review

Master & Dynamic MW65 Google Assistant Built in Headphones with Hybrid ANC

Friday, May 10, 2019

The key to a premium product lies in the quality of its ingredients and Master & Dynamic takes the definition of "premium" to a tee by producing the MW65 headphones which incorporate high quality components with beautiful, understated design to match!
With the Master & Dynamic MW65 headphones a high price is indeed what you pay and value is indeed what you get. This includes heavy grain leather that is not easily scratched, as well as anodized aluminum which has a higher resistance to corrosion and scratches than naked aluminum.
The use of heavy grain leather accentuates the elegant design of the MW65 anodized aluminum body, and it also covers the metal frame of the headband with secure double stitching.
The memory foam ear pads have been laced with lambskin which is thinner than regular leather but much softer and kinder on the ears.
Total weight of the Master & Dynamic MW65 headphones stands at 248 grams which is lighter than the average flagship smartphone. While on your head, it doesn't feel like you are wearing the headphones and the earcups don't stick out as much as in other headphones thanks to their narrow earcup design.
Most headphones earcups tend to have a rounded, bulky shape whereas the earcups on the Master & Dynamic MW65 headphones have a rectangular, trimmed down shape with a ventilated mesh for asthetics.
The MW65 headphones are 100% free of plastic so you will not find any traces of plastic, not even on the hinges that join the earcups to the headband which are also made with metal and allow the earcup to pivot outward ever so slightly.
The MW65 over-ear headphones are very well put together and operate smoothly with silent headband adjustment mechanism that secures in place without clicky notches.
The Master & Dynamic MW65 headphones are also functionally sound and easy to use. On the right earcup towards the bottom you find the USB-C port and a tiny pinhole led that lights up solid red during charging and solid green when full charge is complete.
The front side of the right earcup contains the user control buttons which consist of three metal buttons with satisfying feedback. These three buttons control the playback (including the skipping of tracks forwards and backwards), as well as Google voice assistant which runs natively on the Master & Dynamic MW65 headphones.
Most headphones support Google voice assistant but the Master & Dynamic MW65 headphones has Google voice assistant integrated which means you can get Google assistance without having to take out your phone and tap on the screen.
A few other benefits of having Google voice assistant integrated in headphones is faster retrieval of information by Google, "read aloud" incoming messages, real-time language translation and playback controls of music although Google Assistant isn't ready to play podcasts from apps like Amazon Alexa.
Google virtual assistant also lets you make calls, text specific people, check voicemail, and even ask Google Assistant to read the address of someone. Google voice assistant is pretty smart too so before sending a text, it reads back the text and asks you to confirm the message before sending.
Google assistant is also able to control compatible smart devices (i.e. Nest thermostat, Philips Hue light bulbs, etc) and even play music from a Google smart speaker.
Google Assistant only works if you pair the MW65 headphones to it through the Google assistant app. Otherwise, you can have it disabled if you don't want to use it.
On the bottom of the left earcup, you find a 3.5mm audio port and two microphones for hands-free calling. These microphones deliver good sound quality and amplification and also do a good job of filtering out unwanted noise from the call.
On the front side of the left earcup, you find the hybrid active noise cancellation button (red dot) and a slider switch for powering off/on the unit and pairing.
Bluetooth 5.0 wireless connectivity would have been expected to be integrated in the MW65 headphones, not only because of the high price tag but also because the latest flagship smartphones are beginning to exclusively use bluetooth 5.0.
Bluetooth 5.0 technology delivers twice as fast data transfer, four times as much wireless range with a stronger transmission range.
There is a lot to like about Bluetooth 5.0 indeed though Bluetooth 5.0 is backwards compatible with Bluetooth 4.2 so if you own a Bluetooth 5.0 smartphone you still get the advantage if low power consumption, and in the case of the MW65 greater range transmission because the MW65 headphones use a tweaked version of Bluetooth 4.2.
Bluetooth 5.0 is capable of 200 meter range, while Bluetooth 4.2 is capable of 20 meter range. In most consumer speakers though, you never really get the full potential of Bluetooth wireless coverage, whether it be Bluetooth 5. 0 or Bluetooth 4.2. However, in the case of the MW65 headphones you get 20+ meters of range which is twice as much wireless coverage as most Bluetooth 4.2 headphones.
In fact, the MW65 headphones can deliver almost as much wireless coverage as many Bluetooth 5.0 portable speakers and similar wireless coverage to Bluetooth 5.0 headphones (up to 20 meters).
The long Bluetooth range makes the MW65 headphones a very special pair of Bluetooth 4.2 headphones all the more so because of the long battery life as well.
Usually, greater wireless transmission equals shorter battery life but not in the case of the MW65 headphones which can last 18+ hours at 75% volume.
When it comes to charging, the Master & Dynamic MW65 headphones are equipped with fast charging technology, letting you top up 50% of the internal battery storage capacity in just 15 minutes via USB-C charging.
Active noise cancellation (ANC) is built-in to the Master & Dynamic MW65 and while it's a common feature in many headphones the MW65 integrates microphones outside and inside of the ear cup so you get a combination of feedforward active noise cancellation and feedback active noise cancellation.
Most headphones with active noise cancellation tend to have one microphone either inside the earcup (feedback ANC) or outside the ear cup (feedforward ANC) so having both types allows the MW65 headphones to do a better job of suppressing a wider range of frequency noise than with standard ANC.
Noise suppression is delivered at a push of a button located on the bottom side of the left earcup which lets you toggle the active noise cancellation between two modes (high power and low power) to allow you more control over the noise reduction so you can tailor the noise cancellation to a specific noise environment like metro/underground, airplanes and less noisy environments like a small office.
High power mode naturally consumes more battery than low power mode as the cancelling signal generated is stronger. You wouldn't want to be using high power mode for quiet environments because it would defeat the purpose; hence using the correct ANC for the situation.
Hybrid active noise cancellation does drains more battery than regular active noise cancellation especially on high power mode at a rate of around 10% extra battery drain.
Internally, the Master & Dynamic MW65 over-ear headphones feature 40mm drivers coated with beryllium which is the same material coating the MW07 drivers. The 40mm drivers deliver big sound and very good audio reproduction across the 20Hz and 20kHz frequency response. The treble, midrange and bass are all balanced without drowning each other.

There is an airline flight adapter included with the MW65 headphones so you can take them with you on your travels, as well as a USB-C to USB dongle, a braided USB charging cable and a braided 3.5 audio cable.
There is no leather hard-shell case to store the MW65 headphones like you get with the ME05 and ME03 models but...
You get a rather snazzy black canvas pinch pouch with a leather zipper pouch to store the accessories and the headphones.

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