5.0 out of 5 stars
By Mike - Reviewed in the United States on June 25, 2019
An excellent pair of headphones with almost no compromises
To me, if you're spending over $300 on a pair of headphones, you want to feel like you aren't making any compromises. I tried 6 pairs of wireless noise canceling headphones and ended up with the MW65. Even though it was the most expensive of the 6, it was also the only one where I really felt like it was worth the price. Here's what I tried: - Master & Dynamic MW65 - Bowers & Wilkins PX - Bang & Olufsen Beoplay H8i - Bang & Olufsen Beoplay H9i - Denon AH-GC30 - Bose QuietComfort 35 When I started, I didn't know a whole lot about noise cancelling wireless headphones, and I was a little skeptical that it was anything more than a gimmick. After trying it out for a few weeks… it's not a gimmick, it does make a difference, especially if you work in a noisy office and need to concentrate. 1) To me, sound quality is the most important criteria and not something I want to compromise on. The Master and Dynamic brand is known for their sound quality, and the MW65 don't disappoint in this area. These headphones shine with everything from modern, fuller, bass-heavy sounds to classical recordings where you want more detail and a feeling of space. The Beoplays were the close runners up for me, slightly edging out B&W PX and Denon on bass response, and then Bose trailing significantly. 2) Comfort is another important factor. I wear my headphones a lot and for long periods of time, so they need to feel good. This is obviously going to depend on your preferences and the shape of your ears and head. MW65 and Beoplay H8i are very comfortable and very light. Bose and Denon are reasonably comfortable. B&W PX ear cups are on the firm side, and the headphones are also quite heavy overall (12oz). It isn't really uncomfortable but that much weight makes it feel a bit like you are wearing a helmet. H9i was the worst for my particular ears. They are light, but the ear cup pressed against my ears so I couldn't really wear them for more than an hour at a time. I didn't try them, but Bang & Olufsen have tried to address this problem in the next gen H9. Another aspect of comfort is ear pressure. Some people report an uncomfortable feeling of pressure when ANC is on, and it can become painful after long usage. This seems to vary from person to person, but it was true for me. Some brands are better than others. MW65, B&W PX and Denon were the best, followed by H9i, then Bose and H8i. The big surprise was how different the H9i and H8i felt. H8i are on-ear, so it is possible that they are engineered with maximum ANC to compensate for less noise isolation. 3) Active noise cancelling (ANC). I tested the effectiveness of noise cancelling in an office environment, walking on city streets and by standing near a bathroom vent fan and kitchen hood fan to test how they handled continuous white noise. Bose is well ahead, followed by B&W PX, H9i, MW65, H8i, and then Denon trailing significantly behind. All headphones except Beoplay H9i and H8i had the ability to toggle between ANC modes like Airplane, City and Office. MW65 have two modes, Low and High. To me, the difference was not noticeable in most environments, but quite apparent when listening to white noise (more midrange frequencies in Low than in High mode) and also Low works best for windy environments where High mode creates weird audio artifacts. MW65 also have the advantage that the fidelity of the sound is very good even when ANC is on. Bose is on the opposite end of the scale, where the already weak sound reproduction is made worse with ANC on. With MW65, you're definitely not getting the best possible ANC. It's really in the middle of the pack. But ANC is one of those things where, in my opinion, the best is not actually the best. Bose is the best in ANC, but comes with comfort and sound quality compromises that make it not a good value. What good is excellent noise cancelling on headphones that don't get used because they are too uncomfortable to wear? My criterion for ANC is whether the headphones can put a significant dent in the ambient noise that I feel a sense of relief and I'm able to concentrate and enjoy the music. All the headphones except for Denon are more than acceptable. 4) Industrial design and materials. Bowers & Wilkins and Masters & Dynamic take the prize here, they are both absolutely beautiful. I love the elegance of the PX, especially in the gold colorway. Both feel sturdy and well-made, which is a particular achievement for MW65 since it only weighs 8oz. The two Beoplays are strong contenders, the Denons have their charms especially coming from a company known more for generic black boxy stereo systems. The ugliness of Bose is really inexcusable. I'm sure their industrial designers are very talented. Why not let them do their jobs? 5) Extras. MW65 lacks a few of the other the bells and whistles that other headphones have. The main one that I miss is the transparency feature which lets you hear yourself talking when you are on a phone call. On the other hand, MW65 is the only pair with voice assistant support, works in wired passive mode and doesn't come with an app for your phone. I count that as a feature, because the apps for the other headphones are generally not very good. iPhone's Today View can be customized to show bluetooth battery life, and that's all I really need. When it comes to over-ear noise cancelling bluetooth headphones, Master & Dynamic have done it right with MW65. They're $500—but it's absolutely clear what you're getting for your money. In my opinion, the lower price points aren't a good value. For me, they would end up collecting dust, so I'm not sure I would spend less. If I couldn't afford these, most likely I'd wait until I could.
