Latest in Gear

Image credit: Billy Steele/Engadget

Master & Dynamic's new headphones take cues from Bamford watches

A new MW60 is the result of a collaboration with the luxury watchmaker.
Billy Steele
06.06.17 in AV
619 Shares
Share
Tweet
Share
Save
Billy Steele/Engadget

It's no secret that Master & Dynamic makes some of the best-looking headphones around these days, and the company routinely enlists other like-minded brands to join them. On heels of a Leica collaboration, M&D teamed up with UK-based Bamford Watch Department to re-imagine its wireless MW60 headphones. While Master & Dynamic's signature metal construction is still here with a matte black finish, it's the details from the luxury watchmaker that offer a new spin on the familiar over-ear headphones.

Gallery: Master & Dynamic and Bamford Watch Department MW60 headphones hands-on | 22 Photos

Instead of cowhide leather on the headband and outside of the earcups, this special edition has Saffiano leather. That material is a signature of Bamford's product line much like the combination of leather and metal is a go-to for Master & Dynamic. There's textured black with sky blue accent stitching on outside of the headband while the inside is solid colored in that same light blue hue. The accent color also appears a couple of other places, including inside of the earcups. Lambskin is still the material on the earpads and these are some of the softest I've worn on my head -- partly thanks to their cushy memory foam padding.

The Bamford version of the MW60 comes with a black leather case that holds braided cables for USB charging and 3.5mm audio for wired use as well as a 6.3mm adapter. Yes, those cables are the same light blue and there's more of that accent stitching from the headphones' headband on the outside of the accessory case. Black canvas cases for both the MW60s and those cords are included in the box as well.

To me, the best part is Master & Dynamic isn't charging you more for a special edition with new materials. Just like the Leica version of the MW60, this Bamford tie-in is priced the same as the regular ol' version at $549. Of course, that's nearly $150 more than my current favorite set of wireless headphones, the Sony MDR-1000X, and almost $200 more than the Bose QuietComfort 35. Both of those options also have active noise cancellation (ANC) that the MW60 doesn't offer.

If you're considering a set of Master & Dynamic headphones though, comparing them to Bose or Sony isn't apples to apples. The M&D line uses premium materials like stainless steel and leather where others use plastic and less expensive options. Sound quality on the MW60s is a little more natural as well, in my opinion. They're well-tuned, but there's not too much booming base or high-end to be distracting when listening to some genres. I'd say "balanced" is the best way to describe it. Of course, if you need a heavy dose of low-end tones, you might want to look to Beats, Sony or others to get your fill.

My main criticism remains from my first stint with the MW60s: I could use more volume. With my both my iPhone and the headphones cranked all the way up, I find myself needing a smidge more power -- especially when I'm trying to blast Kendrick Lamar's Damn or Mastodon's Emperor of Sand. Some genres are just meant to be played loud, especially hip hop and metal.

If you're okay paying a premium for good design, the MW60 is a solid set of headphones. They have that folding construction you're likely familiar with from other sets to make packing them away a bit easier. Tactile controls on the earcups on are in comfy positions for Bluetooth pairing, volume adjustments and more are here, too. The MW60s are also lightweight and don't pinch in on my head like a lot of other options -- two factors to look for if you're hunting for new headphones for extended listening sessions. Sound is only part of the package, and even though Master & Dynamic does a respectable job there, it continues to nail key areas like design and overall comfort.

Both Master & Dynamic and Bamford Watch Department will stock these MW60 headphones online, as will a number of luxury retailers in Hong Kong, London, New York City, Paris and Tokyo.

From around the web

ear iconeye icontext filevr