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Master & Dynamic MW75 Active Noise Canceling Wireless Headphones review


Master & Dynamic makes some of the best looking and best built headphones in the game. And when it comes to sound quality, its products rival most comers. But, as one might expect, headphones such as these do not come cheap.

The MW75 Active Noise-Canceling Wireless Headphones, announced today, are the latest in the luxury brand’s portfolio.

Available in a variety of color options (Gunmetal/Black Leather, Silver Metal/Grey/Leather, Silver Metal/Brown Leather, and Black Metal/Black Leather), the MW75 have all the hallmarks of the Master & Dynamic brand. They look quite similar to other models in the lineup yet a closer look reveals there are some interesting changes.

via Master & Dynamic

I’ve had a pair of these around the office for a few weeks and have been sitting anxiously on my thoughts. But now that the embargo has lifted, I’m ready to share my review of the Master & Dynamic MW75 Wireless Headphones.

Design

First and foremost, these are a gorgeous pair of headphones that come with a protective hard shell carrying case. When not being used I’m torn between tucking them away to keep safe and putting them on full display.

The pair that I received are the Gunmetal and Black Leather option. They’re minimal and modern looking yet still call to mind the over-ear cans that my dad might have used in the 8-track era.

The ear cups are incredibly light but feel durable and ready for the long haul. Soft leather, lambskin, and memory foam ensure that the MW75 embrace the ears and head in a comforting and comfortable way. I’ve spent hours with these at a time and the idea of ear fatigue or pressure at the temples doesn’t even enter into thought.

The headphones come with a USB-C-to-3.5mm audio cable and a USB-C-to-USB-C charging cable. Additionally, you get a USB-A charging cable adapter, a 1/4-inch headphone jack adapter, and an airplane adapter in the box. All of these extras have a home inside of the carrying case so they’re not flopping about loosely.

Features

The headphones have three active noise-canceling (ANC) modes to work with each working better for different levels of ambient world noise. Similarly, there is are two options for ambient listening depending on how aware you want to be of the people and sounds around.

It takes but a few moments of playing around in the M&D Connect mobile app to configure settings to your likeness. It’s also here where you can toggle a couple of equalizer settings. Referred to as Sound Profiles, the changes are immediate and very noticeable.

The right earcup houses a multifunction button for playback, track navigation, call management, and your voice assistant. You’ll get different actions based on how many times you press the button or hold it down.

The left earcup has the Power/Pairing button and an ANC button but it only toggles between ANC and Ambient Listening modes. The third option, which is to turn off both, is done via the app.

The MW75 pack an internal battery that’s good enough to last upwards of 32 hours per charge, or around 28 with ANC enabled. While I never drained these completely from a full charge, I feel confident in saying that those claims should be accurate.

One of the features I appreciate is the on-head detection which can automatically pause music when you take them off your head. There’s no need to fumble to find a button or reach for your phone; simply take them off and you’re good. On a related note, the app also lets you configure how much time passes before shutting off to preserve battery.

Charging is done via USB-C (right earcup) and takes very little time. According to Master & Dynamic just 15 minutes of charging can add another six hours of playback.

Sound

Having reviewed a number of Master & Dynamic headphones over the years, I had an idea as to what was in store for me with the MW75. Suffice it to say, these do not disappoint in the area of audio quality.

Thanks to 40mm beryllium dynamic drivers and support for AAC, AptX Adaptive, and SBC Bluetooth codecs, there’s a lot of horsepower and tech to deliver excellent sound.

Whether listening to bass-heavy music, podcasts, classical, or pop music, these have a wide soundscape and a warm sound. Typically I’ll throw on Pink Floyd’s ‘The Dark Side of the Moon’ for a full listen to get a sense of the clarity and detail in a pair of headphones or earbuds. There’s an awful lot of layering and nuance in that album and the MW75 headphones bear that out.

I appreciate being able to adjust the equalizer or sound profile now with Master & Dynamic products. It’s not as if they didn’t use to sound great with the catch-all setting the variations can really highlight and punctuate music. I’ve yet to run into a dull or flat sound, even with spoken word stuff like audiobooks. There’s always a bit of additional presence that, if that makes sense.

Progressive house, trance, synthwave, and other forms of electronic dance music really shine with a punchiness that never treads too heavily. On the opposite end, piano and strings like that of Max Richter or Nils Frahm make you feel like you’re front and center for a personal concert.

Understanding that the M&D Connect app isn’t all that old, there is still room to grow. A fully customizable equalizer would be a welcome addition for some users who really like to fine tune things.

I did find that the ANC feature was less than perfect, and it sometimes created a bit of a “hiss” or white noise. Even in a quiet office with only a YouTube video playing in the back, I found that sound was able to bleed in. It’s not terrible and some people may not notice it, but when dealing with something as pricy as these, you cannot overlook it in a review.

Conclusion

I often refer to my M&D headphones as “dad” headphones. That is to say, these are the type of product that don’t get loaned around the house and always end up back where they belong when not in use. They’re treated like gold. That would definitely be the case here as they’ve got the looks and sound that few in my household might appreciate.

Let’s be honest here, the $600 price tag is going to be rather divisive. Some will look at that and immediately turn away, opting for something a fraction of the cost. I can’t fault someone for having that line of thought. In fact, I used to have it myself.

Having multiple years passed now since I’ve reviewed select Master & Dynamic headphones, I can personally attest that they are built for long-term usability. Take care of them and they’ll be there for you longer than most cell phones. Plus, they never degrade in quality.

I truly love the look and feel of these headphones. The sound quality is among the best I’ve had the experience of testing. These are premium in every sense of the word. But this time around it also includes the price.

Overall I find these to be more expensive than I expected and, as such, harder to justify to prospective buyers. Were they $500 it would be an easy recommendation.

There’s a lot to love here but there’s a price to pay. If you’re a brand loyalist and looking to keep pace, I might suggest waiting for a holiday promotion to save a few bucks. Master & Dynamic often discounts its products around holidays and school season so if you can wait until late summer, you might be doing very well for the MD75s.

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