The Master & Dynamic MW65 feature active noise cancellation as standard, Bluetooth connectivity and a balanced sound profile.
In addition to the main headphones themselves, the MW65 package includes a mini jack cable (no jack adapter, unfortunately), a USB-C charging cable with USB-A adapter, plus a travel adapter. A travel bag with snap fastening is also included, with an eye-catching design that earns a point for style. That’s about it for accessories, but that’s no bad thing. The real strength of these headphones is the main showcase itself.
Design & Manufacturing
The MW65 is available in a slick metal and leather design, with a choice of silver/brown and gunmetal/brown colourways to choose from. While the earpieces of these two versions are lined with black fabric, the Kevin Durant / Studio 35 Special Edition variant boasts eye-catching orange linings. US basketball star Durant has previously expressed his appreciation for the headphone brand and now presents his own endorsed model with this fiery take on the MW65.
Material quality and level of workmanship is of the premium variety you’d expect from Master & Dynamic with the MW65. Leather and aluminium are the main signatures here, while the replaceable ear cushions are surrounded with a soft lambskin leather and padded with memory foam on the inner sides. The headband is also covered with lambskin leather, with double-stitched seams for enhanced durability. The aluminium components ensure longevity and robustness, without making the overall design too heavy or cumbersome. The fact that all cables are sheathed in fabric with a high degree of flexibility also speaks for the overall level of quality to be found here. Bend protectors are also integrated into the design, while audio line plugs are gold-plated to stave off corrosion and extend operational life.
When it comes to technical prowess, the MW65 hovers in the mid-range when pitted against the competition. The 40 mm beryllium drivers are intended to provide a full, warm and distortion-free sound, with the physical properties of the hardware remaining lightweight yet robust. The frequency range covers the typical human hearing spectrum from 20 Hz to 20 kHz, while an impedance of 34.7 ohms (as measured during our test) ensures these headphones deliver in the loudness stakes and makes them suitable for use with smartphones and tablets. The maximum sound pressure of 100.32 dBSPL won’t blow you away by any means, but it’s loud enough for most listening requirements. These Master & Dynamic headphones also have a snug, yet not too firm contact pressure. Things are also lightweight all round, with the headphones themselves weighing in at 249 grams, without counting the connected cable. For reference, the detachable mini jack cable comes in at a very slight 11 grams.
An integrated microphone array is the foundation block of the active noise cancellation credentials of these headphones. In fact, the ANC technology on hand here is self-developed by the manufacturer itself. One of the key reasons behind Master & Dynamic not wanting to leave the ANC functionality of their devices to chance is an eagerness to keep to sound output as little changed as possible when noise suppression technology is initiated. Here, M&D has opted for a two-stage noise suppression approach with varying strengths and efficiency levels. If the NC function is turned off, passive noise cancellation is allowed to come into play. At the lower end of the spectrum (“Low Power”), only very quiet noises, such as a light breeze, are filtered out. Only at a high level does the integrated technology kick in to suppress much louder noises such as overflying aircraft and whirring machinery, traffic and congested crowd sounds, and so on.
The MW65 utilise Bluetooth 4.2 standard for wireless connectivity. Both aptX and SPC codecs are supported. A maximum range of 20 metres or radio transmission is promised by the manufacturer. A language assistant is also integrated into the overall package, allowing hassle-free voice command functionality. According to Master & Dynamic, the built-in batteries provide 24 hours of continuous playback if fully charged. A complete recharge of these headphones should take no more than 12 hours. Should they receive a full charge, these headphones are suitable enough for 10 hours of use in a typical day. In our practical test, these specs proved to be reliable and reflective of actual use.
Functions & Handling
The earpieces of the MW65 can be rotated, tilted and pivoted freely. As such, almost any head shape is easily adapted to. The same level of adaptability applies to the adjustment of the headband, although one downside is that the headband isn’t rasterised to allow for a memory fit function. When putting on the headphones, it becomes apparent how small the earpieces are. When it comes to folding them away to store for transit, this compact design is a plus, yet those with large ears will potentially have an issue with this.
