My pair of Philips Cityscape Downtown gave up the ghost earlier this year. After 3.5 years they were falling apart, with the faux leather peeling and headband separating, but I kept pushing them until one of the channels finally failed.
So I started searching for new headphones. I decided to focus on over-ear models, instead of on-ears. Here’s a few notes from a three-month search:
- Fidelio L2: Nice sound, but too much sound leakage in/out.
- Master & Dynamic MW60: Bluetooth that works! Beautiful design. Replaceable earpads. But: heavy and uncomfortable with glasses.
- B&O H7: Bluetooth. Light, reasonably comfortable. Sounds grainy, especially in the upper mids and highs.
- Sennheiser Momentum 2.0: Good sound. Light, but (surprisingly) not that comfortable with my glasses.
- B&O H6 (2nd Gen): Sounds good, but the circular earcups mean that with glasses the sound suffers. There’s less padding than the H7, which might explain why that wasn’t as big a problem with the H7s.
- Oppo PM-3: Great sound. Clamps a bit too tightly (you can stretch the headband). Not that comfortable around the neck.
- Master & Dynamic MH30: Tried these, but I liked the MH40 better.
- Master & Dynamic MH40: These are the ones I ended up keeping. They’re heavy, and the look is a bit too fussy for my liking. The in-line remote buttons are hard to use by feel. But they isolate pretty well, are reasonably comfortable with glasses, and the cord jacks on either side are a nice touch.
My main takeaway from this whole circus is: eyeglasses and over-ear headphones are a tough match. If you can, try headphones on like you would a pair of shoes—order a bunch, try them on for sound/fit, and return the ones that you don’t like. I bought the B&O, Oppo, and M&D models direct, and all have 30-day return policies. Also, try each one out for several days. It’s surprising how different a headphone sounds after your brain has gotten used to it.
The curious thing to me was the comfort difference between the MW60 and MH40. They share the same earpads, but I found the MH40 to be much more comfortable than the MW60. It could be the headband design differences—the MH40’s is a bit rounder, so perhaps that reduces the clamping pressure. It’s a pity, because I wouldn’t have minded paying the extra money for a Bluetooth headphone that actually works and sounds just as good as a wired model. (The MW60 can also be used passively-wired, which is nice for hooking up to my desktop amp.)
In the end, my two favorites were the Oppo PM-3 and the M&D MH40. The Oppo sounded a bit better, but the MH40 just worked better as a commuter/desk hybrid, and were a bit more comfortable with glasses.