New York-based Master & Dynamic is launching the MW08, the third iteration of its luxury wireless headphones.
Some parents would do anything for their children. An example, at random: Jonathan Levine, not to be confused with the eponymous Hollywood director. In 2014, this New Yorker came up with the idea to create Master & Dynamic (M&D) after a passionate discussion with his two sons. The two offspring, audiophiles like their father entrepreneur, lamented that they could not find headphones that were both beautiful and efficient.
After a family visit to the local WWII museum, Jonathan had the idea to take inspiration from the neo-vintage look of the headphones of the pilots of the time. On the technical side, he fortunately opted for much more modern technologies. The MW08 isn’t exactly a test run when it comes to fully wireless headphones. It succeeds MW07 +, which took over from MW07. At the same time, last year M&D launched the MW07 Go, a more affordable version of the MW07.
MW08 price and availability
The MW08 is available for $ 299. Master & Dynamic comes in four versions: black, white, brown and blue.
Design and ergonomics
It’s hard not to notice the case of the MW08s at first contact! Made of stainless steel, it stands out from the plastic cases usually loved by the competition. The one in our test model has a beautiful chrome finish. Depending on the color of the headphones, we can opt for a gray chrome or matt black model, much more discreet (but just as elegant). Its designers had the excellent idea of adding a small fabric pouch to it to avoid scratching it. There are three lights on the front indicating the battery level of the case and the headphones. A USB-C port on the side allows charging of the set using the supplied cable.
The MW08 is largely a clean sweep of the past. Exit therefore the acetate polymer (a material highly prized by eyewear manufacturers) which gave its predecessors a very characteristic retro look. It gives way to a ceramic plate. The headphones are a little more compact, but retain the same weight (9 grams each) while carrying larger drivers (11 mm in diameter against 10 mm previously, Beryllium membrane). The wireless connection is made using a Bluetooth 5.2 denier cry chip.
Master & Dynamic stays true to the mechanical keys. The MW08 has three: one on the right earpiece and two on the other. They control the playback / activation of the default assistant and the volume control, respectively. Their placement on the sidewall rather than on the outside eliminates the need to exert pressure perpendicular to the ear to use them, thus eliminating any discomfort with frequent handling. In use, they are precise and more pleasant to use than a tactile surface. We also appreciate the presence of proximity detectors that mute the reading when an earpiece is removed.
Finally ! The MW08 is the brand’s first headset to feature a companion app. This one, available in iOS and Android versions, is only available in English and gets straight to the point. It mainly allows the firmware update, the setting of the auto-shutdown delay, the activation / deactivation of the proximity switch as well as the noise cancellation.
This has three levels: deactivated, daily life or noisy environment. A perception mode allows you to hear everything that is happening around you without having to remove the headphones. Finally, the application has an integrated user manual, not translated into French, but remaining understandable thanks to the sketches that compose it.
Mechanical controls provide access to all available functions without having to go through the application. The multifunction key on the right earpiece allows you to browse the playlist, invoke the voice assistant or answer a phone call.
The left earcup houses the volume control keys. A long press on “VOL +” activates or deactivates perception mode, the same maneuver on “VOL -” activating the default noise cancellation mode. An English synthetic voice confirms that the command has been taken into account.
The control keys have the good taste of protruding just enough of the surface so that they are easy to handle and have a clean touch. Although a bit small, we find them very pleasant in everyday use. We also have to recognize that they are more pleasant to use than tactile surfaces, which are not always precise.
The sound produced by the MW08s is excellent. The two 11 mm Beryllium drivers with which they are equipped do an excellent job in terms of restoring low frequencies, which is often a weak point of in-ear devices. The mediums are well defined and faithfully reproduced. The same goes for the highs which have the good taste to remain impeccably clear. The spatialization of the stereophonic scene is good and at no time becomes caricatural.
Whether it’s rock, R&B or classical music, the W08 has always given us satisfaction. We also did not see any negative latency when viewing videos. For fans of technical specifications, note that AAC, SBC and aptX codecs are supported. We did not notice any deterioration in audio quality when noise cancellation is enabled.
According to Master & Dynamics, a full charge provides up to 12 hours of continuous listening time (10 hours with noise cancellation on). The battery integrated into the case would add an additional 30 hours, which would allow up to 42 hours without going through the recharging box.
In real life – one where you crank the volume up to 75%, make phone calls, and leave noise cancellation on all the time – the MW08 has roughly 8 hours of battery life before crying out for famine. Roughly speaking, the case quadruples this value and you easily exceed 30 hours of use. Without achieving the autonomy touted by the manufacturer, the MW08 still climbs to the level of the best in its class.
I also like the speed of recharging: 15 minutes are enough to go from 0 to 50% autonomy, 100% being reached in 45 minutes. The case battery also takes 15 minutes to be half full, 60 minutes to 100%.
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