All controls can be found on the rear side of the headphone earpieces when worn. This ensures a clear aesthetic of the front view of the headphones, while simplifying the overall control of the buttons and slider. Technical handling of the Bluetooth aspect of these headphones is also a breeze. Less successful is the positioning of the info LEDs, which are easily covered by the user’s thumb when pairing is initiated. The button for selecting the desired ANC mode is located on the side of the device. If pressed, the active noise cancelling function kicks in at the highest available level, although this can be reduced or switched off again by pressing the same button again. It’s a fairly straightforward operation that’s intuitive and easy to master.
When the MW65 is used with a smartphone, the volume control of the headphones controls the amplifier of the headphones only and cannot be used to control volume settings of the attached smartphone device itself. This means that there is no visual adjustment display available when setting volume levels. It’s a slight issue that draws away from other positive points.
I very much enjoyed the operation of the device via language assistant. This can be activated at the touch of a button, followed by a vocal question or command. It’s particularly practical and convenient for things like finding your way from A to B, chasing weather updates and forecasts, clarifying dictionary definitions and so on.
Sound Quality & Applications
When connected via cable, the sound performance of these headphones is first-rate. The highs are rich in detail and incredibly clear, yet still maintain a welcome sense of softness. The presence of vocals and speech signals is also convincing, with no distracting sharp edges taking away from audio enjoyment. Despite being present, the mids are not overly assertive and consistently remain pleasant to listen to. Even with hard guitar music, the MW65 delivers playback that never grates. All in all, the sound of these headphones matches up to the typical reproduction signature you’d expect from Master & Dynamic. On this note, the bass range can also be described as rather elegant. Towards the lower end, there are even softer edges to enjoy. Excellent dynamics with pronounced transients, relatively fine and subjective signal resolution, not to mention appealing audio characteristics when it comes to the stereo staging all combine for a successful set of sound specs.
Acoustic insulation against the outside is also first class. You won’t be disturbing the person sat next to you on the bus or train with your music tastes with these at your disposal, not even when listening at higher playback volumes. The same applies to dampening of outside noise. Attenuation is not as strong as headphones with comparatively more massive constructions and heavier ear cushions, yet for a model made with listening on the go in mind, the shielding capabilities are certainly impressive. Active noise cancellation also convinces here, both at the lower level when it comes to eliminating the humming of a nearby PC, or at the higher ranges when you’re looking to cut out the deafening drone of traffic noise in an urban environment.
When connected via Bluetooth, the bass seems a little more pronounced and powerful to me, while the treble is slightly on the tame side. However, the MW65 doesn’t suffer the same problem of drastic shifts in sound behaviour with audible differences that many headphones can succumb to. Another area where many ANC headphones fall short is when active noise suppression is enabled and affects sound stability in a detrimental way. Again, these Master & Dynamic headphones escape any noticeable symptoms that plague other models on the market. Although the basses suffer ever so slightly and the top ranges undergo a slight dampening when ANC is enabled, most listeners will have a hard time noticing anything whatsoever is altered as they enjoy their favourite playlists and audio material on the go.
For around 500 Euros, headphone fans can enjoy reliable Bluetooth connectivity with high sound quality with these Master & Dynamic ANC headphones. In particular, the ANC capabilities of the MW65 excel in enabling the required feature, without impeding on the sound output itself. The headphones are made of premium materials, with a level of workmanship that has to be commended. Handling of the MW65 is consistently pleasant, whether you’re adjusting the headband size or making use of the space-saving pivot feature of the earpieces when packing them away to transport. The sound of these headphones is particularly convincing, with silky highs, rounded basses and concise mids that suffer from sounding too sharp. A slight drawback is the earpieces are on the smaller side, so may not be suitable for the listener with notably larger ears.
Whoever is looking for a consistently reliable listening companion for life on the go will find balanced sound and plenty more to enjoy with the Master & Dynamic MW65.
- Ear couplingOver-ear
- Transducer principledynamic
- Frequency response (headphones)20 - 20.000 Hz
- Impedance34,7 ohms
- Sound pressure level (SPL)100,32 dB
- Pressure averaged from big and small head513 g
- Weight with cable260 g
- Weight without cable249 g
- Cable length120 cm
What's in the box
- Cable with mini jack
- USB A adapter
- USB C charging cable
- Carrying pouch
- BT codecs: SBC, aptX
- BT version: 4.2