Master & Dynamic released two wireless headphones in late 2016, including the MW50 on-ear and MW60 over-ear headphones. This is a timely change since recent high-end smartphones like the iPhone or Google Pixel 2 already removed the headphone jack.
I was very impressed with earlier models of the Master & Dynamic headphones, therefore, I expected the MW50 wireless on-ear headphones could deliver the same craftsmanship and audio quality.
Design & Features
My review unit comes in black color, you can also find the MW50 in brown. The black color doesn’t look dull like other cheap headphones. The MW50 looks truly elegant with great build quality and craftsmanship. I thought that the MW50 would be a wireless version of the MH30 but it actually has a totally different design.
They still feature a stainless steel and aluminum frame, lambskin-wrapped memory foam earpads, and premium cowhide on headband and earcup exterior. However, they now have a steel mesh detailing on the outside of the earcups and since these are wireless headphones, they put all ports and controls on the earcups. On the left side, we have a power/Bluetooth pairing switch, a 3.5mm auxiliary port, dual microphones. On the right earcups, there are a USB-C charging port and 3 playback control buttons. I really appreciate that Master & Dynamic uses the USB-C port for charging and firmware updating because all recent Android smartphone also uses the connection. On the other hand, I don’t really like the 3-button arrangement; they have the same rounded shape so I press the wrong button very often.
Notably, Master & Dynamic equips the headphones with an aluminum antenna on the left earcup; this is said to boost the Bluetooth range by 3 times, that means the Bluetooth range could reach 100 feet. I haven’t got a chance to test it properly but the headphones are truly the best in terms of Bluetooth range. I could leave my phone in my office, walked around my house with the headphones and didn’t have any interruption although there were 2-3 walls blocking the signal. This is quite amazing.
I’ve never been a fan of on-ear headphones because they don’t isolate noises well and the earcups always press hard against my ears. The MW50 headphones actually feel great on my ears, I can wear them comfortably for a couple of hours. However, they still make my ears hot and can’t be as comfortable as over-ear headphones. Besides, these are not really compact headphones since the earcups can’t be folded inwards like the MH30, you just can rotate the earcups to fold them flat.
Another impressive feature of the headphones is the battery life. I couldn’t measure the usage time accurately but I had no problem using the headphones for nearly 3 weeks in single charge. According to the manufacturer, the battery life is rated at 16 hours, this is not the best but good enough for most consumers.
There were a lot of surprises when I tested the headphones. I thought the MW50 would also be tuned for bass lovers like the previous wired headphones, however, they sound very different. While the MH30 and MH40 sound too warm for my taste and become muddy after a short listening session, the MW50 delivers a much more pleasant sound. I didn’t expect the wireless headphones could sound better than wired versions.
The bass response is no longer boosted heavily like other headphones, instead, it is more subtle, punchy and refined. The headphones don’t lack punch in the lows and I love that all details are preserved. This is particularly important for on-ear headphones since there is less space in the earcups and the drivers sit very close to our ears. Most other on-ear headphones won’t sound that clear and often cause headache in a short period of time.
I listen to more EDM recently and the MW50 proves it is suitable for many music genres. The bass in those EDM tracks is not booming and might disappoint some consumers, however, I got used to it after a few days and really love the natural sound with details in the lows and mids. The mids carry a lot of energy and it is complemented by a fair amount of high-mids presence. The treble is very well-tamed; it doesn’t cause any treble spike but it is still crisp and clear enough.
The soundstage of the MW50 is quite good but it can’t deliver the same stereo imaging found on some over-ear headphones at the same price. I compared the soundstage between these ones and the Sennheiser HD700; The results are not surprising, the instruments are not well separated and sometimes it’s difficult to locate their placements.
- Luxury headphones with solid build
- Long battery life
- Amazing Bluetooth range
- Accurate sound
- Average noise isolation
- Stereo separation could be better
The Master & Dynamic MW50 is absolutely not the best-sounding headphones at the hefty price tag, however, they are the perfect combination of a well-balanced sound, an excellent craftsmanship, the comfort for long listening sessions, and the impressive Bluetooth connection. These are a safe choice if you’re looking for wireless headphones.
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