Disclaimer: Master & Dynamic supplied the MH30 free of charge for the purposes of this review. It retails for around 350$ USD.
Because Master & Dynamic’s MH series share the same metal upon metal upon leather exterior, and because each one comes in a nice box with great literature, clear typography, and succinct goals, I’ll try to keep this quick.
If you want to know more about the above, read our review of the Master & Dynamic MH40.
The Master & Dynamic MH30 is smaller and more portable than the MH40. Its ears are round, not oblong. Its pads rest on, not around the ears. Its yolks are shorter. It even folds down tight. These are some serious differences. But the bulk of what made the MH40 and MH headphone makes the MH30 an MH headphone.
The leather quick-swap pads made the cut. So did the martian antennae, and the 130º swivelling fulcrums. Ditto the user-replaceable arm bolts, and the strange y-shaped ones hiding the drivers. It is a welcome return to a pretty welcoming series.
Speaking of series: part of what made the MH40 such a delight to use was that it could be daisy-chained to other MH headphones. Providing you’ve got ample voltage and current from an output, an MH30 can join the same party. I’ve daisy chained four MH headphones together to no ill downwind effect. Volume decreases with every extra connection, but you expected that anyway.
Regarding the MH30’s foldability. Its hinges crunch up until the phones kiss leather in the middle. Considering how solid the MH frame is, it is quite a feat. And, thanks to the nicely-tooled aluminium cups, a new fear arises: scratched metal. While the MH30 folds well, I hesitate to fold it. It looks nice as it is. No need to ding it up. I reckon that fold-happy customers will want to invest in a thin textile sheet to slip between left and right cups. That or push one, or both, MH30 cup into Apple iPod Socks. Either way will keep dings at bay.
The final non-cosmetic difference is that the MH30 does without the mute switch of its older, oblong sibling. If you daisy chain, there’s no muting your headphone; it’s pull the plug or pull off the set. Personally, I prefer the simplicity of this system to that of the MH40.
But enough with the stuff I get off on; let’s talk sound.
Other than trading the oblong for the disc-sahped, this really is the biggest thing between the MH30 and the MH40. The latter is voiced somewhat similarly to Sennheiser’s aswesome HD600, maybe a tad more laid back. Both headphones isolate a great deal more, but the MH40 is much more an all-rounder. There’s not a genre it upsets.
Not that the MH30 upsets anyone, anywhere.
At times, the MH30’s soundstage is pretty wide, at others, it’s stuffy. Well, not stuffy, but upper bass can tend to flab when given the wrong music. That and vocal and surrounding frequencies can, given the wrong music, bunch a bit in the centre. That music? bassy stuff. Trance, some IDM, American popular hip hop. When fed something less contemporary like Dire Straits, you’d swear your ears were fronting 2 speakers with a metre between them. Not bad at all.
Lows are most punchy in the upper and mid bass regions. It makes for foot-tapping classical rock. It’s not the sort of low-end reproduction that brings out really low vibrations.
More sound impressions after the jump: