Master & Dynamic’s MH30s headphones are not cheap, at over $300 dollars they fall beyond the range of “just a pair of headphones”. So the question is, if I have the money is it worth splurging? Initially we were sceptical, however we quickly fell in love with these headphones. Master & Dynamic provide a master class in quality, style, and design with the MH30s. If Beats are the headphones you wear with your urban getup, the MH30s are what you wear with your blazer to a speakeasy. Stylish and comfortable, we were blown away by the MH30s.
The MH30s are closed back on-ear headphones that feature 40mm drivers with 32 ohms of impedance. The ear pads and headband are both real leather and come in 5 color (Metal/Leather, Silver/Brown, Silver/White, Gunmetal/Black, and two kinds of Black/Black). It comes with 2 braided cables (one with inline microphone and another plain cable), a carrying bag, and a box to hold the cables in. The earphones are foldable to make them easier to take on the go.
Now that we got that out of the way let’s talk about the look. The MH30’s come in several different color combinations, all of which look amazing. Ours is the black leather and gunmetal black combo. The black finish is not overly shiny and the leather is subtle. The units are nice to look at, but are not overly large or shouty making them perfect for your restrained “classy” look. With many modern headphones being very “plasticy” and visually loud, Master & Dynamic show brilliance through minimalism. Their logo, for example, is on the side of the headphones, but it doesn't stand out allowing the headphones to do the talking instead of the brand name. As an accessory these headphones are on point.
The metal body gives it that unique metal shine that plastic headphones don’t have. Combined with the real leather, you have a set of headphones that just reeks of quality. Literally, when we opened them for the first time, that unmistakable smell of real leather explodes out of the box. The metal body gives it some weight as well, but the headphones don’t feel heavy even after hours of wear. Instead it gives them a feeling of solidness and gravity. MH30’s are not unique in this metal build, however they are one of the most solid headphones we have seen. This combined with the real leather gives the MH30s a sense of quality that we grew to appreciate.
On top of that they are really comfortable to wear. The main danger of on-ear headphones for wearing comfort is the clamping force and Master & Dynamic have hit a home run in that department. There is enough clamping force to keep them pressed to your ear, but the soft ear pads absorb the pressure. The adjustment mechanism is quite unique and allows for a range of motion. The numbers on the adjustable rods on each earpiece help you make sure both sides are equal or not equal if that's what you want. Despite being easy to move I never found them slipping.
How the headphones feel and look is important but we wear headphones for the sound. The MH30s are not just classy eye candy, but premium consumer headphones. While it won’t bring out any high-resolution audio elements, the MH30s produce a warm level sound when hooked up to your average music listening device, phone, tablet, or computer. Unlike many commercial headphones we have tested, the MH30s are not overly bassy. Instead they feature above average frequency response with tight control.
Most impressively for on ear headphones, they project a decently large sound stage. Many on-ear headphones seem to project near or sometimes into your ear, but the MH30s produced a depth that isn’t found in a lot of on-ear headphones.
The lambskin ear pads and metal construction combine to produce a nice level of sound reduction. They are not noise isolated or active noise canceling, but they will block out a fair bit of low volume ambient noise. In our office they allowed us to not hear random talking, but were able to hear when people were directly talking to us.
So far it has been nothing but positives, but let's talk about a few things we found wrong with them. They are not one size fits all and with a limited amount of adjustment some larger headed, not talking about ego, people might have a harder time finding them comfortable. As with most on ear headphones, wearing glasses is not advisable. During our “day to day” testing the headphones developed some nicks where the paint chipped off. This isn't really shocking, however it is pretty obvious because of the silver under the black. Hopefully you will take care of yours better than we did so you won’t have this problem.
If I had to use two words to describe the MH30s they would be Style and Quality. These are by far one of the most stylish headphones we have reviewed. Bordering on elegant, Master & Dynamic deliver a classy looking product but with enough audio grit to back up it’s pretty looks. I think the saying, “you get what you pay for” applies here. Designed in New York City, these headphones are not targeted at your budget user. However if you were to spend the cash you wouldn’t regret it for a moment.
- Richie Ioki