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Master & Dynamic MW07 Plus Review – Multi-tool

Pros – 

Outstanding bass performance, Very clean midrange, Excellent battery life and connectivity, Tactile controls, Signature same with ANC on

Cons – 

ANC not as effective as competitors, Stabiliser fins sharper than the previous generation

Verdict –

The MW07 Plus may not be the ideal traveller’s earphone, but represents an all-in-one solution that impresses with its versatility.


Introduction –

I’ve definitely reviewed enough Master & Dynamic products for regular readers to be familiar but for the uninitiated, the New York-based company means business. Audiophiles may turn their nose up at M&D’s beguiling focus on design and sound tunings that seemingly cater towards the common consumer. However, the staying power of this company puts them a clear step up over niche designer brands that have faded into obscurity over the years. The MW07 was one of their more quintessential products, almost unanimously praised for its sound quality and build within the first generation of TWS earphones. The competition has come far yet M&D haven’t rested on their laurels, introducing two new models; the cheaper, sports-focused MW07 GO and the more feature-laden MW07 Plus. Both introduce a whopping 10hrs of battery life and bolstered water resistance with the Plus adding ANC on top. Coming in at $299 USD, the MW07 Plus isn’t cheap and represents a step up in pricing even from other premium models. Yet, its feature-set is also the most comprehensive on the market. You can read more about the MW07 Plus here and treat yourself to one here.

 

Disclaimer –

I would like to thank Master & Dynamic very much for their quick communication and for providing me with the MW07 Plus for the purpose of review. All words are my own and there is no monetary incentive for a positive review. Despite receiving the earphones free of cost, I will attempt to be as objective as possible in my evaluation.

 

Accessories –

The MW07 Plus is well-packaged as one would expect from a premium product. Inside the box are compartments containing the accessories. In addition to the earphones within the dapper stainless steel charging case, M&D include a canvas pouch to prevent scratches, a USB-C to USB-C charging cable and a Type-C to USB-A adapter to allow charging from computers and older plug-ins. Furthermore, 5 silicone ear tips are provided to ensure a snug fit in addition to 3 sizes of silicone wing jackets to suit a wide range of ear geometries. The Plus is certainly a well outfit earphone which is important when there’s no cable to stabilise the fit.

 

Design –

Much like its namesake, the Plus makes subtle adjustments to the original MW07, implementing the same hand-finished acetate faceplates and blockier design that mostly occupies the outer ear. Many comments can be translated from my original MW07 review; the earphones are wide but are compact otherwise, with a full silicone jacket creating a soft, comfortable feel in the ear. The water resistance has been increased to IPX5 which makes suitable for the gym if not fully submergible. Despite being almost entirely plastic, the earpieces feel incredibly solid and dense in the hand and ear, these are a premium product true to M&D’s legacy.

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As with their predecessor, I’m a fan of the physical buttons that are more reliable, tactile and easier to discern than touch controls. They’re low-profile and never intrude while working reliably, even during active use. The Left earpiece houses a volume rocker while the right has a single multi-function button that can also activate smart assistants. The rocker now possesses additional functionality; holding the down button activates ANC while holding up activates the aware mode. Both earpieces have notification LEDs in addition to microphones and IR sensors to detect when the earpieces are in the ear.

 

Fit and Noise Cancelling performance –

The earphones are comfortable and fit stability is upheld via several ear fins that lock into the back of the ear. By segregating the silicone fins, they conform well to the shape of the ear, though the edges of the fins can irritate the ear more than those from Bose to name an example. The fins have also been reshaped compared to the MW07, having a slightly sharper angle that was, to my ears, less comfortable. This was solved by sizing down the wings one size from the MW07 though those with smaller ears may want to remove them entirely. Of course, this will be to the detriment of fit stability. With the appropriately sized tips and covers, the earphones maintain a very consistent fit and seal even during active use and driver flex isn’t apparent either.

The feed-forward noise cancelling performance is middle of the road. Competitors from Sony and Apple’s Airpod Pros are noticeably more potent, offering a wider range of cancellation by implementing both feed-forward and feed-back ANC. Meanwhile, the MW07 Plus offers moderate passive isolation combined with reasonably complete cancellation of low-frequencies and a mild blunting of everything else. The pass-through mode is similarly mild, lacking the clarity and openness of the Airpods or even Sennheiser’s Momentum TWS, but offering ample intelligibility to distinguish announcements and voices. As a result, the MW07 Plus is noticeably better equipped for commute than its forbearer. However, those wanting tranquil air travel will want to invest in M&D’s over-ear MW65 or look towards the Sony or Apple in-ears.

