There’s no denying that music plays a big part in the lives of most of us. Music means different things to different people. Some find comfort while others find inspiration. Everywhere you look, you’re bound to see people plugged into their phones or music players with headphones or earbuds that range from the cheap earbuds included with your smartphone type all the way up to premium priced headphones. But is that premium price really worth it? Our Master & Dynamic MW60 headphones review finds out!
The Master & Dynamic MW60 Wireless Over Ear Headphones feature the following specifications:
- Drivers: 45mm Neodymium
- Impedance: 32 ohms
- Headphone Connection: 3.5mm Passive Audio input, micro USB charging/firmware update input
- Bluetooth Profile: Bluetooth 4.1 with Aptx™ high quality audio
- Ear Coupling: Circumaural
- Microphone Type: Omni-directional
- Dimensions: 200mm x 185mm x 50mm
- Weight: 345g
- Cables: Detachable 2.00m Standard Cable, Micro USB Input Cord
- Machined Aluminum Antenna
- Materials: Premium grain leather, lambskin leather, stainless steel, aluminum
- Ear Pads: Detachable lambskin memory foam
What’s in the Box
The MW60 headphone package includes:
- MW60 Wireless Over Ear Headphones
- Canvas Headphone Pouch
- Canvas Cord Case
- 2.00m Standard Cable
- Leather Cable Box
- Micro USB Charging Cable
- Zero Halliburton Hard Case (optional)
The MW60 Wireless Over Ear Headphones from Master & Dynamic are available in two variations: Silver/Brown and Gunmetal/Black. Our review unit, which I should note was a pre-production and not a final retail unit, came in the Gunmetal/Black combination. It also came inside the optional Zero Halliburton hard case which I must say added a lot to the presentation factor.
The case itself was branded with the Master & Dynamic logo with “MW60” etched into the aluminum itself. Upon opening the case, the attention to detail really starts to sink in. We were greeted with two single cards which introduce the company itself and the headphones. Moving the cards out of the way, the MW60 headphones are nicely protected in a foam insert. Just above that is a round container which contains the standard AUX cable for non-wireless listening, and the micro USB charging cable. The lid of the case houses the canvas carrying bag, and behind that is a small box which contains the user manual. I was certainly impressed before I even lifted the headphones out of the case.
The first thing I noticed about the headphones when I lifted them out of the carrying case was the weight. They definitely aren’t light, coming in at 345g (just under 3/4 lb), and felt very solid. The top of the headband and the outer part of the headphone cups are made from heavy grain cowhide. The underside of the headband and the memory foam wrapped ear pads are wrapped in lambskin. The headband is slightly curved, and while comfortable I did feel that it could have been a bit more rounded and that is one of the changes that was made between our pre-production test unit and the final retail product. From the look of the diagram showing the change, I have no doubt the final version will be even more comfortable.
Each end of the headband connects to the ear pads by way of a stainless steel folding hinge which is PVD coated. The inside of each hinge contains a laser etched L or R to indicate which way the headphones should be worn. At the end of the hinge is a piston for adjusting the fit of the headphones. The piston, which also hides all the wires, is connected to an anodized finished milled aluminum adjustment arm which is then attached to a circular piece which sports an enamel filled Master & Dynamic “M” logo.
When holding the headphones as if you were going to put them on, the ear pads tilt inwards towards your head allowing for a comfortable fit. The ear pads are also removable and underneath you’ll find a photo etched stainless steel center which covers the 45mm neodymium drivers. The right side of the headphones has a laser etched model and serial number at the bottom of the stainless steel center. Surrounding the stainless steel center is the silicone driver plate which the lambskin ear pads attach to magnetically.
On the left ear pad housing you’ll find the 3.5mm passive audio port for wired listening at the bottom. The omnidirectional mic, for use with call functionality, is located just in front of that towards the front of the headphones. The power and pairing switch is also located at the bottom of the main centerpiece on the left side, with the status lights just above that. On the aluminum band around the outside of the left side is the antenna used for Bluetooth connection.
The right side of the headphones house the micro USB connection at the bottom for use with charging or firmware updates. Located on the bottom of the right centerpiece is the volume down button (near the front) with the multi-function button (MFB) in the center and the volume up button just behind that near the back. These are actual tactile buttons as well, not just sensor areas that you touch which makes it easier to find the correct button while using the headphones.
