The Master and Dynamic MW60 over-ear headphone is the company’s flagship model, and there’s no doubt that they’re a seriously attractive pair of cans BUT are they a good gym headphone?
The short answer is no.
Or at least they’re not a good gym headphone if you work out with them straight from the box. Sweat is corrosive. During exercise, we generally sweat A LOT and all that moisture we produce then sits and seeps into the headphone’s cushions. Given enough time, cracks and wrinkles will start appearing on the padding of the headband and cups. In the case of the MW60, the material is cowhide and lambskin - imagine what that’s going to smell like after a few heavy sessions?
The good news is that you can easily make the MW60’s gym-ready by adding a pair of sweat proof covers to the headphone cushions. This is important: we DON’T recommend that you workout in headphones without adding a pair of EarHugz first.
And don’t think this is just a problem with the MW60s. The vast majority of premium brand headphones weren’t designed to be used during exercise. Certainly, Bose doesn’t recommend you wear their QuietComfort headphones for a workout and Sony’s noise-cancelling MX1000 M3 aren’t gym headphones without help. Beats Studio Wireless headphones weren’t built to be sweat-proof, either.
What Makes Master and Dynamic MW60 a Good Gym Headphone?
The Bluetooth antenna for the MW60 is actually external - as Wired.com points out in their review, this is expensive and difficult to achieve but the payoff is far better connectivity. Most wireless headphones have internal antennas so this is a big advantage for the MW60.
We think the best gym headphones are wireless. Cords and wires are annoying and distracting. Fortunately, the MW60 uses Bluetooth 4.1 technology with Master and Dynamic boasting that this will give you four times the range you’d normally expect. That’s pretty impressive. We’ve recently been looking at how to run in headphones without wearing an armband, so with the MW60, theoretically, you could keep your phone in a gym locker or in a nearby bag and run hands (and arm-band) free. When Wired.com reviewed these they managed to get a signal range of 50 feet.
Touch controls on the cups allow for hands-free. Use the left-cup for switching on/off and Bluetooth pairing. Volume and playback options are on the right.
A noise-isolating microphone will make it easier to have conversations as you exercise. There’s nothing like a gym headphone for helping you multi-task, right?
Heavy-handed in the gym? The ear cups are held in by magnets and can easily be replaced if you break one.
The ear cups are padded with memory foam.
Not only do these headphones look superb but the build quality is equally as impressive. The stainless steel hinges fold easily for transport and the overall aesthetic of the MW60 screams high-end: forged aluminium and stainless steel.
Across the board, reviewers have been impressed with sound quality. Master and Dynamic has included the aptX codec which delivers CD-quality sound wirelessly.
There’s a good choice of colour combinations when you buy including silver metal/brown leather, black metal/camo leather and black metal/navy leather.
We think the Black metal/navy leather MW60’s would look awesome paired with Union Jack EarHugz.
These headphones come with a super-classy travel pouch and a separate case for cables making them easy to transport safely to and from the gym.
What Makes Master and Dynamic MW60 a NOT so Good Gym Headphone?
Battery life is only around 16 hours which may or may not be a deal-breaker for you. If you’re regularly hitting the gym with a low battery, then it’s worth knowing that there’s no quick-charge on these headphones. Beats Solo3 Wireless headphones, for example, offer up to 40 hours of battery in addition to its Fast-Fuel function where a 5-minute charge can give 3 hours of playback.
There’s no getting around it but these are expensive headphones. You may not be comfortable spending over $500 for something that you’ll regularly use in a physically challenging environment.
These headphones aren’t uncomfortable per se, but the headband could benefit from additional padding. A number of online reviewers say that after extended use, they could really feel it pinching.
There’s no active noise-cancelling technology to these. If that’s what you’re looking for, then we’d recommend Sony’s WH1000XM3 headphones for the gym. When Soundguys.com reviewed the MW60, they said that it wasn’t great at noise isolation and that they could hear conversations happening around them when they tested them on public transport. The only option, therefore, is to turn up the volume - something the World Health Organisation recently reported as being a danger to public health. Sound leakage can be hugely irritating to other people around you, too.
It’s disappointing that the MW60 doesn’t use USB-C for charging.
If paired with sweat-resistant headphone covers, Master and Dynamic’s MW60 do make a fine set of gym headphones. Ordinarily, that would be enough for us to say BUT we’d recommend a degree of caution before wearing these to your workout but only because of their price. These cost around £449 and their high-end design might not be suitable in a challenging fitness environment. That being said, their Bluetooth range, build and sound quality, could make these a very attractive option to gym bunnies and they’ll certainly make an impact both off and on the gym floor.Don't have a pair of MW60 headphones but worried about sweat damaging your gym headphones? Ear Hugs fit most brands and models!