When they first came out, true wireless earbuds were pretty price. Now, a few years later, they run the gamut when it comes to price and quality. While more affordable TWS earbuds have flooded the market, some companies still have premium offerings, which usually come with a premium price, such as the Master & Dynamic MW08.
Estimated reading time: 10 minutes
Our Master & Dynamic MW08 review takes a look at a pair of true wireless earbuds with a premium build quality, active noise-cancelling, and the company’s excellent sound quality. Read on for our full review!
Table of contents
The Master & Dynamic MW08 true wireless earbuds we reviewed have the following features and specifications:
|Audio profiles||aptX, AAC, and SBC|
|Active noise cancelling||Hybrid active noise-cancelling wireless earbuds with All Day ANC and ANC Max modes|
|Ambient listening modes||Awareness Mode, Voice Mode|
|Microphone type||6-microphone talk solution – 3 microphones in each earphone|
|Waterproof level||IPX5 water resistance rating|
|Earphone battery life||Up to 12 hours playtime, 10 hours with ANC|
|Earphone charge time||50% charge in 15 minutes, 100% charge in 45 minutes|
|Charging case battery life||30 additional hours of charge for up to 42 hours total playtime|
|Charging case charge time||50% charge in 15 minutes, 100% charge in 60 minutes|
Case: Stainless Steel
|Dimensions||Earbuds: 21.19 x 20.22 x 25.08mm|
Case: 64 x 47.1 x 25mm
|Weight||Earbuds: 9.0g each|
What’s in the box
- Master & Dynamic MW08 noise-cancelling wireless earphones
- Stainless steel charging case
- 5x ear tip sizes
- USB-C to USB-A adapter
- USB-C charging cable
- Canvas pouch
- Quick Start Guide
When it comes to design, true wireless earbuds follow two main schools: rounder buds that fit almost entirely in your ear or with a dangling stick that rests against the side of your head. While the Master & Dynamic MW08 earbuds follow the former, they offer up a design feature that I haven’t seen before. Instead of the outer portion being oval-shaped, each earbud is curved at the back and straight towards the front.
With the company’s ceramic finish, one can see and feel the quality of the MW08 earbuds. Our review sample came in the Black Ceramic colourway; you can also get them in blue, white, or brown, with the case being matte black, polished graphite, or stainless steel, depending on which option you choose. Note, these are not mix and match. Each colour comes with a set case colour which is a tad unfortunate.
As mentioned, the visible portion of the earbud is a nice gloss ceramic finish. The Master & Dynamic logo is printed in silver (in the case of our sample) just under the gloss surface. Each earbud rounds out towards the inside, fitting snuggly in your ear. The earbuds also come with five different ear tip sizes, whereas most only come with three or four. This pretty much guarantees a proper fit regardless of your ear size. The first of three microphones is located near the tip of the earbud. On the inside of each earbud are three charging connectors, the second of the three microphones, and a sensor for detecting when the earbud is removed from your ear. Finally, an L or R indicates which earbud goes in which ear, but you can also tell as the M&D logo should be properly orientated when the earbud is in your ear.
Both earbuds have a third, wind-reduction microphone array along the back upper edge. The left earbud offers up volume controls on the top, while the right earbud has a single multi-function button — more on that in the next section.
The case itself is quite heavy compared to other true wireless earbud cases I’ve seen before. Rectangular in shape, there are three LEDs on the front to indicate left earbud, case, and right earbud charge status. The USB-C charging port is located along the right edge. The case flips open from the top, and the earbuds sit in the charging cavities nicely, showcasing the ceramic finish of each one.
The company also included a nice canvas carrying pouch to help prevent scratches on the stainless steel case when tossed in a backpack or a bag. The earbud case fits nicely inside, and the pouch stays firmly closed with its squeezable opening.
Ease of Use
Like most true wireless earbuds, the Master & Dynamic MW08 enter pairing mode the first time you take them out of the case. Search for M&D MW08 on your smartphone and tap it to pair. If you want to pair with a different device, hold down the MFB until the indicator light starts flashing, and you can pair on that device.
As mentioned above, the right earbud has the MFB along the top edge, while the left earbud has volume up and down controls. The MFB button allows you to play/pause the current track, skip forward, skip back, answer or hang up on a call, or hold to activate your voice assistant. The volume controls on the left earbud allow you to raise or lower the volume and toggle ambient listening mode and active noise-cancelling.
While you can totally use the Master & Dynamic MW08 true wireless earbuds without an app, there is an M&D Connect app for Android and iOS devices. The app lets you update the firmware on the earbuds and set your default ambient listening mode and default ANC setting.
