It takes a brave company to launch into the ever-more super-saturated headphone market, but New York-based Master & Dynamic has done just that – and come up with what for me are the best headphones I’ve seen in a long while, particularly for office use, where keeping your noise in and others’ out is paramount.
When you unpack the MH40s, there are no depressing black-bin bag ties, which starts you off well-disposed. The sound-sealing from its flagship MH40 model’s lambskin earpads is really superb. The build quality is also absolutely beautiful, though I can imagine others might feel they look like something a first world war pilot would have worn. The rope-like leads are brilliant, almost untangle-able, and they include an extra long one for home listening. The headphones are also very light for such an elaborate design.
So to the M&D sound, which I found bright, fresh and delicate, becoming powerful yet unoppressive when a heavy bassline cuts in. At the risk of appearing in Private Eye’s “Pseuds Corner”, these reminded me of an audible Yotam Ottolenghi dish – light and playful, but still robustly flavoured. Impressive.