The Master & Dynamic MW75 are stellar headphones only truly hampered by their high price tag. They sound very good with an exceptionally expansive soundstage and execute all the included features with aplomb, such as active noise-cancellation (ANC) and ambient mode (for audio passthrough). And they look so good you might want to update your wardrobe. You will enjoy the MW75 if you can stomach the price (and non-vegan materials).
The Master & Dynamic MW75 are one of those products that are as much substance as they are style; as much status symbol as they are functional product. That’s not to say that they’re bad. In fact, there’s not a thing I could point to as being poorly executed. These are excellent headphones. They just happen to be very expensive.
That price tag will be the main hurdle for most people reading this review. It’s a price that only audiophiles or people who like to splurge typically accept when considering headphones. And audiophiles may turn their noses up at a pair of headphones that look like a fashion statement. As I’ll discuss, they and you shouldn’t.
Though Master & Dynamic undoubtedly embraces their fashionable side – they’ve collaborated with Mercedes Benz, Lamborghini and The Rolling Stones on headphones – there’s a lot to like under the surface, from the sound quality and comfort to their feature-set, as I'll get to in this review...
Master & Dynamic MW75: price and release date
Master & Dynamic unleashed the MW75 onto the world on 28 June 2022 for $599/£549. They’re about double what most non-audiophiles are willing to pay for a set of headphones when they want to splurge. So you might want to check out our best headphones list for alternatives.
For anyone familiar with Master & Dynamic and similarly high-end and stylish brands like Bang & Olufsen, however, the high price tag is to be expected. These are brands that put as much focus on design and aesthetics as performance.
Master & Dynamic MW75 review: design
Gorgeous, stunning, striking… whichever word you choose could be aptly used to describe the way the Master & Dynamic MW75 look. These are classy headphones that share only the most basic DNA with the look and design of other headphones.
The earcups are made of light, anodised aluminium shells with round tempered glass inserts housing 40mm Beryllium drivers. And the memory foam earpads are covered in lamb skin, as is the cushioning on the aluminium headband. All the materials are premium (and, of course, not vegan).
You can get the MW75 in four different colourways: there’s black metal and black leather; gunmetal and black leather; silver metal and grey leather; silver metal and brown leather.
Speaking of those earpads, they’re easily removable if you need to clean them. All you have to do is pull. But, they will stay in place without any wiggle since they’re held in place by magnets.
When it comes to fit, the MW75 are comfortable. Not only can you adjust the headband to fit your head no matter how big or small, the earcups swivel more than 90 degrees so they won’t sit awkwardly on your ears. The clamping force is just enough to keep it in place without hurting your head. And, that lambskin-covered headband and earpads are very plush. However, they’re not the lightest pair out there, weighing in at 338 grams.
Each earcup houses a couple of buttons. The left has the power / pairing and ANC / ambient mode toggle buttons, plus an LED to indicate when it’s on or charging via the USB-C port. The right has volume up and down, as well as a button which you can press to play / pause / skip / rewind. That button will also accept or reject calls as well as interact with your preferred voice assistant when held.
Since these are such pricy headphones, it makes sense that they come with quite a few extras. To start, they come with a felt hard shell carrying case that should fit in your backpack or luggage. And, since those earcups swivel flat (the MW75 don’t fold), they fit in nicely while leaving an open area under the headband to keep all the other extras the MW75 come with.
There’s a USB-C cable that not only charges the headphones but can be used as a physical digital connection. You also get an analogue cable if you want to use the headphones without powering them on. They’re both braided and sturdy though a bit short. Also included is a 3.5mm-to-1/4in adapter, USB-C-to-USB-A adapter, and an airline headphone adapter (you connect the analogue cable to it to use).
Master & Dynamic MW75 review: performance
The Master & Dynamic MW75 are fairly neutral if slightly warm-sounding headphones. The sub-bass is ever so slightly recessed while there seems to be just a little more in the lower mids, which give it that slightly warmer sound signature. The mids in general are full though not quite rich sounding. And the high-end is detailed enough but not overly bright. These are not hyped-sounding headphones, though you have some EQ presets available in the app.
While the sound signature of the MW75 is a pleasant and enjoyable listen, what gives these headphones that little extra something is their expansive soundstage. The drivers are angled to give a wider soundstage and it truly engulfs you in the music. Out of everything that these headphones do, I appreciate that wider soundstage more than anything else.
