Master and Dynamic MW60 Review – Industrial Revolution

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Pros –

Bulletproof build, Fashionable industrial design, Full yet well-controlled sound

Cons –

Bass may be overwhelming for some, Thin headband produces some comfort issues, Premium pricing

Verdict –

With the MW60, Master & Dynamic successfully provide a similar, if not superior experience to their wired model with the added liberation of a stable wireless implementation.


Introduction –

Master and Dynamic are a US-based audio manufacturer that pride themselves on their flawless industrial designs and well-realised tuning. Shortly following the success of their portable over-ear MH40, they promptly released the MW60, its wireless, closed-back counterpart. Alongside wireless connectivity, the MW60 brings a completely redesigned chassis that is more suitable for portable use, but also one that carries the same rigidity and flawless level of finish.

Furthermore, though it uses the same drivers as the MH40, the MW60 sounds different due to a well-considered retune in addition to differing acoustics between their respective semi-open and closed-back designs. At $550 USD, the MW60 does represent a sizable price jump from the already premium MH40, though its exceptionally premium construction and lush sound will surely win buyers over. You can read all about the MW60 here.

 

Disclaimer –

I would like to thank Andrew from Master & Dynamic very much for his quick communication and for providing me with the MW60 for the purpose of review. All words are my own and there is no monetary incentive for a positive review. Despite receiving the headphones free of cost, I will attempt to be as objective as possible in my evaluation.

 

Accessories –

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The MW60 is packaged much like the MH40, presenting very professionally. Upon opening the box, buyers are greeted by a quick start guide, leather accessory box and the headphones themselves.

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The leather box contains a 1.25m audio cable should you want to run the headphones from a wired source in addition to a micro-usb charging cable and ¼” adapter. Underneath are the manuals, a small canvas cable pouch and larger zippered case.

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Though the case presents well and is impressively compact, the earpads do become indented when the headphones are stored within it. The headphones also no longer fold flat.

 

Design –

Master & Dynamic have achieved universal notoriety for their expertise in design and manufacturing. Unsurprisingly, the MW60 maintains this tradition as a headphone that feels exceptionally sturdy while managing to be just as visually captivates as prior models. Though fashion cans may carry negative connotations in the scrutinising world of audio, the MW60 executes stylish design through premium materials, precise finish and eminent engineering.

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Utilising similar innards, the MW60 very much resembles the MH40 in dimension and ergonomics. It shares the same class-leading stainless steel frame and combination of hard-wearing cowhide leather on its exterior faces and ultra-supple lambskin leather on the pads and headband. Resultantly, the headphones feel as solid as they come, a triumph in industrial design. This impression is garnished with tight tolerances and quality control; clips engage with an affirming thud, hinges swivel with fluidity and M&D’s machining work is nothing short of jaw-dropping.

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During wear, the MW60 suffers from the same ergonomic niggles as the MH40, even though it’s actually a little lighter at 345g vs 360g. Chiefly, though nicely padded, its thin headband and heavy steel construction tend to form a hotspot after just a few hours of listening. And as with the MH40, I found the MW60 to have quite a narrow range of headband adjustment. I still found a strong seal and the sliders are smooth with unlimited adjustment points, though I just fit the maximum setting (I use a medium setting on most headphones). In return, the headphones fold for storage, becoming considerably more compact.

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And on the flipside, I’m just as fond of M&D’s lambskin memory foam ear pads that are deep and spacious. They create a strong seal and have a fabric interior that breathes a little more during longer listening sessions. Due to the MW60’s closed-back design, they also isolate brilliantly, appreciably better than the MH40 before and most other portable headphones I’ve used. Some driver flex is present but it isn’t nearly as pronounced as on the MH40.

 

Usability –

The MW60 functions similarly to most Bluetooth headphones. They will be familiar to past owners and easy to navigate for new users. The main controls are located on the bottoms of each earcup,  a 3-position sliding switch operating power and paring on the left cup and media controls on the right cup. Holding the power button enters pairing mode and as the MW60 support Bluetooth V4.1, it can pair with two devices simultaneously. The headphones also support Apt-X which brings higher quality audio when paired with a compatible device – and most modern smartphones are.

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Master and Dynamic are also quick to note the external aluminium antenna sveltely integrated into the frame of the headphones that promises 4x the range of conventional wireless implementations. Though connection was rock solid over my months of testing, the MW60 didn’t provide extraordinary range. Signal is still more stable than the vast majority of headphones, without a single cutout when listening in crowded environments with rampant interference. That said, a few headphones such as the V-Moda Crossfade 2 Wireless hold stable audio a little longer at their periphery.

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The MW60 retaliates with impressive battery life that fell just short of Master and Dynamic’s 16hr claim on low-medium volume. Still, it’s a very respectable figure in-between the 20hrs offered by models such as the Bose QC35 and the shorter 14hrs provided by V-Moda’s Crossfade 2 Wireless. Of note, the left earcup has two LED indicators, one for connection and power status, the other for power. The headphones also produce loud audio cues to denote status that I found to be a little intrusive. That said, in listening, the headphones have zero background noise enabling listeners to focus more on their music.

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The headphones charge via a micro-usb port on the right ear cup and can be run from a wired source using the 3.5mm port on its left ear cup. Thankfully, the headphones don’t require power to relay audio and they do scale nicely when powered by a dedicated source (more in the sound section). When powered on, they automatically turn-off when a 3.5mm cable is inserted and power back on when the cable is removed.

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About Author

Avid writer, passionate photographer and full-time student, Ryan's audio origins and enduring interests lie within all aspects of portable audio. An ongoing desire to bring quality audio to the regular reader underpins his reviewer ethos as he seeks to bring a new perspective on the cutting edge and budget dredge alike.

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