Regular readers may remember that I was blown away by Master & Dynamic’s MH40 headphones, and they have since become my go-to cans for serious listening. In keeping with the times, the New York-based company has now released the MW60 model, a pair of Bluetooth headphones designed to the same exacting specifications as the wired model, though obviously with a few differences.
They are over-ear headphones and the lambskin cups, which are removable, are very comfortable for prolonged periods of listening. The finish is exemplary, with stainless steel and leather throughout, but a surprisingly lightweight feel considering how well manufactured they are. To be clear, this is a good thing, especially when you may be wearing them for quite a while. The cups are hinged so the whole thing folds down into quite a small package for easier transportation, and a high-quality carrying pouch is provided.
The aluminum antenna running around the outside of the cups gives excellent range—M&D claims up to 4x the industry average. I was able to wander into adjacent rooms without the signal ever dropping out, though this will obviously depend on the thickness of the walls where you are. There’s a 16-hour rechargeable battery and a micro USB port for charging and firmware updates. Battery life is reported on the hosting device where available—so iOS does it but OS X doesn’t, as is the same with any Bluetooth device.
There’s a power button on the phones as well as a “discover” button to put them into discoverable mode, plus audio feedback for various actions. Pairing was seamless with a range of devices, and a built-in mic lets you take calls. One cup has the USB port for charging and the other has a port to connect a regular audio cable for wired listening, with a 2 m one supplied with the phones complete with a leather cable box.
The 45 mm Neodymium drivers are capable of providing plenty of volume when required, and the soundstage is superb, boasting a frequency response of 5–25000 Hz. The Bluetooth 4.1 chip uses Aptx technology to deliver CD quality sound with lower bandwidth, and the results are stunning. These headphones feel perfectly sonically balanced, with crisp mids and highs and warm, full bass that doesn’t dominate even at high volumes. With higher-end headphones, clarity and balance is the key and you want a bass end that’s powerful but never overwhelming, and that’s certainly what you get here.
The MW60s aren’t exactly an impulse purchase but they are priced fairly comparably to equivalent high-end wireless models from companies like Sennheiser and even Beats, though honestly the build and fidelity here are superior. Bluetooth technology has reached a point where you’re no longer compromising on audio quality, and being freed from wires is genuinely liberating. Of course you can go wired with these as well, so you’re getting the best of both worlds. The MW60s are an investment for sure, but one that you’ll be glad you made.
Price: £419 / $549 / EUR 579
Pros: Stunning build quality. Superb soundstage. Perfectly balanced, both sonically and physically. Excellent range and battery life. Audio cable and other accessories supplied. Onboard controls and mic. Fold down.
Cons: At the higher end of the headphone price range, though built accordingly.