This special edition of Master & Dynamic’s MHD40 headphones will hold big appeal to PSG fans with its distinctive design, excellent audio and reliable wireless performance. But they’re expensive and lacking in a few areas and can’t shift the feeling of being more than just a fashion accessory for followers of the French football club.
- Excellent, well-balanced audio
- Reliable wireless connection
- Comfortable, lightweight design
- Expensive for what they offer
- Aesthetically could be better
- Below-par call quality
- PSG-inspired design Features French club colours on earcups and headband
- Bluetooth Supports SBC and aptX Adaptive wireless codecs
- Calls Features Beamforming Noise Reduction Mic Array for call quality
The last few years have seen a trend of football crossing over into the fashion space, and few clubs have exploited as well as Paris Saint-Germain.
Whether it’s their link-up with the Air Jordan brand (a tie-up I still don’t understand), partnership with Hublot watches or their collaboration with graphic artist VERDY, PSG see themselves as courting the fashion glitterati as much as winning championships.
And their collaboration with Master & Dynamic sees the Parisian club delve into audio with a special edition of the MH40 over-ears, which we tested several years ago in their wired form.
Boasting M&D’s audio proficiency and PSG’s distinctive tri-colour design, is this a headphone that smashes it into the back of the net or an underwhelming performer?
- Well crafted
- PSG-inspired appearance
- Comfy to wear
While recent PSG home kits have been lookers both on and off the pitch, I feel these headphones are a disappointment in the aesthetic stakes.
The tone of blue is too dark and going for a two-tone blue on the earcups with navy blue strips doesn’t make them stand out. Using the blue and white with red strips – like the actual home kit – on the earcups would have been more distinctive, instead that’s relegated to the sides of the headband.
I also think there’s just too much polished silver metal. Promotional pictures give the headphones a white gleam but in person, it’s more of a dull silver. There are nice touches such as the PSG club emblem in place of the M&D logo on the earcup, as well as coordinates (presumably for the Parc des Princes stadium) hidden away between the arm linkages.
There’s no doubting the craftmanship but I find they’re lacking in the style department, at least for my tastes. The MG20 gaming headset from M&D looks better in my opinion (but they’re far more expensive too).
Moving on, the noise-isolating design of the headphones is solid. They numb sharp sounds such as a train/tube braking and reduce the intensity of most outside noises. They perform a workmanlike job combatting wind noise on the tube as well, but on the loudest parts of the Jubilee line the headphones succumbed to the torrent of noise the Underground line can produce.
The fit is good if slightly loose out of the box – there are sliders to tighten the fit should you need to – and the earcups can be swivelled to find the best fit. The clamping force is weighted fine, noticeable but not too tight and I found the weight of the headphones (276g) comfortable to wear for longer periods, with enough space for my ears to fit into the earcups without feeling cramped or pinched. The headband is surprisingly thin with not much padding, but I never felt the headphone dig into my head.
There’s plenty of padding on the earcups, using lambskin material wrapped in memory foam for a soft and cushy point of contact around the ears. After a while I tended to forget the headphones were there, which can only be a positive.
There are buttons for control on the right earcup, three on the outer earcup for volume and playback control and a power button next to the USB-C port. I found the power button difficult to locate as it doesn’t stick out from the surface of the earcup. At least with the playback controls the middle button is raised to tell the difference.
There’s a canvas carry pouch to protect them in a bag with a magnetic clip to fasten the pouch close (a neat touch). Accessories include a USB-C to USB-A cable for charging as well as a USB-C to 3.5mm for wired listening. A final note on the design is that the earpads are replaceable, should they get damaged.
- No AAC for iOS devices
- 18 hours of battery life
- Below average call quality
There’s no noise cancellation or transparency for the MH40, and there’s no access to the M&D app either, so there’s no way of changing the headphones’ EQ and no facility for firmware updates.
In terms of its wireless performance, it’s the 5.0 version of Bluetooth with SBC and aptX Adaptive support. SBC is the standard wireless codec all Bluetooth devices support, while aptX Adaptive comes from Qualcomm’s family of codecs, able to adjust the strength and rate at which data is transferred to/from a source to maintain the connection even when the MH40 is being used in busy signal areas.
There’s no AAC, used by Apple devices, but I wouldn’t necessarily say that’s a decisive omission. The tuning of the drivers can have more of an effect on what you hear than the codec the headphones use. I’ve found the wireless performance has been reliably solid over the few weeks I’ve used the headphones with only a few blips in busy areas but nothing that has knocked the MH40 out of sync.
