MASTER & DYNAMIC MW60 REVIEW :
MASTER&DYNAMIC is an american audio company from New-York that produce top notch looking portable headphones since 2014. Design concept of their beautifull and sturdy headphones have a special vintage and industrial appeal to them, wich can be explained by the fact they get inspire by old WWII aviator find in a war museum. This was the begining of a succes story rarely seen in headphones world with the exception of Beats headphones, but unlike Beats, the M&D headphones will most probably stand test of time, partly due to their invincible construction and more balanced near-audiophile sound quality.
The excellent MH40 are the very cause of this mass succes, as it receive great feedback as much from audiophile than audio enthusiast. As well, at 250$, its fairly priced for such quality portable headphones. I was curious to try them more than few moment in audio store so I contact M&D and finally get the opportunity to review their newer MW60, wich is a over-ear Bluetooth portable headphone.
The MASTER&DYNAMIC MW60 is nearly indentical to the MH40 in term of physical look, both are closed back even if we could have think the grill of MH40 make it open. Both use a big 45mm neodymium drivers as well. Big difference is about Bluetooth fonctionality, wich are wisely integrated to headphones design where we can find metal buttons and switch under the cups. Its so well hided that if you look the side of headphones you do not see any of this extra construction parts.
Priced at 450$, the MW60 are luxurious BT headphones, and they feel and sound like one. This isn’t you normal Bluetooth headphones and the type ofsound it deliver is more the one we will expect from an open headphone due to a very deep and around your head soundstage. With a battery life stated at up to 16 hours, the MW60 are sure to give you long hours of wire free listening pleasure, and if you do not have time to recharge it once the battery is drown, you can still plug it and use them as normal headphones.
Let’s see in this review if the MW60 merit as much praise for its sound and bluetooth features than for its irreprochable construction.
DISCLAIMER: This is a review sample loan, and there no money or affiliation with Master& Dynamic company. As a fully independant reviewer, as always, I will stay objective in my subjectivity and try my best to judge the price value of this audio product even if I do not pay nothing. I wanna thank Master&Dynamic to give me the opportunity to test this headphones a full month.
Master & Dynamic MW60 Specs
Driver Size: 1.77″ / 45 mm
Magnet Type: Neodymium
Design: Over-Ear (Circumaural)
Impedance: 32 Ohms
Pickup Pattern: Omni-Directional
Supported Audio Codecs: aptX
Audio Connector: 1/8″ / 3.5 mm
Cable Length: 4.1′ / 1.3 m
Headphone Charging Port: Micro-USB
Material of Construction: Aluminum, Foam, Leather, Steel
Dimensions (W x H x D): 7.8 x 7.4 x 2.0″ / 20.0 x 19.0 x 5.0 cm
Weight: 12.2 oz / 345 g
Package Weight: 2.95 lb
Box Dimensions (LxWxH): 9.8 x 8.1 x 3.9″
ACCESSORIES, CONSTRUCTION & DESIGN :
UNBOXING experience at this price should be something special and Master&Dynamic know it.
The boxing presentation is very elegant, near ceremonious ,as it come in a big black box we gently open like we open the door of a luxurious manor. Everything is presented in a minimalist way with a mature taste for pratical details, like a round leather case for the cable that it include. Accessories are generous, we have this cable case but an Headphones case too that is very portable. As well, we have a nice quality 3.5mm to 3.5mm cable and a charging cable. The user manual is surprinsingly fancy as well, it come in multi langage that include german, french, spanish and even korean. You cannot be indifferent at level of details the presentation of MW60 is done, and for once, you feel respected as a buyer that invest serious money in a high quality audio product.
CONSTRUCTION follow this perfectionnist approach. The model I choose to test is the ‘’Scott Campbell Studio’’ edition, wich have a white snake design printed on whole black leathered headphones. This is a really beautifull piece of art and craftmanship all made of quality compenents and using lot of metal part and real leather. Inner headband is soft leather, outside headbands and cup is grainy false leather, cushion pads is real lambskin leather. You will not find any imperfection in the way its construct even it it involve lot of pieces and work. The headband mecanism work smoothly, not squeek noise of anykind. Earcups are easily changeable due a a magnetic holding, this is nice but sometime I find it too easy to pull off, for example, when you take your headphone by the ear cushion in a rush you can be surprise to finish just with the earcushion in you hand. No big deal, and again, when you see the construction of whats behind the earcushion your surprise by high level of quality, even the round metal grill is beautifull to look at. With the Campbell edition, you have a special sentence on it as well as inside the earcushion cloth wich is : ‘’The smartest things I ever did were stupid things for love’’ From my life experience, its more the opposite of this assumption that I believe in, but still, its a funny naive sentence to read when your head is fullfill by heavy dark toughs. Very ‘’hypsterish’’ urban thinking if you ask me.
DESIGN is heavy duty and elegant at the same time, it have a classy urban look that would fit any modern day era, should it be in past or futur 50’s. Unlike the Beat or other sporty fashion BT headphones with flashy color, Master&dynamic choose a sober base that can became expressive with the model you choose, like the Campbell edition I have wich is a eye catcher but not a flashy or immature one.