4.0 out of 5 stars
By M - Reviewed in the United States on September 1, 2019
Amazing sound, mediocre noise cancellation, Good customer support
UPDATE: I received a response from Master & Dynamic as a reply to my review answering my previously unanswered questions. I have also emailed them with a support question and they responded quickly and were helpful. As such, I have removed my comments regarding a negative customer support experience and have have updated my review accordingly. I am approaching these headphones as someone who is not an audiophile, is perfectly fine with using Bluetooth for convenience in lieu of cables, and primarily listens to Apple Music, AAC, and MP3 compressed audio files. I was excited when I first read about the MW65 headphones because I have always thought that Master and Dynamic headphones look great. I know that sound is more important than looks for headphones, but M&D headphones look so much more refined than the competition. The leather and aluminum is a lot nicer than plastic, and the MW65 headphones don’t feel heavy on the head or cause any fatigue. I think these are the most comfortable headphones that I have ever owned. That being said, the ear cups are narrower than most other headphones so if you have larger or wider ears they may feel tight. Sound-wise, the MW65 headphones sound incredible. Just stunning. I have listened to songs that I have listened to for years on Bose, Beats, or AKG headphones, and I can hear subtle audio cues that simply aren’t present with other headphones. The clarity is just unrivaled by other ANC headphones. The bass is not overpowering like Beats but still sounds excellent, and they are not “overly acoustic” and lacking in bass like Bose. Bluetooth pairing is simple and painless. I think you can pair them with up to 2 devices, and I go between a MacBook Pro, iPad Pro, and an iPhone. I’ve never had an issue pairing with any device, and going between them is easy. I have experienced some stuttering with my MacBook Pro. It’s rare, and only lasts a half a second when it happens, but it does happen. I really only experience this at the office, where everyone in the office is running Bluetooth devices like wireless mice, trackpads, iPhones, iPads… I think it’s more to do with “congestion” than anything else. For me, it is not a deal-breaker. At home, where there are far fewer devices, the headphone connection is rock-solid. Arguably, the reason to buy the MW65 over the MW60 is because of the noise cancellation and I found it to be lacking, especially for the price. Yes, the ANC works, but it’s not as good as Bose QC 35 headphones. I work in a chatty office, and I can hear conversations from across the room and the blowing of the air conditioner, even with the noise cancellation enabled on high. The noise is muffled, but not really isolated or cancelled out. For $499, I would expect more silence. The MW65 headphones tout USB-C charging, which I assume to be a standard that means I can use any USB-C charger to charge them. This has not been the case in my experience. My Mac and iPad both charge via USB-C, but neither charger recharges the MW65 headphones. If I plug in the cable that comes with the MW65 to an Apple charger, then either Apple charger powers them. However, neither of Apple’s USB-C cables do anything and I don’t know why. It would be nice to travel with only one cable to charge everything, but it doesn’t work. Battery life is good. I can go all week at work with ANC on high and don’t have to recharge until the weekend. For reference, I listen to music about 5 hours a day, 5 days a week and have never had the MW65 die on me. They also charge quickly. Some reviews have claimed the microphone is subpar when using these to place a phone call. I did not test the mic quality as I would never make phone calls with these headphones, and no one has called me while wearing them to test them out. :D Wrapping up, I think the MW65 are the best-sounding Bluetooth headphones that you can buy in terms of sound. They’re also the best looking. Noise cancellation is subpar with respect to the competition—and for the price—but is still better than no ANC at all. I think they are a good product, but would be a better buy at $350–400, not $500.
4.0 out of 5 stars
By Adam C Goldberg - Reviewed in the United States on August 9, 2019
UPDATED REVIEW POSITIVE REVIEW
UPDATE: After extremely receptive customer service rep my second pair was replaced with a pair updated and tested and no longer experience the popping. And now I can happily report these are terrific headphones for the discerning listener. While the ANC is not on the same level as Bose or Sony, it works well enough on a noisy flight and has a much more realistic rendering of your music. Plus they look great. Duh. This is my second pair. I refused to believe this issue was something that no other critic noticed or addressed, something that M & D would allow to slip past R and D and come to market. But indeed I spoke to an M and D rep and they concurred this was an issue and that it was resolved...Or maybe it was resolved....Or maybe it was better to get a refund and wait and see if in fact it was resolved. While this was all occurring regarding a transaction directly with M & D I decided to check out the same pair from Amazon. And the problem persists. If you're standing still, not flying in anything but the smoothest air, and use another pair of headphones on your daily commute, then these are nearly perfect headphones for an audiophile who doesn't want overbearing ANC and who is a fan of great design. But digital interruptions that occur when ANC is turned on high (where the audio on these headphones shine), the "popping" that occurs on all but the smoothest terrain makes this untenable for anyone but someone who works at a desk. And at that rate I'd just get the M60s since the ANC isn't strong enough to be worth the hassle. i had read a similar complaint on their instagram page as soon as they were released....and I ignored it, to my peril.