Master & Dynamic MW60 Bluetooth Headphone Review
Since coming on the scene recently, Master & Dynamic has certainly made an impact with their simple designs and solid build quality. The Master & Dynamic MW60 fits right in then, being as nice to hold as it is to look at. But how nice is it to listen to? Being Bluetooth, the MW60 will be subject to the same limitations and design challenges as its competitors’ offerings, but how have Master & Dynamic coped with these?
- Stunning looks
- Bulletproof build quality
- Intuitive controls
- Bass a little out of place depending on genre
- Earpads can be dislodged
- Relatively hard to power in passive mode
- Non-removable internal battery
Design and Appearance
As mentioned in a previous review*, Master & Dynamic products have some lovely styling and have quite a theme running through their range. They’ve taken design cues from the first half of the 20th century and with the incorporated 21st century Bluetooth technology, we have the best of both worlds. Flash Gordon would have used these headphones.
If I was to mention that the Master & Dynamic MW60 is over engineered, I don’t mean that it’s heavy or clunky. Next to a lot of the competition though, it feels as though a lot has gone into this model in terms of the feel of it. It’s like the interior of a new Jaguar car. Plush upholstery contrasts with distinct metal features, making a strong impression of palatial swankiness.
Durability and Build Quality
It’s worth noting that when even the USB charge cable has a braided fabric covering, the standard is quite high! Similarly, there’s a cable for use with the MW60 when the battery is empty (or we just want to save power) with the same covering.
This reviewer tries to imagine what a year or two’s wear and tear is likely to do, but with the MW60 it’s tempting to imagine these after more like 50 years. The paint on the corners may rub off a bit and the earpads might bit a bit more shiny, but apart from any accidental damage, the build quality of the MW60 makes it easy to see them lasting forever.
Given that there’s a non-removeable battery however, it’s unlikely that the full wireless capability will last this long without servicing.
The earpads are firm and well upholstered; they are kept in place by magnets so care is needed when handling the headphones. They won’t fall off without help though!
The earpads of the Master & Dynamic MW60 are excellent. Firm yet yielding, they give a great seal and there’s no hint of discomfort whilst wearing glasses either. The headband is quite narrow though; whilst it is padded, the padding could have done with being a bit thicker.
The sound of the MW60 is fairly neutral for a wireless model; there’s a bit of a bass bump but not too much. It’s leaner than a majority of similar designs out there but the MW60 not bass light by any means. The overall tuning is warmish, but with enough presence up top to please sparkle junkies too. With the power off and the cable used instead, the Master & Dynamic MW60 is a little bit subdued but just fine if you’re in a low-power pinch. Some handsets may not have the power to get the MW60 to a decent volume level whilst in this passive mode however, especially if listening to classical music or acoustic genres with less dynamic compression than commercially produced tracks.
There’s plenty of rumble and thump going on here; on certain tracks there can be a bit more presence here than intended though. Double bass gets picked up quite strongly for instance, and kick drums go low with power enough to give a feeling of pressure changes on the ears. With most modern genres this works very well and drives things along very nicely.
The midrange on the MW60 is clear and maybe a little emphasised here and there; vocals appear quite prominent but there’s no obvious problem with sibilance. Depending on the genre, vocals can sound quite intimate and backing vocals have an impressive width.
There’s a limit to the amount of detail which is possible through a wireless Bluetooth connection, so there is a bit of graininess here but the MW60 does a good job of it. Cymbals and hi-hats are there alright, and fit in with the rest of the sound but don’t expect a great amount of shimmer or airiness here.
- Soundstage and Separation
While there is a nice amount of width on display with bass and midrange frequencies, it’s tempting to think that some of it is due to an internal DSP (digital signal processing) function rather than the design of the headphones themselves. This is borne out by using the cable with the MW60 turned off; there is still a bit of width here but noticeably less. Separation is pretty good but sometimes there can be a bit of midrange congestion with a lot going on. Where treble is concerned, we aren’t in any doubt that these are closed-back headphones but they’re designed to be wireless so this is pretty standard stuff.
Music genres good for and why…
Whether in wireless or passive mode, the MW60 really works best with commercial genres such as rap, dance and pop etc. Acoustic genres and classical can be affected with bass frequencies being picked up a bit too much, and these quieter music types tend not to be very loud in passive mode with the cable.
If you want wireless but not tasteless, then the Master & Dynamic MW60 is a contender. Its build and styling belongs to another era, but it has 21st century technology under the hood and will please those who want classic good looks and no gimmicks.