COMFORT is excellent even if yes, at near a pound the MW60 are quite heavy for its size. Thanks to soft head pression and turning cups, you never feel any type of pain at sideof your head after long listen. The ear cups are big enough for most type of ears, but just 1 cm more tall and it my enormous ears will fit more spaciously.
INTERFACE of the Bluetooth fonction is well implemented at each side of the ears cups, I find it intuitive and easy to use on the go. There 2 metal buttons for volume control that work to change track too, you either press fast for volume or hold the right or left button to change tracks, in the middle there a pause-play button. I was impress to see that this control work with anything I try, should it be my laptop, Xduoo X20 or Phone, this made the MW60 very versatile for sound source. To connect bluetooth, you just push the swith to the right until you see a white light, you will hear a strange ”woosh” noise until connection is made. It do not connect automatically, so you need to use your phone or DAP to select it.
As well, it have an omnidirectional mic of great quality that offer a very clear sound for phone call.
ISOLATION is average for a closed back, its passive and you will hear the kids playing in the garden as I could conclude walking near kid school. Sound leakage is the same, average, so I will not wear the MW60 in public library but will not be ashame to wear it on the street or in subway.
BLUETOOTH SIGNAL is extremely impressive with a way above average connectivity distance. In fact, i do not have test any Bluetooth device that can be so far from Bluetooth source and still get clean signal, its so powerfull it literaly pass thrue every wall of my appartment so I can be on my front balcony when my phone or DAP was in back balcony, between those two their even bricks wall, and we talk of 20 meters distance of separation here. In-Cre-di-BLE!! And a BIG BIG Plus to take account off. I mean, it should be in Guiness Record book I think.
BATTERY life hold me up to 10 hours listening music at max volume. For people that listen less loud, i’m pretty sure the 16H statement is accurate, wich is another time very very impressive.
PORTABILITY is great too, as this headphones is foldable and do not take lot of space.
First sound impressions was made with bluetooth connection to my LG G6 phone and wasn’t a sudden wow effect, especially due to the fact that i’m use to listen music quite loud and max volume was just enough to satisfy me. But then, I connect it with cable on my Xduoo X20 and indeed, WOW effect it was, especially compared to very first Bluetooth impression that have a slight bass and treble roll off, making the sound less dynamic and impactfull than using MW60 with cable.
So here I will have to do 2 reviews, but the longer one will be cabled way.
BLUETOOTH SOUND IMPRESSIONS :
SOUNDSTAGE is quite airy and wide for a closed headphones, wich is very impressive by its own, but as well imaging have a great spaciality and realist way to present itself.
LOWER END is where bass roll off tend to happen, as well, it have a dry way of presenting its presence, wich do not help for discerning properly bass line tone. This is problematic as much for bass heavy tracks than for classical that use cello, wich will sound off-tune due to a lack of body and low extension. In the positive side, it tend to help overall clarity, balance and imaging of whole sound.
MID BASS is emphased, but still on the smooth warm side, it isn’t bright or particularly thick, but have enough punch, a dark punch I will say. Impact is softly rounded and timbre too is on the soft side, wich do not make kick drum sounding super energic, it isn’t slow as attack in whole frequencies range have good grip and resolution, but it have an organic and ligth presentation. For rock it will lack fowardness, but for jazz or pop it will sound okay.
MID RANGE is a little recessed because mid bass warm it in lower mid. Vocal are still clear and gently detailed, they are well centered and intimate. In complex instrument heavy music, the signer will feel more distant than other instruments without being overshadowed. Mid range is well cover tough, and due to great imaging instrumental music can sound quite appealing, saxophone having realist timbre and transparent fowards presence. This is the talent of MW60, a rather lush transparent timbre, that help instrument attack and grip, offering a lively laidback and airy presentation of whole music.
TREBLE is roll off in upper end, wich make overall sound organic and gentle, perfect for long listening session or treble sensitive people. Sure, the higs lack sparkle and decay, as we can conclude listening to classical guitar or harpsichord, wich sound soft in attack as well.
CABLED SOUND IMPRESSIONS :
Now, this is something else because the sound OPEN and gain in OXYGENE, wich is whats needed for making them BREATH properly.
SOUNDSTAGE became even more airy, vast and quite deep, with an holographic around your head feel. Spaciality is impressive and sound very lively, way more dynamic than Bluetooth version, as if now the MW60 is rightly amped and pround to show what he’s really able to deliver.
LOWER END extend well, but isn’t overly emphased, it have good thickness but will not make lot of rumble, this isn’t basshead headphones even if it have a V shape soundsignature. Definition of sub bass note is well feel, as we can heard in ‘’Canadian Hillbillies’’ track from Georgia Anne Muldrow, the bass line digging very low, MW60 render it with great body and weight, and let the kick drum take its place without warming it too much. Thanks to the big 45mm dynamic driver, MW60 can handle any level of bass without distortion and going out of control.
