Master & Dynamic has been admired by many others in the tech community for their high quality headphones. I’ve not spent much time with them other than a brief listen, so when I was able to get my hands on a pair of their latest headphones, I definitely was looking forward to giving them a more in-depth evaluation.
The New York based premium headphone maker recently teamed up with the folks at German camera brand Leica to create a series of headphones inspired by their legendary Noctilux lens, a renowned f/0.95 50mm prime lens that sells for upwards of $10,000. Fortunately, the headphones don’t share the astronomical price tag, but Master & Dynamic’s aim was to build audio gear with the same level of precision and attention to detail as Leica’s almighty optics.
On looks and feel, the MW60 headphones have a great sense of substance and quality. They’re built from stainless steel, aluminum, premium grain leather, and lambskin leather. “0.95” graphics, a red dot, lens-style knurling, and red acoustic mesh inside the earcups reflect Leica’s iconic design aesthetic, but otherwise they’re minimal and timeless in styling. Unlike some headphone makers who sell on looks more than sound, that’s not the case here.
I have a big head and pretty good sized ears, and I found their oval-shaped earcups to be a little more snug than the big over-the-ear headphones I wear on a regular basis. They exert a small amount of pressure on the ears and head to ensure a tight seal and optimal sound, but it’s something I got used to pretty quickly, and I was able to wear them for many hours. Plus, the snug fit helps shut out background sounds.
A pair of 45mm neodymium backed drivers provides great sound across the board, with good clarity, and a nice deep bass punch. In fact, I was able to identify distortion-free bass down around 14Hz, which about as low as most humans can hear. Given their brand name, they’re certainly dynamic too. Sound quality is top-notch, though I did find their tuning best suited to punchier music like dance, electronic, funk, hip-hop, and rock. Imaging is very good overall, though I prefer something with a more open soundstage for listening to classical music. This is a common limitation of closed-back headphones, and not unique to the MW60s.
Battery life is excellent – providing up to 16 hours of continuous runtime without charging, and if you do happen to run out of juice, they include a 3.5mm audio cable, so you can plug in if you want. There’s also a built-in omnidirectional microphone for making phone calls.
Bluetooth operating range is very good. I was able to walk about 25 feet away from my iPhone 7 Plus audio source before the signal started to drop out. And thanks to AptX audio, the sound quality over a wireless connection is just as clean and crisp sounding as over wires. That said, I did find that I was able to crank out a bit more volume, and a bone-rattling amount of bass over a wired connection from my iMac compared to Bluetooth connection from my iPhone. That said, they offer plenty of volume over wireless too. But they “go to 11” when wired.
Priced at $549(USD), the Master & Dynamic 0.95 MW60 aren’t inexpensive, but you get what you pay for, with premium materials and build quality, and stellar sound. If you’re looking for an excellent pair of high-end headphones, these should definitely be on your list for consideration.