Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Review: CAD MH310 Studio Monitor Headphones

The CAD MH310 Studio Monitor Headphones deliver a great sound at a good price.  They accurately cover a large frequency range and are fun to listen to.  They bring out subtleties that are hard to hear in most situations - great for mixing, superb for general listening purposes. 

Not your typical bass booming over-the-ear headphone - the CAD MH310 headphones have a very smooth response.  There is a great extension to the low end with a nice tight response.  One oddity is the VERY resonant metal structure bars that hold the headphones together.  I used some green duct tape to dampen the vibrations.  Very subtle difference, but I suggest doing this if you buy these headphones.

My Modified CAD MH310's

The list price of $100 puts them at a pricepoint with many lesser quality headphones - I put them in AKG K271 MKII territory, but the CAD MH310's are 1/3rd the price.  Beats are no comparison - they have the typical boomy bass response associated with these type of headphones, and to my ears and for my purposes - Beats is unusable.

The connection is made with either a 1/8" jack or a 1/4" jack - the 1/4" adapter screws onto the 1/8"to ensure proper signal transfer.  The connectors are gold plated.  The wiring is of good quality, some months of pulling/stepping on/running over with chair wheels have not phased the wire in any way.

The plastic enclosures for the 50mm drivers are adequate.  I've experimented with various enclosure fill and nothing improved the sound - these are very well designed enclosures.  They are "ported" into the ear pad area - making these aperiodic enclosures, very well tuned.  I may at some point reinforce the external part of the enclosures with either fiberglass resin or a bedliner like material to help eliminate the ever so subtle "plasticy" resonance in the 800hz range.  Its VERY subtle, though.

The closed back design offers good isolation, enough to help concentrate, not enough to totally remove the outside world.  Bleedthrough into mics is not a big issue, these definitely can (and have been) used for tracking.

They are definitely not the loudest headphones, though, and this is where they fall short of their pricier brethren.  The CAD's may compete with AKG 271 in overall response, but once you turn em up there is no comparison.  The CAD's get loud enough before distortion to be plenty satisfying, but in some mixing sessions I've run out of headroom - especially on heavy bass music.  This is an issue, but the reality is loud music does hearing damage and should be avoided anyway... especially for those of us that enjoy/are required to perform extremely critical listening.  What I'm speaking of is the drivers themselves running out of steam - it is not a headphone amp concern... my ipod runs out of gas before the MH310's do, but this level is past "too loud" to my ears.

These headphones are very revealing, and as far as mixing with headphones go these are plenty adequate to zoom into those subtle noises otherwise missed.  Listen close and hear the whole of the music in a way that only tiny lightweight drivers can reproduce.

These really do compete with headphones costing much more, and with some modifications get even better.

Whether your in a studio, or are a music lover who wants to REALLY hear the music, the CAD MH310's are a great choice.  I wouldn't DJ with these, and I wouldn't hand these to a drummer or a LOUD musician of whatever walk, I also wouldn't walk around with them on (too much isolation).  But I would and I do listen to all my favorite music on them, and these help shape the sounds I love to create.

A great value, excellent 'phones.

CAD MH310 Closed-Back Around-Ear Studio Headphones


1 comment:

  1. Apologies for bringing up an old blog post, but I just came across this. I recently purchased a pair of the CADs as an addition to my AKG MK 240 open back cans.

    I was curious about the vibration issue, would you consider using the tape to perform the mod successful, or is there any other way to help lessen vibrations?

    Thank you
    - C