I want to provide a real life review/comparison of the Master & Dynamic MH30’s (M&D MH30). As the owner of a set of Bowers & Wilkins P5’s (B&W P5) I can give you a personal experience as to how I believe two comparable products match up. I’ll start with a specification/feature comparison that indicates which I believe to have a slight advantage. If no such mention is made then IMO there is no meaningful difference.
Freq. Response: B&W P5 = 10Hz-20kHz/ M&D MH30 = 5Hz-25kHz (M&D-MH30)
Impedance: B&W P5 = 22 ohms / M&D MH 30 = 32 ohms (B&W P5)
Weight: B&W P5 = 195gm / M&D MH 30 = 260gm (B&W P5)
Premium Build: Yes
Detachable Cables: Yes
Inline Phone Controls: Yes
Daisy Chain Listening: M&D MH30
Foldable Flat: Yes
Foldable Compact: M&D MH30
Removable/Replaceable Ear Pads: Yes
Hi-Res Audio: No
Noise Isolating: Yes
Noise Cancelling: No
Carrying Pouch: Yes
2 Year Warranty: Yes
The build quality of both the M&D MH30 and the B&W P5 is outstanding. No plastic here. One should get years of use out of either. The packaging is top notch for both…suggesting a premium product.
Aesthetically, while both phones can be had in basic metal and black leather the B&W P5’s are more visually subdued in design. The M&D MH30’s are unique in their adjustment application. The sliding pole adjustment for the cans give the appearance of small antennae on either side of your head when viewed up-close. That said the M&D MH30’s are not going to draw attention from a mile away as does another manufacturer with some outlandish bright color. The M&D MH30 design IMO can be worn by any age.
Although the M&D MH30 is a bit heavier --the on-ear clamping is less noticeable. The B&W P5’s to me are bit tight. I should note that no on-ear phone has the comfort level of over-the-ear phones. Also, as many professional reviews have stated the M&D MH30’s may not be for those with a large or oddly shaped head.
How a headphone sounds is very subjective. Here’s my comparison of the B&W P5 vs. the M&D MH30. The M&D MH30 has a tighter base and goes deeper (see frequency response). The high end of the M&D MH30 is more detailed without being tin-like. The payoff IMO is a mid-range for the M&D MH30 that lets vocals come across clearly and not sound muted. I mainly listen to Jazz and R&B and both sound excellent. In all fairness the B&W P5’s deliver a pleasing sound as well, I just prefer the M&D MH30’s.
The M&D MH30 has a slightly higher impedance than the B&W P5 (32 ohms vs 22 ohms). However, the M&D MH30’s will work well with your portable device (cell phone/MP3 Player/iPod) not requiring a DAP to power them. Another trick that the M&D MH30’s allow is the ability to connect (daisy chain) a second pair of phones via the included cable without the phone controls to share your tunes with a friend. The M&D MH30’s also score higher on portability; in that the cans can be folded into the head band for a really compact fit.
In closing if you are going to do an A/B comparison of the Master & Dynamic MH30’s do so with a comparable product. I own a set of $800 Hi-Res phones and the M&D MH30’s are nowhere near the sound quality. For the record Hi-Res generally means the phones are cable of hitting the upper frequency range of 40kHz vs the 25kHz of the M&D MH30’s. If you’ve never worn on-ear phones before you may want to start with a less expensive set to get accustom to the fit.
If your budget allows the Master & Dynamic MH30’s should be on your short list for an on-ear phone