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Master & Dynamic MW65 review: A high-end wireless noise-canceling headphone with a distinct design and smooth sound

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MSRP: $499.00

The Good Built with anodized aluminum instead of stainless steel, the Master and Dynamic MW65 is lighter than the company's previous full-size models and more comfortable to wear. It delivers rich, smooth sound and features active noise-cancelling technology that works well. It supports one-button access to Google Assistant and comes with a nice carrying pouch.

The Bad It's expensive and may not fit people with smaller heads. While it works well as a headset for making calls, there's not sidetone feature to let you hear your voice inside the headphones.

The Bottom Line While it's a little overpriced at $500, the Master & Dynamic MW65 is a mostly excellent noise-cancelling headphone.

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7.9 Overall
  • Design 9
  • Features 8
  • Sound 8
  • Value 7

Review Sections

New York-based Master & Dynamic made a name for itself by making distinctly styled headphones that featured premium materials and very good sound. The company's latest wireless model, the MW65 ANC, is its first to feature active noise-canceling, and it's arguably its best headphone to date. However, at $499 it costs more than other excellent -- and already pretty expensive -- noise-canceling headphones such as the Sony WH-1000XM3 and the Bose QuietComfort 35 II. And there's just not a really compelling reason to buy it versus those models.

But let's forget about the price for a minute and talk about what's good about the headphone. For starters, they definitely look and feel like a premium headphone, with leather trim, folding hinges and nicely padded swanky lambskin covered earcups. And thanks to the use of anodized aluminum instead of stainless steel, the 250-gram MW65 is significantly lighter than the 351-gram MW60 and more comfortable to wear as result.

What you get in the box.

Sarah Tew/CNET

Like the MW60, I found this headphone a touch too large and it barely fit my head, so this may not work for people with smaller heads. But they were an excellent fit for my colleague Ty Pendelbury, who has a more sizable skull (he also commented that they felt lighter than previous Master & Dynamic headphones he'd tried).

I would have preferred if it had Bluetooth 5.0 instead of Bluetooth 4.2, but I didn't have any issues with wireless connectivity. Walking the streets of New York, I experienced minimal Bluetooth hiccups or interference -- the connection was mostly rock solid with an iPhone X and a Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus.

I also didn't have any issues making calls. There's no sidetone feature, which allows you to hear your voice in the headphones so you don't end up talking too loud (a $500 headphone should have this feature), but callers said they could hear me well, and the headphone is equipped with two beamforming noise-reduction mic arrays that are used for muffling ambient sound while listening to music and reducing background noise when making calls.   

Master & Dynamic describes its sound signature as "rich, warm sound that captures the detail of well-recorded music." I think that's actually a very accurate description of the sound. The MW65 is a very pleasant headphone to listen to. Not necessarily incredibly exciting or dynamic, but it's well-balanced and smooth. It's a headphone you can listen to for a while without getting listening fatigue.

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