The MAS Audio Science X5h On-Ear Headphone is a unique product that aims to offer audiophile sound on the go. Most of the time “on-the-go” means you have to choose between a wired or wireless connection, but not in this case. The X5h is part of what MAS Audio Science calls an “Ecosystem,” meaning they offer a range of accessory cables that provide different connectivity options. The additional wires lead to some exciting possibilities, like turning your headphones from wired to wireless in the blink of an eye.
Rundown of features from MAS:
- HIGH RESOLUTION AUDIOPHILE GRADE DRIVERS: The new MAS 40mm dynamic drivers combine proprietary diaphragms and super lightweight aluminum-copper voice coils to produce precise mid, high and extended bass.weight aluminum-copper voice coils to produce precise mid, high and extended bass.
- CORE ARRAY TECHNOLOGY:Core Array Technology aligns all components of the driver to increase efficiency, reduces distortion and produces unrivaled sound quality along with spacious soundstage.
- MAS HEADPHONE ECOSYSTEM: All MAS X-series Headphones and Earbuds are compatible with separate MAS XX accessories which offer a range of connection and connectivity options for today’s mobile devices.
- INCLUDES MMCX SILVER AUDIO CABLE & MMCX REMOTE CABLE: The audiophile grade MMCX Silver Audio Cable is a maximum fidelity cable for exceptional detailed treble, refined mid and strong bass. The MMCX Remote Cable includes a high-quality microphone and so can make calls and select tracks on your iOS or Android mobile devices.
- WIDE FREQUENCY RESPONSE: The MAS X5h features 40mm High Resolution Dynamic drivers, with 102 dB @ 1mW sensitivity, 5Hz – 50kHz frequency response, and an impedance of 32 ohms @ 1kHz.
Build and Features
The X5h On-Ear Headphones are lightweight by design since they’re meant to be portable, but my first thought upon picking them up was that they are maybe too lightweight. The combination of metal, protein leather, and plastic once in hand do not look as premium as they do in the product photos. Especially the earcups, which look like metal but are matte plastic. But overall the product seems to be sturdy, and its lightness along with the foldable design does make it well-suited for use while out and about.
Comfort is good as far as On-Ear headphones are concerned. The clamp isn’t very tight, just firm enough to keep them from moving around too much. When I shook my head with them on, they barely moved at all. Personally, with any On-Ear headphone I have tried, the pressure of the earpads has caused some discomfort on my earlobes at first, and the X5i was no different. I found myself making adjustments to relieve the pressure in the beginning, but after a while, they didn’t bother me anymore. Your mileage may vary.
As far as accessories are concerned, the X5h is equipped pretty nicely with both a hard carrying case for maximum protection and a soft carrying bag to save space when traveling. There are two detachable cables in the box, one braided audio cable for optimum sound quality, and one remote cable with a mic for mobile phone use. I used the remote cable several times for phone calls, and it worked well. The person on the other end heard me clearly without me having to yell into the microphone.
Both cables connect to the earcups with standard MMCX connectors, which is unusual for On-Ear headphones. This connection is used more on IEMs which have small connections out of necessity, but On-Ear and Over-Ear headphones usually use more robust plug-type connectors. The good part is the cables are easy to take on and off, but they can pop off every once and awhile as MMCX cables tend to do. Thankfully it didn’t happen to me too often.
Speaking of cables, as I said earlier, MAS Audio Science offers a couple of accessory cables that are interchangable with both the X5h and X5i which is their In-Ear model. Both are sold separately and use MMCX connectors as well.
One is the XX Bluetooth Cable, which does precisely what the name implies, turning the headphones into a wireless headset when connected. The cable uses Bluetooth 4.2 and has a mic/remote for making phone calls or playing music. It lasts for 12 hours of listening time per charge.
The company sent me a Bluetooth cable along with the headphones, and just like the included remote cable, it worked well for music and phone calls. The sound was a little duller than the wired connection, but it still sounded good, and the link to the phone was stable.
There is also the XX USB-C cable which has a built-in high-resolution DAC and 3D virtual surround processor. It connects to your mobile devices’ USB-C port to deliver digital music and surround sound for games and movies through your MAS X-Series headphones. The company didn’t send that one out, but I would’ve loved to try it.
I tested the X5h Headphones playing Tidal streams from my LG V40 phone with the ESS Sabre Quad DAC. Playing “Temptation” by Freddy Cole, the X5h presented me with an overall laid back presentation. Highs were crisp, and the bass was punchy, but the mids were recessed taking a lot of air out of the sound. The soundstage was pretty wide and deep, imaging was also good with the drums and horn taking their proper place behind Freddy, but ultimately, the veil over the instruments was a little distracting. These are not my favorite headphones for Jazz.
On the other hand, with Electronica and Dance music, the X5h showcased its strengths. On Diplo’s “Hold You Tight,” the deep bass played tight and fast, and the hi-hats were reproduced crisply with no sibilance. So while I wouldn’t use these headphones for critical listening, they did prove they could be a lot of fun.
The X5h On-Ear Headphone has some neat tricks up its sleeve, like accessory cables that allow you to add functionality, or the ability to fold up small for storage while traveling. However, when it comes to the sound, I found it to be a little too veiled and laid back for my taste. But for the electronica and dance music fans, if you like the design, the combination of deep bass, wide soundstage, and crisp highs may win you over.
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I’m an audio writer who started as a young audio salesman/consumer electronics professional back in the late 90s. That’s where I discovered the magic of 2-Channel sound. My thirst for great sound has led me on a delightful music quest that continues today.