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Master & Dynamic's MW50 Headphones

Master & Dynamic's MW50 Headphones

The fourth in New York-based Master & Dynamic’s stable of headphones, the leather and lambskin-lined MW50 wireless headphones have been described as “first and foremost about luxury” (Apple Insider), “a revelation” (Wired), and “the best on-ear headphones money can buy" (

Famous for its superior sound and broadcast range, the three year old company’s newest product has been designed as a lightweight, commuter-friendly, on-ear headphone that performs just like a top-grade over-ear one. In other words, with completely mind-blowing sound. 

According to the company’s R&D Department, every sound-freak has the same problem: they want incredible sound from their headphones, but don’t want to lug heavy gear around on the subway.

Clocking in at about the same weight as a block of chocolate, the MW50’s have the first part down pat. And by lifting some of the technology from their premium over-ear model, the MW60, Master & Dynamic have achieved a multi genre-friendly sound that has been raising some of the industry’s most notioursly heavy eyebrows - including Paul McCartney’s. 

Most of this, we’ve discovered, is thanks to the headphones' beryllium-coated drivers. Beryllium is the hero of the audio engineering world because, thanks to the speed at which sound can travel through it, the first ‘break-up’ (unwanted resonance) occurs at a frequency outside the audible range of the human ear.  Read: the chance of hearing anything off is actually impossible.

The result is a clean, warm sound that brings all kinds of unexpected and wonderful details to the forefront of the sonic landscape, like the sound of Amy Winehouse’s lips opening before she sings, and the first, tiny crunch of Yo-Yo Ma’s cello bow as it strikes a string. Sound is clamped in with detachable, memory foam ear pads that mould to the wearer’s head. With a 16 hour battery life (and optional cord), it’s no coincidence that these are so comfortable.

The MW50’s champion the company’s signature industrial, quasi-retro design aesthetic, and considerable attention has been paid to the headphones’ cushioning, hinges and headband.  Decorative mesh grille aside, every design feature has a purpose.  There’s the noise-cancelling microphones for hands-free phone calls and tiny curved antenna that allows a wireless (Bluetooth) broadcast range of 30 metres, just to name a couple.

As Wired’s reviewer has it, they’re “svelte enough to fit in the well of Tesla S center console or the pocket of a Tom Ford biker jacket.”

Master & Dynamic’s CEO, Jonathan Levine, has explained that the company’s modus operandi is to solve the problem and create the product first, and then set the price later.  And because of the company’s obsession with using the best quality materials that they can find, (they’ve found an even better lambskin pad vendor this time round) they really are designed to last forever.

“I’ll never forget this; I met with someone at the 2015 CES, and they asked the question, “do you think that you are building headphones of such quality and durability that it might impact your sales?” I had never thought about it like that — we just build great quality headphones,” Levine has said.

“I’m not trying to create a headphone ecosystem where they need to be replaced in a year or two. In a world where so many products need to be replaced because their tech is outdated every six months, nothing pleases me more than making headphones that last and last, that are durable — the worst case being that their materials might develop a patina." 


Master & Dynamic’s MW50 headphones are available now.