That said, the Master & Dynamic MW75 do well with their features. The ANC and ambient modes are not only very, very good – but they’re adjustable as well. The ANC gives you three modes: Max, All Day, and Adaptive. Max is the most aggressive; All Day is perfect if you want just a little bit of ANC; Adaptive automatically adjusts according to how noisy your environment is.
Ambient mode has two modes: Voice and Awareness. Voice seems to emphasise the frequency range that voices sit at so you can more easily listen or participate in a conversation while Awareness is a more general Ambient Mode.
While both ANC and ambient modes do what they’re supposed to well, there is a lag when changing between them or turning them off. Also, be aware that you’ll experience a decent bass boost when either is enabled, though moreso with the ANC.
As far as other features go, tapping to control the music, switching between modes, or pulling up a voice assistant all work seamlessly. It also has on-head detection (which you can toggle on/off in the app) that works well and will pause quickly when moving the headphones off your head. Multipoint connection works as advertised where you can connect two devices and listen on one, pause, and then listen on the other. But there is a lag when switching between sources.
Lastly, a lot of these features can be controlled via the M&D Connect app. While you can switch between ANC and ambient modes by pressing buttons on the earcups, you need the app to select which type of ANC or ambient mode you want. The app also lets you know the battery level percentage, lets you set an auto-off timer, toggle a few other settings such as the on-head detection.
There are also four EQ presets for some aural fine-tuning: Bass Boost, Bass Cut, Podcast, Audiophile. I didn’t find much use for them as I was happy with the way the MW75 sounded. The first two are obvious in what they do, Podcast emphasises that mid-range where vocals sit (I’ve never needed to EQ a podcast though), and Audiophile somewhat changes the sound signature into a brighter sounding one.
Master & Dynamic MW75 review: battery
The Master & Dynamic MW75 is supposed to offer 32 hours of battery life, 28 with ANC enabled, which on paper is pretty impressive for a pair of headphones with all the features you get. Often, wireless headphones will only exceed that length of time when they’re stripped down and come without ANC, ambient mode, voice assistant support, etc. Consider the Audio-Technica ATH-M50xBT2, for example, which can last up to 50 hours.
In practice, the M&D's battery life doesn’t quite reach those lofty heights. That’s not to say it’s disappointing: with both ANC and ambient mode off, it took almost twelve hours to run the battery down from 100% to 50% with the volume maxed out. Instead of 32 hours of use, you’re probably looking at closer to 24 hours based on my experience.
Master & Dynamic MW75 review: verdict
So, are the Master & Dynamic MW75 worth it? The answer is of course subjective. These M&D over-ears do everything advertised and do so very well. The sound is great, offering a wider soundstage than many headphones out there, and the full feature-set is as robust as anything else out there. Even the battery life, which doesn’t quite live up to Master & Dynamic’s claims, is decent compared to most wireless ANC-equipped headphones on the market.
However, you can find similarly performing headphones for less cash, sometimes for half the cost. Just like a fashion brand, you’re paying for the style, the upscale materials that do more for the aesthetic than the performance, and the name. If you’re willing to splurge, I think you’ll be very happy with your purchase. If you’re a bit more frugal, there are other options... they just won’t come with fancy tempered glass earcups and the like.
There are some great headphones that cover a lot of the same ground as the Master & Dynamic MW75. Consider the Bose QuietComfort 45, for example. It comes with world-class active noise cancellation, a similar battery life, and great sound. They cost almost half of the MW75, though they don’t look nearly as good, but are ideal for travellers.
The Audio Technica M50xBT2 may not come with ANC and are much more plasticky in finish. But, for a much lower price of entry, you get fantastic-sounding headphones and a much longer-lasting battery life. Again, you don’t get that same aesthetic, premium build and materials as the MW75, not to mention the same feature set, but if you prefer a more stripped-down pair of headphones, consider these.
Master & Dynamic aren’t the only fashion-sensitive brand out there. If you’re looking for something a little different but just as gorgeous, then take a look at the Bang & Olufsen Beoplay HX. They’re cheaper (but not by much). Besides a different look, the HX offers better battery life than the Master & Dynamic, but the MW75 offer much better ANC.