The MH40 features a beamforming noise reduction mic array for phone calls but its performance is sub-par. The lack of noise cancelling may have played a factor but regardless the noise isolation appeared patchy as the person on the other end of the line remarked that the sounds around me were audible and competing with my voice.
They also mentioned that my voice sounded unnatural too. Wind noise also contributed to the weak performance (it was a blustery day), an aspect the microphones couldn’t weed out. For £279 I’d have expected better.
Battery life is only 18 hours, and while fast-charging is not supported, the headphones can get back to 50% from a dead battery in 30 minutes, and a 100% in 80.
- Spacious, detail and balanced performance
- Punchy and firm bass output
- Slight noise to the signal
The driver for the MH40 is smaller than the wired version – 45mm to 40mm. While I don’t have a sample of the wired model available to compare, I’d assume the wireless version doesn’t sound as big and expansive as the wired model.
But nevertheless, these headphones sound spacious, and much like the noise cancelling MW75 , the frequency range comes across as well balanced. Highs are crisply delivered and detailed, the lows are firm and punchy and the midrange clear and natural in tone. These headphones sound great across a range of genres.
Give them Moloko’s Time Is Now and the strums of the acoustic guitar that opens the song come across as very detailed, the MH40 offers plenty of insight into every pluck of the guitar strings. Róisín Murphy’s vocals are laced with clarity, her distinctive contralto vocal delivery is well preserved with all the subtle variations in her almost whispered voice intact.
Bass is hard hitting in that track but not to the expense of overriding the rest of the frequency range. The Master & Dynamic maintain a good tonal balance across a range of tracks I listen to, the bass firm and tightly expressed in a track like Katy B’s Katy on a Mission. They’re not the biggest bass performance in terms of weight and depth but I very much enjoyed the approach the MH40 takes.
They’re well versed in communicating in energy too. Tinie Tempah’s Yes Remix of Simple Unstoppable is a fluid, flowing track with that great sense of balance I mentioned earlier. The cymbal crashes are crisp, vocals well preserved and the percussive drum hits land with a punch.
There’s good brightness to the high frequency range in a track such as Hidden Chamber from Avishai Cohen/Big Vicious. Cohen’s trumpet opens the track and there’s a nice, rich tone to the brass instrument that stands out, a pleasant sense of dynamism granted that makes it very lifelike in tone.
Dynamically there’s a good wide expanse between the low and high frequencies in GoGo Penguin’s Erased by Sunlight, with excellent levels of detail to hear (each instrument sounds well resolved and natural with these headphones). Rhythmically they don’t appear fazed by shifts in tempo, whether speeding up or slowing down, their sense of rhythm is spot on, and it makes for a very rewarding listen.
The only noticeable deficiency to point out is that similar to the MW75, there are traces of signal noise to be heard when playing music. There’s not enough to distract from the quality of the music but just enough to ensure these aren’t the ‘cleanest’ sounding headphones.
Should you buy it?
If you want headphones to match your PSG tracksuit This special edition of the MH40 offers excellent audio and a robust wireless connection, as we’ve come to expect from Master & Dynamic’s over-ear headphones
If you have no interest in football These headphones are ready-made for football fans, but for anyone else interested in these headphones, they’re available in other finishes (though still for the same price).
I’ve flitted between giving the Master & Dynamic a 7 or an 8, and I think a 7 is about right. The MH40 produce excellent audio performance, a strong wireless connection and a comfortable design, but the below average call quality performance, battery life that’s on the low side and high price mean it evades a recommendation, though not in the same sense as Messi evading a tackle.
The aesthetic of these headphones will appeal to PSG fans, which is another aspect to consider, as is the lack of AAC compatibility for iOS devices.
PSG fans will find these wireless headphones enjoyabe in this special edition MH40 Wireless Paris Saint-Germain hue, but it won’t have as big appeal to others. There’s good performance, but not Mbappé levels of excellence.
How we test
We test every set of headphones we review thoroughly over an extended period of time. We use industry standard tests to compare features properly. We’ll always tell you what we find. We never, ever, accept money to review a product.
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Tested across two months
Tested with real world use
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Fast charging isn’t mentioned in the specs list, but 30 minutes of charge produces 50% battery from zero, while 80 minutes of charging fills up the battery.