Master & Dynamic’s New ANC Headphones Are Pure Luxury And They Sound Superb
I’ve never owned a made-to-measure Saville Row suit and neither have I ever worn a pair of handmade shoes that fit my feet like a glove. Owning those kinds of luxuries is seen as the reward for success. And if there were to be an audio equivalent of a handmade pair of shoes or a bespoke suit, then I would say a pair of headphones from Master & Dynamic would fit the bill perfectly. These are headphones made for people who love nice things and who care as much about form as function.
Master & Dynamic is a New York-based boutique headphone brand and the brainchild of the genial and charming Jonathan Levine, a person who cares about every tiny detail of his products as if he were making them individually for each of his customers. The latest pair of headphones from the M&D brand is the MW75, a full-sized pair of over-the-ear wireless headphones featuring active noise cancelation (ANC). Like all the other products that M&D produces, the MW75 are exquisitely designed and beautifully built with the feel of a bespoke pair of headphones that look every bit as good as they sound.
The MW75 are surprisingly light considering their size despite weighing 338g. The impression of lightness has been created with the use of some advanced materials like tempered glass and aluminum, alongside traditional ones like lambskin that give the MW75 an unmistakable feel of luxury thanks to their exquisitely crafted construction.
The MW75 headphones offer three modes of active noise cancellation and have been engineered to deliver a clean and beautifully balanced sound. The custom 40mm Beryllium drivers used in the MW75 are positioned at an optimized angle to project the sound forward into the ear canal. Built into the earcups are four microphones that monitor sounds around the listener for unwanted noise and filter it out using exactly the right amount of ANC needed. Users can use the M&D smartphone app for iOS and Android to access two additional ANC modes, plus it can be used to customize the sound of the MW75 with EQ settings and ambient listening modes.
Like all the headphones and earphones I’ve reviewed from M&D, the MW75 are a blend of clean lines and classic design. The ear cups are made from light and durable aluminum while luxuriously soft leather earpads are padded with memory foam and feature lambskin details. The MW75 has a headband covered in wonderfully stitched leather that has an underside generously padded with foam to make long listening sessions comfortable. A unique aluminum mesh ring encircles a tempered glass panel on the ear cups and the ring hides the ANC microphones creating a cleaner look.
To ensure that the MW75 can also be used for making phone calls or joining video meetings from almost anywhere, there’s an array of four beamforming microphones in acoustically tuned microphone chambers that have been specially designed to reduce the impact of wind sounds while also filtering out unwanted background noise. The effect is a surprisingly clear pickup of the user’s voice that sounds more like a mic positioned closer to the speaker’s mouth.
The controls for operating the headphones manually are located on both left and right earcups. On the right, there’s a cluster of three buttons which include volume controls and a multi-function button for pausing the music. On the left ear cup, there are two more buttons, one for turning the headphones on and off and the other for cycling through the ANC modes.
The MW75 can provide up to 32 hours of battery life with ANC turned off, but that figure drops to around 28 hours with it turned on. Top marks here to M&D for not overstating the battery life as some headphone manufacturers do. A quick 15-minute charge can replenish the MW75’s rechargeable batteries with up to six hours of playing time. That’s enough to recharge the headphones for a transatlantic flight while you are waiting to board the plane.
Thanks to on-head detection, the MW75 can automatically pause the music or podcast every time the headphones are taken off. This handy feature automatically pauses the audio and saves battery power. The wireless Bluetooth transmission uses the latest 5.1 iteration of the wireless standard and has a range extending up to 100 feet or 30 meters. I tested the headphones in my home with its thick stone walls and can confirm the stability and strength of the signal is excellent.
Like most good headphones these days, the MW75 use a Qualcomm chipset that offers SBC, AAC and aptX Adaptive audio codecs. This makes the headphones a perfect choice for both Apple iOS and Android devices. The Qualcomm aptX adaptive codec varies the bit rate of the digital transmission so that it will try to hit the highest audio quality wherever possible. It can also scale back the bit rate to deliver better latency when being used to listen to a movie soundtrack or when playing a game.
The MW75 are supplied with a hard zippered storage case to keep them safe when traveling. The case is covered in a tough felt material and includes sufficient storage space to hold the supplied USB-C to 3.5mm cable, ¼-inch adapter and twin plug airline adapter for analog listening on personal computers or in-flight.
So how do the MW75 headphones sound in real-world use? Are they more a case of style over substance? You’ve probably already guessed from the tone of my review so far that these are not just great-looking pair of well-crafted headphones; they also sound superb. There’s an astonishing clarity to the tone of the MW75 that suits almost any genre of music.
To put the MW75 through their paces, I turned to an album called Nachtmusik by Hungarian musical genius Karoly Cserepes. This ethereal blend of old Hungarian movie dialog skillfully blended with synths and modern instruments to produce a genuinely spine-tingling soundscape. The MW75 handled all the details on the track “I Am So Determined” with delicacy while underpinning the track with a solid bass response that felt like it could vibrate my bones.
The bass response of these headphones is deep and then it surprised me by going even deeper but without those lower frequencies ever bleeding upwards into the midrange as some headphones can. The midrange is one of the cleanest and clearest I’ve ever heard, especially in the upper midrange. The tonal design of the MW75 is astonishingly open and without coloration. I selected the audiophile EQ setting using the M&D app and was very happy with the overall sound. Meanwhile, the treble shone through clearly but never displayed signs of sibilance or appeared splashy. The low levels of distortion meant I could listen to the MW75 for long periods without tiring my ears.
As far as the ANC function is concerned, the MW75 are excellent at cutting out unwanted sound. I haven’t had a chance to try them out on a flight yet, but I did put them through their paces in a variety of situations and the array of ANC microphones does an excellent job of filtering out continuous and unwanted noise, especially at lower frequencies and does is without degrading the sound. The beamforming voice microphones are excellent at picking up voices for phone calls or simply when giving orders to Siri or Google Assistant.
Verdict: Master & Dynamic has done another sterling job of creating a superbly comfortable pair of over-the-ear wireless headphones that feel as if they have been handmade to fit personally. I love the classic M&D design with its clean lines is a delight to wear. The MW75 are available in three colorways which are gunmetal with black leather, silver metal and grey leather, plus silver metal with brown leather. All three variations look superb. If I have a minor criticism, it’s the lack of L and R indicators on the earcups but I managed to work that out and if that’s the only thing I can find to criticize, then I think it indicates what a superb and luxurious pair of headphones these are by sounding every bit as good as they look. I’m a huge fan of Master & Dynamic products and I think Johnathan Levine has set the standard for how headphones should look and feel. These are the Rolex of headphones and will delight whoever buys them because they don’t just sound great, they also feel wonderful to wear and look amazing. If you love well-designed products and appreciate great sound, the Master & Dynamic MW75 Wireless ANC headphones are the ones for you.
Pricing & Availability: Master & Dynamic’s MW75 Active Noise-Cancelling Wireless Headphones cost $599 / £549 / €599 and will be available from June 28, 2022.
More info: www.masterdynamic.com
- Three ANC modes including Adaptive ANC.
- 40mm Beryllium drivers.
- Eight microphones.
- Native voice assistant compatibility.
- Up to 28 hours of battery life.
- Lightweight anodized aluminum, tempered glass and lambskin materials.
- Interchangeable magnetic memory-foam earpads.
- USB-C to 3.5mm audio cable.
- USB-C to USB-C charging cable.
- In-flight adapter.
- Bluetooth 5.1.
- SBC, AAC, aptX Adaptive audio codecs.
- Hard-shell travel case.
- Weight: 338g.