 

Upgraded Case –

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Aesthetically identical, the carrying case is small, pocketable and opulent with an unyielding stainless steel construction. That said, subtle refinements have brought a more fluent user experience. For instance, the hinge action is now more tactile featuring a reverse magnet that holds the lid open in addition to sealing it firmly shut. The same status LEDs adorn the front and a USB-C charging port make a return while wireless charging remains an omission due to the nature of their construction. The case is now slightly heavier, accommodating a slightly larger battery that offers additional overall runtime.

 

Connectivity and Battery life –

Thankfully, M&D has kept the pairing process straightforward and intuitive as with its progenitor. Upon first removal from the case, the earpieces enter pairing mode and auto-connect on subsequent power cycles. To add an additional device, the earpieces have to be removed from the ear and the power button held for several seconds after which the status LED flashes to denote pairing mode. One notable addition to the spec sheet includes BT 5.0 which represents more than just an increase in power efficiency. The new earbuds immediately have more stable connectivity and I didn’t experience dropout from my Pixel 4 even in Sydney’s crowded CBD. Latency wasn’t an issue in my uses with minimal issues with lip sync when watching videos. Apt-X is supported which offers greater fidelity, however, Apple users will be disappointed by the absence of AAC.

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The earpieces can now pair independently and each feature dual microphone arrays that enable mono calls on both. The microphones are now beamforming as opposed to omnidirectional and were noticeably better at isolating my voice from background noise than the vanilla MW07. Volume was also noticeably better and call quality overall was immensely improved and similar to strong performers such as Sennheiser’s Momentum TWS. Both earpieces also have IR sensors and can auto-pause music when removed from the ear. I was surprised this wasn’t more discussed as the new MW07 earphones have some of the best battery life on the market, rated at 10hours.

Impressively, activating ANC doesn’t hugely affect the longevity of the earphones. I was able to reliably achieve 8-9hrs of use at medium volumes. This is compounded upon by the case that offers 3 additional charges for 40hrs total runtime in ideal situations. Quick charge is also supported, offering 5hrs of runtime from a 15min charge. This combination of longevity and ANC, even though it is a less potent implementation, may make them a strong contender for frequent travellers as few ANC earbuds offer enough runtime to cover an international flight.

 

Sound –

Tonality –

Unlike the majority of reviews I’ve read online, the Plus sounds noticeably different from its predecessor, in all the right ways. The Plus is also more balanced than the sports-orientated Go model with slightly more prominent vocals and highs. Immediately, the Plus is more U-shaped rather than V-shaped. Bass is more linear and better balanced between sub and mid-bass. The midrange similarly sees a progressive rise through the centre midrange, however, the upper-midrange is noticeably smoother and denser which greatly benefits timbre. Similarly, the highs are more extended with more sparkle and air combined with a more controlled lower-treble. The Plus, therefore, makes critical changes to the signature of the original, bringing the vivid sound of the MW07 up to speed with modern competition.

 

Bass –

Bass has outstanding extension and surely the large driver size is helping there in addition to a quality chipset. Sub-bass has slight emphasis but doesn’t overwhelm or muddy the low-end. Similar emphasis continues to the mid-bass which makes lows slightly warm and pleasantly full. As the upper-bass and lower-midrange see progressive attenuation, the low-end remains quite clean and represents a clear step up over the MW07. Bass has slightly more quantity than more neutral earphones like the Adv M5 and Lypertek TEVI. However, it can seem more intense as the sub-bass extension is the best, meaning there is more bass if not necessarily more emphasis throughout.

With the original MW07, the driver control was its main saviour. And here, the Plus is noticeably improved, aided by its more linear tuning that contributes to substantially higher definition and detail retrieval. Notes are slightly enlarged and warm, granting a smoother textured while decay is slightly faster than average for a dynamic driver, aiding the retention of fine detail. Compared to the even cleaner TEVI some control has been relinquished for greater sub-bass slam and increased note weight. That said, the MW07 Plus is easily among the most impressive bass performers on a technical level and its tuning is now more palatable for audiophiles whilst implementing a bit more weight and slam for general listeners.

