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Master & Dynamic

Master & Dynamic

It’s not often that a single company disrupts an entire industry in only 14 months.

Recently launched New York-based Master & Dynamic are makers of some of the most beautifully crafted, richly appointed, and technically sophisticated headphones in the world.  Nicknamed ‘thinking caps’ Master & Dynamic’s over-ear headphones combine aesthetics, durability and superior audio engineering so that, for the first time ever, style is longer a trade-off for sound quality.

 “I was in Washington D.C. with my oldest son at a museum where I saw a vintage set of headphones made from leather and metal with a minimal silhouette that seemed to have withstood the test of time,” founder and CEO Jonathan Levine explains.  “These headphones, along with my eldest son’s love of music sparked the idea that has since become Master & Dynamic.”

Made from heavy grade leather, aluminum and forged steel, Master & Dynamic’s signature MH40 headphones have been celebrated for performing even better than they look and lock in sound with detachable, almost-airtight lambskin memory foam ear pads.

Jonathan views his products as tools to help focus, inspire and transport the mind, and this quickly becomes obvious upon closer inspection of the MH40 headphones. There’s the built-in mute button, microphone capabilities and optional custom-designed stand to transform them from device to desk accessory, not to mention the circular leather cable box and canvas travel bag that comes with. Their sound has been described as “reminiscent of a live concert hall” (Bloomberg), “punchy and intimate” (Headfonia), and, perhaps most revealingly, “killer” (Forbes).   

Both Jonathan’s son and his brand are, in his own words, “obsessed with sound and creativity.”  So much so that Jonathan has gone so far as to install a sound studio in the company’s New York headquarters.  While the pay-offs (like private concerts for staff) are obvious, Jonathan is far more pragmatic (and philanthropic) than that.

“It’s a great feeling to see various artists record music in our recording studio without having to worry about the financial constraints that are usually associated with studio time,” he says.

And Jonathan is no stranger to pragmatism.  In a past life, he was a Wall Street man and since then has been an entrepreneur and founded several companies, including a LED lighting business selling battery-powered lights inspired by Ikea’s designs.

These days though he works directly with a Swedish industrial designer and is supported by a team of almost 30 staff.  Together, they’ve created headphones tuned to provide a rich, warm sound that perfectly captures the detail of well-recorded music. But according to Jonathan, the manufacturing process of his headphones is boring to explain owing to the intense attention to detail required.   He does, however, have a mantra:  “If it were easy, everyone would be doing it.”

Master & Dynamic has quickly developed a cult following in a market already drowning in options – celebrity-endorsed and otherwise.

“I’ve come to appreciate the necessity of being fanatical and uncompromising about every detail, from the design of my products to their quality,” he explains. “It’s worth the effort of working hard to get them right.”

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Master & Dynamic’s MH30 headphones and MH40 headphones are available now.