MID BASS have good attack and enough weight to make an energic impression, but have a fast drop to let the mid range breath better. Kick isn’t particularly weighty, and perhaps is slightly veiled by lower end. Its warm and soft timbre tend to stole some grip and definition, but nonetheless it proove to have enough speed to feel lively. MW60 isn’t a particularly punchy headphones, and can even be considered a little dark by some that prefer bright textured timbre, still, it have an appealing natural and easy going presentation fo whole bass that help for a more balanced near neutral sound approach.
MID RANGE is now well covered and very clear, even if gentle and light in timbre, it have extra mid range push that make it quite well detailed, especially in lower region where wind instrument and female vocal gain in definition and presence. In song like ‘’Blue Alert’’ from Madeleine Peroux, instrument separation is warm and accurate, giving a whole velvety musicality to it, Madeleine voice is well centered in middle of drum, guitar and acoustic bass that sound very energic and natural, her voice without being very thick, is free of any sibilance and have great clarity.
TREBLE is soft, natural and thick, it tend to round corner of any possible sharpness in sound without sacrifiing too much details. It lack a little snap and sparkle in the highs to my taste, but have an impressive lower and mid treble that compensate the lack of decay. Until 15khz, we have plenty of details and richness in treble, we even have good brillianc in percussions, but MW60 sure isn’t an analytical sounding headphones, more a lush and delicate one. I feel there some colouring to help mico details being perceived, wich give extra sharpness to some highs and permit a excellent imaging of whole musicality.
LOWER END : 7.5/10
MID BASS : 7.5/10
MID RANGE : 8.5/10
TREBLE : 8/10
TIMBRE : 7.5/10
ATTACK : 8/10
SOUNDSTAGE : 9/10
CABLED COMPARAISONS :
These headphones have both a great look and construction, but the MW60 is in another league in term of high quality compenent and sturdiness. It’s way heavier than the Meze due to this too, as well as less comfortable. Meze have bigger plastic cups and you do not feel any pression on your head, we cannot say that for the MW60, that even if very comfortable will not be the best for a whole working day 8H shift.
MEZE are way more bassy, especially in mid bass region where the impact is near basshead. Lower bass tend to be more rumbly and less controled than the MW60, wich is the main drawback of the 99 NEO. Still, it sound more full bodied than the thinner sub bass of MW60.
MID RANGE sound brighter but as much recessed than MW60, clarity is on par with thicker timbre and more emphased upper mids, as well we have more space between instrument. Still, the bass bleed of Meze is more important than MW60 and tend to veil mid range in bass heavy track. Attack is more snappy and timbre sound richer with Meze.
TREBLE is a little more coloured with the MEZE, so we have more mid range details and better instrument separation with the MW60 and highs sound more natural. With the MEZE, percussion can sound to fowards and unbalanced, while the MW60 sound more natural. The MW60 have less attack-decay as well as sparkle, but I find treble presentation superior to the MEZE in term of fluidity and balance.
VS HIFIMAN HE-300 (300$) :
Both have sturdy construction, but the MW60 have high quality compenents and great craftmanship while the HE-300 have big cheap plastic earcups and a rough industrial feel. MW60 is way more comfortable even if the earcups are a little too small for my ears. Both are very heavy headphones.
SOUNDSTAGE of HE-300 is a little more airier and out of your head due to an open back design.
BASS is more extended in lower end but dryier too, MW60 have more mid bass punch and sound more energic and bassy while the HE-300 have better separation but sound lifeless.
MID RANGE is thicker and more fowards with the MW60, instrument separation is better with HE-300 but can sound too grainy and bright and even create sibilance, where the MW60 sound more natural and intimate.
TREBLE is more extended and emphased with the HE-300, its a very detailed headphones with sharp highs compared to smoother MW60. MW60 sound warm and natural, while the HE-300 sound bright and airy.
Reviewing the Master&Dynamic MW60 was a polarizing experience, as if I have to review 2 different headphones, or more likely, two version of the same where the cabled version would be the improved one.
Its not to say that the Bluetooth transmission sound bad, but more likely that the self-powered MW60 do not have enough juice to exploit fully the potential of its excellent 45mm dynamic driver. You can find on the net lot of review saying the MW60 do not have any bass or do not sound enough dynamic, this is true only when used Bluetooth mode, but if you EQ it you can compensate this lack of bass and treble.
When it come to cabled version, this is where you understand it’s an High End Headphones, the sound is lush, bass is extended and punchy, vocal are clear and never sibilant, treble is natural, warm and revealing : yes, these are very capable Headphones that can deliver a very appealing musicality in a spacious soundstage.
Sure, at 450$ they aren’t cheap, but the generous amount of accessories as well as top-notch construction reflect its price range and I think that if you plan to listen the MW60 WITH and without cable, this would be a good investment. If you plan to use these only as bluetooth headphones, I think there cheaper alternative that will offer better sound quality but perhaps not as good connectivity and certainly not as good construction.
All in all, if money isn’t a problem for you and you search to buy the best looking Bluetooth headphones that have long battery life, impressive connectivity distance and excellent sound in passive mode, the Master&Dynamic MW60 should be on your list.
- Super construction and design
- Excellent battery life
- Excellent long distance BT connectivity
- Great sound when cabled
- Bluetooth sound do not show real potential of the MW60
- Earcups a little small
- A near a pound, its heavy
- Little pricey