Master & Dynamic MW08 Sport Review – Less is More

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Pros –

Awesome build quality, Comfortable fit, Lighter case with Qi-support, Powerful and extended bass, Crisp highs, Effective ANC & aware mode

Cons –

No in-app eQ, Sound is more congested than regular MW08, Difficult to justify price jump over MW08

Verdict –

If you’re looking for a premium TWS earphone purely for exercise, then the MW08S’ powerful sound, stable fit and effective ANC make it a good contender. However, the drop in sonic balance and finesse does make this a far more situational purchase than the MW08


Introduction –

While the high-end TWS space has seen no shortage of competitors in recent years, the same cannot be said when it comes to sport-focused models. Sure, almost all of the latest models boast some form of IP rating, but it definitely does help to have a model designed specifically for these uses. Enter Master & Dynamic, New York-based audio company with huge prestige and a focus on premium, timeless designs. They applied the very same mantra to their MW08 TWS earphones which I found to almost match class leaders in terms of refinement whilst excelling with a more technically impressive sound and class leading build quality. The MW08 Sport is its active counterpart, building off the same foundation with a few thoughtful tweaks. The faceplates are now made from shatter-resistant Sapphire glass, memory foam tips offer a snugger fit and the case now uses Kevlar fibre making it super lightweight and permitting wireless charging support.

The MW08S just launched for €349. You can read more about it and treat yourself to a unit on Master & Dynamic.

Disclaimer –

I would like to thank Heather from Master & Dynamic very much for her quick communication and for providing me with the MW08S for the purpose of review. All words are my own and there is no monetary incentive for a positive review. Despite receiving the earphones free of cost, I will attempt to be as objective as possible in my evaluation.

Contents –

Behind the Design –

Upgraded Design

The MW08 Sport swaps the ceramic faceplates of the vanilla MW08 for shatter-resistant Sapphire glass. As before, it has a super smooth oleophobic coating but slightly more squared edges. It retains excellent scratch resistance and are enveloped within a stainless-steel rail as before, providing a much higher quality look and feel than the acetate of the MW07 line-up and essentially all competitors too. An external aluminium antenna works in tandem with the updated BT5.2 codec to deliver stronger range than before despite the denser BOM.

3-Mic System

ANC was a highly touted feature of this earphone given than each earpiece contains a whopping 3 mic system identical to that on the MW08. In turn, compared to the MW07 PLUS that only featured feedforward ANC, the MW08 Sport adopts the more sophisticated feedforward + feedback hybrid ANC of their over-ear MW65 with the addition of a third dedicated wind-rejection mic. The third mic also works to reduce ambient noise during phone calls and permits a more authentic transparency mode on top.

Same Specs, New Case

The MW08 Sport should provide a similar experience day to day as the MW08 before it. It implements the same Beryllium dynamic driver whose high-rigidity and lightweight contributes to a quick transient response and excellent end to end extension. While the case material has changed, operation and functionality remain similar with a one-hand operable vertical design and introduction of Qi wireless charging support. The earphones retain the same 12hr battery life (10 with ANC) augmented by 30hrs from the case.

Unboxing –

Master & Dynamic have always excelled here, and the Sport is no different. You receive a premium looking and feeling package and thoughtful set of accessories. Sliding the card box out from the outer sleeve reveals the charging case with earphones inside and a separate compartment for accessories above. Included are the 5 pairs of silicone tips seen on the MW08 in addition to 2 sizes of memory foam. I feel it is strange M&D didn’t include a medium sized pair, but as they do conform to the shape of the ear, the large tips are quite accommodating of various canal sizes and shapes. In addition, the buyer receives a type-C charging cable and nice aluminium Type-A to Type-C adaptor. The main differences as opposed to the MW08 are the foam tips and omission of a canvas pouch, though this doesn’t feel necessary here as the new charging case is no longer so susceptible to scratches.