I am a huge proponent of how the MW07 Plus doesn’t alter its sound signature when ANC is on. Some earphones boost the low-end to compensate for non-effective noise cancellation while the MW07 Plus has nothing to hide. That said, I did notice subtle differences in sound quality, most notably that the low-end wasn’t quite as tight and defined. Naturally, seeing as the driver is pulling double duty to cancel incoming ambient noise, this is to be expected. As the signature doesn’t change at all, the effects are not too prominent though I would recommend that enthusiasts leave ANC off when not in noisy environments to extract maximum sound quality.

 

Mids –

Though bass has received notable upgrades, the most notable change to me comes in the form of the midrange; which is appreciably more linear and coherent if not perfectly accurate in timbre. As the low-end is now more composed, the lower-midrange sits more in-line with the centre midrange. Vocals remain slightly laid-back, however, less so than its predecessor. The same excellent vocal clarity remains though the Plus is smoother and more accurate in body, ranging from neutral to slightly full per track. Vocal extension also remains strong due to their 3KHz hump that retains clarity and openness while a new dip at 4Khz redeems body and smoothness, aiding the Plus’ generally more refined signature.

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The result is a distinct lack of the metallic timbre and over-articulation that plagued its predecessor though the midrange does remain slightly bright. What this brings is a sense of intimacy that prevents vocals from becoming over-shadowed. They’re still not perfectly natural as such, but so much improved. Definition is excellent and tone is neutral throughout, creating a very clean image. Layering is fairly defined with tangible differentiation between vocals and background space. The MW07 Plus remains a clear and vivid earphone while appending the major flaws of its forebearer.

 

Highs –

Highs are perhaps least changed, though they do sit more forward by comparison to the Plus’ more toned-down bass and midrange making the Plus a brighter earphone overall. Lower-treble has good presence, it is slightly forward but, as the upper-midrange has been tuned to mitigate sibilance and over-forwardness, emphasis has moved closer to 6KHz. The result is a slightly more focussed foreground with greater detail presence. Instruments retain accurate body with a slight warmth in the treble. This remains a crisp and well-detailed earphone with aggressive attack. Treble sees a small drop off below its initial rise before another peak within the middle-treble that imbues additional air and openness.

This aids cleanliness yet the background remains slightly on the brighter side to my ears. The MW07 Plus has a small amount of sparkle at the very top and certainly carries good energy within its high end. The background is slightly brighter than its predecessor which can result in a touch of glare that overshadows small foreground details. Meanwhile, extension is a touch better so though this isn’t the most technically apt TWS earphone, it certainly performs within the upper echelons. Given the performance of their low-end, the MW07 Plus has range that few competitors can match.

 

Soundstage –

The Plus crafts a versatile soundstage performance. Width extends well just beyond the periphery of the head while depth projects nicely to produce a well-rounded stage. Imaging performance also impresses, that additional sparkle and more focussed detail range surely aiding listener discernment of transients and directional cues. Vocals are also presented with a strong centre image. Layers are nicely defined if not especially distinct, though the sound never becomes muddled or messy. This is no doubt aided by improved separation due to increased low-end control and midrange linearity. Though bass remains on the larger side, notes are all defined and easily discerned.

 

Comparisons –

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Master & Dynamic MW07 ($200): The original MW07 was one of the first audiophile focussed TWS earphones, however, in the time since its release, the competition has grown fierce. The Plus represents a very notable step forward. Bass extension is similarly strong on both, among the best of any TWS earphone. The Plus is a lot more linear, having less bass presence overall and more balance. Its tone is cleaner and notes are more defined. Control is higher so the low-end is noticeably more detailed and discerning of smaller details. These comments continue to apply within the midrange. The most notable change being with regards to the lower-midrange which is no longer so recessed. As such, vocals are considerably more natural and consistently voiced between albums of differing mastering technique.

Vocal body is more accurate and tone is cleaner due to the more balanced low-end. As the 4KHz region is slightly more attenuated with sustained emphasis through a natural 3KHz hump, the MW07 Plus is denser and smoother which mitigates the effects of its lower-treble. Articulation is more accurate on the Plus and the presentation is simply smoother and more refined. This is key within the treble where M&D have been able to shift emphasis slightly closer to 6KHz to incite some additional crispness and foreground detail focus. Treble remains slightly warm and well-bodied but there is now more detail presence. The middle-treble remains slightly bright and there is a touch more extension and sparkle at the very top. As such, the Plus is slightly brighter but also more detailed and crafts a wider, more separated stage on top.

