What do the Leica lenses and wireless heavyweights Master & Dynamic have in common? It might sound like the beginning of a bad joke, but it’s actually a marketing gimmick employed by M&D to advertise the MW60, promoting this newly unveiled headphone model as a counterpart to the Leica lens Noctilux-M 1:0,95/50mm ASP. As such, Master & Dynamic have partnered with the renowned camera manufacturer to design certain elements of the MW60. This latest move is just the latest innovative move from Master & Dynamic and an entirely welcome surprise. Now we’ll see how the Bluetooth MW60 convinces in our practical test…
These Master & Dynamic headphones are delivered in an unpadded transport pouch with zipper fastening. In addition to this, a leather case is provided, with velvety linings to keep your new gadget protected against scratches and scuffs when in storage. In the packaging, there’s also further accessories for use with the MW60. Included are a USB-C charging cable, as well as a conventional cable and an adapter. A fabric cable bag is also provided, along with a quick start guide and a more detailed user manual. All in all, this isn’t a bad haul.
Design, Processing & Technology
The Master & Dynamic MW60 is a closed-back wireless headphone model that encloses the ears with a design that appears delicate from a distance. Once you take a closer glance, however, you’ll notice that it’s a robust piece of engineering. One reason for this is the device, while not too big, weighs in at over 350 grams without a cable plugged in thanks to its solid construction. This build is based on a mixture of metal struts in black, stainless steel and genuine leather. Hard-wearing leather can also be found on the outside of the headband and earpieces.
Soft lambskin leather has been used on the inner side of the headband and ear cushions. The ear cushions are made all the more comfortable thanks to memory foam interiors. Contact points for the cable and adapter are gold-plated for rust-resistance. A small red design detail at the top of the right earpiece also provides a nod to the Leica lens. In addition to this, the border is reminiscent of the ribbing of a lens adjustment bezel. Furthermore, the plastic caps at the end of the hearing shells are labelled “0.95”.
The headphones, provided in black for the purpose of this test, are available in five additional colourways, all emphasising the stainless steel construction beautifully. Despite the comparatively small earpieces, the MW60 still features 45mm drivers that utilise strong neodymium magnets.
The frequency range of the headphones covers 5 Hz to 25 kHz, a little more than its little brother, the MW50+. Its low impedance of just under 32 Ohm makes it suitable for use with a tablet, smartphone or amplifier. The maximum sound pressure of over 104 dB SPL is also high enough to cause a headache. The Bluetooth 4.1 version of the MW60 uses the aptX codec, which ensures high-quality audio transmission. However, cable operation is also possible when this function is switched off. Wireless operation should be possible for a maximum duration of 16 hours when the device is fully charged, which was confirmed in practice during our test.
Functions and Controls
The MW60 utilises a swivel mechanism as well as a folding mechanism. This allows the headphones to adapt very well to the shape of individual heads and ensures they can be stored away in the supplied case with no trouble. The firm contact pressure of these headphones also assures a good fit. This is particularly welcome due to the rather significant weight of the headphones, with the MW60 coming in at approximately 350 grams. That’s even without the cable attached. The ear cushions can be removed and exchanged with replacement sets, with a simple and secure magnetic and locking pin system. The head size adjustment only has 13mm of scope, meaning there’s not much room for manoeuvre in terms of fit. These headphones really aren’t the ideal choice for those with big ears and heads.
When not operated in Bluetooth mode, the supplied cable can be used instead. With its length of 120 centimetres, it’s an optimal size for tucking under clothing when listening on the go. This makes it clear that Master & Dynamic have designed things in mode for mobile audio enjoyment, rather than sedentary listening at home. The MW60 offers typical Bluetooth control elements and distributes them across the undersides of both earpieces. On the left, there’s an on/off pairing switch and on the right you’ll find three control buttons for volume, forward and backward skipping, plus a call answer button.
