In the era of open offices, finding a way to focus and avert distraction has grown increasingly important. For many of us, that means closing yourself off behind a figurative wall of music. Not only can it help you stay on task, but there are plenty of studies that suggest doing so can even make you smarter and more creative.
Recognizing that link, and the fact that so many existing headphone brands serve a specific purpose and segment of the population (i.e. Beats for athletes, Grados for audiophiles, Apple earbuds for the everyman...), Master & Dynamic set out to create a line of ‘phones for a set they considered underserved: the creative office dweller.
The starting lineup includes two over-ear pieces they’ve fittingly termed “Modern Thinking Caps,” starting with their crown jewel, the MH40. It was designed to look and feel as important and professional as any other piece of hardware in your workspace—like a laptop, phone, or second monitor—and its hefty, retro aesthetic with a matching stand helps drive that home.
Of course, comfort and sound quality are just as important. Mission accomplished. The lambskin earpads and sturdy leather-wrapped steel headband give you the ability to block out chatty co-workers. Another awesome feature: the built-in mute button, which provides a convenient and quick way to cut in and out of conversation when needed, without taking them off. (That’s me above. Working in an open office, these quickly elevated my productivity level.)
Similarly, the MH30, a slightly more mobile version, provides a comparable experience in a package you can freely toss in your bag.
If portability’s your priority, they’ve also got you covered with two smaller pairs: the sleek, tangle-resistant, noise-isolating ME01s and the more entry-level ME03s; the latter may not provide the same chatter-blocking qualities as the MH40s, but will nonetheless give you an edge on the workday.
Joe McGauley is a senior editor at Supercompressor. He can’t remember what life was like before noise-cancelling headphones.