Master & Dynamic MW75 headphones review: Premium headphones with impressive active noise cancellation
Master & Dynamic’s new flagship wireless headphones have an all-new noise cancelling system. But do they sound as good as they look?
⊕ Superb noise cancelling system
⊕ Top-end build quality and feel
⊕ Long-lasting battery life
⊕ Useful selection of accessories included
⊖ More expensive than you might hope
New York-based Master & Dynamic specialises in premium headphones and earbuds that look stunning and have serious heft when it comes to fidelity. The new MW75s are the brand’s flagship wireless over-ear headphones with advanced noise cancelling (ANC) capabilities. At £549 they’re at the pricier end of what you might expect to pay but this is in part due to the high-end construction that feels superior to competing models, many of which retail for around £300.
Coming in a choice of four colours, they have a luxury feel similar to Apple’s AirPods Max, which coincidentally cost exactly the same in the UK (and slightly less in the US) – we’ll compare them directly a little later. Constructed from lightweight anodised aluminium, the pads and headband are covered in soft lambskin leather and the outer part of each cup is made of tempered glass. There are no touch surfaces, though the pads can be replaced should they ever wear out. The overall design is simply superb; parts move gently but smoothly and they sit comfortably on your head. At 338g, they’re light enough to wear for long periods without becoming tiring.
As you’d hope, there’s a selection of accessories in the box. A hard shell travel case is sturdy and inside sections hold other parts securely. There’s a USB-C to USB-C cable, USB-C to USB-A adapter, a 3.5mm to ¼ inch adapter, USB-C to 3.5mm cable and even a flight adapter. The cables are of supreme quality with a braided finish.
The headphones offer up to 32 hours of battery or 28 with noise cancelling on, and proximity sensors will auto-pause playback if they are removed. A 15-minute quick charge gives you six hours of playback. The on-body controls consist of volume up and down, play/pause, on/off, ANC and Bluetooth and are conveniently located – even if this reviewer personally prefers the physical volume dial that Master & Dynamic used on its MG20s. There’s configurable auto power off, too.
Bluetooth pairing is simple with Bluetooth 5.1 and the aptX Adaptive codec at up to 24-bit/48kHz, as well as the standard AAC and SBC codecs. The 100ft range is impressive and they maintain a solid connection when moved to an adjacent room. There’s multipoint capability, which means that you can switch between two devices without re-pairing and this is something that’s becoming increasingly essential, saving you hassle when frequently moving from a smartphone to a laptop, for example.
Inside the cans are angled 40mm beryllium drivers that sound brilliant, as we’ve come to expect from M&D products. Stereo separation is top-tier and the soundstage pin-sharp, with astonishingly balanced reproduction across all frequencies. The low end is warm and rich but never overwhelming; mids are clear but never insistent; and highs sparkle without becoming harsh. Genre-spanning tracks from jazz through to drum and bass are rich with life and nuance – whatever you throw at these, they can handle it.
However, your audio source will make a difference. When connected to a MacBook Pro over Bluetooth, the headphones’ maximum volume is a little lower than it is when connected physically. It’s still a reasonable level, of course, but if you connect over USB-C you’ll get the full high resolution 24-bit 96kHz where your source allows, plus a dollop of extra volume when pushed to the max. Fidelity is also noticeably a little sharper in wired mode since data compression is not happening – though this is true of almost all wireless headphones. The 3.5mm cable also gives you the volume but not the 96kHz sample rate. Given that some will want to take advantage of this, the USB-C cable would ideally be a little longer, but it’s not a deal breaker.
The MW75s contain eight microphones, of which four are for voice pickup (with wind protection) and four for active noise cancelling. The beamforming voice mics do an excellent job when making calls, with pickup crisp and clear. Voice assistants are also supported. The noise cancelling is a new system with several modes. There’s ambient listening, which blends some of the outside world in with your sound and is designed for better safety when wearing out in public. Then there’s noise cancellingm which has three modes accessible via the smartphone app. All Day mode is for less noisy environments while Max is for blocking out as much sound as possible. Finally, Adaptive mode monitors your surroundings and adjusts the amount of cancelling dynamically.
The cancelling truly is terrific, with Max mode in particular able to remove noisy traffic and All Day mode reliable for general listening. One minor caveat is that switching between listening modes using the on-body button causes the sound to drop out for around two seconds while the mics do their thing. M&D confirms this is expected behaviour, but it’s not an issue with some other ANC headphones. The app also lets you customise button behaviours a little and access a couple of preset EQ modes, though there’s no manual EQ available. These are nice to have but, truthfully, almost detract from the experience – these headphones are beautifully balanced as is, and changing EQ throws that off a little.
The comparison with Apple’s AirPods Max is worth making. The MW75s sound a little more accurate and arguably fall more squarely into the audiophile category. They also edge it when it comes to ANC. The AirPods have more tech in them, including a gyroscope and accelerometer to enable spatial audio, and seamless, automatic integration with all your Apple kit. Both are magnificently designed and built. The AirPods only come with a Lightning to USB-C cable so you’d need to add a 3.5mm one yourself and, franky, Lightning feels tired tech in 2022. The MW75s also offer significantly better battery life.
Are you paying a premium for the sound and feel here? Undeniably. But your reward is a gorgeous pair of headphones with sumptuous sound and class-leading noise cancellation.
- 40mm beryllium drivers
- Up to 32 hours battery life
- 4 talk and 4 ANC mics
- Multi-mode cancelling and ambient listening
- USB-C, USB-A and 3.5mm cables supplied
- AAC, SBC and aptX Adaptive Bluetooth codecs
- Replaceable lambskin leather pads
- Up to 24-bit, 96kHz audio over USB-C
- Hard carry case included
- 338g weight
- £549 / $599
- Contact Master & Dynamic
- Buy: Master & Dynamic, PC Mag
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