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On the subject of headphone design, Grasp & Dynamic has carved out a distinct segment. The corporate’s signature look of metallic and leather-based, instantly set it aside from the competitors when the wired MH40 debuted in 2014. M&D adopted up with a wi-fi model in 2019, giving its non-ANC (energetic noise canceling) over-ear headphones a contemporary replace. Now the corporate is again with a second-generation wi-fi mannequin, touting enhancements to audio, battery and extra. The third iteration of the MH40 is undoubtedly an enchancment on the final, however are the corporate’s design chops sufficient to beat the shortage of options in comparison with equally priced alternate options?
One ingredient that has all the time set Grasp & Dynamic aside from the competitors is its design. From these first MH40 headphones, the corporate has relied on aluminum development as an alternative of plastic for a number of merchandise. What’s extra, it blends the metallic with different premium supplies like canvas and leather-based. For the second-generation MH40 Wi-fi, the corporate has stayed true to its roots, proper all the way down to the classic, aviator-inspired look.
Grasp & Dynamic
Grasp & Dynamic MH40 (2nd gen)
- Distinctive design
- Improved sound high quality
- Comfy for hours of damage
- Dearer than its predecessor
- No ANC
- Restricted customization
- Battery life ought to be higher for non-ANC headphones
Alongside the aluminum physique, a coated canvas-wrapped headband is colour matched to detachable lambskin leather-based ear pads. With all of these high-end supplies, the MH40 weighs 280 grams – 30 grams greater than Sony’s WH-1000XM5. Nonetheless, the additional heft isn’t a burden, these really feel light-weight, cozy, and the cushiony ear pads hold you from feeling the outer rim of the ear cups.
Just like the earlier model, the on-board controls reside on the appropriate ear cup. A 3-button array is positioned close to the headscarf hinge, supplying you with controls for calls, music, voice assistant and quantity (together with a mute button). The twin-function energy/pairing button sits on the periphery alongside the USB-C port and a multi-color pairing/battery life indicator. I’ll all the time advocate for bodily controls over a contact panel, principally as a result of they’re extra dependable. That’s actually the case right here, as I used to be simply capable of execute a number of presses on the middle button for skipping tracks.
Software program and options
The M&D Join app is the companion software program for the MH40. Right here, battery stage is probably the most prominently displayed merchandise, together with a observe in case your headphones are updated firmware-wise. A faucet on the gear icon reveals choices for sound, controls and “about machine.” Contained in the sound menu, Grasp & Dynamic provides you 4 EQ presets: bass enhance, bass reduce, podcast (mids and vocals) and audiophile (mids and highs). By default, there’s no equalizer setting chosen and the app will keep in mind which one you picked so that you don’t have to pick it every time you activate the so-called E-Preset EQ. You can too allow Sidetone on the sound menu, permitting you to listen to a few of your individual voice throughout calls. This turns out to be useful because it retains you from feeling the necessity to converse loudly to listen to your self via the passive noise isolation.
Whereas Sidetone is a pleasant characteristic, you’ll be able to solely activate it within the app, which suggests earlier than a name (or extra seemingly, throughout the first few seconds of 1) you’ll need to swipe over to the sound menu to show it on. I understand the MH40 doesn’t have ANC so there’s not a devoted button that selects a noise-canceling mode. However maybe there could possibly be an choice to reassign the lengthy press on the middle button, from summoning a voice assistant, to triggering Sidetone.
On the controls menu, the app provides you the choice of renaming the machine from M&D MH40W and altering the automated shut-off timer from the default half-hour (one hour, three hours and by no means are the opposite choices). From this display screen it’s also possible to set off a manufacturing unit reset.
Sound high quality
After testing a number of Grasp & Dynamics’ merchandise through the years, it’s clear the corporate has a knack for heat, pure sound that’s devoid of any heavy-handed tuning. Throughout genres, there’s no over-reliance on bombastic bass or painfully sensible highs. That continues on the second-gen MH40 Wi-fi the place there’s ample low-end tone when a monitor calls for it, like Mike Shinoda’s remix of Deftones’ “Passenger.” However the bass is a complement to all the things else, and the default EQ works nicely throughout the sonic spectrum.