The look, design, and construction of the MW60 headphones is top notch, and even at a glance you can see that you’ve got a premium pair of headphones that should last you for a long time.
Ease of Use
Using the pairing button on the headset, they paired easily and connected quickly each time I went to use them. The volume controls are nicely placed and easily accessible, as well as the multi-function button and all controls responded as expected during use.
When the power switch is all the way forward the headphones are off, move it to the center position and the headphones will turn on and connect to a device they are paired with, and finally if you push it all the way back and hold it for a couple seconds you’ll initiate the pairing process. Just above the switch are two small holes. The left shows the battery status and the connectivity status during pairing. The battery status is shown when the headphones are switched on – green indicates fully charged, orange indicates medium battery life left, and red indicates low battery. When plugged in via the micro USB cable to charge, a solid orange light indicates charging and solid green indicates a full charge. During charging, the headphones won’t work. However, if your battery does die during use, you can use the 3.5mm cable to connect to your device and continue listening that way. When the 3.5mm audio cable is connected, the battery turns off and access to the microphone is also disabled.
The volume and MFB buttons serve multiple purposes. Volume up and down do what you’d expect, and if you press the volume up button for more than 2 seconds, you’ll skip to the next track, hold the volume down button for more than 2 seconds and you’ll skip to the previous track. To play or pause a track, press the MFB. The MFB is also used to answer or end a call. If you press the MFB for more than 2 seconds when a call is incoming it will ignore it. When listening to music, you can press the MFB button for more than 2 seconds to enable the digital assistant and voice dial a call.
The MW60 headphones also allow you to pair to two devices simultaneously, allowing you to listen to music on your computer and still answer calls on your smartphone for example.
Sound[clickToTweet tweet=”The @MasterDynamic MW60 Wireless Headphones are crisp, clear with no hint of distortion at any volume!” quote=”The Master & Dynamic MW60 Wireless Headphones are crisp & clear with no hint of distortion at any volume!”]
I’ve tested various headphones, earbuds, and speakers over the past year or so, and I have to admit that these are by far the best sounding audio device I’ve tested. When connected to either my Nexus 5 or my laptop, all types of music sounded fantastic from hard rock to rap to classical and everything in between. The wide range was also noticeable in movies and gaming, everything I listed to with the MW60s sounded clear and fantastic. With my connected device set to 50% volume, the headphones were set between 50-75% and they did indeed provide a “rich, warm sound” as Master & Dynamic indicates in their press materials. Even when I cranked my computer and the headphones up to maximum volume at the risk of blowing out my eardrums, the music continued to be crisp and clear with no hint of distortion at all even with bass heavy songs.
Some of you are bound to ask if these are noise cancelling headphones, and no, they’re not. But trust me, it’s not needed. Even at mid-level volumes, I was hard pressed to hear or distinguish any outside sounds.
I tested the call quality a couple of times with different people and both times the receiving party mentioned that while they could hear me, it was a bit low on the volume side and a couple of times I was asked to repeat myself. On the flip side, I had no issues hearing what they were saying.
Master & Dynamic claims 16 hours of listening on a single charge. Of course this will vary mostly based on the sound volume that you listen to your music at. During the time I tested the MW60 headphones, I was able to get just over 19 hours before the red battery light indicator started flashing, all while listening to them at a reasonable volume which was usually between 50-75% volume – which I might add is plenty loud enough to enjoy your music and drown out the outside world. Needless to say, that’s some pretty impressive battery life.
When fully dead, the MW60 headphones took between 3 and 4 hours to charge back up to 100%.
And now for everyone’s favourite topic… price. The MW60’s aren’t cheap and will set you back $549USD, or $850USD if you opt to purchase it with the Zero Halliburton case. I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not a big spender, but the design, construction quality, and sound on these headphones is definitely worth it. Master & Dynamic mentions that these headphones are engineered to last and “continue to perform with precision for decades to come,” and based on construction quality alone I have no doubt these headphones would last you a long time.
Even though we were sent a pre-production unit for the purposes of our review, as they stand the MW60 Wireless Over Ear Headphones are well constructed, comfortable, and fantastic sounding. The minor tweaks being made to the final retail units addressed all of our concerns so there’s no doubt that the retail versions will be even more outstanding than our test unit.