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Master and Dynamic MW08 Sport Review

Verdict

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It’s more of the same with the Master & Dynamic MW08 Sport, but with a jump in price. A very bassy but not particularly subtle sound is joined by average noise-cancelling performance. All things considered, better performance was expected for the price they carry.

Pros

  • Stylish appearance
  • Big bass performance
  • Strong wireless connectivity

Cons

  • Not the best seal
  • Average noise cancelling
  • More expensive than before
  • No improvement in water resistance
  • Other earphones boast a more nuanced sound

Availability

  • UKRRP: £329
  • USARRP: $349
  • EuropeRRP: €349

Key Features

  • Ear-tipComes with 2 sizes of memory foam ear tips for secure fit during workouts
  • Wireless ChargingCompatible with Qi wireless chargers

Introduction

I must admit that when I reviewed Master & Dynamic’s MW08 true wireless in 2021, I didn’t get on with them particularly well.

While they may have been one of the most strikingly designed pair of wireless earphones available, the performance and feature set left plenty to be desired. From the unremarkable noise cancelling to the bass-heavy audio performance and lack of features, the MW08 were a luxury pair that couldn’t keep up with the pace set by the likes of the Sony WF-1000XM4 and Bose QuietComfort Earbuds.

Nevertheless, Master & Dynamic now launches a Sport version, adding wireless charging and hiking up the price by £50. Are the MW08 Sport more of the same, or has M&D made notable improvements?

Design

  • Great looks
  • Not-so-great seal
  • Physical buttons

What to say about the MW08 Sport that I didn’t already say about the MW08? Very little, really – for all intents and purposes, these earbuds arrive with the same stunning looks of the previous model. There’s the glossy ceramic outer coating, use of physical controls rather than touch for operation, and a sturdy Kevlar charging case.

Master and Dynamic MW08 Sport charging case
Image Credit (Trusted Reviews)

There are two more ear-tip sizes (small and large) bundled with the standard five options, which use memory foam that expands in the ear for a (claimed) better fit and seal during workouts. Twist and lock the buds in the ear and you’re off, with the IPX5 rating offering protection against sweat and splashes of rain/water.

Do the new ear-tips work? Well, yes and not quite. Yes, in the sense they remain tucked in during a run and don’t feel as if they’re going to drop out; and not quite since the seal doesn’t seem to deliver a significant improvement over the normal ear-tips for blocking external noise. At least the ear-tips are easy to swap out for another pair, and the audio performance isn’t too different – a little crisper to my ears.

As was the case with the standard model, adjusting the fit here can result in accidental presses of the controls; but operation remains the same. The left earbud offers volume (press) and switching between noise cancelling/Transparency modes (hold), and the right is for control of playback (press) and access to voice assistance (hold). Hold for long enough and the earphones go into their Bluetooth pairing mode. If you like tactile controls, you’ll be at home with this setup.

Master and Dynamic MW08 Sport charging case LED lights
Image Credit (Trusted Reviews)

The MW08 Sport are available in a choice of four colours. This review sample is Black Sapphire with a matching Kevlar case, with other options Blue, Silver or Green Sapphire. The charging case, which is rated IPX4, uses a helpful traffic light system of LEDs to relay the current battery status of the case and the earbuds.

Features

  • Average noise cancellation
  • MW08 Sport add wireless charging
  • Long battery life

Not much has changed where features are concerned over the standard model, with the only new feature – and seemingly worth an extra £50 – wireless charging support. If you don’t already have a pad, the matching MC100 Wireless Charge Pad costs £49.

Battery life matches the MW08 at 12 hours per earbud (10 with ANC on) and 42 hours in total, which is one of the leading figures in the market. Fast-charging for 15 minutes energises the buds to the tune of 50%.

Master and Dynamic MW08 Sport upside down
Image Credit (Trusted Reviews)

Bluetooth 5.2 offers assured wireless connectivity with nary a dropout in the time I’ve spent with the MW08 Sport. AptX Adaptive – if you have a compatible Android smartphone – adjusts the bit-rate of audio to maintain the tether between the mobile and buds, so the connection doesn’t perceptibly drop.

With respect to the price – and there’s no way to judge the noise cancelling without considering the price – the ANC underwhelms. The focus is on clearing out ambient sounds and low frequencies, with the MW08 Sport taming both well enough. Used on transport and the noise of a train or the engine on a bus are reduced effectively, and in a work environment the tapping of keyboards is siphoned out. However, you’ll still need to raise the volume; otherwise, nearby conversations or cars passing by will still make their way through.

Master and Dynamic MW08 Sport case with earphones open
Image Credit (Trusted Reviews)

In light of the £329 price the MW08 Sport command, I’d have expected them to smother sounds more conclusively, especially since they’re £100+ more than both Bose or Sony’s premium wireless earbuds.

The Transparency mode is better, with strong levels of clarity and detail making for a natural-sounding performance. That leads me to the M&D Connect app, which is light on features. You can set the strength of noise cancellation (Max or All Day) and the ambient listening mode (Voice or Awareness) in the World Volume section.

Master Dynamic app MW08 Sport
Image Credit (Trusted Reviews)

And aside from toggling in-ear detection on or off, an auto-off timer and conducting firmware updates, that’s about it. The app can still be unresponsive when changing settings, with a puzzling message that “ANC and Ambient modes require both earphones to be in use” … except they both are. Closing the app and starting again rectifies the issue, but it’s still peculiar.

