Master & Dynamic MW60 on the Twelve South Fermata stand
Master & Dynamic is known for its over the top build quality and materials. Seriously, hold a pair and you’ll understand. The MW60 is the highest end model in its lineup and it takes what is so great about the wired MH40 and takes it to the next level.
Drivers: 45mm Neodymium
Impedance: 32 ohms
Bluetooth version: 4.1 with AptX
Battery life: 16 hours
Where to buy: Master & Dynamic
The right cup features the volume buttons as well as a multifunction button in the center. The volume buttons can also be used for skipping tracks.
The left cup has a switch that turns on the headphones. When pushed to the upper position, it will return to the center and flash the battery life via a colored LED. Holding it up will enter pairing mode. It’s a very user-friendly setup.
This is where Master & Dynamic shines. These headphones are a statement on how well headphones can really be built. The headphones use aluminum, stainless steel, and a variety of luxurious materials.
The headband is memory foam coated in heavy grain cowhide on the outside and lambskin on the inside. The same leather is used on the outside of the cups and the lambskin is used on the removable ear pads. The folding hinges and other high strain areas are made of stainless steel.
Everything screams quality. Every aspect is perfectly built with a feel of quality unmatched by other products I’ve used. The adjustment mechanism has no indents; it’s just held in place by a very firm pressure yet remains easy to adjust when necessary. Inside the adjustment mechanism is polished metal.
The three buttons are also metal, with the plus and minus symbols engraved despite being tiny. The center button is significantly taller so it can be differentiated. The switch on the other side is tough but smooth.
The ear pads are durable, but in case they get a bit damaged, it’s not hard to replace them. They’re magnetic and just tug off. Compared to replacing ear pads on V-MODA headphones, this is a breeze and very consumer friendly.
The headphones also come with a microUSB cable, 3.5mm audio cable, a 1/4″ adapter, a small bag for the cables, and a soft carrying case. The cables are all gray braided fabric with metal ends and logos. The adapter is even engraved. These cables feel fantastic. Unfortunately, the case is pretty average. It’s soft and deforms easily, providing little protection to the headphones outside of scratches.
Every aspect of these headphones is well-built and feels as premium as the price suggests. Using such a beautiful device definitely evokes a feeling of joy, which most products can’t claim. Though the price is very high, it’s worth the money.
For such a high price, you expect amazing sound quality, and these headphones don’t disappoint. They feature 45mm neodymium drivers with an impedance of 32 ohms, striking a good balance between easy to drive and powerful.
The sound signature is somewhat neutral but very warm and smooth. The highs are detailed and rich without being harsh. Having bright, harsh highs is something that bothers me about most headphones, and something other headphones in M&D’s lineup exhibit to a small degree.
The bass is forward and powerful, but not very punchy. These headphones aren’t for bassheads, but the bass is significantly stronger than a perfectly flat sound. It’s a great amount of bass for the everyday person. It also gives the sound a bit of warmth. The mids might be a tad less forward than the rest of the sound, but there is plenty of detail.
These headphones feature the Bluetooth aptX codec which definitely makes a difference in sound quality. If your phone doesn’t support aptX, of course you won’t be getting the most out of them in wireless mode. Thankfully you can just grab the included 3.5mm cable and put them through an amp.
Using them with a DAC and amplifier is obviously an improvement over Bluetooth, even with aptX. You’ll get significantly louder audio, a bit sharper bass response, and more detail. Though Bluetooth will do the job most of the time, sometimes you’ll want to plug in a 3.5mm cable and enjoy the best sound you can.
These are the most comfortable headphones I have ever worn aside from a few open-back headphones like the AKG K702s. With light head pressure, reasonably light weight, and plush memory foam ear pads wrapped in soft lambskin, they can be worn for hours with no fatigue.
The lambskin ear pads don’t cause your ears to sweat at all, keeping them nice and cool. Many fake leathers cause heat build up, but this isn’t a problem here. The cups also have a good range of swiveling so they rest perfectly on your ears.
My favorite part about them is the deep ear pads. There’s no way to put this lightly… I have big ears. Even the V-MODA XL ear pads on the M100s touch the tip of my ear, which gets uncomfortable after a few hours. Hell, even the massive K702s have this issue to a very small extent. Somehow, the MW60s never had this issue at all.
Unfortunately, this light head pressure means that they won’t stay on with excessive movement. Looking straight down makes them shift, though they won’t fall off, and running in them isn’t a good idea. They’re definitely made for casual use, and walking in them is very comfortable.
Another issue I have is the narrow headband. It has memory foam inside, making it nice and soft, but it’s just a bit too narrow. This causes a bit of pressure at the top of your head over the course of a few hours, and while the discomfort is minimal, it could be avoided with a wider headband. The V-MODA M100s have a wider yet harder headband and they’re a bit more comfortable. Readjusting them definitely helps.
As far as comfort for others, there is more sound leakage than most headphones. It’s not bad by any means, but the pads don’t seal all the sound inside.
The battery is rated at 16 hours which is pretty decent for over-ear headphones. There are plenty of headphones that can beat this spec at the price point and a bit lower, but 16 hours is definitely acceptable.
The battery lasts as long as claimed if you keep the volume down. With daily use at reasonable volumes mixed in with high volumes, I was able to get four days of use at 4+ hours a day of use.
I do wish that the MW60 rocked the new USB Type-C standard, but they were released quite a while ago. MicroUSB will have to do.
The headphones have a machined aluminum antenna that spans the entire left ear cup. Much like modern metal smartphones, you can see plastic breaks in the ring around the cup. It’s entirely inconspicuous yet makes for great signal.
The signal strength in normal use with a smartphone is fantastic, never stuttering when in a tight jeans pocket (this issue is surprisingly common even with higher end headphones). However, it’s even more impressive with a computer with a USB Bluetooth adapter. I can walk two-thirds of the way through my 1300 square foot apartment until it starts breaking up, and that’s with two walls in the way. The connection is crazy good!
The microphone is great and people reported that they hear me loud and clear, even when speaking quietly. The mic is often ignored in cheaper headsets so I’m glad to see this is not the case here.
Yes, these are extremely expensive at $550. Can you get better sound for $550? Absolutely, and not with any difficulty. But the build quality of these headphones is impeccable, and the product experience is truly special. Using them is an experience and that’s something that can justify the price tag. Of course, they also sound fantastic and that shouldn’t be ignored.
Whether you’re looking for a high end set of Bluetooth headphones or want to make a fashion statement, these are a great option.