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Master & Dynamic MH40 review: Beautifully crafted, rock-solid headphones that also sound excellent

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The Good The Master and Dynamic MH40 headphones are constructed out of premium materials and have excellent build quality along with excellent sound. The headphones come with a decent carrying case and two cables (one has an inline mic/remote for smartphone use) and have an integrated mute button.

The Bad While they're comfortable, the headphones are heavy -- maybe too heavy for some people.

The Bottom Line Not everybody will love the fit of Master and Dynamic's over-the-ear MH40 headphones, but they are very well-built and sound excellent.

8.0 Overall
  • Design 8
  • Features 8
  • Sound 8
  • Value 8

Master and Dynamic is a newcomer to the headphone game, but it's come out the gate with a line of distinctly designed models, headed by its flagship MH40, which retails for $399 in the US, £319 in the UK and AU$499 in Australia.

This closed-back, over-the-ear headphone is beautifully crafted from forged aluminum, stainless steel and real lambskin leather, and its sound is competitive with that of comparably priced models from established brands like AKG, Beyerdynamic, Bowers & Wilkins, Grado and Sennheiser. The MH40 was designed and developed in New York City over two years and is now manufactured in China.

Inside you'll find 45mm drivers -- this is a mobile-device-friendly headphone, with 32-ohm-rated impedance. Weighing 12.7 ounces (360 grams), it's definitely heavier than most over-the-ear headphones. The upside is the MH40's build quality feels super-solid, and the supple leather adds a sensual side to the design. The downside is that while this is a very comfortable headphone, its weightiness may leave you wanting to take a listening break after 45 minutes or an hour.

The Master and Dynamic MH40, which comes in three color options, features excellent build quality. Sarah Tew/CNET

We received a silver and tan review model to sample, but it's also available in black or gunmetal gray with black leather.

In terms of accessories, you get a simple but nice canvas carrying bag that has an integrated magnetic clasp and a small case for the two included cloth-covered, tangle-resistant cables. One is a 1.25-meter cable with a remote/mic for iOS devices (the microphone will work with Android and Windows phones but the remote may not be full functional), the other a 2-meter "plain" cable for audio purists.

This a passive headphone, and noise isolation from external noise is good; we liked how the the right ear cup has a metal mute button that makes a satisfying click when you mute or unmute the music. The headband isn't hinged, but the earcups do fold flat for storage in their case.

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