Adv M5 TWS ($200): The M5 TWS is a more mid-forward earphone with a more technical sound. Bass doesn’t extend as well, lacking the same rumble and physical slam of the MW07 Plus despite having emphasis in this region. It retains a very punchy low-end with good kick, just none of the physical impact. The M5 TWS has a neutral mid-bass and upper-bass that grants it a neutral tone with only slightly enhanced bass note size due to the sub-bass emphasis. Aided by the higher control and quicker decaying nature of its driver, the M5 TWS is more defined and retrieves more fine bass detail than the MW07 Plus though it lacks the same body and warmth. The midrange presentation is more natural on the MW07 Plus, possessing more body and greater smoothness while the M5 TWS is more vivid with a more present upper-midrange and less bass warmth to balance it out. The M5 sounds very clean and clear, it is more revealing and doesn’t succumb to excessive brightness nor thinness.

This is mostly due to its well-restrained treble and 4KHz region that redeems some smoothness and density. However, it is somewhat forward sounding where the MW07 Plus has a similar tuning but with a slightly warmer tone and a smoother upper-midrange at the cost of vocals being rather slightly laid-back. The MW07 Plus has more focus within the lower-treble, with slightly more foreground detail presence, where the M5 TWS has a lot more air and headroom, sounding brighter and more pristine with more focus around the middle-treble. The M5 TWS has more extension at the very top and perceptibly more sparkle and shimmer. Its increased technical ability prevents excessive glare. The M5 TWS has a wider soundstage while the MW07 Plus has better layering with a darker background.

Sennheiser Momentum TWS ($250): The Momentum TWS has become somewhat of a benchmark for TWS earphones and long carried the “best TWS sound” moniker. Though it is a strong performer, it can no longer be considered the unanimous choice. Instantly, the Senn is more V-shaped but also warmer and smoother. It has a touch less sub-bass extension but similarly strong quantity generating a hearty rumble and slam if not quite the same physicality of the MW07 Plus. The Momentum has more bias to the mid-bass, creating its warmer and fuller sound where the MW07 Plus is also slightly warm but is cleaner than the Senn. The MW07 Plus also has better low-end control and greater definition and detail retrieval as a result. The Senn is smoother and more organic but misses some fine details.

The MW07 Plus has more vocal presence which makes it more balanced overall. It is notably brighter where the Momentum TWS is instead more laid-back within the upper-midrange, warmer and richer, more full-bodied too. As such, the MW07 Plus comes across as more revealing while the Momentum TWS is more coherent with more wholly resolved notes and not an ounce of thinness or rasp. In the treble, the MW07 Plus offers more full-bodied treble notes, though it also doesn’t possess the same level of foreground focus and crispness. The MW07 Plus has more treble extension and a touch more sparkle, it has more background detail as a result. Its presentation is no more layered though its soundstage is slightly larger.

 

Verdict –

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One would certainly struggle to find a TWS earphone that ticks so many boxes. Obvious competitors in both feature set and pricing include the Airpods Pro and Sony WF-1000XM3. However, even these juggernauts offer a less complete package; both eeking out barely half the battery life of the MW07 Plus with ANC activated and possessing substantially less comprehensive water resistance; IPX4 for the Airpods Pro and no rating for the Sony’s. Sonically, the MW07 Plus keeps up well too. It is more sculpted to my ears than either but has the strongest sub-bass extension and the cleanest highs, the others sounding less controlled and defined in return for stronger ANC. The MW07 falters when it comes to ANC performance which is only moderately effective. Surely, it is superior to passive isolation alone, but the aforementioned models are clearly more effective which means the listener can appreciate their sound better in noisy environments. The MW07 Plus, therefore, isn’t the most ideal traveller’s earphone but represents an all-in-one solution; offering a premium, waterproof build and stable fit for workouts, a well-detailed sound for home-listening and enough noise attenuation to permit the listener to focus on their music on the go.

The Master and Dynamic MW07 Plus is available from on Amazon (International) for $299 USD at the time of writing. Please see my affiliate link for the most updated pricing, availability and configurations.

 

Track List –

Arcade Fire – The Suburbs

Blur – 13

Jackson Lundy – Calypso

NIKI – Zephyr

Nirvana – Nevermind

Pixies – Surfa Rosa

Post Malone – Hollywood’s Bleeding

Radiohead – Pablo Honey

Radio Head – The bends

The Cranberries – No Need To Argue

Weezer – Weezer

 

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