Grasp & Dynamic swapped out the drivers on the earlier model for 40mm titanium items that it says produce “clearer highs and richer lows.” Certainly, the treble is punchy all through a spread of musical kinds, and the bass may be as thick and thumping as a music requires. Different headphones could provide low growth, nevertheless it blends higher with the mids and highs on the MH40, making the even the deepest bass on RTJ4 extra nice to take heed to.
There’s nice consideration to element within the sound profile of the MH40 too, and once more, it’s obvious throughout several types of music. Nevertheless, that is most evident with genres like bluegrass and jazz – multi-instrumental preparations with interwoven sections emphasizing totally different gamers at totally different instances. It’s not fairly on the extent of what Bowers & Wilkins manages with its newest headphones, that are among the best-sounding I’ve reviewed. However Grasp & Dynamic does a stable job with the delicate nuances of sound, from decide noise on a mandolin to the percussive thumps of an upright bass.
On the subject of calls, the brand new MH40 provides a greater total expertise than its predecessor, however there’s nonetheless room for enchancment. The brand new microphone setup does a stable job with fixed background noise. It doesn’t decide up issues like white noise machines and garments dryers. The headphones aren’t nice with louder distractions and it picks these up in higher element in the event you’ve acquired Sidetone energetic.
Grasp & Dynamic guarantees as much as 30 hours of battery life on the brand new MH40. That’s up from 18 hours on the primary wi-fi model of the headphones, nevertheless it’s not any longer than most ANC fashions. Audio-Technica’s finest non-ANC mannequin lasts as much as 50 hours, for instance. There’s additionally a quick-charge characteristic that offers you as much as six hours of use in quarter-hour. Throughout my testing, I managed to hit the acknowledged time earlier than having to plug them in, however I didn’t transcend. That’s doing a mixture of music, podcasts and calls (with Sidetone) at round 75 % quantity and leaving the headphones off in a single day a couple of instances.
When it comes to non-ANC headphones, certainly one of my favourite choices is Audio-Technica’s ATH-M50xBT2. Just like the MH40, this can be a second-generation mannequin with notable enhancements over the M50xBT. Multi-point Bluetooth pairing, built-in Alexa and a low latency mode have been added on prime of the corporate’s mix of heat audio tone with a very cozy set of cans. Plus, they’re at present on sale for $179 – $20 lower than the unique worth and fewer than half of what you’ll pay for the brand new MH40.
For those who’re on the lookout for noise canceling headphones, Grasp & Dynamic sells the MW75 with a extra fashionable design than the corporate’s different over- and on-ear merchandise. Adaptive ANC is powered by a set of 4 microphones and there are three noise-canceling modes to select from. The MW75 can also be outfitted with put on detection that can assist you lengthen that 28-hour listening time (with ANC on). Nevertheless, these headphones are a whopping $599, solely surpassed by Bowers & Wilkins’ Px8 for the most costly headphones I’ve examined just lately.
For the most effective wi-fi headphones at present obtainable, you’ll need to think about Sony’s WH-1000XM5. Merely put, no different firm comes near what Sony provides on its flagship set by way of mixing options, sound high quality and ANC efficiency. Whereas they’re dear at $398, you get extra for that funding. Plus, we’ve seen the M5 on sale for as little as $279.
What options are you keen to surrender for headphones with standout seems and good sound? That’s actually what you must think about with the MH40. There’s no denying this second-gen mannequin is an improve from the primary wi-fi model. All the issues the corporate says it improved maintain true, from the sound high quality to the battery life and microphone efficiency. Had the corporate accomplished so with out boosting the worth, I may make a robust argument for the brand new MH40. However at $399, there are flagship noise-canceling headphones from different corporations that merely provide an excessive amount of when in comparison with M&D’s newest. Until, in fact, the principle factor that issues to you is a deft hand with product design.
Gallery: Grasp & Dynamic MH40 Wi-fi (2nd gen) evaluation | 15 Photographs
Gallery: Grasp & Dynamic MH40 Wi-fi (2nd gen) evaluation | 15 Photographs