While one of the best-looking sets of cans we’ve ever set our eyes on (and we’ve seen a lot), the original wired Master & Dynamic MH40 over-ears were a so-so sounding, overly expensive set of headphones.
A wireless version of the retro-styled headphones followed in 2019, but their audio performance once again failed to live up to their stylish design and hefty price tag when compared to the best wireless headphones.
The American company is aiming to address those shortcomings, however, with a newly-announced second-generation version of its Bluetooth MH40’s.
Maintaining the brushed aluminum and leather stylings of the original, the overhauled model boasts all-new 40mm titanium drivers, improved battery life and an upgraded microphone.
There’s still no active noise cancelling, but the V.2 MH40’s do get Bluetooth 5.2 along with support for AAC, SBC and aptX Adaptive codecs up to 24-bit/96kHz, plus an improved app that allows for custom EQ settings.
M&D claim the new driver configuration provides "crystal clear highs and full-sounding lows", while the battery will now last for 30 hours compared to the 18 hours of playback provided by their predecessors, (a quick-charge feature provides a full six hours of play time from just 15 minutes of juicing up).
All those new features come with a newly boosted price tag, with the MH40 V2’s coming in a full $100 more expensive than the V1’s at $400 (around £330 / AU$600), with five color options now available.
Analysis: Will it be more style over substance for the new MH40’s?
While their vintage looks are more than a little alluring, it’s been hard to fully recommend previous iterations of the MH40s.
There’s a lot of meaningful updates with the V2’s, with the boosted battery life and new drivers addressing some of the main criticisms of their forbearers.
We’re looking forward to hearing how those improvements sound, however the lack of noise cancelling coupled with the increased asking price looks likely to count against them when matched up with their leading competitors on our best over-ear headphones.
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Kevin Lynch is a London-born, Dublin-based writer and journalist. The author of Steve Jobs: A Biographic Portrait, Kevin is a regular feature writer for a number of tech sites and the former Technology Editor for the Daily Mirror. He has also served as editor of GuinnessWorldRecords.com and has been a member of the judging panel for the BAFTA British Academy Video Game Awards. Alongside reviewing the latest AV gear, smartphones and computers, Kevin also specialises in music tech and can often be found putting the latest DAWs, MIDI controllers and guitar modellers through their paces. Born within the sound of Bow Bells, Kevin is also a lifelong West Ham fan for his troubles.