If you say you have never heard of M&O Electronics before, I would surely understand, because I am just making their acquaintance myself. I first heard about the MOOH-BE00BT Beryllium Acoustic Bluetooth Headphone in the Head-Fi forums, and they sounded interesting, so I requested a pair to review.
M&O graciously offered to send me a pair to check out, in exchange for a fair-minded review. That is what follows.
The MOOH-BE00BT sells for $129 on Amazon, and its claim to fame is a 45mm diaphragm made with “Beryllium Acoustic Technique” which I can only surmise is a driver made of Beryllium Foil.
This element has become the material du jour for several new headphones on the market, sourced for its combination of both stiffness and lightness, something highly sought after when designing a diaphragm. This is supposed to allow the driver to move fast with less breakup, thus reproducing the sound spectrum with less distortion.
The MOOH-BE00BT headphones have a rather generic all plastic design, which to me looks a lot like the current Bose Bluetooth headphones, but nowhere near as refined. They will definitely win no design contests. I also wish the light grey logos on the sides of both earcups were a matte finish to blend in with the color of the headphones, or just a tad bit smaller.
Despite being mostly plastic, they seem pretty sturdy with the exception of the adjustment arms which are pretty thin. However, they are reinforced with a steel headband arch that forms the backbone of the headphone. This spring arch also provides the light clamping force that holds the cans steadily on top of your head.
Stability is also aided by the plush faux leather earpads which felt very snug yet comfortable around my ears. They also do a very good job of passive noise reduction. When I had them on with music playing, I heard very little going on around me, so they are probably not the best choice for walking around outside. There is also a cushioned faux leather wrap at the top of the headphones, which felt very comfortable resting on top of my head.
The only issue I had regarding comfort was the heat caused by the big cushioned earpads. If it was the least bit hot when I had them on, my ears sweat like crazy. But that is not isolated to this product, and I still listened to them for hours on end with no major discomfort.
Like I said in the beginning, the MOOH-BE00BT’s main claim to fame is their stated Beryllium Acoustic drivers, which aim to provide a crisp, detailed, sound and they are successful to a point. (I’ll talk more about that in the Sound Quality section)
They also include support for the apt-X Bluetooth codec, which offers “near CD” quality if your source (most likely a smartphone) supports it, 32 hours of playback time at 80% volume, and supposedly some type of echo cancellation/noise suppression during phone calls. I made a couple of Google Hangouts calls with them and was able to have a conversation without any difficulty on either end.
Another feature listed on the box is an automatic shut off that kicks in after 5 minutes of no connection to a Bluetooth signal. It worked, but I had to first unpair the headphones using the Bluetooth menu on my phone, completely shutting down the connection to make them do so. When I just stopped playing music and accidentally left them on for about an hour or so, they never shut off. Several of my other Bluetooth headphones will shut off automatically simply by not playing music for a certain period of time.
This is preferable because most people don’t unpair their headphones from the phone when they are done using them, they usually just turn the headphones off using their on/off button. So if you forget to press the button, and forget to unpair them from the phone, they will just stay on until the battery dies. Or until you walk out of range and the signal disconnects.
My other bugaboo with these headphones are the controls. They are not intuitive. Three buttons on the right earcup control volume, power, and playback, and since they are all the exact same size and shape, it is very hard to tell which one you are pressing. Several times while using them, I pressed the volume up button trying to press the play/pause button, which was a little annoying. A little bump or indent on the center button which controls the power, Bluetooth pairing, and play/pause would go a long way.
The other two buttons aligned to the top and bottom of the center button control volume with a single press, and then track forward/back with a press and hold. This double function setup is not my favorite, but the buttons are very responsive and I had no problem switching songs or adjusting the volume.
As far as accessories go, the MOOH-BE00BT comes with a slim hardshell case that is the perfect shape to slip into most backpacks or messenger bags, a charging cable and a 3.5mm headphone cable for wired operation. The earcups swing in 90 degrees to lay flat in the case, and the case has an elastic band to hold the headphones in. Update: M&O just sent out a warning out to users stating that the elastic band should be cut out of the case since the tightness of the band can cause the hinges to break when inserting or removing the headphones. I didn’t experience this, but if you have a pair that has broken due to this problem, M&O is promising to replace them.
Bluetooth 4.0 ensures quick pairing, and really good battery life, with a charge lasting for several days as long as you don’t forget to turn them off. If the battery runs out, you can connect the supplied headphone cable to the bottom of the left earcup and use them without batteries. Charging is achieved by plugging the included USB cable into the micro USB port on the bottom of the right earcup next to the control buttons.
Now let’s talk about the sound, which is decent for the $129 price tag. I have yet to hear a Bluetooth headphone under $150 sound anywhere near world class, and these are no different. However, if you are looking for a budget set of over-ear Bluetooth headphones, these have a warm and friendly sound that lend themselves to long listening sessions.
I tested them by pairing to my LG V30 smartphone, which is apt-X compatible, and played a combination of Hi-Res music files and Tidal Hi-Fi streams.
When I listen to headphones, I have a certain sound sig that really appeals to me, and it’s pretty similar to what I listen for in speakers. That is a somewhat open, forward midrange, with a slight bass bump, and slightly rolled off, yet detailed highs. If you have heard the Bowers & Wilkins P7 Wireless, I consider that to be almost the perfect sound sig for Bluetooth Headphones, even though I feel like the bass can be a little bit too lively at times.
In comparison, the MOOH-BE00BT sounds darker with a soft rolled off treble, and boomy bass, but they are anchored by a warm, sweet midrange. They are a little thick, with a veil across the sound spectrum, but the overall smooth sound makes them very easy to listen to for long periods without fatigue. If you like a really bright, sparkly and forward sound, you may consider the sound to be too dark.
I compared it to my favorite Bluetooth headphone in the $100-$150 range, the AKG Y50BT, and while it had more top end detail and better controlled deeper bass, I actually preferred the more forward midrange of the M&O headphones. The AKG was a more lively listen overall, with more sparkle in the highs, and deeper, more detailed bass, but the sweeter mids of the MOOH-BE00BT headphones made me want to listen to them longer. Neither had much in the way of separation or imaging, but I find that par for the course at this price level. The mids of the M&O product made them sound a tad bit more open than the AKG, and it presented a decent soundstage for a headphone.
When I connected the MOOH-BE00BT to my phone using the wired connection and turned on the LG V30’s Quad SABRE DAC, the sound got a little better, with the veil lifting a bit, and the bass getting tighter. The treble also seemed to be a little bit more prominent. In the wired mode, I would say they actually sounded quite neutral, probably due to the absence of coloration from the bottom end. They still lacked much separation between instruments, but I enjoyed the slightly higher resolution.
If you can get past the generic look, the MOOH-BE00BT have a comfortable fit and a warm, smooth, fatigue-free sound that’s easy to listen to for long periods of time. It’s a good non-offensive sound which is not the last word in detail, but there is enough there to provide some excitement.