Bottom line: There's much to love about these headphones, starting with their look. However, key problems remain.
Nice color choices
Battery life doesn't match promises
Small onboard buttons
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At the $300 price point, there are certain things most expect from a pair of wireless headphones. Sound and comfort are increasingly important at this level as one moves away from the cheaper cans. Still, style and build quality aren't nearly as essential, as the continued popularity of plastic headphones from Beats, Sony, and others suggest.
Master & Dynamic's (M&D) recently released over-ear MH40 Wireless headphones offer an odd mix of style over substance for $300. Like the company's other audio products, the MH40 Wireless headphones are well-made and look oh-so-cool. In terms of sound, however, the company has done much better previously as I'll explain below.
Celebrating the first
What are the MH40 Wireless headphones?
Five years ago, New York-based M&D (opens in new tab) made a splash on the audio scene by introducing its first set of headphones, the wired MH40. Since then, the company has steadily released other audio products, including numerous headphones, earbuds, a concrete speaker, and more.
Proving you always remember your first, M&D recently released a wireless version of the MH40. Available in three color combinations, the MH40 Wireless cans feature all-premium materials, including lightweight anodized aluminum, coated canvas, and lambskin leather. Inside, you'll find custom 40mm Neodymium drivers that promise "rich, expansive sound."
Featuring Bluetooth 5.0, the MH40 Wireless headphones include quick pairing technology with a 30m connectivity range. Wirelessly, the headphones promise up to 18 hours of playtime between charges. Thanks to quick charging, it takes just 30 minutes to add nine hours to the charge.
MH40 Wireless headphones: What I like
Out of the box, the MH40 Wireless headphones feel like you spent a fortune thanks to the materials deployed. Better still, at just 276 grams, the headphones are much lighter than the wired version, which makes a difference over long periods. Adding to the joy factor are the magnetic lambskin ear pads that feel nice to the touch and fit comfortably over the ears. The canvas headband is also comfortable.
Bluetooth 5.0 is also a great addition here as previous M&D headphone models, including the MW65 and MW60, have older Bluetooth versions. In this case, Bluetooth 4.2 and Bluetooth 4.1, respectively.
To get to $299, M&D no doubt had to cut corners it didn't have to do on its most expensive headphones, the MW65, which I gave four stars earlier this year. Some of these cost-saving measures are acceptable, while others are not.
For example, unlike some reviewers, I'm okay with M&D not releasing these headphones with noise cancellation. Not offering built-in Google Assistant (also the MW65) is also fine.
MH40 Wireless headphones: What I don't like
Unfortunately, the MH40 Wireless over-ear cans are poorly executed in many respects. First, though quick charging works as expected here, I was never able to enjoy these headphones anywhere near the promised 18 hours between charges. Instead, I counted 12, 13, and 15 hours over three cycles.
For those with large fingers, the onboard controls on the MH40 Wireless headphones are also problematic. On the bottom of the right cup, you'll find a tiny on/off button next to the USB-C charging port. The same cup also has buttons for volume and muting. Also tiny, these buttons are difficult to find when wearing the headphones because of their placement, as you can see below.
Finally, when it comes to sound, the MH40 Wireless headphones are also lacking, although I'm not quite sure why.
Don't get me wrong, the sound here isn't bad. However, it never goes beyond ordinary and sometimes feels washed out, at best. Also, the bass is mostly missing. What's strange is the MH40 Wireless has the same custom 40mm drivers found on the MW65, which I found to have a well-balanced sound. Whatever the reason, the MH40 Wireless lacks the sound qualities I've experienced on previous M&D products, including the exemplary MW07 Plus earbuds.
Some pros, many cons
MH40 Wireless headphones
M&D's first product, the MH40 headphones, finally got the wireless treatment, which was richly deserved. Unfortunately, the MH40 Wireless headphones are lacking in important ways that could cause many to pause. From poorly executed physical buttons to unfulfilled promised battery life, the MH40 Wireless headphones are disappointing on many levels. And yet, like all M&D products, they are also beautiful, comfortable, and no-doubt will be long-lasting.
My advice: If you're new to M&D and find these discounted, by all means, give them a test drive. Otherwise, keep looking and consider other M&D headphones or wait until next year when new goodies will surely appear from one of my favorite tech companies.
Beautiful, but lacking
Newbies will enjoy.
Master & Dynamic offers great audio products. Though the MH40 Wireless headphones aren't one of my favorites, they are still be a great choice to consider for some users!
Have any questions?
If you have any questions or concerns about the MH40 Wireless headphones or audio products in general, let us know below.
Bryan M. Wolfe has written about technology for over a decade on various websites, including TechRadar, AppAdvice, and many more. Before this, he worked in the technology field across different industries, including healthcare and education. He’s currently iMore’s lead on all things Mac and macOS, although he also loves covering iPhone, iPad, and Apple Watch. Bryan enjoys watching his favorite sports teams, traveling, and driving around his teenage daughter to her latest stage show, audition, or school event in his spare time. He also keeps busy walking his black and white cocker spaniel, Izzy, and trying new coffees and liquid grapes.
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