Master & Dynamic MW65 Active Noise-Canceling Wireless Over-Ear Headphones REVIEW | Mac Sources
Master & Dynamic MW65 Active Noise-Canceling Wireless Over-Ear Headphones
Enabled with Google Assistant, MW65s deliver unrivaled design and performance.
Today, Master & Dynamic is launching their most technically sophisticated headphones yet — the MW65 Active Noise-Canceling Wireless Over-Ear Headphones. Since launching in 2014, the New York City-based company has worked under the mission of building beautifully crafted, technically sophisticated sound tools to help focus, inspire, and transport minds around the globe. This newest product to join the M&D family features active noise-canceling technology that does not compromise the signature sound quality the brand has become known for.
“We never rush our products,” says Jonathan Levine, Master & Dynamic’s Founder and CEO. “We waited until we could launch an ANC product that was acoustically stunning. Through vigorous research we were able to develop an amazing ANC technology that did not compromise our signature acoustics, which is a commonly known issue with ANC. As a result of patience and discipline we are also delivering our lightest weight headphones ever. This is quite an accomplishment considering we still use all metal and premium leathers.”
Master & Dynamic. (2019). Master & Dynamic Unveils the MW65 Active Noise-Cancelling Wireless Over-Ear Headphones [Press release]. New York, NY: Master & Dynamic.
The MW65 headphones are launching in two of Master & Dynamic’s signature colors — Brown Leather with Silver Metal and Black Leather with Gunmetal. Premium materials like heavy grain leathers and lambskin-wrapped memory foam ear pads are used to construct each pair of MW65s. The main frame is made from anodized aluminum, which keeps the headphones ultralight (250g) and also creates a scratch-resistant surface. The headphones are equipped with Bluetooth 4.2 and ensure seamless device pairing up to 65ft. The headphones have an impressive 24-hour listening time (when fully charged) and feature quick-charge capabilities (50% battery life with a 15-minute charging session). The MW65s are optimized for use with Google Assistant so that you can access features like Google Play Music and Google Maps during travels. The MW65s come packaged with a soft protective canvas carrying case, flight adapter, 3.5mm audio cable, USB-C charging cable, and USB adapter. The MW65 Active Noise-Canceling Wireless Headphones are available with an MSRP of $499.
- 40mm Custom Beryllium Drivers
- Feed-Forward and Feed-Back Hybrid Active Noise Cancellation Technology
- Bluetooth 4.2 Connectivity supporting AptX, SBC
- 20 Meter/65+Foot Bluetooth Range
- Two Beamforming Noise Reduction Mic Array: Filters out external noise and focuses on the sound of your voice
- Fine Leathers
- Durable and Lightweight Anodized Aluminum
- Leather Ear Pads: Memory Foam Wrapped in Lambskin Leather
- Up to 24 Hours Battery Life, Charges to 50% in 15 Minutes
- Charged via USB-C Cable
- 3.5mm Passive Audio Port
- W/L/D: 165mm x 190mm x 66mm
- The MW65 has the Google Assistant built-in
- Smart Device Voice Assistant Enabled
Over the past few years, I’ve been fortunate enough to be able to experience sound through Master & Dynamic headphones. They consistently provide a premium listening device for users that have a unique, luxurious style to pair with it. This high-quality attention detail is why I was so excited to test out the MW65s.
The packaging of the headphones is pretty standard with Master & Dynamic products. The accessories are neatly packed underneath the headphones and they come with an easy to follow Quick Start Guide. The Quick Start Guide does a great job of walking someone through the process of turning on the headphones, pairing them, and basic functions. Personally, I think every set of wireless headphones should come with something like this. It’s visual and has well-labeled images of the headphones so you know how to navigate the controls. I like the carrying case that comes with the headphones, but find it a little too constrictive when all the accessories are tucked into the outside zippered pocket. For such a premium set of headphones, I would much prefer seeing a semi-hard shell case accompanying the headphones. This is a criticism I’ve had of past on-ear and over-ear headphones from Master & Dynamic. They provide a nice charging case for their true wireless headphones, but only the soft canvas bags for the larger headphones.
The headband of the MW65s does not come with a substantial amount of padding. This is actually a design choice that is consistent across the board with their over-ear and on-ear headphones. I have the MW50s, too, and they have less padding in the headband than the MW65s. The headband is easily adjustable and extends a decent amount to accommodate many different head shapes. The ear pads can be replaced, but they are not connected magnetically to the frame of the headphones. I removed one of the ear pads expecting it to snap back on like the MW50s do, but I found that the ear pads are held in place with black plastic. When you remove the ear pad, there is actually a small illustration showing the user how to reinstall the ear pad after removal. It was a little aggravating because it wouldn’t snap into place easily.
One of the biggest features of these headphones is their active noise-canceling. Master & Dynamic has included an ANC button that allows users to switch between ANC modes. There is a low setting, which is designed for lower noise or windy environments, and a high setting, which is for environments like airplanes and city streets. To test this feature out, I did a couple of different things. First, I simply put the headphones on my head. This allowed me to experience the natural room sound without any music playing. Because these are over-ear headphones, they provide a certain level of noise isolation already and there is quite a bit of ambient noise that is filtered out. That said, I could clearly hear myself typing on my mechanical keyboard, a car driving down the street, the gentle hum of the electronic devices in our office, and the air handling from our A/C. When you press the ANC button once from the ‘off’ mode, it goes directly into the high setting. It is quite a dramatic change from off to the high setting. All the low-end sounds are filtered out of the ambient noise. I can still hear myself typing, but it’s a much higher pitched sound and all the other sounds are changed to be more like a very faint static. When I turn the setting to low, some of the low-end starts creepy back in. The air handling is still filtered out, but I can hear the electronic hum a bit more.
To me, this is the most effective way to test ANC — with absolutely no sound being pushed through the headphones. I did, however, also turn on some music (using Google Assistant) and try to listen to a movie trailer playing on the TV in our office. Again, it doesn’t completely turn off the sound outside the headphones, but it does change how you hear it. With the low-end pulled out, I could very fairly hear some voices but couldn’t understand what they were saying. The listening experience does change quite a bit with ANC turned on and I think it’s a very valuable feature that the MW65s offer users.
I typically pair my wireless headphones to my iPhone XS, but I do also won a Sony Xperia and since the MW65 are natively designed to work with Google Assistant, I thought I would use the Xperia to test out how the Google Assistant process would work. It was actually pretty painless. I was impressed with how the ecosystem of the Android phone automatically recognized that Google Assistant was available on these headphones from the moment they were connected via Bluetooth. I liked how the headphones made it easy to access the Google Assistant by a long press of the play/pause button. The only thing I really wanted was to be able to say, “Ok Google,” to activate it without the phone being unlocked.
COMFORT AND SOUND QUALITY
Even though there is a lack of padding on the headband, I didn’t experience any discomfort while wearing the headphones. I wore them for several hours at a time and found them to be comfortable. The ear cups covered my ears without any problems and I never felt like my ears were sweating or getting too hot. The sound quality did not disappoint. The MW65s provided an even, clear sound no matter what style of music I was listening to. Bass was punchy, but not overpowering and the tracks I played were always plenty loud.
The Master & Dynamic MW65 Wireless Headphones provide a premium user experience from the moment you remove them from the box. I think that any audiophile would enjoy using these headphones, but with a price tag of $499, it certainly is an investment.