Design –

Coming from the MW08, the experience is very familiar here which is a great thing. That means you get the same immensely premium feeling stainless steel side rails and comfortable overall profile in addition to an above average IPX5 water resistance rating. The attention to detail is commendable as on all M&D products; even the buttons are aluminium, and colour matched perfectly to the rails. Positioned on the tops of the rails, you are able to easily squeeze the buttons without upsetting the fit. As this is the portion the user interfaces with the most, you are always rewarded with a premium feel.

As before, the inner portion is a matte plastic and doesn’t look quite as premium, with visible seams but improved tolerances over the MW08. It resists oils well and no stabilising features have been introduced either, prioritising comfort over rock-solid fit – more on this later. The faceplate is the main differentiator. I was impressed by the rich colour and lustre of the MW08’s ceramic plates with the sapphire glass Sport looking a bit flatter by comparison. They do promise improved impact protection, I did accidentally drop the earphones from a height of around 1.5m onto granite flooring and the earphones survived without a scratch. I’m convinced these would fair better in an active setting than ceramic and is a good choice for active use with an infinitely more premium look and feel than plastic.

Fit & Isolation –

With an identical design to the MW08, the Sport model is more comfortable and compact than past MW earphones and medium sized for a TWS earphone. It isn’t quite as low-profile as some such as Apple’s Airpods Pro, with the faceplates protruding from the ear. However, they aren’t overtly large like the 1More ANC TWS either, and this does help the user to more easily access the physical controls. As on the MW08, the sculpted rear of the housing somewhat locks into the concha of the outer ear, redeeming some fit stability in the absence of fins or rings. The foam tips do greatly aid this experience. As the nozzles are short, I do appreciate that the elongated tips which help to lock the rear of the housing into the outer ear to some extent. The tips are similar to Shure olives, unlike Lypertek and Sony’s foam tips, you are still best to roll the tips prior to inserting the earphones for a more locked-in fit.

Otherwise, I did find that the earphones would wiggle loose and fall out during workouts. When rolled, this wasn’t the case, I was able to work out and run without issue, albeit they aren’t as convenient to pick up and play as silicone tips. Their porous nature means the thud of footsteps is reduced and they have a coating which prevents sweat form becoming absorbed as is an issue on Comply foams for instance. The foam tips indeed isolate more than the silicone tips on the MW08. Their conforming nature gives a great seal and without much wearing pressure which helps to optimise ANC performance. Again, they aren’t as convenient as silicone tips, but I do think these are well-considered tips for the Sport model. I still would have liked to see some sort of stabiliser here to provide an even more locked in fit.

Charging Case –

This is where we start to see more tangible changes. The new case is made of Kevlar fibre giving it a sporting aesthetic and drastically dropping the weight relative to the stainless steel MW08 case. In addition, as the construction is no longer metallic, M&D were able to add Qi wireless charging. Besides this, a similar experience is upheld, the dimensions and usability being otherwise identical. That means you get a reasonably sized case with slim proportions that fit well into a pocket, a wobble-free hinge with satisfying reverse magnet and secure magnetic dock that reliably interfaces with the earphones. 3 status LEDs denote power remaining in the earphones and case on the front face. The Type-C charging port is located on the side. The case retains a great sense of substance and solidity in the hand despite a substantial 30% weight loss. It has a soft touch exterior that feels tactile and shouldn’t be as prone to scratches over time. In addition, the lighter case will be more drop resistant simply due to its reduced weight and more elastic material choice.

Usability & ANC Performance –

I expanded on both of these metrics in great detail during my original MW08 review and given the identical design, the experience too is nigh identical on the MW08s. All my comments apply beat for beat, the foam tips do isolate a bit more from low frequency noises, but I already found the ANC to do a great job here. For further detail on how the MW08 earphones perform here, please see my MW08 review here.

Next Page: Sound Breakdown

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Avid writer, passionate photographer and sleep-deprived medical student, Ryan has an ongoing desire to bring quality products to the regular reader.

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