For smartphone applications, there’s also an omnidirectional microphone that automatically reduces ambient noise. Two LEDs are integrated into the case to indicate battery life and pairing status. A red knob on the top of the right earpiece indicates the optical godfather of these headphones, the Leica lens.
Sound Character & Application Areas
Powerful bass dominates the sound of these Master & Dynamic MW60 headphones. With modern pop music and EDM productions both sound rich with these headphones, although they can sound a little bass-heavy, at least to my ears. Credit has to be given to these headphones and their ability to boost from the sub-bass range, down to the lower mids, as well as being able to deliver plenty of pressure in all bass frequencies. They really impress with their presence in the frequency range of the human voice, ensuring excellent speech intelligibility. Guitar-heavy music such as metal or rock productions don’t sound sharp or cutting at any time with the MW60. Additionally, the highs are silky soft. A solid stereo impression is assured with impressive performance in the upper highs. Signal resolution is just as precise as promised. It’s particularly noticeable when listening to classical music tracks. Depth graduation is good, but slightly muffled due to the warm sound of these headphones. A combination of strong bass and gentle highs does not really combine to an inspired sonic depth.
In terms of volume capability, these headphones are well positioned and provide plenty of sound to the ears. In addition, the MW60 provides extremely rounded transients, ensuring it can handle double bass onslaughts in metal productions just as smoothly as explosion sound effects in radio drama productions. The difference between the attenuation of external noise and the isolation to the outside is even more pronounced with the MW60 than with its little brother, the MW50+. While the MW60 isolates the listener against the intrusion of external noise successfully, it does let a lot of sound penetrate to the outside. Therefore, you might want to be wary of hitting the volume button too loudly when sat next to a fellow passenger on public transport, lest be flashed some irate looks.
In cable mode, the MW60 operates a little differently in the sound stakes. T|he sound impression in wireless mode is more than satisfactory, but when in cable mode, a much higher sound performance can be expected. The depth graduation and stereo impression is much more successful with wired playback. If you want to hear the guitars in your favourite tracks with a little more intensity, you’ll probably be more suited to listening with the cable provided than via Bluetooth connectivity.
In their advertising material, Master & Dynamic compare the MW60 to a Leica Lens. As with a Leica Lens, the engineering skill, precision and high-quality materials are intended to ensure long-lasting operation and excellent value. It has to be said, the promise pays out with the MW60. The headphones are of impressive quality, made with superior materials and come with a welcome scope of delivery. It’s also hard to form any criticism of the manufacturing of these headphones. The only negative I can think to mention is that the narrow ear cushions and limited range of head adjustments mean the MW60 is probably not a device for those with large heads and ears to accommodate.
Just as a Leica Lens is supposed to make the finest details of a subject visible, the headphones have been crafted to provide a precise acoustic reproduction. Although the MW60 delivers a consistently precise sound image, it colours the audio signal with strong bass and velvety treble in a way that is not ideal for all types of audio material. What’s more, when connected via cable, these headphones sound fresher and more detailed than in wireless mode.
Ultimately, the Master & Dynamic MW60 left a good last impression and it’s hard to draw any significant negatives here. This high-quality headphone can be switched between Bluetooth and cable operation with ease, while oscillating equally as easily between a velvety, bass-rich acoustic and a more brilliant sound.
Measurement ResultsMore measurement results
- Ear couplingOver-ear
- Transducer principledynamic
- Frequency response (headphones)5 - 25.000 Hz
- Impedance31,9 ohms
- Sound pressure level (SPL)104,13 dB
- Pressure averaged from big and small head659 g
- Weight with cable366 g
- Weight without cable352 g
- Cable length120 cm
What's in the box
- 6.35 mm stereo jack
- Mini jack cable
- USB C charging cable
- Leather case for accessories
- Headphone transport bag
- Fabric cable bag
- Available in grey/black, silver/brown, black, silver/blue, silver/red, silver/black
- BT codec: aptX
- BT version: 4.1