Made of Stainless Steel and Acetate
Master & Dynamic’s True Wireless Earbuds Are Badass and Beautiful
Master & Dynamic’s first pair of true wireless earbuds – the MW07s – don’t look like anything else out there. They’re made of stainless steel and handcrafted acetate, the latter being the same material used in high-end sunglasses. Each earbud packs a 10mm beryllium driver to deliver excellent and expansive sound. And the charging case, which charges via USB-C, is made of stainless steel and looks like it’s bulletproof. At $300, the MW07s are almost twice as expensive as Apple’s AirPods, but how do they compare?
The MW07s will be available this September. And you can order the acetate in four different colors: matte black, grey terrazzo, steel blue and tortoiseshell.
The Good: The MW07s look, feel and fit amazing. The earbuds come with swappable silicon earbuds and earwings so I never had any issues with them falling out. The audio quality is very good with a wide soundstage, which I really like. The tactile button controls on the actual earbuds are simple and straightforward to use. And the charging case is excellent; it charges with the same USB-C cable I use with my smartphone laptop, and it has LED lights to indicate its battery life, as well as the battery life of the individual earbuds. They have built-in optical sensors that, similar to AirPods, will play/pause the audio you’re listening to when you place or remove the earbuds from your ears. There’s no app to download or deal with – the MW07s work straight out of the box.
Who They’re For: Anybody who values great sound and design, and is willing to shell out $300 for a pair of true wireless earbuds. They’re OS agnostic, perfectly suited to work with an Android or iPhone. Even they are IPX4, I wouldn’t recommend working out or running in these earbuds.
Watch Out For: The obvious downside is price – the MW07s are at the tippy-top of the price range for true wireless earbuds. Other than that, the only real qualm I had was that a wall adapter wasn’t included in the box, which seems a little ridiculous for a pair of $300 earbuds.
Alternatives: In the $300 price range, there are several premium audio brands making true wireless earbuds. There are the new Sennheiser Momentum Earbuds, which I haven’t tested, as well as B&O’s Beoplay E8. If you’re looking for sport-focused earbuds, I’d recommend Sony’s WF-SP700Ns or Jabra’s Elite Active 65t. However, AirPods are still the best pair of true wireless earbuds, in terms of the total package (which includes price), especially if you have an iPhone.
Review: The most important thing to consider with any true wireless earbuds is fit, because if they don’t fit in your ears, well, they aren’t going to work for you. And pretty much every pair of true wireless earbuds that I’ve tested has fit differently. Jabra’s Elite Active 65t run tight, for example, while Bose’s SoundSport Free kind of hang out of your ears. We know that AirPods don’t fit in everybody’s ears. And for me, I know that something that looks like Bang & Olufsen’s Beoplay E8, they aren’t going to fit me well. Master & Dynamic’s MW07s fit me perfectly.
In the three weeks that I’ve been testing the MW07s I haven’t had one issue with the way they fit. And I don’t think that will be unique to me. Similar to Samsung’s IconX (2nd-gen) and Sony’s WF-SP700Ns, the MW07s take advantage of both silicone eartips and silicone earwings, so they grip in and around the ear cannel. And despite looking a little bulky when you hold in your hands, the MW07s fit neat and tidy; they don’t look they’re hanging out of your ears like Bose’s true wireless earbuds.
The MW07s are built with Master & Dynamic’s signature beryllium drivers and they sound pretty great. I’m not a true audiophile, but if you pressed me I’d say that the MW07s produce a slightly wider soundstage than AirPods – midrange and high frequencies are crisp and clear – but I’d also have to concede that the difference in sound quality between them and AirPods is subtle, hardly night and day. And that’s not a knock on the MW07s, but more of a testament to how great Apple’s two-year-old wireless earbuds still are.
Forget the high price tag of the MW07s for a second and, I swear, these are my favorite true wireless earbuds that I’ve tested.
Yes, a key feature of the MW07s is their excellent sound quality, but, for me, these earbuds are more about style and flair – “personality” – which they have heaps of. The MW07s are gorgeous, obviously, with an exterior made of beautiful acetate. The MW07s that I tested (which are photographed in this article) are grey terrazo, which I liked but if I could do it all over again I would probably opt for the steel blue; those look really special. And because the exteriors are cut from sheets of acetate, each earbud is going to look a bit different. So that’s neat.
Another standout feature is the charging case, which is made out of stainless steel and looks like a badass bullet case. Yes, it looks cool but it also feels better designed than pretty much all other charging cases that I’ve encountered. That’s because it has three LED lights built into its front, which light up different colors depending on its battery level. Green is full charged. Red is dead. And yellow is somewhere in-between. Also, the left- and right-most LED lights represents the power level of the left and right earbuds, while the middle LED light shows the battery level of the case. Again, it’s thoughtful and well-designed.
In terms of functionality, the MW07s just work. And I love that about them. They connect like any other Bluetooth device – there’s no quick pair feature, unfortunately – and from there they have built-in optical sensors and can automatically start/stop when you place or remove the earbuds from your earbuds, just like AirPods. There’s no app to deal with, which I found a godsend, although this also means that there’s no “Find My Earbuds” feature or the ability to tweak the earbuds’ EQ settings.
Forget the high price tag of the MW07s for a second and, I swear, these are my favorite true wireless earbuds that I’ve tested. They work and fit extremely well, plus the look and design of these blow AirPods and pretty much all other true wireless AirPods out of the water. Yes, $300 is very expensive, especially when you consider that the sound quality isn’t that much better/different than AirPods ($159) of Jabra’s Elite Active 65t ($180). However, you’re paying for more than just sound quality with MW07s. You’re paying for style and personality (and the higher-end materials). And just like some people will never understand buying a t-shirt that costs $50 when they can get “virtually” the same thing for $12, there will also be people who will never comprehend shelling out $300 for a pair true wireless earbuds.
Verdict: The MW07s feel refreshingly uncompromising. They’re beautiful and badass (especially with the charging case), and if you don’t like the expansive sound signature that Master & Dynamic is know for – well, tough luck. They are easy to use and will fit most people’s ears. The inclusion of the USB Type-C charging port makes them feel modern.
As far as the price, $300 is very expensive, especially when you consider that the sound quality isn’t that much different than AirPods ($159). However, you’re paying for more than just sound quality with MW07s. You’re paying for style and personality, and the high-end materials, of course. And if you value all that stuff, you’ll probably be over the moon with these MW07s.
Drivers: 10mm beryllium
Battery: 3.5-hour per earbud, 10 hours from the charging case
Connectivity: Bluetooth 4.2
Water Resistance: IPX4
Charge: USB Type-C
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