Master & Dynamic’s first-ever true wireless earbuds, the MW07, earned a favorable review and spot on our Best Wireless Earbuds of 2019 list. Well-defined sound, strong noise isolation and the most beautiful design we’ve seen in the category helped earn it such accolades. But while the design and sound were nearly flawless, overall performance wasn’t.
Heading into the second generation, M&D recently added two more members to the family: the noise cancelling MW07 Plus and sporty MW07 Go. These two models were designed to improve on the original’s strengths and weaknesses. While continuing to test the MW07 Plus, we ran the gamut with the MW07 Go to see where these buds rank among the best sports headphones.
M&D knows its way around creating a beautiful pair of wireless earbuds. The MW07 Go is exemplary, boasting a polished, minimalist design that blends nicely with any formal, informal or workout getup. It’s one of those pairs of buds you’ll spot in the front row of business class, or any upscale gym.
Where the MW07 was composed of acetate and stainless steel, the MW07 Go is made from TR90 composite material, which is mostly used for professional sports eyewear. What it mainly brings to the table is IPX6 certification, making the buds water resistant. Yes, they will survive excessive sweat and heavy sprays of water, but they aren’t waterproof (cool your jets there, Michael Phelps). They are also dustproof to prevent any dirt or debris from getting inside.
The charging case has been revamped for the better and for the worse. It is much lighter and smaller, thanks to M&D’s decision to go with a technical knit fabric over stainless steel. Does it look as fancy as the buds? No. Neither is it as durable. As much as I appreciate the soft-touch finish and travel-friendly size, exposing the case to any moisture will dampen the fabric and ruin its appearance in the long run. Tossing it in your pocket with sharp objects (e.g. keys) will cause pilling as well. Another problem is the lid, which feels flimsy, despite having magnets that securely close the case.
M&D chose to keep MW07 Go’s appearance simple, leaving the company logo smoothly etched towards the rear, while introducing bold colors to help distinguish the model from its premium counterparts. Current selections include Electric Blue, Flame Red, Stone Grey and Jet Black. Electric Blue looks hot in person, but I miss some of the luxe, marble-inspired designs that were featured on the MW07. Still, this fitness-centric version looks just as handsome.
Bundled accessories include a USB adapter, UBC-charging cable, two sets of fins, and four sets of tips.
Comfort and fit
When it comes to wireless sports buds, comfort plays a huge role. Luckily, the MW07 Go affords you plenty of it. The buds are featherweight at 0.26 ounces and remain locked in when engaged in lateral exercises, so you won’t feel worried about dropping them down a sewer grate (cough, AirPods, cough) when sprinting to the gym.
All credit goes to M&D’s fit wings, which are uniquely designed with a gentle comb-like edge that fits appropriately on the inside of the ear. Competitors like the Beats Powerbeats Pro press into the concha and cause discomfort. The ear tips also factor into on-ear stability, absorbing sweat effectively to minimize slippage. Sliding the buds into your ears and performing a simple twist creates a tight seal that keeps them firmly in place.
I felt relaxed using them at the gym during hour-long workouts. Sporting the buds for leisure around the house and commuting also felt pleasant.
Controls and setup
The cheapest model in the series loses out on cool features like motion detection (MW07) and touch controls (MW07 Plus). It’s a shame too seeing how the buds’ smooth exterior is begging for a touch panel. What you get here are buttons on the top of each bud. The left houses a volume rocker, whereas the right has a multifunctional button assigned to all other functionality.
Controls on the MF button operate as follows: play/pause (1x tap), skip forward (2x tap), skip back (3x tap), enable voice assistant (hold button for about 3 seconds), and enter pairing mode (hold button for about 5 seconds). There doesn’t seem to be a way of manually powering on/off the buds, but they have a power reserve function that enables a sleep mode when inactive after a few minutes. Holding down the MF button wakes them up.
The buttons are tiny and pressing down on them pushes the buds into your ears, which can hurt for anyone with a low pain threshold. It’s not that serious though. What’s most important is that the buttons are easy to locate, responsive, and have good tactility that reassures you of intended commands being executed when pressed.
Pairing to devices is very simple, as taking the buds out of the case automatically enables Pairing Mode. All you have to do is access your Bluetooth settings, search for ‘M&D MW07 GO’ on the available devices list and select to connect.
Sound quality on the MW07 is exceptional and gives the class-leading Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless a run for its money. Kudos to M&D once again for bringing the same rich, expansive listening experience to the MW07 Go. The custom 10mm beryllium drivers are very powerful and pump out some serious bass that will get your pulse racing with the first song on your workout playlist.
A go-to for me during warmups is always A Tribe Called Quest’s “Excursions.” That monstrous opening bass line has such an emphatic feel on these buds, which kicked me into high gear as I started my run. More impressive was how prominent Q-Tip’s vocals sound over the wildly rambunctious production.
