Master & Dynamic has collaborated with Japanese fashion brand A Bathing Ape (or BAPE, as founder Nigo’s 1993 streetwear label is commonly called) and I think it’s one of the most exciting audio partnerships of 2022.
Why? First, the products were great to start with. The M&D headphones in question included the excellent MW08 true wireless earbuds, which we intensively dubbed “a luxury wireless experience”, and the talented MG20 wireless gaming headset, which we raved about “where hi-fi and gaming come together in a high-performance end headset” after thorough testing.
Second, BAPE’s design language is here and it’s unmistakable. Personally, I prefer the earbuds (but then I’m a novice gamer at best). The aesthetic is typically strong and unashamed, and I like that.
Opinion: expensive, but not much more than before BAPE
The Master & Dynamic x BAPE collection in blue and pink ‘ABC CAMO’ is available from Saturday 29 October, exclusively for sale at Master & Dynamic (opens in new tab) and with BAPE stores (opens in new tab).
The MG20 gaming headphones and MW08 active noise canceling true wireless earphones are selling for $499 / £479 / €499 and $349 / £329 / €349 respectively (that’s about AU$770 for the gaming headset and AU$539 for the earbuds) .
OK, so they’re not cheap – but this is Master & Dynamic we’re talking about, and since the MG20 gaming headset regularly retails for $449 (£429, around AU$625), it’s a relatively small price to pay pay for BAPE’s formidable aesthetic. Yes, that pricing is almost unheard of for a gaming headset, but Master & Dynamic is a well-known name in hi-fi circles, where that kind of price is not uncommon.
Example: Master & Dynamic’s June release MW75 premium over-ears, which came priced at $599 / £549 / €599, aka very expensive any way you look at it – and by that we mean just as expensive as the launch price of Apple’s AirPods Max (which arrived in December 2020, with an asking price of $549 / £549 / AU$899).
For me the star here is the MW08 as I’m really drawn to that etching on the silver case. And at four-and-a-half stars, these are talented earbuds. Battery life is an excellent 12 hours of playtime for the earbuds (that is with ANC), with the case delivering three additional charges, for a total runtime of 42 hours.
And the sound? It’s a bit warm but sympathetic rather than tacky. These buds never sound tiring and there’s a sense of body and verve to whatever music you’re listening to.
To me, the new finish makes them some of the best noise-cancelling earbuds I’ve seen this year – and as we said in our review, turning on the ANC (or ambient, for that matter) doesn’t have a noticeable effect on sound quality.
The gaming headset is still an eye-catcher, but for M&D over-ear collabs, I’m still all for the Mercedes-Benz MW65, which makes you look like you’re on an F1 team.
One for the Christmas list perhaps? And (whisper it) could the originals get involved in some Black Friday deals because of this new BAPE release? If that happens, you’ll be the first to know.