If you’re headed to London, or live there, the Rolling Stones have a new exhibit (opened last week) at the Saatchi Gallery. Exhibitionism will be there until early September. After which, the gala moves on to 11 other cities, including New York and Paris. Adults can expect to pay £22 (more than US $30, depending on exchange rate that day). VIP tix are £60.
The memorabilia-filled exhibit is meant to be a nostalgic look at the iconic, aging rock band, which youngest member is (cough, cough) 66. But Exhibitionism is as much about selling collectibles, one of which I can’t resist calling attention to: “special edition” MH40 headphones. I reviewed the standard set, which sound exactly the same, on March 29th.
The MH40 typically sell for $399. The Stones’ Exhibitionism-branded pair cost about $100 more. You wear the tongue! The tongue! Say, shouldn’t Mick Jagger and Company update the symbol—give it some modern bling with big piercing? That would be more in tune with younger concert goers; surely the mosh pit isn’t filled with the middle-aged and elderly—who might now more than their youth relate to songs like “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction“.
Okay, ribbing agism aside, the MH40 are excellent headphones for listening to the Rolling Stones. During 2016, the band rampaged Central and South America in a tour ending in Cuba last month. The Stones celebrate more than 50 years together, and the Master & Dynamic cans are so retro they could have been used by the rockers a half-decade ago—or by their male relatives flying in World War II bombers.
But audio signature matters more. The MH40 are among the better-balanced headphones for the price. Rather than being bassy, the cans emphasize finer details from the audio source, particularly music engineering during the 1960s, 70s, and 80s.
The MH40 driver is huge—45 mm—with Neodymium transducer. Frequency response is 5Hz to 25kHz, which punches up the midrange, while balancing well against the lows and highs. To repeat: Bass isn’t overbearing but present and clear rather than muddled.
If you’re a Rolling Stones fan, the MH40 are great cans. But if you can live without the collector’s branding, you could save $100 plus the price of the Exhibitionism ticket.
I’ll say this: The MH40 are the tanks of the headphone market. They’re sturdy and built to last decades. If you do go for the tongue, the Exhibitionism pair could be an heirloom for your descendants listening to the truly golden oldies in another 50 years. And with the Rolling Stones gone to the afterlife, perhaps your great-grandchild can listen and for a moment feel a little “Sympathy for the Devil“.
Photo Credits: Master & Dynamic
Editor’s Note: A version of this story appears on BetaNews.