I recently had a discussion with a close friend of mine about the topic that music no longer is a form of entertainment that people enjoy on its own. We have access to dozens of video streaming services that fight for our attention – Netflix, Hulu, and YouTube to name a few. Or we are creating our own media through Instagram, Facebook and Snapchat.
Media is changing and music and audio has become a lost art. Or has it?
I thought about the topic on my own for a period of time and think music is lost in the background for many, because we treat it with disrespect with our generic audio products.
Imagine if the painting Starry Night was done with colored pencils instead of oil paints. It definitely wouldn’t convey the beauty that it does. That’s what we are doing to our music when we listen to it with generic earbuds that come as an afterthought with our smartphones.
There are those of us who still love our music and the accuracy of it; we call it audiophilia.
We are a rare breed but we are as passionate about our audio products as anyone else with a specific hobby. Audiophiles will sit for hours at a time enjoying music the way it was recorded.
We audiophiles are willing to spend extraordinary amounts of money on audio products mainly because it is a journey that is never ending. Our demands are higher than most – we expect everything from sound quality excellence to long lasting comfort and durable build quality.
That’s where today’s review is focused; The Master & Dynamic MW60 Wireless Over-Ear Headphones.
- Dimensions: 200mm x 185mm x 50mm
- 45mm Neodymium Drivers
- Impedance: 32 ohms
- Weight: 345g
- Over-Ear Fit
- Omni-directional microphone
- Bluetooth 4.1 with AptX
Beauty at first sight
Ever sit in a German automobile like a BMW or Porsche? The attention to detail and use of quality materials help you understand why the cars demand a premium and that’s even before the car is turned on. That’s the feeling I get with the MW60 Wireless Over-Ear Headphones every time I look at them. The craftsmanship is rare in a set of mobile accessories as almost everything is made of plastic these days, including headphones from Bose and Beats which costs hundreds of dollars.
Premium grade heavy grade cowhide is used to cover the headband and exterior, while lambskin is used on the earcups for ultimate comfort. It’s the kind of leather that looks better over time.
Stainless steel is used in all areas where the headphones need extra durability. Steel does add a bit of weight to these headphones, but not so much that someone would notice. The overall fit and feel of the headphones is so comfortable that they almost conform to your head like whipped cream melts over a hot fudge sundae. The ear cup which houses the massive 45mm driver is made from forged aluminum which not only adds durability, but better sound acoustics too. Aluminum is used in the antenna which is machined into the body of the earpiece that allows for a skip and lag free wireless signal.
The build conveys a message that I will be using these headphones for many years to come.
Controls and smart features
Similar to what you would find on many wireless headphones are controls for volume, track, play/pause, and answering/ending phone calls. The controls are built into the sides and have good feedback so you don’t accidentally change things when you don’t want to.
What’s a particularly nice feature about the MW60 Wireless Over-Ear Headphones is the ability to plug in a 3.5mm cable into them to use them passively. It’s perfect for when you forget to recharge the battery or simply don’t want to deal with wireless connections.
The finest attention to detail was even given to the microUSB charging and 3.5mm audio cables. They’re wrapped in braided cotton that make the cables extremely flexible, while reducing microphonics. Microphonics is the noise that transfers from the cable into the headphones, and the wrapping on the M&D cables prevents that noise. It’s the little details like this that make the headphones a complete package.
Sound and Usage
Most audiophiles understand that all headphones are tuned differently. While some premium headphones are extremely analytical, the MW60s are rich and warm. This sound may not meet the typical audiophile’s profile for the perfect set of headphones, but it meets my daily desire for quality sound that I can listen to for hours per session.
I understand that extreme detail is one of the best quality in headphones that cost more than $500, but that detail gets tiring really quick. Most ears aren’t able to handle the highs for long periods of time, and that’s why I think the engineers at M&W tuned the MW60s to sound rich.
Rich is a good way to say the lows and mids are pronounced, with enough effort from the highs to round out the overall sound profile. What makes these headphones great are details in the mids, which in my opinion is where the money is at. Our ears hear the most sound frequencies in what is defined as the mid-range, 250-2000Hz. The 45mm Neodymium drivers are tuned deliver an unparalleled level of separation that I have never experienced in wireless headphones. The detail is so clear, that I would challenge almost any audiophile to pit the MW60s against any wired headphone in the same price range in a blind test. I highly doubt 99% of users could tell which headphones are wired and which are not.
Many assume the low-range is all about low and deep bass. There’s really more to the low-end than that though. Lower end speakers and headphones pump out high levels of bass to make up for the lack in detail to make them sound more fun. They also jack up the power levels so users can crank up the volume to make up for inadequate sound. For those looking for just deep bass, just go with Beats Audio. Looking for massive bass is like buying a car that has 1000 horsepower, but can’t take a corner without flipping. There are very few songs that have an unnatural abundance of bass when they’re recorded.
For those who take the time to give music a little more attention, they know bass comes in a wide range of frequencies. Without getting technical, there’s bass that is quick and punchy, low and rumbly, and somewhere in between too.
A song I always use to test bass is Brass Monkey by the Beastie Boys. It has wide range of low-end that can sound one-note on lesser headphones, and can also overpower the rapper’s lyrics. Using TIDAL as a source of Hi-Fi audio, in combination with the Astell&Kern portable player, the MW60s separate every low-frequency detail with perfection. It does it without piercing your ears too.
In Blitzkrieg Bop by the Ramones, I can discern the snare drum and tambourines like I was sitting right in front of them. I find myself playing air drums on my own a little too often when listening to the Ramones. The sound stage is massive. It reminds me of when I played the drums back in high school.
Even though I said the highs round out the sound, they are still very detailed. They’re just a tuned down a bit to remove the piercing sound that can cause ear fatigue.
No matter what genre of music I throw at the MW60s, I find myself immersed so deep in my music that I enjoy it like it I am at the actual concert. It also brings me back to a time when I was a teen and would lay on the bed and enjoy my music. It’s therapeutic and entertaining at the same time.
Master & Dynamic managed to find the right balance of price, power, sound and build in the MW60 Wireless Over-Ear Headphones
Make no mistake, the price alone will eliminate many consumers from ever trying the MW60 Wireless Over-Ear Headphones. They’re not cheap at $549, but they’re also not ridiculously priced like other high-end headphones. It’s clear that M&D is targeting a very discerning audience. For those who don’t appreciate audio, they won’t appreciate the price. Or even the physical weight for that matter. Sometimes quality needs a little weight, just like a Bentley or Rolls Royce will always be heavier than a Honda or Toyota, or how a Rolex will be heavier than a Casio watch.
In a world of disappearing audio jacks, having the options to stream high-res music over Bluetooth or use the headphones with a cable is a luxury most competitors do not offer.
The headphones will sound spectacular no matter how you decide to use the MW60 headphones.
While the price is a bit high for most, I respect Master & Dynamic for putting its money in the headphones rather than paying high advertising fees to appeal to the masses. It gives audiophiles like me an all-around experience that very few headphones can.
For those who love audio, and for those with bigger budgets, look no further. The comfort, strong Bluetooth connection, high-quality materials, high-fidelity playback and attention to detail make the Master & Dynamic MW60 Wireless Over-Ear Headphones my favorite of 2016.
If you want to learn more about the MW60 Wireless Over-Ear Headphones, check out www.masterdynamic.com. If you decide to grab a set, make sure you purchase direct so your warranty is honored in full if any problems were to arise.