Lightweight and Leather

Master & Dynamic’s Noise-Canceling Headphones Sound As Good As They Look


June 11, 2019 Reviews By Photo by Chandler Bondurant

The Master & Dynamic MW65 are the company’s first noise-canceling headphones and sport the company’s trademark industrial design that marries metal with genuine leather. However, other than the new noise-canceling abilities, the MW65 have another secret feature. Because they’re made out of anodized aluminum, the weigh in at just 245 grams and are significantly lighter, and as a result are more comfortable, than any other of M&D’s headphones. Despite this new lightweight design, the company claims that the MW65 deliver the same signature rich and warm sound.

The Master & Dynamic MW65 cost $499 and are available in two colors: gun metal and black leather or silver metal and brown leather.

The Good: The first thing I noticed is how light and comfortable the MW65 headphones are. If you’ve ever worn Master & Dynamic’s other headphones, like the over-ear MW60 or the convertible MW50+, you’ll know that they feel like they’re made of metal, not plastic like many popular and cheaper headphones. It’s good in that they feel solid, and less good in that they’re heavy on your head. Despite having essentially the same industrial design, the MW65 are almost shockingly light, which is exactly what you want in a pair of noise-canceling headphones that you’re going to wear for lengthy periods of time.

The MW65 are also some of the best noise-canceling headphones that you’re going to find. They have 40mm beryllium drivers, same as the company’s most recent MW50+ headphones, and they’ve been specially tuned to have the same right and expansive sound that M&D headphones are known for. They sound positively terrific. These headphones have a very good battery life, and maybe even more importantly, thanks to the USB Type-C port, they charge quickly: a 15-minute charge can get you an incredible 12 additional hours of listening time.

The MW65 are basically idiot proof when it comes to setup, which is a double-edge sword. There’s no app to deal with, but at the cost of any way to adjust the EQ settings. All the buttons on the headphones are very tactile; switching between noise-canceling modes is simple, and an in-ear voice tells you what level of noise-canceling you’re using. There aren’t any on-earcup swipe gestures to accidentally hit. If you want to add a virtual assistant, like Google Assistant, you can but you don’t have to.

Who It’s For: Somebody who is looking high-end noise-canceling headphones with a unique style that’ll stick out in a sea of Bose and Sonys.

Watch Out For: The Master & Dynamic MW65 are considerably more expensive than the best-in-class noise-canceling headphones by Bose and Sony, but its noise-canceling simply isn’t on the same level. The MW65 has two noise-canceling modes, high and low, and while “high” is pretty good at limiting the melodic hum of an airplane, or the clatter of colleagues at the office, there was never really a reason to choose “low.”

Alternatives: If you’re simply looking for the best noise-canceling headphones, the Bose QuietComfort 35 II and the Sony WH-1000XM3 are still the ones to beat; the Bose’s being the most comfortable and the Sony’s boasting the best noise-canceling abilities. If you’re shopping in the high-end market, which is where the Master & Dynamic MW65 undoubtedly are, the Bowers & Wilkins PX are also a great option that charge via USB Type-C and deliver an expansive soundstage.

Verdict: The M&D MW65 headphones are some of the best-sounding, most stylish and most comfortable noise-canceling headphones you’ll find in 2019. That said, they probably won’t be for most people simply because they’re expensive and, comparatively, you’ll probably be just as happy with Bose’s or Sony’s flagship noise-canceling headphones. If you like the industrial aesthetic of M&D and you won’t headphones that are unique, and you’re willing to spend a little bit more, the M&D MW65 are excellent.

What Others Are Saying:

• “This is another great product from Master & Dynamic where price is my main gripe. Yes, the MW65 looks great, and yes, it sounds really good. Sure, the materials used here are much better than basic plastic. And even though the noise cancellation doesn’t kill all noise, it does its job well without sacrificing great audio in the process. The MW65 are nearly the perfect headphones. It’s a shame most people won’t pay what it costs to find out.” — Billy Steele, Engadget

• “One thing that didn’t surprise me is the audio quality. It’s excellent, just as you’d expect from the M&D brand given its track record of producing great-sounding headphones. My only note is that MW65s have a “natural” sound profile, meaning they aren’t goosed in the bass frequencies the way that Beats or V-Modas (and so many others) are. Just be aware that if you live for drippy, skull-rattling bass, you’ll want an EQ app on your phone.” — Michael Calore, Wired

Key Specs
Drivers: 40mm beryllium
Materials: leather, anodized aluminum
Connectivity: Bluetooth 4.2
Weight: 245 grams
Battery: up to 24 hours; 12 hours on a quick 15 minute charge
Charge: USB Type-C

Master & Dynamic provided this product for review.

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