or Beats Solo Pro. The way the look of the Master & Dynamic MH40 wireless is their biggest contribution, and it's worth it, if not much else going on inside.
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