Despite the MW07 Go’s profile leaning more towards the low end, the soundstage does open up to let mids and highs do their thing. The Foo Fighters’ “Everlong” demonstrated this extremely well, as the incessantly tapping cymbals remained consistent and recognizable over the crashing drums and scream-filled chorus. More complex productions like Blink 182’s “I Miss You (Two Friends Remix)” are well represented too; I was able to identify several of the acoustic instruments in the background on this EDM-inspired rendition.
When entering cooldown mode, I’ll usually pull up some melodic, jazzy records to bring down my heart rate and relax. The soft instrumental on Herbie Hancock’s “Tell Me a Bedtime Story” was so airy and delicate, it gave relaxing vibes that nearly made me nap right on the gym mat. I was also enamored by how majestic the horn section sounded.
For those who prefer watching Netflix shows on their iPad when riding the bike, expect similar results in the audio department. The buds pick up distinctive sonic elements that your ears wouldn’t normally catch when listening on a standard HDTV speaker, adding a sense of realism to each watch. Film soundtracks also sound just as enticing as regular albums; give the Inception OST a listen and you’ll feel immersed in every action sequence.
Companies like Apple and Sony are evolving the category by integrating active noise cancellation into their cordless buds. While M&D does have the technology (check out their MW65 headphones) at its disposal, there seems to be no rush in bringing it over to the MW07 series, leaving us with standard noise isolation. Not having advanced noise neutralization isn’t the end of the world, especially since the MW07 Go does a fantastic job of creating a tight seal to keep music from leaking out, while minimizing ambient sound from entering the soundstage.
It was calming to run on the treadmill without the distractions of clanking weights and terrible gym music breaking my concentration. Since the buds cancel out environmental noise so well, you’ll need to be more mindful of surroundings. Those who love running outdoors might want to consider an alternative that has ambient-listening modes to hear what’s happening around you, like the like the Jabra Active 65t.
Most of the MW07 Go’s competitors have their own companion apps that allow for personalized sound and access to other cool settings. Praise the lord for their phenomenal sound quality because these buds are as vanilla as they come, offering nothing more than just digital assistant support, which is a standard feature on most current wireless buds.
M&D’s omnidirectional microphones exhibited great speech recognition and vocal range. Normally, I would have to shout commands for Google Assistant and Siri to register them, but the buds let me perform hands-free tasks without raising my voice too high. Only when I was outside in drafty conditions did it require me to speak up, and the mics still picked up my voice while fighting strong winds. Apple and Google’s AI also responded quickly to spoken inquiries.
Something that resonated with me was how loud the digital assistants sounded on the MW07 Go. I’m not complaining, as it’s actually a benefit. Most other headphones and earbuds require you to raise the volume at max level to hear responses, but the MW07 Go makes them audible at mid-level volume.
Battery life on the MW07 was pretty bad: 3.5 hours. The company made portable power a priority this time around by increasing playtime to 10 hours. Realistically, it’s more like 9 hours when factoring in phone calls and volume, but that is still a huge upgrade. I was thrilled to get a full week’s worth of exercising out of these buds, which ranged between one to two hours every other day. It took the following week for me to consider recharging them.
The charging case also receives a bump in battery life, offering an extra 12 hours of playtime (22 in total). It’s a generous increase from what the MW07’s charging case offered: 14 hours. Unfortunately, that equates to just one full charge. On the plus side, the buds quick-charge at a ridiculously fast pace, netting 5 hours on a 15-minute charge, 10 hours on a 40-minute charge.
Call quality and connectivity
I wasn’t fond of the MW07 as a calling headset, but the MW07 Go won me over due to its better clarity and noise neutralization. Other buds like the AirPods Pro do the latter better, but M&D’s mics are adaptive to pick up tiny details and cancel them out during phone calls. My fiancée and I had a few conversations that sounded loud and clear on both ends; she never once heard the clatter of my keyboard in the background. Outside is 50/50, as raucous activities like construction and whisking taxis do make their way onto calls.
Connectivity is an area the series continues to struggle with. Even with Bluetooth 5.0 at the helm, audio would drop out consistently when walking in the streets. Oddly, this wasn’t the case in the gym, where numerous exercisers were using wireless buds, which could have interfered with my connection, but didn’t. When the buds did manage to maintain a connection, I was able to enjoy about 35 feet of wireless listening.
The Master & Dynamic MW07 Go is practically the MW07 with a water-resistant shell and some notable improvements. You can expect some of the best wireless sound and noise isolation in the category. An IPX6-rating and longer battery life also makes these buds a worthy option for gym rats who want long-term performance. However, M&D did little to fix some of the issues that hindered the original model such as the lack of features and subpar connectivity. You can find other sports wireless buds that offer more for less, but none will match the MW07 Go’s sound.