Master & Dynamic MA770

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Pros

  • Jaw-dropping concrete design
  • Weighty, muscular sound
  • Smooth, insightful treble and mid-range
  • Easy to use

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Occasionally glitchy Chromecast streaming

Key Features

  • Review Price: £1600.00
  • Bluetooth 4.1 and Chromecast
  • Proprietary concrete design
  • 1.5-inch titanium tweeter
  • 2 x 4-inch woven Kevlar woofers
  • Chromecast multiroom and stereo pairing
  • Diamond-cut anodised aluminium buttons
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What is the Master & Dynamic MA770?

This is the result of a collaboration between Master & Dynamic and renowned architect Sir David Adjaye, the brains behind Washington DC’s National Museum of African American History and Culture.

It’s the first speaker of its kind made from a proprietary concrete composite, which not only lends the MA770 a hefty, sculptural quality, but means it boasts superior acoustic properties to wood and plastic.

Combine this envelope-pushing design with premium drivers and hassle-free Bluetooth/Chromecast streaming and you get a unique, visually arresting speaker that can hopefully justify its eye-popping price tag.

Related: Best Multiroom Speakers

Master & Dynamic MA770 – Design and connections

Having been built from the same stuff they use to make multi-storey car parks, the MA770’s back-breaking heft comes as no surprise. Tipping the scales at 16kg, it will require a more secure platform than that wobbly bookshelf you erected in the bedroom.

But the recently knighted Adjaye has done a wonderful job of disguising the MA770’s bulk. The back-end is an exciting fusion of sweeping curves and triangles, all finished in that wonderfully strokable concrete finish. It feels like stone but softer, and – needless to say – it’s incredibly robust and rigid. It’s hard to imagine anything making this bad boy vibrate.

In fact, Master & Dynamic reckons concrete’s damping properties are so good that you can play the speaker at full volume just inches from a turntable without making the record skip, and we can quite believe it.

A protruding triangle on the back houses a bass reflex port and a couple of smaller recesses for the optical, 3.5mm analogue and power inputs. It’s a modest selection for the money, but most people will opt for the built-in Wi-Fi (802.11 a/b/g/n/ac) or Bluetooth 4.1 connections anyway.

The MA770’s flat, rectangular front panel is protected by a magnetic stainless steel grille, which looks great but I prefer it without. Beneath you get more of that lovely light-grey concrete, adorned by two 4-inch woven Kevlar woofers and a 1.5-inch titanium tweeter. The flush-mounted metal driver surrounds and screws bring industrial chic to the grille-free fascia.

At the bottom is a row of four diamond-cut anodised aluminium buttons. They have an old-school hi-fi vibe, each one inscribed with their function – volume, pause, source – while a column of LEDs in the corner indicates which of the four inputs is selected. It’s all very artsy and minimal, but crucially its design quirks don’t come at the expense of usability.

Master & Dynamic MA770 – Setup and operation

The MA770 is a Chromecast built-in speaker, allowing you to stream music from compatible apps and create a multiroom system with other Chromecast speakers. According to Master & Dynamic, it’s also the first speaker to let you pair two units in stereo using Chromecast technology.

Wi-Fi setup is achieved through the Google Home app, which makes the process easy. It instantly detected my MA770, and after punching in my Wi-Fi password, the little Chromecast logo started popping up in apps such as YouTube and SoundCloud. Sorted.

I had a few problems getting Chromecast apps to stream and had to reboot my DLNA player a couple times. But after it settled down, the streaming experience was straightforward.

It’s worth noting that the MA770 doesn’t come with a physical remote, so it’s controlled exclusively from your mobile device or the firm, responsive front buttons.

Master & Dynamic MA770 – Performance

Spinning some tunes via Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, the MA770’s design is reflected in its sound. It’s solid as a rock, thumping out basslines and drums with astonishing muscle and dwarfing the room with a towering soundstage.

In fact, remove the grille and you can see those 4-inch long-throw woofers shuddering and shaking like a dancer in a rap video. It moves more air than Jim Royle, and with that concrete enclosure providing a stable, vibration-proof platform, the sound is effortlessly deep and punchy.

The MA770 isn’t all sledgehammer, though; there’s plenty of silk to back it up. It shows admirable artistry in the high frequencies, shaping hi-hats and floaty percussion with fluidity and precision. The mid-range is equally nuanced; vocal inflections and twanging guitars are laid bare.

It’s rhythmically skilled, too, tackling Richard Spaven’s complex drum patterns on Jordan Rakei’s ‘Toko’ without becoming flummoxed. There’s enough attack to get the feet tapping but not too much that it sounds hard or edgy when you crank up the volume. Everything about the MA770’s sound seems balanced, satisfying and well-grounded, as you’d expect from such a well-engineered speaker.

Its warm, full sound is forgiving with low-res MP3s and the like, but feed it some prime hi-res tunes and the MA770 really sings, despite being limited to 96kHz/24-bit. Daft Punk’s ‘Lose Yourself To Dance’ is a glistening, detail-drenched treat, seizing you with its crisp guitars and slapping drums, and dunking you in a deep bubble bath of bass.

I have to admit that the close proximity of the drivers did raise concerns about the MA770’s soundstage width, but I needn’t have worried. It conjures a surprisingly broad vista, placing instruments decisively and giving them room to manoeuvre.

But if you do find it too narrow, you can always sell a kidney, buy two MA770s and pair them together for an even more expansive stereo image.

Should I buy the Master & Dynamic MA770?

Let’s be clear – the MA770 isn’t for buyers with tight budgets, faint hearts or bad backs. But if you’re in the market for a high-end wireless speaker that offers boundary-pushing design and sweet, muscular sound quality then it’s money well spent.

I’ve honestly never seen a speaker like it, and few that sound as good. The innovative concrete construction provides a platform for a big, bass-heavy sound, but one that’s balanced out by a smooth, insightful mid-range and top-end.

Throw in simple Chromecast and Bluetooth streaming, and the MA770 has all the building blocks for a top-drawer wireless speaker.

Verdict

The delectable MA770 cements its audiophile status with sparkling, heavyweight sound and envelope-pushing design.

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