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Master & Dynamic MW08 true wireless earbuds review

Master & Dynamic’s latest audio offering is the MW08, a successor to the MW07 line (2019) of truly wireless earbuds. Priced $299, they’re available in a variety of colors: white, black, blue, and brown.

Although they bear a striking similarity to its predecessors, the new earbuds are composed of different materials and boast improved battery life and active noise cancellation (ANC).

Our team has been provided a pair of MW08 earbuds and spent a few weeks listening to music, audiobooks, and podcasts in a variety of environments. Here’s our review of the Master & Dynamic MW08.

Design

At first blush the MW08 looks identical to other models in the Master & Dynamic lineup, but they’re subtly different. They’re a tad bit smaller which makes them a smidge lighter, leading to a more comfortable in-ear experience. 

Also, flipping them over reveals that the built-in stabilizer fins or wings that helped keep the MW07 stay in ear are not present. You won’t need them, though, because these are comfortable to wear, even for longer periods. 

As for materials, these are premium earbuds all the way through. The polished ceramic looks sharp; we were able to see both the black and white versions of the finish and each were attractive. The only plastic you’ll really find here is just behind the outer housing and stainless always classes things up.

The white earbud’s carrying case, which sits and opens along on its narrow edge, comes in with a stainless steel finish. We have a pair of the MW07’s that also come with a stainless steel case and found it picks up scuffs and scratches quite easily. So, if that’s something that concerns you, opt for the black version of the MW08 as it has a matte black case.

The case charges up via USB Type-C and has three lights to indicate the level of battery. Master & Dynamic says the case can charge up to 50% in just 15 minutes and we can verify that is accurate. Moreover, it only takes 45 minutes to full charge the case.

As far as battery life goes, Master & Dynamic say you should get about 12 hours of playback at 50% volume levels with around 10 hours for ANC mode. Our testing saw it falling short of these figures but not by much. The case allows for nearly three more full charges, too. Our habit of charging once every week or so was just fine for our needs, especially considering the speed.

Features

The MW08 retains the same physical controls from the previous generation, something we immediately appreciate. That is to say that they are easy to locate without looking and respond firmly to pressing. Also great, it takes very little time to figure them out.

The left earbud has two buttons which control volume levels but long pressing them enables and disables ANC and ambient listening modes. 

The earbuds have a built-in optical sensor that can detect when they’re removed from your ear, immediately pausing music. There is an option to disable this feature in the companion mobile app but it does help with battery life.

I like the tactile feel that comes with a physical button press, and the MW08’s are quite clicky and more responsive than the tap-based stuff used by other brands. You’ll want to brace the underside of the earbud when pushing any buttons, though, but a simple pinch of the earbud suffices; it’s a one-handed gesture on either ear.

When it comes to pairing, the MW08 only allow you to have one device actively paired with them at a time. Should you have a laptop, tablet, or another user in the house that might like to share the earbuds you’ll have to put them into pairing mode (long press right ear bud) each time you switch. It’s not a deal-breaker for us as we tend to stick with one device for music needs, but it’s worth pointing out.

Active noise cancellation is present and from our very unscientific testing, we think it’s considerably better at blocking external and environmental noises. It does a great job of filtering and removing voice in particular. If you plan to wear your earphones in a home office, coffee shop, or library, you’ll likely not hear a thing other than your music.

New for the MW08 is an M&D Connect app from Master & Dynamic. Simple and straightforward, it gives listeners a bit of control over their audio experience. It’s a good start for the company as it allows for switching between Max ANC and All Day ANC settings as well configurations for battery and ambient mode.

We’d really like to see the ability to manage EQ settings for various types of audio content but that’s more of a want than a need. On their own, the MW08 are balanced nicely and the overall experience is a solid one. Perhaps an update will allow for this in due time.

Audio

We’re huge fans of the Master & Dynamic brand and have yet to come across one of its products that leave us unfulfilled or needing more, especially when it comes to the sound. The MW08 are just the latest for a company who continually steps up to the plate only to knock homers out of the park.

Giving that we are not an audiophile website or one that centers around headphones, we know good audio when we hear it. The experience here is right in line with expectations in that it’s warm and inviting, evenly distributed, and crisp.

We’ll occasionally enable the ambient listening mode so that we can half-listen for someone who may be looking to get our attention. Moreover, we’ll usually dip in and out of ANC based on what we’re doing. Regardless of the mode we find that it’s quite apparent when they’re enabled and when they’re disabled; it’s not ambiguous at all.

Taking calls on truly wireless earbuds is always a touch strange if only because it sounds like the caller is inside your head. With that in mind, voice is very clear and balanced for phone calls.

Conclusion

Master & Dynamic have another winning pair of earbuds with the MW08 and we feel very comfortable recommending them for people looking for a quality set.

We’d like to see wireless charging in successive models, and we’d appreciate being able to pair to more than one device at a time, but those details don’t deter us this round.

We suggest the matte black case if you play it a little fast and loose with your accessories as the stainless steel does show its wear and tear easily. Either way, the ceramic earbuds look and sound excellent.

Learn more about the MW08 true wireless earbuds at the Master & Dynamic website where you can purchase them in a handful of colors for $299.

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