review

Master & Dynamic MH40 Wireless With Swivel Bar Headband

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Lookswise, the Master & Dynamic MH40 Wireless are a work of art and, they have a rather unique headband adjusting mechanism too that resembles a hydraulic apparatus.
Instead of, using a conventional sliding band that notches into place, the MH40 Wireless uses a swivel bar mechanism similar to the MW65 headphones but with unenclosed short rods that enable the headband to be adjusted in three stages.
The headband inner frame is made of anodized aluminum metal with two long metal wires on either side that span the length of the headset.
While the headband is very robust, the foam padding underneath the headband is very minimal and, just like with most headbands with thin padding, the longer the listening session the likelihood of developing a hotspot on the top of the head.
That said, thanks to the low weight of the MH40 Wireless headphones (276 grams), they don't weigh down too much on the head, which should minimize the occurrence of a hotspot. This is because the headphone weight is one of the main contributing factors to head discomfort.
The MH40 Wireless earcups are mounted on the headband via a spring-loaded pivoting anodized aluminum bracket that allows the earcups to tilt up and down in a more controlled fashion. Because of the spring mechanism, the earcups will recoil and will maintain the tilting angle of the earcup on the head, providing a more secure fit on the ears.
Besides being really comfy, thanks to memory foam. The MH40 Wireless earpads have a neat trick-up-their-sleeve as they are magnetized so, they can be removed very quickly by simply lifting the earpads with the fingers.
Removing the earpads reveals the speaker driver and the wording "patent pending", which probably refers to Master & Dynamic trying to protect the magnetic attachment of the earpads since there is currently no other headphones on the market with interchangeable magnetic earpads.
Another thoughtful touch you get with the MH40 Wireless headphones is the engraving of the GPS coordinates of a cultural attraction from around the world. Master & Dynamic engraves different coordinates on each headset, choosing from ten of their favorite cultural attractions.
This particular MH40 Wireless headset has the GPS coordinates 135.7727° E, which correspond to the Fushimi Inari Village in Kyoto, Japan. This village is popular for "Matcha Zenzai", which is green tea ice cream served with roasted green tea.
Aside from tilting, the MH40 Wireless earcups can swivel left to right 180 degrees, allowing you to keep the MH40 Wireless headphones on a desk with the earpads flush against the desk. Being able to keep the earpads flat makes them more secure to transport inside a bag.
Speaking of transportation, there is no hardshell carry case included but, the MH40 Wireless headphones do come with a snazzy canvas pinch pouch, which is large enough to store the headphones, as well as the included accessories inside the integrated zip compartment.
The accessories that are bundled with the MH40 Wireless include high quality USB cables, including a USB-A to USB-C charging cable and a USB-C to 3.5mm audio cable that converts the MH40 Wireless headphones into wired headphones. You can enjoy the MH40 Wireless via a wired connection to a phone or car stereo system.
The MH40 Wireless earcups have an over-ear design so, the foam earpad opening is designed to cover the ears and, should fit most ears comfortably.
The inner opening measures 3.5cm wide and 5.5cm tall, while the outside of the earpads measure 9cm tall and 7cm wide so, the earpads aren't overly large. This is a good thing if you want to wear glasses with the MH40 Wireless without the earpads riding on the arms of the glasses.
The construction of the MH40 Wireless earcups consist of an anodized aluminum frame with foam padding on one side and the speaker driver on the other. There are four anodized aluminum studs on the front side of the earcups, which is lined with textured leather that feels different to the soft leather used for covering the padding of the earpads.
The speaker driver housing features a centre grill section that resembles a microphone grille mesh. Air doesn't actually pass through the grille mesh into the speaker driver chamber since the MH40 wireless are closed-back headphones.
Being closed-back headphones, the MH40 Wireless has the distinctive closed-off soundstage you get with closed-back headphones. This means, the sound you get with the MH40 Wireless is isolated as sound doesn't leak outside nor outside noise leaks into the headphones. This is perfect if you plan to use the MH40 Wireless for commuting or monitoring audio without disturbing anyone.
The user control buttons are built-in to the right earcup with three buttons located just beneath the grille mesh circular metal housing. These three buttons are small pressable buttons made of silicone rubber. The buttons that have a "plus" and "minus" symbol control the volume up and down, while the middle button controls a total of five functions, namely play/pause, answer/end call, skip forward/skip back track and voice assistant.
Functionally, the buttons are responsive and tactile. However, if the MH40 Wireless won't be your first pair of headphones, operating the controls won't feel as intuitive at first because you will have to get used having the skipping of tracks controlled by the same button as opposed to having the skipping of tracks done via the volume up and down buttons.
The MH40 Wireless headphones can be manually powered off via the button located next to the dual-purpose USB-C charging/audio port. This button, which also activates the manual bluetooth pairing, is flat so, you cannot mistake it with the other ones.
On the other side of the USB-C port, there is a small status led to feedback bluetooth connection and battery life via different color leds, including green (high battery), amber (medium battery) and red (low battery). You will also hear a loud beeping, every few minutes, when battery is low.
During audio playback, the status led shows a constant solid white light and, while the white light doesn't turn off it's not overly bright to be annoying. You can get up to 16 hours of playtime on 50% volume and, while connected via bluetooth 5.0 connection. The wireless range is a solid 30 meter in direct line of sight.
While battery life isn't the longest compared to other headphones, the MH40 Wireless headphones recharge faster than most headphones on the market right now, taking just 1 hour 20 minutes from 0% to 100% and 30 minutes from 0% to 50%, which is blazingly fast. From a 30-minute charge, the MH40 Wireless can deliver up to 9 hours of playtime.
The audio sound and quality is top notch and, you can crank the volume very, very high without incurring any sound distortions. The 40mm neodymium drivers delivery plenty of bass with good vocal midrange and treble.
The default audio transmission is via SBC bluetooth codec although, the aptX bluetooth codec is also supported for high resolution. AptX provides lower latency (lag) when watching YouTube videos on Android devices, while the AAC codec does the same thing for iOS devices.
That said, AAC isn't supported by the MH40 Wireless headphones; hence you will experience noticeable lag when watching videos on an iPad or iPhone.
The MH40 Wireless microphone quality is excellent, thanks to dual microphones and microphone array beamforming integration, which amplifies the voice while reducing noise around for crystal clear conversations without having to shout.
Microphone array beamforming works similar to cVc (clear Voice capture), using noise reduction algorithms but, it does a slightly better job at handling the quality of the call. The MH40 headset is available to buy in several colorways, including the new Silver Metal/Navy Coated Canvas and Silver Metal/Cool Grey Coated Canvas (Studio 35 Edition By Kevin Durant).
Gadget Explained disclosure: As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases

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