Have a close look at the pictures I took of these headphones. Everything from the glorious leather headband to the metal pivots to the chamfering of the ear cups has been meticulously thought out and built with a minimal fault tolerance. In my countless hours of listening to these Master & Dynamic headphones, I’ve never heard a creak or found a construction flaw. And after two weeks of multi-hour usage, the Master & Dynamic MH40 headphones continue to look as pristine as the first moment I opened the package.
I think it’s important for any piece of technology to have a tactile, instinctive appeal that makes you want to preserve and take care of it. And that’s one of the things the Master & Dynamic headphones have going for it. It also receives extra marks on long-term buyer satisfaction; the cable, which can typically wear down over time in a pair of headphones from accidental pulls or wear and tear, is removable and thus easily replaced. The overall style of the headphones is reminiscent of the retro-futuristic aura of The Rocketeer graphic novel and Fritz Lang’s Metropolis.
The medium-brown leather looks and feels soft and luxurious, especially on the earcups. It bounces back in an elegant fashion when the pressure is relieved. This does not only exude grandiose aesthetics, but also ensures the wear and tear on the earcups can be contained to a minimum. Further, the earcups cupped my ears in a gentle yet solid fashion, which was effective in isolating outside noise while still feeling airy and non-claustrophobic.
So these headphones are ultra comfortable, luxurious, and good at noise isolation. But how good do they sound? This is the part where my heart blooms because, although it’s not the most accurate sounding set, the MH400s are one of the sweetest sounding headphones I’ve tried within their $500 price range. The headphones have a slightly softened, aristocratic sound that’s never sharp and offensive. Even bad-sounding music becomes more sonically enjoyable.
I tried the original CD pressing of Metallica’s Master of Puppets, which notoriously sounds harsh to the point of torturous. I also tried a couple of my own songs that were purposely EQ’d badly in my recording studio. What kind of sorcery is this? The polite sound signature, characterized by plentiful bass, is extremely consumer-friendly. It’s hard to imagine anyone not liking it.
Listening to “Spectromagic Medley” performed by David Benoit from the Disney album Music From The Park and Take 6’s rendition of “When You Wish Upon A Star” from the same album, plus my usual Judas Priest’s Ram It Down album, every single song sounded lush and multi-layered. Even when compared with great headphones that are a bit more expensive, I still prefer the sonic characteristics of the MH40
One thing I can certainly praise these headphones for is the soundstage. For a pair of headphones (which don’t leak out much sound at all, by the way), these do a terrific job of making music, movies, and games sound wide and expansive. The precision of the stereo imaging and the placement of instruments are of the sort of standard I expect from a higher priced pair of headphones.
I highly recommend the Master & Dynamic MH40s, distributed in Canada by Erikson Consumer, for looks, luxury, and sound. I would consider these headphone to be an affordable luxury.