It was not too long ago that Master & Dynamic’s MW07 first graced the scenes with their sleek and stylish debut. The offerings trumped nearly all wireless earphones at the time with their great sound, design and beautiful charging kit. However, the 3.5 hours of battery life was a major deal-killer that hindered the then ambitious offering. Since then, the MW07 Plus fixed this issue with their impressive 10-hour battery life and Bluetooth 5.0 connection capabilities. Competition has also increased across the scene with more companies wishing to capitalise on the trend for wireless technology. However, Master & Dynamic have still stood the test of time and their defining vision to combine style with sound.
With many collaborations under their belt including Louis Vuitton and Bamford Watch company, Master & Dynamic have now continued their partnership with camera brand Leica in both the MW07 Plus earphones as well as their flagship MW65 Active-Noise Cancelling headphones. The products borrow iconic design elements from the Noctilux lens and legendary Leica brand with the use of solid matte black palettes, glossy detailing and even a signature red dot marker.
The MW07 Plus earphones retail for a $299 and feature 10 mm beryllium drivers which come in a handcrafted acetate casing.
The packaging of the MW07 Plus ties in very well with the theme that Master & Dynamic are going for with the Leica collaboration. Users get a compact matte black box with a white outline of the products and the symbolic red multifunctional button on top of the right earphone.
Included within the box are the earphones themselves, a USB type C cable, a USB-A port adapter, a compact charging case, canvas earphone pouch, 5 pairs of ear tips and 2 pairs of fit wings (small and large).
The Design & Build
The MW07 Plus x Leica Edition comes in a matte black finish with a ‘0.95’ logo on the outer portion of the earphones. While this is inherent to the Leica brand, Master & Dynamic do also offer other colors including: piano black, tortoise shell, white marble, pink coral, grey terrazzo, steel blue matte and matte black.
Each earphone weighs 9 grams each and is handcrafted from lightweight and hypoallergenic acetate material. The casings are made from stainless steel with a magnetic closing mechanism and are finished in black acetate. The benefits of this version compared with their original stainless-steel casing is that fingerprints are not easily seen, however some may prefer the futuristic exterior version of the original casing.
The charging case has three LED lights which reveal the charging status of the earphones and case itself. This is a small but nifty little edition which tells users exactly when to start charging again. It is also incredibly handy that consumers can get an astonishing 5 hours of playtime after a 15-minute charge and 10 hours of playtime after 40 minutes. Master & Dynamic have really nailed the battery capacity here with a product that far excels their previous iteration. All in all, the charging case offers 3 additional charges for a total 40 hours of total playtime.
On the top of the right earphone, the symbolic red button functions as a play/pause/skip button as well as a voice assistant activator. The left earphone houses volume keys which also activate ambient listening mode (holding the volume + for on/off) and feedforward active noise-cancelling (holding the volume – for on/off). Overall, functionality here is great and it is very easy to remember the different keys for the various functions.
Comfort & Isolation
The rubber wing tips are an ingenious addition to the slightly larger casings of the MW07 casing. They allow the earphones to rest against the conchae of the ears to provide better stability when walking or evening running around. Moreover, they are neither harsh nor abrasive to the earphones as some others can be.
Isolation levels are beyond average (and do improve with the ANC mode turned on). Ambient listening mode does reduce isolation levels (through intended effect) and allows listeners to be more aware of their surroundings with music either on or off.
Active noise cancelling
Master & Dynamic have only recently started offering ANC capabilities for their wireless products. As the technology is complicated, it is hard to get right. However, the MW07 Plus does incorporate some decent ANC. Though users should not expect complete attenuation of all frequencies as this will not be the case. Instead, higher frequencies are attenuated more than lower ones. The result being that higher pitched sounds such as the whirring of a fan would be diminished more than the rumblings of a lawnmower.
The MW07 Plus uses Bluetooth 5.0 connectivity with support for the high-quality aptX codec. This is an improvement over yesteryear Bluetooth options and previous codec support. The general direction in the tech sector seems to be a step in the right direction and we are all too closer to achieve unadulterated wireless audio. The range of connectivity is around 30 meters which works well in open-plan settings but reduces when moving to areas with walls between the Bluetooth source and earphones.
The MW07s offer an unparalleled sonic experience especially when compared to other wireless earphones. With a clear and resolute character with strong sound-staging proportions, the end user can enjoy audiophile-grade sound without the compromises of many other competitors.
The MW07 Plus does pack in a pleasantly tuned bass. Extension is surprisingly deep with great amounts of heft and body. It is also surprising to see the level of control that this small wireless earphone can output. The overall tonality leans towards the warmer side of the spectrum without muddying or interfering with the lower midrange. In ‘No More’ by Jafu, for example, the tuning of the MW07 is very well thought out with carefully elevated sub-bass and curtailing mid-bass. This provides a sound rich with bottom-end presence but prevents itself from ever detracting from vocals. It is very refreshing to see that Master & Dynamic have not catered towards the mass-market trend for overwhelming bass. Instead, sound principles are well maintained with a bass that is not only extensive, but also very well-controlled with good decay. This is likely owing to the beryllium drivers which has been chosen here for its fantastic properties of being lightweight and stiff. Sound reproduction, here, is thus accurate with the diaphragm responding well to pushing air.
The midrange of the MW07 has a pleasant tuning which maintains clarity owing to the dip in 1K frequencies. This allows tracks to sound slightly laidback in the overall mix providing a sense of air and space. The overall tonal profile is neutral here with good amount of body and note weight. The upper midrange and lower treble does have some boosted response which adds a bit of perceived clarity to tracks. While the overall sound is not strictly natural, the sound does benefit from it to achieve a relatively more audiophile-grade sound compared to others.
Treble response, akin to the upper midrange, benefits from a slight boost here. There is a good level of detail and sparkle. Again, higher frequencies do sound slightly thinner here compared to the more well-bodied lower midrange. This may be a by-product of elevated treble which artificially adds increased perceived clarity.
The MW07 Plus defines a niche in the wireless audio territory by providing great quality sound. Compared to the Apple AirPods Pro, the MW07 plus delivers punchier and more taut bass along with a more refined midrange. While the latter is by no means a much lesser offering, the MW07 Plus packs in more of a reference and larger sound. The MW07 Plus also improves upon the original with a more linear sound profile with better perceived clarity in the treble regions; the battery life is also improved from a 3.5 hours to a staggering 10 hours.
The Soundstage & Imaging
The soundstage of the MW07s offer decent projections of sonic cues in both width and height to allow for an out of head feeling. This is particularly impressive as this is a totally wireless offering which some other earphones do compromise on. Imaging is also good along with decent levels of instrument separation amidst the soundscape.
Since Master & Dynamic’s first release of the MW07 wireless earphones, they have developed and continually improved upon on their products to keep up with the current rate of competition. At $299, they offer a great amount of versatility for a pleasant and refined sound on the move. While there are smaller and perhaps more comfortable earphones, the MW07 Plus negates this with the use of ear tip wings to provide necessary stability. Functionality levels are also excellent with the ability to use clear microphone diction, active noise cancelling and ambient noise all whilst rendering good sound fidelity. The 10 hours of playtime is just the icing on the cake and something which Master & Dynamic have really got right since their first conception. For these reasons, they are a strong contender and a highly recommended choice where portability, style, battery capacity and wireless audio are concerned.
Master & Dynamic MW07 Plus
Available from: Master & Dynamic