Master & Dynamic Vs. Bowers & Wilkins: Better Headphone Brand

When it comes to premium headphones, two brands stand out from the crowd: Master & Dynamic and Bowers & Wilkins. Both companies are known for making high-end, audiophile-grade headphones with excellent sound quality and stylish designs.

But which brand makes the better headphones overall?

In this comprehensive comparison guide, we’ll examine the key differences between Master & Dynamic and Bowers & Wilkins to help you decide which is the right choice for your listening needs and budget.

A Brief Comparison Table

FeatureMaster & DynamicBowers & Wilkins
Sound SignatureWarm, bassyNeutral, reference
Design StyleModern, stylishClassic, understated
Noise CancellationVery goodIndustry-leading
MaterialsLeather, aluminum, steelLeather, aluminum, carbon fiber
Price Range$249 – $499$399 – $999
Best Suited ForEngaging, lively soundCritical listening
Top ModelsMW65, MW07 PlusPX7, PI7

Overview Of Master & Dynamic

Founded in 2014, Master & Dynamic is a relatively new player in the headphone market. But in their short time, they’ve made quite a splash with their unique combination of superior acoustic engineering and top-notch industrial design.

Master & Dynamic
Master & Dynamic

Here are some quick facts about Master & Dynamic:

  • Based in New York City
  • Known for premium materials like leather, aluminum, and stainless steel
  • Signature sound tuned for warm, rich audio with deep bass
  • Headphones priced from $249 to $499
  • Flagship models are the MW65 and MW60 over-ear headphones

Master & Dynamic tends to use high-quality components like custom drivers and premium metals in their headphone construction. This gives their headphones a very solid, luxurious feel in hand. The headband and ear pads are usually made of stitched or premium leather, which is soft and comfortable for long listening sessions.

For sound, M&D headphones emphasize warm, powerful bass while still retaining nice detail in the mids and highs. Their sound signature aims to have some extra fun and excitement, making them a nice pick for fans of hip hop, EDM, and other bass-driven genres. The overall sonic presentation is very clean and dynamic.

Some of their most popular headphone models include:

  • MW07 Plus: Flagship true wireless earbuds with ANC and a warm, bassy sound.
  • MW65: Stylish over-ear active noise cancelling headphones with rich, nuanced sound.
  • MW08: Luxury in-ear earphones crafted from ceramic and stainless steel.

Overview Of Bowers & Wilkins

Bowers & Wilkins (B&W) is a longtime audio brand founded in the UK in 1966. They have a rich heritage in hi-fi speakers and home audio equipment before more recently branching out into headphones.

Bowers & Wilkins
Bowers & Wilkins

Here are some key facts about Bowers & Wilkins:

  • Based in Worthing, West Sussex, UK
  • Renowned for high-end home speakers and audiophile gear
  • Headphones feature a reference, neutral-leaning sound
  • Most models priced from $399 to $999
  • Flagship PX7 over-ear headphones with ANC

Bowers & Wilkins is focused on achieving a clean, reference-grade sound in their headphones without too much coloration. They aim for neutrality and accuracy to hear music as the artist intended. The sonic presentation is very detailed, balanced across the frequency range, and offers expansive soundstages.

Comfort and materials are also a strong suit for B&W. Most of their headphone models feature premium metals and leather in the construction, with plush earpads for long-term comfort. The styling skews towards classic and refined over flashy.

Some of B&W’s most acclaimed headphone models include:

  • PX7: Flagship over-ear ANC model lauded for sound quality and comfort.
  • PI7: High-end true wireless earbuds with adaptive ANC.
  • P17: On-ear model crafted from aluminum and sheepskin leather.

Now that we’ve provided an overview of each brand’s background and approach to headphones, let’s compare them head-to-head across some key factors:

Sound Quality

When it comes to audio performance, both Master & Dynamic and Bowers & Wilkins deliver superb sound in their own unique way.

Master & Dynamic headphones emphasize a warm, robust sound with powerful bass and crisp highs. The overall tuning aims to deliver an exciting, engaging listening experience suited for modern music genres. The soundstage has nice width and imaging for a closed-back headphone.

Bowers & Wilkins targets a more natural, balanced sound that captures audio cleanly and accurately. The sound signature is quite flat and neutral across the frequency range. Soundstage and imaging are also standout features, creating an open, speaker-like sense of space.

For critical listening and hearing music in its purest original form, B&W may have a slight edge. But some listeners may find the extra bass punch and warm character of M&D headphones more fun and dynamic for everyday listening.

Design & Build Quality

With their roots in luxury consumer tech and audiophile speakers respectively, both Master & Dynamic and Bowers & Wilkins make headphones with exceptional design and build quality.

Master & Dynamic uses very premium materials like anodized aluminum, stainless steel, leather, and canvas in their headphone construction. Models like the MW65 have a very sleek, clean aesthetic combined with excellent durability. The leather and memory foam pads are also luxuriously plush for comfort.

