Master & Dynamic MW09 Review: Attractive Earbuds That Don’t Standout

Key Takeaways

  • The Master & Dynamic MW09 earbuds have a unique design and deliver a clear and balanced sound profile, making them a solid choice for music enthusiasts.
  • However, the earbuds fall short in terms of ANC, mic fidelity, and physical controls. The ANC performance is adequate but not exceptional.
  • The MW09 earbuds offer a comfortable fit and a long battery life, lasting up to 16 hours. But the high price tag may deter some consumers who are looking for the best value.

Master & Dynamic MW09 are bold-looking earbuds with a sound that plays it a lot safer than their exterior aesthetic. Despite having beauty and brains, the MW09 earbuds slightly miss the mark on ANC, mic fidelity, and some of their physical controls, a point that’s made more noticeable by the high $349 (aluminum case) and $399 (Kevlar case) prices.

Master & Dynamic MW09

MW09 offers more precise and improved ANC, a redesigned body for improved comfort and fit on a wider range of users, an AI-powered talk solution, and up to 16 hours of battery life.

Battery Life
16 hours

Charging Case Included?

Driver Size

Charging type
Wired and wireless


Supported codecs
AAC, aptX, SBC, aptX Adaptive, aptX Lossless


Maximum play time (overall)
48 hours

  • Long battery life
  • Clear, balanced sound
  • Lightweight and comfortable to wear
  • Toggling ANC is a pain
  • Some settings are only selectable in-app
  • Bold style might not appeal to everyone

Smooth, Clear Sound With Fine Call Quality

master & dynamic mw09 earbuds in front of the case
Sergio Rodriguez / How-To Geek

Despite the eye-candy design, you’re probably considering the MW09 wireless earbuds because of Master & Dynamic’s reputation for sound quality. The company has faithfully managed to continue putting out solid audio devices year after year.

The good news is that the MW09 earbuds sound wonderful. There’s a clarity and robust sound profile, likely thanks to the custom 11mm beryllium drivers. These are likely the exact same ones as the MW08, which aren’t the largest drivers in earbuds, but the company makes the most of them.

If you’re into taking full control over the sound, there is an adjustable equalizer in-app for the super obsessive. I messed with it a bit, but I tried to live with the default sound to get a sense of what most people will hear.

My biggest takeaway was that the songs I listened to were balanced. While there was enough well-rounded bass, the more important detail was the rich mids that made it easy to hear guitars and vocals. Pop, rock, and folk songs all sounded faithfully reproduced with plenty of clarity to the tracks.

I do think the MW09 earbuds sounded great, but I worry that they won’t be appreciated by the general public. Comparing them directly to the excellent Jabra Elite 10 and new Bose QC Ultra Earbuds, I preferred the more even soundstage offered by these Master & Dynamic earbuds, but they were a little less exciting than other products in a similar price class. It will really come down to whether people prefer a flatter, more neutral sound to their music or if they want a touch of vibrancy sprinkled in.

For curious audio enthusiasts, these include Bluetooth 5.4 connectivity, along with Qualcomm’s Snapdragon Sound, and ready for Auracast. The last item on that list, Auracast, might be the most interesting, allowing the earbuds to tap into public audio systems at the gym or airport, but it might also be the most niche feature. The MW09 Earphones support AAC, aptX, aptX Adaptive, aptX Lossless, and SBC codecs.

On microphone audio, the MW09 are advertised as having a new “AI-powered high-definition talk solution.” It’s a lot of fancy words for a feature that only sounded fine to my ears. My voice didn’t sound as natural as I would have liked. Two recordings are below to get a sense of what the microphones offer to a person on the other end of a call.

Luxe Design With a Comfortable Fit

person wearing master & dynamic mw09 earbuds
Sergio Rodriguez / How-To Geek

Fit and comfort are critical for a product that you need to wear on your body. I assumed the size and materials used for the MW09 earbuds would be heavy and possibly feel awkward in my ears. I guessed wrong. These felt light and airy in my ears. They weren’t hard to wear for long stretches of time. These aren’t the pinnacle of comfort or anything but I liked them. Plus, the included range of foam and silicon ear tips with the MW09 should make wearing them a piece of cake for most people.

The elegant design extends to the aluminum case I tried—a Kevlar case is available for more money. The case is a bit bulky compared to the AirPods Pro 2 case, but otherwise, I have no complaints about it since it charges wirelessly or via USB-C—even including magnets to attach to a MagSafe charger.

master & dynamic mw09 earbuds in the case
Sergio Rodriguez / How-To Geek

It may look like the large circle design on the exterior of the earbuds has something to do with touch controls, but it doesn’t. It’s purely for aesthetics. The media controls are located along the top of each earbud.

If it’s possible to love the physical media controls and despise them simultaneously, that’s where I fall. A single multi-purpose button resides on the right earbud and two distinct volume buttons on the left earbud. They were each easy to find with my fingers and press. They worked well.

The thing I hated was that the company hid the ANC and transparency modes behind long presses of the volume up and volume down buttons. And when I say a long press, I mean a press that feels like it takes ages to activate. It must take at least three or four full seconds to engage each mode or turn each one off. It took long enough that I couldn’t discover it on my own and needed to consult the paper instructions to figure out how to toggle ANC on and off.

ANC Performance Is a Mixed Bag

close up of the mic on the master & dynamic mw09
Sergio Rodriguez / How-To Geek

Master & Dynamic introduced adaptive ANC with the MW09 earbuds, and it’s okay. I found it to perform adequately, but I wasn’t blown away by it. The Max ANC setting does a solid job, but it’s not the most powerful, noise-reducing option I’ve tested.

If your objective is to block out the most noise while listening to music, I would probably shy away from these. On the other hand, if you’re interested in listening to music while blocking out noise, then these should be on your radar. The distinction is minor, but it’s there.

There is an implementation detail of ANC that I kind of hate here. Both ANC and Ambient modes have three choices associated with them, so six total choices. First, I think that’s probably two choices too many. But then the only way to select the different options is in the mobile app, which is available for iPhone and Android.

For such a critical feature like ANC and ambient listening, it’s hard to get to and a little confusing about which mode to choose. “Voice,” “Natural,” and “Awareness” are the options under the ambient option, while “Max ANC,” “All Day ANC,” and “Adaptive ANC” are the noise-canceling choices. The company should simplify to four selections: max or adaptive and then voice or awareness.

MW09 Battery Life

If you’re unsure of the large earbud design, the tradeoff they provide, presumably, is room for a big battery. They offer 12 hours of listening time with ANC on or 16 hours with ANC off. The wireless (and USB-C) charging case can give a total battery life of 48 hours. It’s a lot. I don’t have much to add other than they lasted a long time.

Price and Availability

The MW09 wireless earbuds are available to order on Master & Dynamic’s website starting on November 14th, starting at $349.

Should You Buy the Master & Dynamic MW09 Earbuds?

master & dynamic mw09 earbuds in the open case
Sergio Rodriguez / How-To Geek

As much as I enjoy listening to music with the Master & Dynamic MW09 earbuds, these aren’t for everyone. At $349, with a flat or balanced sound profile and without best-in-class ANC, a fair amount of people will wonder why they’re paying top dollar. Despite their bold look, they don’t really stand out from the crowd of consumer wireless earbuds in a meaningful way. However, someone with a slightly more discerning ear and an eye for the design style the company is offering might find more to appreciate with Master & Dynamic’s latest release.

Master & Dynamic MW09

MW09 offers more precise and improved ANC, a redesigned body for improved comfort and fit on a wider range of users, an AI-powered talk solution, and up to 16 hours of battery life.


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