Sound Quality

  • Lots of bass in ANC mode
  • Rich, warm and weighty sound
  • Not the most subtle or dynamic of listens

Another area where little has changed with the MW08 Sport is on the audio front. At normal listening levels they’re quiet and subdued, necessitating a jump up in volume – something that likely needs to done anyway to give the noise cancellation an assist.

Do so and you invite a few issues. ANC offers a bigger bass presence and thicker sound signature, and with volume raised and ANC on, the MW08 Sport’s bass can sound hard and chunky. A listen to Tyler, The Creator’s Corso at higher volumes – as I did with the MW08 – and I found the results similar. I heard the same characteristics on Beck’s Soul Suckin’ Jerk from his Mellow Gold album.

Granted, at normal listening levels (or with ANC off) the MW08 Sport achieve a better balance, but in general they are too bass-heavy.

Master and Dynamic MW08 Sport earphones in front of case
Image Credit (Trusted Reviews)

That said, and I feel like I’m repeating myself, the Master & Dynamic MW08 Sport have their good moments. A Tidal Master stream of Daft Punk’s Lose Yourself to Dance produces rich and weighty bass, with Pharrell’s vocals smoothly described in the middle of the soundstage. With the right track they boast an attractive, full-on sound.

Compared to the WF-1000XM4, they don’t derive as much detail or clarity; the Master & Dynamic are heavier handed in their description of Nile Rodger’s guitar in Daft Punk’s dance track. They offer more weight when they ought to be more delicate. Vocals aren’t given as much separation from other elements in the track. Chris Cornell’s vocals in Cochise and Christina Aguilera’s in Dirrty compete for space among the bassier elements. Turning ANC off invokes a crisper tone, but there are some sibilant traces to Aguilera’s voice and moments in the song she sounds unnaturally strained.

Master and Dynamic MW08 Sport earphone underbelly
Image Credit (Trusted Reviews)

Dynamism is similar to the standard MW08, which is either not particularly expressive at normal listening levels, or much livelier but not as refined with the volume up. Mid-range detail is broad in its definition, the leading and trailing edges of instruments described in a big sense, but lacking the subtlety that the WF-1000XM4 can bring to bear. The way the M&D organise a piece of music doesn’t offer as much insight or separation between instruments in Alfa Mist’s jazzy Keep On, either.

But I should add that the rendition of Alfa’s track is an enjoyable one, with a nice crispness to cymbal crashes and kick to the drumbeats; but there’s a lack of nuance and timing when things become more chaotic. The MW08 Sport struggle to sift through and provide clarity to the instruments.

Master and Dynamic MW08 Sport on top of case
Image Credit (Trusted Reviews)

The warmth and smoothness of the MW08 Sport’s ANC mode dulls treble reproduction – it’s sharp in places, but not as incisive as I’ve heard through other true wireless earphones performing when treated to the piano in GoGo Penguin’s Raven. The bass, as you might expect, is absolutely thumping.

I’ll end this section in a similar fashion to how I ended it for the original MW08. If you like a sound that’s big and broad with plenty of bass, the Master & Dynamic MW08 Sport are fine. For more audiophile listeners, I’d say there are more nuanced true wireless from which to choose.

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Should you buy it?

If you like your audio rich and bassy If bass is what you like then the MW08 Sport supply it in big, powerful quantities; but at the expense of overall insight.

If you’re after a gym-ready pair with more features £329 for a pair of earphones with just an IPX5 rating? You can spend half that and pick up wireless earphones with better water-resistance and more features than this Sport model offers.

Final Thoughts

It’s a mixed performance where the Master & Dynamic MW08 Sport are concerned. Plenty of bass but not particularly subtle; the noise cancellation not at the level I’d expect from £300+ true wireless buds.

In addition, the £50 surcharge for to the addition of a wireless charging case feels rather cheeky, considering there are £50 wireless earbuds that come with that feature. And despite being a “sport” version, there’s no improvement to the design or IP rating – the only add-on being two extra ear-tip sizes. This is disappointing. It’s more of the same then; here’s hoping Master & Dynamic’s next venture in the true wireless market adds more substance to go with its undoubted style.

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We test every headphones we review thoroughly over an extended period of time. We use industry standard tests to compare features properly. We’ll always tell you what we find. We never, ever, accept money to review a product.

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Tested over several weeks

Tested with real world use

FAQs

What are the differences between the MW08 and MW08 Sport?

The MW08 Sport support wireless charging and they come with two extra Comply Foam tips for workout purposes.

Full specs

UK RRP
USA RRP
EU RRP
Manufacturer
IP rating
Battery Hours
Wirless charging
Fast Charging
Weight
ASIN
Release Date
Model Number
Audio Resolution
Driver (s)
Noise Cancellation?
Connectivity
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Headphone Type

Jargon buster

IP rating

An abbreviation for ‘Ingress Protection Code’, which lets you know to what extent a device might be waterproof or dustproof.

ANC

ANC (Active Noise Cancellation) uses an array of microphones in a headphone to detect the frequency of the sound coming at the listener, with the ANC chip creating an inverse wave (i.e. opposing sound) to suppress any unwanted external noises.

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