Master and Dynamic MW60 Review – Industrial Revolution

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Sound –

Tonality –

The MW60 is a warm headphone with a full character that sustains throughout its presentation. However, it doesn’t sound as warm through its midrange as a lot of portable headphones, delivering more accurately articulated vocals. Compared to the MH40 that utilises the same drivers, the MW60 delivers a similar sound, but one that is slightly more engaging up top and with a more concise impact down low. Though it doesn’t represent a huge leap in quality, it’s easy to appreciate the little tweaks here and there that provide a more even sound overall.

 

Bass –

The MW60 stays true to Master and Dynamic’s house sound, with a big, bold yet not overly warm low-end. It extends very well, with solid emphasis delivering physical impact and rumble. Bass drums have awesome kick and beats hit with authority; all the while maintaining impressive composure. Mid-bass holds slight focus, though as the MW60 doesn’t sound especially humped in its emphasis, notes are large without becoming overly rounded. This style of tuning produces a fuller, warmer character that will delight speaker users and fans of genres such as electronic and rock, but may be somewhat overenthusiastic for those seeking balance. The MW60’s mid-bass feeds gradually into a less emphasized, but still lifted upper-bass that colours its midrange.

As a result, this isn’t the cleanest, most transparent headphone, instead prioritising lush body and engagement. Furthermore, the MW60’s strong but even-weighted bass presentation is realised through impressive technical ability. This isn’t immediately evident as the MW60’s large bass notes can overshadow finer details, though behind its bombastic façade lies a tight and well-controlled image; a trait maintained from the MH40. It also isn’t the most agile headphones nor the most separated but notes are concise and rumble well-defined; there’s a sense of restraint to every note, reeling them in before they spill over the next. Accordingly, the MW60 doesn’t gun for accuracy but for a charismatic presentation augmented with impressive control.

 

Mids –

Though coloured by its neighbouring frequencies, and recessed relative to its elevated bass, the MW60’s midrange is itself fairly even. It thereby achieves a nicely layered presentation that has one of the more natural tones amongst portable headphones. The MW60 still lies on the warmer side, delivering a rather full-bodied presentation. This is mainly a by-product of an emphasized upper-bass/lower-midrange, though as its tuning is quite linear, voicing remains very natural. Its centre midrange is fairly neutral, which produces slightly laid-back vocals relative to its accentuated instrumentation. That said, this prevents vocals from coming across as overly thick and congested; male vocals are just chestier at the bottom and female vocals organic.

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The MW60 also has a slightly brighter signature with a small but gradual upper-midrange and lower-treble emphasis. This aids articulation, creating a surprisingly clear and open midrange despite its fuller, warmer nature. As such, the MW60 is also clearer and more articulate than the smoother MH40, arguably improving genre versatility. Resolution is pleasing if not a standout and its notes are fairly well textured on account of the MW60’s well-bodied notes. Though I wouldn’t say it has a focus on accuracy, timbre is also pleasing, with the headphones skilfully avoiding over-articulation and, on the other side of the spectrum, congestion.

 

Highs –

Though treble crispness and air can provide a superficially stunning sound, the more refined approach taken by the MW60 ensures continued enjoyment over long-term ownership. Compared to the smoother MH40, the MW60 possesses a more vibrant presentation on behalf of its greater lower-treble elevation. It’s a narrow band emphasis that does compromise linearity when compared to the MH40, though it also grants a clearer, crisper and more open presentation. And, in the grand scheme of things, the MW60 can hardly be categorized as a bright, aggressive headphone. Rather, it has a tasteful bump that enhances instrumentation with a little more edge and clarity. Middle treble is also slightly lifted, granting a touch of additional air and shimmer.

It also serves to counteract the effects of the MW60’s otherwise thicker style of tuning by enhancing separation. Extension isn’t outstanding, but superior to most midrange portable headphones and easily adequate to offer a nice amount of resolution and hints of sparkle. Accordingly, the MW60 doesn’t excel with air nor is it especially revealing in its presentation. Rather, it’s a headphone with a nicely detailed foreground and dark, clean background. It’s slightly elevated lower-treble attack grants a crisp portrayal of instruments and sustained emphasis into middle treble promotes more accurate decay. The headphones sound crisp but natural as a result, retaining the endless listenability of their wired counterpart.

 

Driveability –

The MW60 is very similar to the MH40 with the same 32ohm impedance and 106dB sensitivity. As such, they’re fairly efficient and will achieve high-listening volumes from portable sources. That said, much like the MH40, the MW60 scales nicely from a dedicated source. They definitely benefit from a decent amplifier, most notably with regards to bass which tightens up, improving transparency throughout. Subjectively, I also feel that the MW60 has one of the better wireless audio implementations out there with essentially zero background hiss and impressive driving power. To clarify, I’m not just referring to the maximum volume achieved by the MW60 over a wireless connection, but also its well-controlled sound that is comparable to a wired connection to a better smartphone such as the HTC 10.

 

Wired –

Given Master & Dynamic’s focus on sound quality, this review wouldn’t be fair if I didn’t offer comments on the MW60’s sound from a quality wired connection. Driven from my iBasso DX200 with AMP5 module, I noticed several key changes compared to wireless (Apt-X). The most notable difference was the MW60’s high-frequency response. I would also posit greater linearity throughout their entire spectrum, perhaps on account of some subtle DSP when BT is active (though that I cannot confirm). Regardless, they were noticeably more detailed through a wired connection; still crisp, but with greater instrument body and texture. Treble extension improved as did their soundstage, with higher resolution enhancing layering, especially within their midrange. Vocals sounded more realistic with a hair of additional vocal presence creating greater balance. Bass was noticeably more controlled, yielding greater definition and separation. Though the differences aren’t immense, they are very easily appreciated, especially the bump in resolution.

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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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