REVIEW: Master & Dynamic MW60 A Pricey, Bulky Headphone Rich In Luxury Design
“Oh, great”, I thought, as yet another pair of bulky over the ear wireless headphones landed on my desk.
“Why haven’t companies learnt that these are generally less suitable, for the average female?”
“They’re too bulky, they mess up your hair, and many times they’re too heavy to be worn for extended time periods on smaller-sized heads, especially my own”.
That being said, I was excited to try Master & Dynamic’s “luxury-grade” MW60 wireless Bluetooth headphones, made with the “highest quality materials” and claimed to be a fusion of “form-meets-function”.
Australian pricing for Master & Dynamic’s MW60 headphones has not yet been formally confirmed, however, based on US-pricing (U$549), the item is tipped to be around the A$700 mark.
Clearly positioned in the upper end of the market, I was interested to see whether these premium headphones could justify such a hefty price tag.
Packing & Design
From the moment you unpack the product, one thing is clear, this brand is all about luxury. The product comes in a thick robust carboard box, and includes an accompanying zippered case and a cable for wired listening. The product manual is luxuriously sewn together, and there seems to even be a special aroma released from inside the box.
From the onset, it’s clear that aesthetics is important to the Master & Dynamic brand – this is clearly a product priced for the ‘rich’, and is meant to make the user feel rich.
The design of the actual MW60 headphones is equally luxurious – featuring a heavy grain leather headband, lambskin covered earcups, custom-built 45mm neodymium drivers, and patent pending stainless steel componentry.
The headphones are available in a silver/brown variant or a gunmental/black version.
Unfortunately, I wasn’t thrilled to discover how heavy the MW60 headphones felt, especially for a smaller sized female head, as mine. The headphones are much heavier than other premium Bluetooth wireless headphones, such as offerings from Bose and Marshall.
For some users, this ‘heaviness’ may translate to a sense of prestige or a act as a reflection of the premium materials which make up the luxury headphones.
I do appreciate the luxurious style of the headphones, however, personally I do question their practicality. Wearing the headphones for an extended period of time did become a touch taxing for my smaller sized head. The MW60 headphones did, however, feel very comfortable when used lying down in bed, courtesy of the uber comfortable ear cups. I did feel somewhat ‘guilty’ that I was being a touch carefree, when lying down in bed, resting on such a luxurious – and expensive – pair of headphones.
On the left earcup is a power switch, which also doubles as Bluetooth pairing switch, plus a 3.5mm connection to use with the included audio cable.
The right earcup features easy to use volume control buttons, and the ability to skip tracks. A central “multi function” button allows for phone call management. A slot for charging with a microUSB cable (included) is also present.
Master & Dynamic claim the MW60 headphones offer a 16 hour battery life. After trialling the product for some time, I found the company’s claims were substatiated.
Bluetooth & Connectivity
The headphone’s left earcup features a power switch, which also doubles as a Bluetooth pairing switch.
For whatever reason, I really struggled to pair the headphones with my mobile phone. Several attempts were required to acheive a connection with an iPhone, Motorola X4 and Huawei P10 smartphone. Interestingly, the MW60 headphones paired instantly with my Apple Macbook Pro.
Concerning connectvity, a consistent Bluetooth wireless connection was generally maintained. There were 2 – 3 occurences of drop outs, however, this is not totally unexpected for wireless Bluetooth headphones.
Master and Dynamic claims that the MW60 has four times the range of a typical Bluetooth headphone, courtesy of an “exposed antenna” embedded within the outer earcup frames. The company states the MW60 can service a range of 100 feet, however, physical barriers (e.g. doors and walls) still present challenges. This is compared to a 35 feet range delivered by many other Bluetooth headphones.
It’s easy to get swayed when presented with a beatifully designed item, but it’s important to remember, that this is primarily an audio product. I was very interested to see whether the MW60’s premium design matched its ability to deliver premium audio.
The answer: Yes, and no.
Master & Dynamics MW60 headphones largely deliver a rich, immersive and full audio experience. Sound is clean, stiking and authentic with almost no distortion. Overall, the audio quality is balanced, though bass is somewhat reduced compared to other premium wireless Bluetooth headphones I’ve tried.
Personally, I don’t desire a lot of bass, I prefer cripser more balanced tones – as such, I find the MW60’s audio well suited to my personal preference.
I found one major drawback of the MW60 wireless headphones concerned noise cancellation.
The MW60 does not have dual mics, which reduces ambient noise and better enables a user to hear their own voice whilst using the headphones.
Myself and several friends who work in office-based environments trialled the headphones for a number of days, and every person remarked that the headphone’s ability to cancel ambient sound was much less than other more affordable Bluetooth headphones.
Several individuals also found that when they played certain tracks at a higher volume, sound emitted from the headphones was noticably more apparent to people around them, compared to other rival offerings.
On one hand, sound quality is great, however, as someone who demands privacy when listening to my guily pleasure tracks, I expect a touch more when forking out such a large sum of money on headphones.
Unfortunately, one thing I did not enjoy about the MW60 headphones is that the volume control buttons also skip tracks. Users have to hold down the ‘+’ pressable button on the right ear cup to skip a track, and simply have to ‘tap’ the same button to change the volume. On occasion, I found the headphones misinterpretated my ‘tapping’ and I ended up accidentally skipping or changing the volume.
What I found somewhat perplexing is that that the included audio cable doesn’t incorporate an inline remote control, especially for this price. This mean in the wired mode, users can’t field telephone calls via the headphones alone.
Master & Dynamic claim that the MW60 automatically disables battery power when plugged into wired mode, which ensures users can’t accidentally drain their battery.
There’s no question that Master & Dynamic’s MW60 wireless Bluetooth headphones are a luxurious and premium product.
As mentioned earlier, this is a product seemingly priced for the ‘rich’, and made to make the user feel rich.
It’s almost an indulgent consumer product, for those with money to spare, and more concerned with aesthetics and plush design. If that’s your primary cup of tea, you’ll enjoy these.
You will require a robust head, as the bulky weight of the product does not serve well for indiivudals, such as myself, with smaller heads.
Unfortunately, the hefty price tag doesn’t render it especially suitable for someone like myself, who uses the heavier headphones primarily whilst lying down in bed.
There’s no question that the MW60 headphones deliver a beautiful, rich and clean audio listening experience. The premium sound quality, matches the premium design – it’s a question of what that means to you, and what you’re willing to pay for, amidst the highly completive wireless Bluetooth headphone market.