Master & Dynamic MW65 review: Beauty in design, elegance in sound and ANC onboard

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The Master & Dynamic MW65 have that classic M&D design and combine the balanced M&D sound stage with active noise cancelling.

TA-ratings-97

Master & Dynamic is a New York-based premium audio company who burst onto the scene around the same time we did. The company has quickly become one of the most well-known premium audio companies out there, and for the good reason that they make kick-butt audio equipment. The Master & Dynamic MW65 is their latest headphone offering.

The Master & Dynamic MW65 headphones are the company’s first foray into the world of Active Noise Cancellation (ANC) and Google Assistant. While they may look like their older brother the MW60, they are very much a different beast and they are absolutely fabulous. Read on for the full review of the Master & Dynamic MW65 ANC headphones with Google Assistant.

Spoiler: I am going to gush over these headphones.

Specifications

The Master & Dynamic MW65 ANC headphones have the following features and specifications:

  • 40mm Custom Beryllium Drivers
  • Feed-Forward and Feed-Back Hybrid Active Noise Cancellation Technology
  • Bluetooth 4.2 Connectivity supporting AptX, SBC
  • 20 Meter/65+Foot Bluetooth Range
  • Two Beamforming Noise Reduction Mic Array: Filters out external noise and focuses on the sound of your voice
  • Durable and Lightweight Anodized Aluminum
  • Leather Ear Pads: Memory Foam Wrapped in Lambskin Leather
  • Up to 24 Hours Battery Life, Charges to 50% in 15 Minutes
  • Charged via USB-C Cable
  • 3.5mm Passive Audio Port
  • Dimensions: W/L/D – 165mm x 190mm x 66mm
  • Google Assistant built-in
  • Smart Device Voice Assistant Enabled

What’s In The Box

  • Master & Dynamic MW65 ANC headphones
  • Protective canvas carrying case
  • USB-C to C charging cable
  • USB-a to C adapter
  • Flight adapter
  • 1.25m standard 3.5mm audio cable
What’s In The Box

Design

Master & Dynamic pride themselves on their design and engineering as well they should. I’ve yet to use one of their products where I didn’t appreciate their aesthetic design. The design of the Master & Dynamic MW65 headphones is very similar to their older brother the MW60.

There are also similarities to the MH40 and the MW50+ headphones. The headphones exude a classic art deco feel which hearkens back to the 1920s through 1940s. They’re just very classy looking and classy feeling. When you put the MW65s on you feel like you’re putting on a tuxedo.

The first thing I noticed about the MW65 headphones was their weight. I was shocked at just how light these headphones are. The reason for my surprise is that the MW60’s are much heavier. I quickly found out why they were so much lighter.

The inner part of the headphones on the MW65s is no longer made from solid aluminum, and the earpads are not magnetic anymore. At first, I thought this was odd, so I contacted Master & Dynamic to ask why. The company told me they made this design choice to accommodate the ANC. Too much metal and magnets would have made the ANC not function properly.

Master & Dynamic MW65
Classic art deco modern design is appealing to me.

The earpads are still removable and replaceable, but now they are held in with plastic clips instead. While I understand the need to reduce the metal and magnets for proper ANC functionality, I do miss them. However, that does not make these bad in any way.

We never rush our products. We waited until we could launch an ANC product that was acoustically stunning. Through vigorous research, we were able to develop an amazing ANC technology that did not compromise our signature acoustics, which is a commonly known issue with ANC. As a result of patience and discipline, we are also delivering our lightest weight headphones ever. This is quite an accomplishment considering we still use all metal and premium leathers.”

Jonathan Levine – Founder & CEO

The MW65 ANC headphones are super light and the materials used throughout are premium. High-quality plastics are sparingly used and premium aluminum is used wherever was possible. There is, of course, all the leather, particularly the lambskin leather. I’ve used a lot of headphones and Master & Dynamic’s lambskin earpads are just about the most comfortable and cool earpads I’ve ever put on.

On the left ear cup you’ll find the ANC button, the power/Bluetooth switch, a microphone, and the AUX port. On the right ear cup you’ll find the volume and track up and down buttons along with the pause/play button and Google Assistant button. The USB-C charging port is also on this ear cup as is another microphone.

The Master & Dynamic M65 ANC headphones also fold flat for better storage in the included canvas carrying pouch. I do wish the company would include a hard shell carrying case and at this price, I think it would be a welcome addition. The ear cups also articulate and pivot a bit to help make the fit more comfortable.

Overall, this is typical Master & Dynamic design…clean, modern/art deco, with amazing materials used throughout.

Ease of Use

The basic setup and pairing of the Master & Dynamic MW65 ANC headphones is pretty straightforward. If you’ve used Bluetooth headphones before this won’t be a problem at all. Simply slide the power button up and hold for a second to go into pairing mode. Find the MW65s in the Bluetooth settings and pair to them. That’s all you need to do if you only plan on using these as headphones and don’t plan on using the Google Assistant.

If you are going to use Google Assistant on the MW65s, you will get a notification on your Android device that asks you to complete the setup. This basically takes you to the Google Assistant settings where you confirm connection to the MW65’s and set spoken notifications. Notifications can be turned on for a lot of apps but Messages is on by default. This means you can have the Assistant read your text messages to you. You can do the same for almost any app with notifications.

