Master & Dynamic MH40 Wireless Review

Master & Dynamic has established itself as a premium player in the consumer headphone space, offering headphones that, while expensive, offer great sound quality and a unique, classic design. The original MH40 headphones were a perfect example of this, and now the company is revamping some of its best-loved headphones with a second generation.

The new model offers a number of upgrades over the last generation, including new drivers for better sound quality, customizable audio in a companion app, and more. And, they retain the classic design that makes Master & Dynamic headphones stand out.

But they are also expensive. Very expensive.

A good audiophile choice

If you’re willing to buy a stylish pair of headphones with true audio quality sound (and can live without features like active noise cancellation), the Master & Dynamic MH40 are well worth the investment.

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Master & Dynamic hasn’t really changed their design language in the last five years or so, and I’m glad. The MH40 still offers a distinctive design that screams premium, and while I’m sure the company will one day evolve the overall look, I hope it treads very carefully when it does.

The headphones are mainly made of high quality materials. You’ll get ultra-soft lambskin on the ears and headband, plush padding for a comfortable fit, and a metal frame that ensures the headphones won’t break easily. Despite the use of metal, the headphones remain lightweight, which certainly plays a part in how comfortable they are.

I really like the color schemes offered as well. We’re looking at the silver and brown model, and it looks great — but if you want a more tiered look, you can also get a black-on-black model, or you can go for black and gunmetal, silver and navy, and silver and gray.

The controls are also easy to use. There’s a power button that doubles as a Bluetooth button, along with volume and playback controls. The controls are separated and defined enough to be easy to use by feel when wearing the headphones, which is always nice.

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Master & Dynamic is working on their implementation and while it’s not as impressive as what Sony offers, it’s still a step in the right direction.

Key features of the app are the ability to monitor your headphones battery and tweak the EQ, from four different presets. These presets include “Bass Boost”, “Bass Cut”, “Podcast” and “Audiophile”. Some of the presets are self-explanatory, but Podcast is built to help you make voices sound fuller, while Audiophile is there to provide a flat frequency response.

There’s also a Sidetone toggle, which basically lets you hear your own voice in your headphones when you’re on the phone — similar to the Sidetone feature on the PlayStation.

That’s pretty much all the features you’ll need for these headphones, but I wish there was a custom EQ option that allowed you to cut and boost to get your sound just the way you like it. Headphone manufacturers often want to retain some level of control over the audio experience, and that may be why there isn’t a custom EQ here. Regardless, giving users a little more control is always helpful, especially when users don’t have to dive into custom EQ settings if they don’t want to or don’t know how to use an EQ.

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The MH40 headphones feature improved 40mm titanium drivers that deliver a better audio experience than before. That’s not to say the sound on the original was bad — far from it — but this is an upgrade from an already excellent set of headphones.

The sound signature is designed to be warm and comfortable and is perfectly balanced. The bass is heavy and satisfying, the mids are nice and present, and the highs aren’t too shrill. Everything comes together extremely well, creating an enjoyable listening experience no matter what kind of music you listen to.

On AC/DC’s “Back in Black,” the cymbals offered a nice sparkle, while the guitars had plenty of bite and the drums and bass had a bass response that many headphones fail to produce. On Kendrick Lamar’s “Alright,” Lamar’s voice took on a cut in the mids and highs, which contrasted nicely with the deep bass that gives the track so much body. Frequency response is generally better than what you’ll get from the Sony WH-1000XM5 or AirPods Max headphones, by far. A good example of this is at the extremes — these headphones are able to accurately produce deeper bass and higher highs than other options out there.

Excellent sound quality is supported by updated codec support. Via Bluetooth 5.2, you’ll get AAC, SBC and aptX Adaptive support, meaning you can stream up to 24-bit/96kHz. For the uninitiated, CD quality, often hailed as the standard in modern audio quality, has a bit rate of 44.1 kHz. Of course, if you have access to high-quality audio streams, you’ll be able to take advantage of them with these headphones.

Of course, sound quality is further enhanced by the fact that it’s customizable via in-app EQ. As someone with a background in audio production, I prefer a flat frequency curve — but some people prefer more bass and others more detail in the high-end. I wish there was a custom EQ option, but the defaults are a good start. Overall, I preferred the way the headphones sounded without any of the presets activated, but it’s worth experimenting a bit to see if there’s something you like.

You can also listen from multiple sources. As we’d expect from a modern pair of headphones in this price range, you’ll get Bluetooth Multipoint, so you can connect to two devices at once and have the headphones swap between them easily.

Battery life on the original MH40 headphones was good, at 18 hours. The second generation headphones, on the other hand, amp things up

“Good” to “Good”, at 30 hours. For comparison, the Sony WH-1000XM5 headphones also offer 30 hours with noise cancellation on, or an even better 40 hours with it off. The AirPods Max offer a robust battery life of up to 20 hours, although anecdotally I don’t think I’ve ever actually gotten there with the AirPods Max I use regularly.

With nearly twice the battery life, most casual listeners will get at least a week or two before needing to switch. When you need to charge, you won’t have to wait long — the headphones will have 6 hours of playback in just 15 minutes of charging.

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These are expensive headphones and honestly, they should include noise cancellation. Master & Dynamic has other noise-canceling headphones, like the $600 MW75. But nowhere else do you have to pay as much for a commodity feature as ANC these days.

If the lack of noise cancellation is something that turns you off (which would be completely understandable at this price point), it’s worth considering the Sony WH-1000XM5 headphones, which cost $400 and are our overall pick for the best headphones for ear right now. The AirPods Max are also worth considering for those with other Apple devices, as they offer some of the best noise cancellation out there right now, even at a lower price than the Master & Dynamic MW75 headphones.

Premium headphones are getting more expensive, and while there are plenty of other options at $400, that’s still a lot of money for a pair of headphones. Not to beat a dead horse, but this is especially true given the lack of noise cancellation.

If you’re willing to spend that much and prioritize sound quality, then headphones are still a great choice. But that doesn’t make them any less expensive overall.

The headphones offer an overall comfortable fit, but are slightly small for those with large heads, like me. I used them with the arms fully extended and would like to extend them a bit more.

It wasn’t necessarily a dealbreaker for me, though. With the arms fully extended, the headphones were still relatively comfortable, thanks in large part to the lightweight design and plush memory foam padding on the earcups and under the headband. After long periods of listening, they felt slightly uncomfortable on top of the head, but that’s normal.

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Product card highlighting Sony WH-1000XM5 headphones

Headphones Airpods Max

Active noise cancellation




Transparency mode




Battery life (nominal)

Up to 30 hours

Up to 30 hours

Up to 20 hours

Wired support





Silver metal/Brown leather, Black metal/Black leather, Silver metal/Grey leather, Silver metal/Navy leather, Gunmetal/Black leather

Black White

Space Grey, Silver, Green, Pink, Sky Blue

Software support

iOS, Android

iOS, Android



0.6 kg

0.55 kg

0.85 kg





Master & Dynamic MH40 headphones are built for those who want great sound quality and can live without the basic features like AirPods Max and Sony WH-1000XM5 headphones. Don’t expect location-based profiles, noise cancellation and fancy transparency features. These headphones may be wireless and they may have an app, but you don’t get anything more high-tech than that.

What they do have, however, is a sound quality that easily surpasses this competition. Sharp-eared listeners will love the level of detail these headphones can produce. Bass and high-end extension are excellent here, and Master & Dynamic’s audio pedigree seriously stands out.

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