Bowers & Wilkins headphones exude classy refinement with use of high-grade metals and premium leather. The PX7 for example has beautifully crafted aluminum arms and sheepskin leather earpads. Overall construction is built to last through years of regular use.

For styling, M&D opts for eye-catching designs inspired by the likes of classic Sennheiser models and vintage headphones. B&W has a more understated, classic headphone look. But for build quality, it’s hard to go wrong with either premium brand.

Also Read: Is Beats Solo 3 Better Than Studio 3?

Noise Cancellation & Features

Active noise cancellation and Bluetooth connectivity have become expected features in modern premium headphones. Here’s how M&D and B&W compare for ANC performance and features:

Master & Dynamic implements very solid ANC that suppresses ambient noise nicely without overly dampening the sound. Models like the MW65 provide a tight seal with good passive isolation, allowing their ANC systems to work well. Voice calling performance is also clear with beamforming microphones.

Bowers & Wilkins models like the PX7 offer class-leading ANC that rivals Bose and Sony. Multiple microphones work to block external noise very effectively. For features, B&W includes handy controls like wear detection, transparency/ambient listening modes, and compatibility with aptX HD for high-res streaming.

For wireless connectivity and device pairing, both brands include Bluetooth 5.0. Battery life is good on both headphone models with up to 30 hours playback when enabling ANC. Overall, B&W may have a slight edge for noise cancellation while M&D matches up well for core features.

Price And Value

Being luxury brands, neither Master & Dynamic nor Bowers & Wilkins are considered budget headphone options. Let’s examine how their prices and product value compare:

Most Master & Dynamic headphones range from around $249 to $499. Flagship models like the MW65 retail for $499, which is fairly reasonable for the quality. Given their premium materials and enjoyable sound, M&D headphones deliver very good value at their price point.

Bowers & Wilkins headphones span from $399 to $999 in cost. The flagship PX7 ANC model has an MSRP of $399, which is an excellent value given its stellar performance and build. However, some B&W models like the PI7 True Wireless earbuds can reach up to $999.

Overall, both brands deliver premium headphones that largely justify their prices through a combination of superb quality and audio performance. For budget-minded buyers, some of the mid-range models like the Master & Dynamic MW60 offer the best balance of value. But those seeking the ultimate luxury experience may appreciate Bowers & Wilkins’ cutting edge flagship models.

Also watch the video!

Also Read: Comparison Between the SoloCast and Yeti

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Who are Bowers and Wilkins competitors?

The main competitors for Bowers & Wilkins in the high-end headphone market include brands like Sennheiser, Beyerdynamic, Master & Dynamic, Bang & Olufsen, and Sony. Bose also competes with B&W for noise-cancelling headphones.

Is Bowers and Wilkins headphones a good brand?

Yes, Bowers & Wilkins is considered one of the top premium headphone brands available. They are well respected for their audiophile heritage and consistently receive excellent reviews for their headphone models like the PX7, PI7 and P17.

What is the difference between master and dynamic MW08 and MW08 sport?

The MW08 and MW08 Sport are both in-ear earphone models from Master & Dynamic. The main differences are:
MW08 uses ceramic housing; MW08 Sport uses TR90 composite housing for lightweight comfort
MW08 has leather and stainless steel details; MW08 Sport uses silicone tips and fins for stability
MW08 has 10 hour battery life; MW08 Sport extends this to 12 hours
MW08 has wireless charging; MW08 Sport does not
MW08 Sport has enhanced sweat resistance and fit for athletic activity
MW08 retails for $299; MW08 Sport costs $249

What is the difference between Bowers and Wilkins PX and PX7?

The Bowers & Wilkins PX and PX7 are both premium over-ear noise cancelling headphones. The key differences include:
PX7 has improved drive units and sound quality over original PX
PX7 has more advanced adaptive noise cancellation
PX7 supports high-resolution audio and aptX HD
PX7 uses USB-C charging while PX uses microUSB
PX has analog audio option; PX7 is digital/wireless only
PX7 has wear detection sensors to pause playback
PX7 costs $399 retail, PX cost $349 originally

Also Read: Differences Between Skullcandy Crusher ANC And Crusher Evo.

The Verdict

So which of these esteemed audio brands makes the better headphones for you? Here are some guidelines:

  • For a fun sound with extra bass, choose Master & Dynamic
  • For neutral reference sound, pick Bowers & Wilkins
  • If you prioritize design and materials, consider M&D
  • If noise cancellation is most important, lean B&W
  • For best value at mid-range pricing, M&D has the edge
  • For ultimate ANC performance, B&W flagship models excel

Both companies make excellent headphones with clean, dynamic audio and luxury designs. Master & Dynamic caters more to those wanting stylish, bass-friendly sound while Bowers & Wilkins appeals to audiophiles seeking a natural reference listening experience.

You can’t go wrong with either brand, but identifying your sound signature and feature preferences will help decide which headphones fit your needs the best. Why not pick up a pair from each iconic brand to enjoy the finest in headphone engineering and innovation?

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