If you do have spoken notifications turned on, the Assistant will stop what you’re listening to and tell you that you have a notification and ask if you want that read back to you. You can also invoke the Assistant by long pressing the volume up button and then you can ask the Assistant for the weather or to call or text someone.

Master & Dynamic MW65
Volume and playback controls.

For iOS users, you will have to download the Google Home app and follow the instructions on setting up a new device. It’s basically the same as the Android version but it doesn’t happen automatically when pairing to Bluetooth.

You can also use other voice assistants by holding the ANC and play/pause buttons at the same time for 5 seconds. This will turn off Google Assistant and allow you to use Siri or Alexa if you so choose. If you want to go back to Google Assistant, just do the same thing and it will turn it back on.

Overall, these headphones are not hard to use at all. While having the Google Assistant available is a nice bonus, I suspect that most buyers of these headphones have little interest in AI assistants and are buying these for their sound and ANC capability.

Sound

I’ve reviewed a lot of headphones and I like a lot of headphone brands. But there are few headphones whose sound stage I like as much as Master & Dynamic’s. I prefer a very balanced and neutral sound stage. I want to hear what the artist intended for me to hear. I do like the bass frequencies to be slightly tweaked up, but not insane.

Master & Dynamic deliver exactly a balanced sound stage. They’ve done it with their MW60s, MH40s and even their MW07s. The company just excels at making their headphones sound perfectly balanced and that’s no different here with the Master & Dynamic MW65’s.

Everything is perfectly balanced with no frequency dominating the other. Mids are clear and clean, the highs are crisp and bright, and the bass is exactly where it should be, supporting and holding up the other frequencies. None of this comes as a surprise to me, I suspected that I would get the same signature balanced sound from these headphones as any other Master & Dynamic product.

Master & Dynamic MW65
ANC control

The new thing here is the active noise cancelling (ANC). There are three different modes for ANC:

  • Off: No noise cancelling needed
  • High: For use on airplanes, city streets, and high-noise environments
  • Low: For use in low-noise environments and windy conditions

I’m going to be honest here. The ANC on the MW65s is excellent. It’s better than cheaper headphones from JBL, Cleer, and Klipsch. I felt like the ANC performed very well and cut the noise substantially. I will admit that I still believe that the ANC king of the mountain is the Bose QC35s.

That being said, the MW65s are no slouch and they SOUND better than the Bose QC35s. They also look and feel better than the QC35s, so while the ANC is slightly below the Bose performance, I would take the MW65s all day over the Bose. As founder and CEO Jonathan Levine said, ANC does have issues with affecting the sound of headphones and M&D managed to work around that and still deliver amazing sound.

Overall, these headphones are exactly what M&D deliver with every other pair of their headphones. Elegant, pure, balanced sound. The ANC is icing on the cake and the ANC on these works very well while the headphones maintain their amazing style.

Reception/Call Quality

Bluetooth 4.2 reception is solid and spot on. I had no issues with Bluetooth connectivity at all. With Bluetooth 4.2 you can potentially move away 65 feet from your source without losing signal. Of course, there are many factors like walls and other obstacles that will change these numbers. I was able to walk throughout the bottom floor of my home from room to room without ever losing connection from my Pixel 3 XL to the MW65s.

Call quality is equally great. Callers could hear me clearly and I could hear them clearly. No issues at all. Overall, great Bluetooth signal here and great call quality.

Great Bluetooth and Call Quality

Battery Life

M&D are claiming 24-hours of battery life with the MW65s. I didn’t run these for 24-hours straight, but I did use them for a few weeks straight at 1-2 hours a day and they lasted without having to charge. I believe you could get 24-hours of life out of these if you used them for 24-hours straight. Overall, these are strong on battery life and USB-C charging means you’ll get juice into these fast.

Price/Value

Master & Dynamic is a lifestyle brand and their prices reflect this. The company is selling premium materials, premium sound, and beautiful designs. So it’s no surprise that the MW65s are priced at US$499. That sounds like a lot but these headphones are worth every penny. Again, I do wish, for that US$499, you could get a hard shell case for these but everything else is spot on. Of course, these aren’t going to be for everyone as not everyone wants to spend this much. But the value to those who are looking for headphones such as these is high and I think those buyers will be very happy with them.

Wrap Up

These aren’t the ANC headphones for you if you don’t want to kill your pocketbook. There are other cheaper options. But those options also do not sound nearly as good as the MW65s. Even ANC headphones that are priced nearly the same still do not sound as good. I love the balanced sound stage of Master & Dynamic headphones, and these are worth the price for those who are looking for premium materials, balanced sound, and an amazing design language.

*We received a review unit of the Master & Dynamic MW65 ANC headphones for the purposes of this review.

Master & Dynamic MW65

US$499
9.7

Design

10.0/10

Ease of Use

9.5/10

Sound

10.0/10

Reception/Call Quality

9.5/10

Battery Life

9.5/10

Price/Value

9.5/10

Nailed it

  • Beautiful design
  • Premium materials
  • Easy to setup and use
  • Clean and neutral sound stage
  • Great battery life
  • Google Assistant capable

Needs work

  • They are pricey, but sometimes that old saying you get what you pay for...is true.
  • A hard shell carrying case would have been a nice touch

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