Updating the firmware on the earbuds did seem a bit finicky as the first time I tried, it failed at around 70%, saying the earbuds had disconnected. After putting the earbuds back in the case and removing them, the app wouldn’t detect them even though they were showing as being connected via Bluetooth on my phone. I had to put them back in again, let them sit for a few minutes, then pull them out again before the app would see them. Once detected this time, the firmware upgrade was successful.
Unfortunately, there is no sound equalizer or other EQ settings in the app at all. While not all people like EQ settings, it is a missed opportunity to let people fine-tune the sound further based on their personal preference.
Overall, the app is pretty straightforward to use, updating quirks aside.
The audio on the Master & Dynamic MW08 wireless earbuds is powered by 11mm Beryllium drivers. According to the company, these drivers “provide a wider sound-stage and deliver a rich, warm sound that mimics the acoustics of a live performance.” Overall, I did find the audio fairly balanced between the highs, mids, and lows across a wide range of music. The bass to be punchy, warm and stage-filling, just like I prefer. As mentioned in the software section, it would be nice to have an EQ setting in the app for users who prefer less bass and would like to adjust it. I really had no complaints about the audio when listening to various genres, including songs like “bad guy” by Billie Eilish to Metallica’s “Enter Sandman,” “Unfinished Symphony” by Massive Attack, and everything in between.
When testing ANC out, I like to try it first without music playing. I know it will not block out all sounds when enabled without music on, but it gives me a sense of the noise dampening I can expect when music is being played. To be honest, I didn’t notice all that much of a difference. The voices around me were a bit muffled but not by much. Once I played some music, however, the sounds around me were pretty much indiscernible.
With Bluetooth 5.2 on board, Master & Dynamic claim a range of 100ft (30m). When using the MW08 true wireless earbuds, I had no connectivity or reception issues when I left my phone on my table or my desk. When at home, I could hear the audio without interruption regardless of what floor I was on and in the backyard. At work, I was easily able to get 100 feet away and still have a clear signal.
The Master & Dynamic MW08 wireless earbuds boast 3 microphones in each earphone. During our test calls, call quality was decent enough, with the other party being able to hear me fairly clearly. They did mention they could hear a bit of background noise like traffic going by, but it wasn’t overly distracting.
One glaring shortfall of true wireless earbuds is the lacking battery life. While they are getting better, you’re lucky to get more than 6 hours before having to recharge them. This is more the case with ANC enabled. Master & Dynamic claims that the MW08 earbuds get up to 12 hours on a single charge, 10 if you have ANC enabled. With the included battery case, they claim an extra 30 hours for up to 42 hours of total playtime before recharging the case.
During our testing, we hit the 10-hour mark pretty easily with ANC enabled. I could wear them for an 8-hour workday (4 hours in the morning and 4 in the afternoon) while leaving them out of the case over lunch and still have 15-20% battery life. As you’re unlikely to store them out of the case while not in use, I didn’t specifically track the number of charges the case gave. That being said, I hit about 36 hours total before I had to recharge the case.
When depleted, the earbuds themselves take about 15 minutes to hit 50% charge, as was indicated by my Android device. It takes about 45 minutes for a full charge. As for the case, 15 minutes gets a 50% charge, while fully recharging the case takes about an hour.
I’ve tested quite a few pairs of true wireless earbuds over the past couple of years, and the Master & Dynamic MW08 earbuds definitely have some of the best battery life I’ve encountered to date.
Master & Dynamic has never really been for everyone with its higher-end premium products. With its MSRP of US$299, the MW08 true wireless earbuds are pretty pricey. As an average consumer, there are plenty of other more affordable models that offer up decent sound. It’d just be nice if you could fine-tune it to your personal listening preference.
That being said, the premium build quality, all-day battery life, and active noise-cancelling do offer some great value here… that is, if you can afford the price.
Like most premium brands, the Master & Dynamic MW08 wireless earbuds aren’t for everyone. However, if you prefer a pair of true wireless earbuds with a premium build quality, fantastic battery life, and decent sound — and have money to spare — the MW08 earbuds are worth considering.
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Last Updated on July 15, 2021.
Master & Dynamic MW08US$299.99
Ease of use9.0/10
- Solid, premium build quality
- Stainless steel case
- Balanced sound quality with nice bass levels
- Decent active noise cancelling
- All-day battery life
- Includes five ear tip sizes for comfortable fit
- USB-C charging, includes USB-C to USB-A adapter
- Includes canvas carrying pouch
- Can use independently
- Can get case engraved for additional cost
- Can't mix and match earbuds and case colour
- Earbuds are slightly heavier than other offerings
- Updating can be finicky
- No EQ in app
- MFB on one earbud, volume control on the other
- Noise-cancelling, while decent, could be better