June 18, 2024
Master & Dynamic MW09

With its truly wireless earbuds, Master & Dynamic MW09 didn’t have a great start, but the company’s subsequent two releases were significantly better. Following their successful launch of the MW08 Sport, M&D has made a comeback with the MW09 ($349 or $399) earbuds, which feature improvements to call quality, active noise cancellation (ANC), and sound quality. High-end materials are on display, as is always the case with the company’s audio equipment, even though the beginning price is more than that of most competitors.

Design

Master & Dynamic didn’t make many design adjustments. For the outside part of every bud, the basic D-shaped housing is still there. Although it is simply decorative, the corporation did add a circular feature to the outer panel where its signature “M” branding is located. There isn’t an extra physical button or touch panel there. The controls remain on the top edge, with a multifunction button for calls and playback on the right and a volume rocker on the left. With a long press on each end, you can also turn on or off the ambient sound and ANC with the volume controls; however, this is merely an on/off feature that saves your most recent preset selection. It does not run through every option on the MW09.

Using high-quality materials is one of M&D’s distinguishing features. typically a combination of metal and leather, however, those don’t work well with earbuds. The manufacturer chose to combine sapphire and aluminum glass with a sleek aluminum charging shell, just like the MW08 Sport. For an additional fifty dollars, you can get the case in specific colors that are exclusively available in Kevlar. The MW09 is rated IP54 against dust and moisture, while the case is IPX4, even with the high-end embellishments. In addition to providing more fit options than the majority of headphone manufacturers, Master & Dynamic includes two sizes of foam tips and five sizes of silicone tips in the box.

Software and features

All of the MW09’s settings and customizations are made using the M&D Connect app. Once you select the linked device, the app displays the case and the earbuds’ battery life (one figure for each). This is also where you may turn off audio prompts, hear your voice during calls, and use sidetone.

You may change the auto-off timer and disable in-ear detection by going deeper into the Settings menu and selecting Master & Dynamic. The ability to control Bluetooth connections and an acoustic earbud seal test is also included. Here, multipoint is supported and functions effectively. Although there is a good amount of customization available, the corporation doesn’t overburden you with options, and none of them are especially clever. All the essentials are covered, though.

Sound quality and noise cancelation

The Master & Dynamic’s steady tuning is my favorite feature since it produces a natural, well-balanced sound. They’ve always had excellent clarity as well, making extended listening to them effortless.

With the MW09, that attention to detail is back, and it’s shining on records like Chris Stapleton’s Higher. Genres like classic jazz, Nickel Creek’s bluegrass, and Stapleton’s country rock let the MW09 truly sparkle. Even more flamboyant fashions, like metal, appear thick and layered as opposed to compacted and flat. For example, Drain’s Living Proof sounds equally as intense, harsh, and powerful using over-ear headphones. The default tuning is good, but I liked the Audiophile sound preset better because it puts more emphasis on the treble and midrange.

Master & Dynamic claims that for better performance, it “optimized” the positioning of the microphone and sensors in its ANC configuration on the MW09 and added new adaptive noise-blocking algorithms. The three presets that the company offers are Max ANC, All Day ANC, and Adaptive ANC. Two of the presets are made for high- and low-noise situations, and the third is made to automatically adapt to changes in the surrounding environment. Overall, I thought the Max option did the best job of preventing distractions, although the business has made it obvious that it influences battery life. Furthermore, at volumes lower than fifty percent, all three find it difficult to maintain their focus due to the constant presence of human voices and white noise machines.

Call quality and ambient sound

The business promotes a brand-new “AI-enhanced” voice configuration for calls that uses six microphones and provides wind suppression to maintain your optimal voice quality. Nearly all earbud manufacturers fail to live up to their promises of flawless performance. Although the MW09 performs an excellent job at reducing background noise, the overall clarity isn’t as good as M&D claims. It works well for informal conversations, but for voice and video calls at work, you’ll need something better.

To avoid being too shouty, you should choose one of the three ambient sound modes on the MW09. Although you may use Sidetone in the company’s app to pipe in your speech here, if you keep your phone on ANC mode, the effect is not as strong. Of the three ambient modes, I found that the Voice preset worked best for both calls and monitoring my surroundings. However, there is also a more broad Natural option and an “enhanced” Awareness tuning. Though not as natural-sounding as Apple’s AirPods Pro, M&D’s transparency mode is still above average.

Battery life

When using ANC, Master & Dynamic has increased the battery life of the MW09 by two hours compared to the MW08 Sport. Compared to that model, you will get four additional hours while the noise canceling is off. In contrast to 10 and 12 hours, that is 12 and 16 hours. In addition, the charging case has an extra two hours, making a total of 32 hours as opposed to the MW08 Sport’s 30. The MW09 has a quick charge feature that allows it to reach 50% battery life in 20 minutes and provides two hours of use in just five minutes.

In my test, the MW09 lasted only 10 hours at a volume of about 85% with the All Day noise canceling setting active. Though these earbuds are quieter than most of the competition, that is a higher volume level than I would often run. According to Master & Dynamic MW09, the 12-hour figure represents an average of run times at a volume somewhat over 50% across a range of circumstances and codecs. I just didn’t find that level to be loud enough. A 10-hour battery life is still at the upper end of most high-quality earbuds these days, which is frustrating despite not meeting the advertised amount. Bose receives six out of eight from its flagship model, while Sony receives eight when using ANC.

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