Master & Dynamic MW60 wireless headphones review: A spectacularly designed but pricey wireless headphone
In case you've never heard of Master & Dynamic, it's a new company that made a name for itself with its MH40 over-ear headphone, the wired model that the wireless MW60 reviewed here ($549, £419) is based on. It's currently not sold in Australia, but that $549 price tag would equate to about AU$735 at today's exchange rate.
Design-wise, the MW60 is a great looking headphone that's really well built with metal parts, leather trim and folding hinges. It's also comfortable, though somewhat on the heavy side, weighing in at 12.2 ounces or 345 grams.
For those with smaller heads, these 'phones may be a tad large -- they barely fit my head. But I liked the feel of the lambskin covered earcups and overall this definitely comes across as a premium headphone. It also has good battery life at around 16 hours and maintained a consistent wireless connection.
Master & Dynamic says it has four times the range of your typical Bluetooth headphone. In my tests in our CNET offices in New York, I found that it did indeed offer extended range, though just how much extended range -- beyond the typical 33 feet or 10m -- will depend on your surroundings (I got about 50-60 feet away from my phone).
We like how the wired MH40 sounds, and we like how this headphone sounds as well -- it's an excellent Bluetooth headphone that offers clean, fairly even-handed sound with plenty of bass that manages to stay pretty tight (by that I mean it's not boomy or muddy).
That all sounds pretty good, right? So what's the problem?
Well, Sennheiser's Momentum Wireless, which costs a little less ($500) and adds noise-canceling, sounds better and is a little more comfortable in the bargain. The Momentum Wireless has little bit more detailed, richer sound. Also, its sound has more immediacy to it, particularly in the vocals (midrange), there's more sparkle in the treble, and the bass is slightly tighter. The MW60 sounds slightly recessed by comparison.
I had home audio editor Ty Pendelbury and Steve Guttenberg, who writes CNET's Audiophiliac column, have a listen. Ty liked the MW60 but preferred the Momentum Wireless, while Steve thought the MW60 sounded "OK." But he doesn't like Bluetooth headphones, so consider that praise.
If you wondering how these sound as a wired headphone (yes, they come with a headphone cord), they sound good -- very similar to the MH40. But there are several wired headphones in this price range (or that cost less) that arguably sound better and offer more transparency, including Audeze's Sine headphone or Oppo's PM-3.
As a headset, the MW60 works well but doesn't have dual mics that reduce ambient noise or allow you to hear your own voice in the headphones.
There are plenty of other premium Bluetooth headphones to choose from. I like the Parrot Zik 3, B&O Beoplay H7, V-Moda Crossfade Wireless, Bose SoundLink Around-Ear Wireless Headphones II and Beats Studio Wireless, to name a few models. As far as sound goes, this MW60 measures up well against those headphones, but it also costs more.
Pricey, but good
In the end, aside from being slightly heavy, the only serious knock against this headphone is that it just costs too much. It sounds excellent for a Bluetooth headphone, but not $550 excellent. But if you can overlook the the fact that it does cost too much, it's beautifully designed and worked flawlessly for me.