The Master & Dynamic MW08 are True Wireless in-ears that not only want to score points with their excellent sound, but also with their active noise cancelling and a long battery life. We find out whether they succeed.
Master & Dynamic present us with the MW08 in a conventional outer box, which in turn contains a box made of uncoated, plain cardboard. The in-ears themselves are stored in a stylish box made of hand-polished high-gloss stainless steel. When opened, it becomes clear that this is the charging station for this pair of True-Wireless earphones. Three LEDs on the front of the case provide information on the charging status of the headphones.
A small fabric case with a flap closure is also included, in which the headphones can be transported together with the charging case and (with a little effort) the one-metre USB-C charging cable and USB-A adapter supplied will also fit inside. These in-ears come with silicone earpieces in size M. Four additional pairs in different sizes are also included. A multilingual instruction leaflet and various cards with technical information complete the package. In addition, the free “M&D Connect App” for Android and iOS can be downloaded via Google Play or the Apple App Store. With the help of this app, you can control various settings of these in-ears. Therefore, we rate the MW08’s package as top-notch.
The design of these in-ears is simple and elegant. The headphones are available in four colours: white, black, blue and brown. The MW08 are essentially the next logical evolutionary step after the Master & Dynamic MW07+. However, they are not only three grams lighter than these, but also offer advantages from a technical point of view. For example, their housings are not made of acetate, but consist of ceramic and milled aluminium. The small headphones also feature 11 mm beryllium drivers, which are larger than those of the MW07+.
For wireless connection, the housings have an externally incorporated antenna instead of an internal one. This is supposed to improve the quality of the Bluetooth connection, which extends over a distance of up to 30 metres. For wireless audio enjoyment, these in-ears use the Bluetooth 5.2 standard and offer aptX in addition to the SBC and AAC codecs.
Each housing is equipped with three microphones instead of just two, and these perform three tasks at once. In Smartphone Mode, they make it possible to speak during phone calls. When using active noise cancellation (ANC), they take care of any signal components in the ambient noise that need to be cancelled. And last but not least, they enable the ambient listening mode, which amplifies ambient noise. This provides one more mode than the MW07+.
Like that model, the MW08 also have built-in proximity sensors, which ensure that these in-ears are put into standby mode as soon as they are removed from your ears. As a little extra, Master & Dynamic also promise that the MW80 in-ears are dust and jet water-resistant, thanks to their IPX5 rating.
The handling of the charging case is first-rate. If the charging current is secured via USB cable, the middle LED on the box indicates that power is present. The two outer LEDs separately indicate the charging status of the left and right in-ear. The battery life of the headphones is about ten hours. The internal batteries can be recharged up to three times so that the In-Ears Set can last a total of 40 hours without a (USB) socket. The first 50% of the battery charge is recharged after only 15 minutes. But even a complete charging process takes no more than 40 minutes. In practice, the challenge of battery life is dealt with excellently.
The first Bluetooth pairing succeeded smoothly and without even pressing any buttons on the headphones. An audible signal indicates to the user whether the pairing has been successful. In use, the multifunction button and the two volume buttons on the MW80 are extremely easy to learn how to use. A quick look at the info sheet is all it takes to memorise all the functions. Therefore, we give it a big thumbs up.
The MW08’s noise-cancelling can be activated using the multifunction button. However, the respective ANC mode must be selected via the app and is then available as a default mode. The proximity sensors can also be switched on and off in the app. However, at the time of testing (23.03.2021), the app was not (yet) available in the Google Play Store. The download from Apple’s App Store, on the other hand, worked seamlessly and immediately provided a firmware update for these in-ears. However, this automatic update put the headphones out of action for about ten minutes as they could not be used while they were updating. Users should be prepared for this.
The noise-cancelling function works well when it comes to low frequencies. However, since the attenuation of external noise by the silicone ear tips was only average, the ANC feature quickly reached its limits. As a result, the low frequencies benefited from noise cancelling, but the high frequencies were still interspersed with background noise (for example, the noise in an aircraft cabin). Here, an additional fitting of memory foam earpieces could work wonders. And the ambient listening mode didn’t fully convince me either. It worked reliably, but its effect was rather restrained.
Sound-wise, Master & Dynamic promise us an “outstanding sound experience”. And indeed, these in-ears started our practical test with a detailed and differentiated sound. The volume was well set up, just loud enough for music enjoyment. However, the bass parts of the signal were close to distortion. These in-ears produce impressive low bass. Which was pleasing. In the mid-range, these headphones are extremely well differentiated. The emphasis of the frequency ranges in which the human voice gains presence is minimally sharp. However, this was not so much that sibilance of S-sounds occurred. Guitars in metal and alternative productions could become quite exhausting for the ears due to this strong focus in the mids.
A highlight of the MW80 is its treble reproduction. This is because the extremely open top end gives the sound of these headphones a soundstage that is not taken for granted with in-ears and, for me, it was comparable to the sonic performance of some open circumaural headphones. The stereo stage these in-ears draw is wide, but never loses sight of the centre. In terms of dynamics, these small headphones particularly come into their own with classical music. The reproduced sound is lively in terms of programme dynamics and at the same time transient-strong in the short term, allowing drums and percussion to develop proper pressure.
The Master & Dynamic MW08 are true wireless in-ears that impressed us with their chic design, long battery life and short charging time. In addition, two different noise-cancelling modes are available, but their effect did not seem very pronounced in our practical test. Operating these headphones is child’s play and offers additional features via the free “M&D Connect App”. But most importantly: the MW08 sound really good. From impressive low bass to detailed mids and open-sounding highs, these in-ears deliver listening pleasure. In short: listening to music is fun with the Master & Dynamic MW80, from EDM at full volume to classical music at moderate volume.
- Ear couplingIn-ear
- Transducer principledynamic
What's in the box
- 5 pairs of silicone ear tips in different sizes
- Fabric case
- USB-C charging cable
- USB-A adapter
- Charging case
- available in black, white, blue and brown
- BT codecs: SBC, AAC, aptX
- BT version: 5.2