Master Dynamic  - Master & Dynamic MH40

Master Dynamic

Master & Dynamic MH40: a soft and warm sound

Aprox. 170€ - see price -

The MH40 is quite difficult to pin down. Presented above all as a hi-fi headset by the New Yorkers of Master & Dynamic, it does, however, have more arguments for audiophiles and music lovers on the go. In addition to a quality sound experience, it promises rock-solid solidity thanks to the materials chosen with the greatest care. Let's see it all ...

Our review


With its vintage and modern looks, the Master & Dynamic MH40 is an example of a happy marriage between leather and metal. This design is not necessarily to everyone's taste, but we must admit that the MH40 is a solid helmet that benefits from a finish almost worthy of a silversmith's work. Nothing is left to chance and every detail is worked on. We will not detail the aspect, the photos speak for themselves. Be aware that the MH40 is only dressed in real leather (lamb for the pads, cattle for the rest) and metal (aluminum, stainless steel).

The auricles, of the circumaural type, have a thick memory foam. Headphones on, we notice that the pressure points are well distributed around the ear, whatever the morphology of the wearer. Eyeglass wearers will not be particularly disturbed before a good hour and a half of listening. No discomfort to report for long hair and piercings.

Despite its vintage appearance, the MH40 is no less clever. The ear cups can be very easily removed and replaced thanks to a magnet system. In addition, they pivot flat for a very pleasant wearing around the neck. The Master & Dynamic MH40 is not a featherweight (353 g), especially for nomadic use, but this impression is reduced once the helmet on the head, in particular thanks to a good distribution of the masses. The ventilation feeling is fairly correct given the design and the materials used.

The hoop is made up of large hinges and a system for attaching the ear cups, near which the graduations of the hoop size adjustment appear ... whose room for maneuver is not very large. The maximum size is barely enough to provide comfort to the biggest heads of our editorial staff.

The arch arises quite naturally on the top of the head; we would just have liked some memory foam to provide some comfort during extended listening. And if you wanted to use the MH40 on the go, know that it fits particularly well on the head. Expect to be hot in winter, and even hotter in summer.

Let's move on to the connectors and controls available. Unusual, a mute button located under the right atrium can be very practical in hi-fi use, because the cable provided for this purpose obviously has no controls. On the other hand, when traveling, you can use it to cut the music more quickly when sound or voice alerts are broadcast. Another welcome tip, two 3.5mm mini-jack connectors located on each headset allow you to choose the preferred side or to connect another headset in series to share the sound broadcast.

As we mentioned, the Master & Dynamic MH40 offers two cables: one of 2 m intended for hi-fi listening, and one of 1.2 m with a control / microphone for nomadic listening. A mini jack to 6.35mm jack adapter is also available. Everything can be stored in a leather case. Since we love to quibble, we would have preferred an elbow connector for the mobile cable… but the solidity and the thickness of the metal connector make us forget this regret. Like the headphones, the cables supplied are solid, especially thanks to their thickness and their braided finish. The real disappointment concerns the command which is only 100% compatible with iOS devices. It has two buttons for volume management (not functional on other OS) and a multifunction button (play, pause, navigation between tracks, call management). The microphone is offset higher on the cable, which allows it to be positioned as close as possible to the mouth.



With its dynamic 45 mm transducers, the Master & Dynamic MH40 is the very example of colorful but controlled sound reproduction. It will delight the ears in search of a sound that is both soft, warm and precise.

This impression of softness is played in 3 acts and begins with the low frequencies. Well dynamic and defined, these basses are reproduced fairly, with a slight reinforcement between 100 and 200 Hz which gives a little boost to the punchy and warm side. The bass is where you expect it, no more no less, even in the lowest frequencies. As the membranes are fairly reactive and precise, no masking effect is perceived in the upper frequency registers.

The other factor responsible for this softness is the dip around 5 kHz, which is less important when listening than the measurement would suggest. The sound is therefore far from being aggressive. For example, even the One of Us is The Killer and Ire Works albums of The Dillinger Escape Plan, known for their incisive mixes, pass like a gentle summer breeze. And this is not why the sources that are particularly expressed in this area (we think in particular of guitars, violins, trumpets, saxophones or flutes) are not defined, on the contrary. The voices, whether male or female, are not to be outdone, with clear rendering and a well respected timbre.

Last actress of this sweetness, the treble range brings the necessary shine, but without exaggeration. The MH40 is also quite airy for a closed helmet and it allows to distinguish fine details on sound elements normally very indented, such as reverb and room effects on snare drums played with brooms, for example. To perfect it all, the stereophony is broad with a very good separation of the sources. Each element that constitutes the sound scene is easy to identify and replace, whether in width or in depth.

The MH40 has excellent power and can be used without any problem with any type of portable or hi-fi device. With 93 mV to reach 94 dB, this helmet is placed in front of a number of mobile headsets (JBL Everest Elite 700 with 108 mV or B&O Play H7 with 116 mV). Even at very high listening levels, the distortion is extremely low.

In nomadic use, passive insulation is good for over-ear headphones. The design of the MH40 does not drastically reduce the surrounding noise in very noisy places (metro type), but it still allows you to enjoy its music without having to push the decibels to excess.

The mobile cable microphone does its job well and allowed us to be heard clearly during our conversations on the go. As often in very noisy environments, a passage directly through the microphone of the phone will be more effective to replace the voice above the hubbub. If you plan to use your MH40 at work, Master & Dynamic offers the Boom Mic, a boom microphone that plugs into the helmet. A luxury option billed at $ 129.



For the hybrid use it advocates, the MH40 does wonders. Helped by a very high quality construction and consistent accessories, it offers a very good listening quality with comfort. Its sound signature remains marked, but the choice is assumed and very well done.