Master & Dynamic MG20 Gaming Headphones Review: A Premium Listening Experience for Gamers

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The Lowdown

Whether you are looking for an excellent pair of wireless over-the-ear headphones that sound fantastic and get excellent battery life, or you are looking for a headset that excels in voice recognition and video calls, or you want a pair of gambling headphones that scream quality in every regard, you aren’t going to find a better or more versatile pair of over-the-ear headphones than the Master & Dynamic MG20 Gaming Headphones.

Overall
4.5

Pros

  • Quality materials and craftsmanship
  • Maintains M&D’s design language but takes it in a new direction
  • Excellent, physical on-headphone controls
  • Detachable boom microphone increases the quality of audio capture
  • Amazing battery life
  • Includes a low-latency USB adapter

Cons

  • Some USB-C cables may not charge the headphones properly
  • The detachable boom microphone might be easy to lose
  • They are pricey
Master & Dynamic MG20 Gaming Headphones Review: A Premium Listening Experience for Gamers Listen to this article

I’ve made no secret of my love of Master & Dynamic headphones. So when the company released their Master & Dynamic MG20 Gaming Headphones, I knew I wanted to check them out. And while the MG20 is designed for gaming, as we will discuss, they aren’t just for gamers.

The Master & Dynamic MG20 Gaming Headphones come in a lovely presentation box. Opening it reveals the headphones themselves and a small box with various accessories.

You’ll find a low-latency USB adapter, a USB-C to USB-A charging cable, a USB-C to 3.5mm input cable, and a headphone pouch. I would have preferred a harder case that offers more protection to the headphones, but the company seems to prefer soft cases. So be it.

Master & Dynamic MG20 Gaming Headphones side view with boom

You will also find a detachable boom microphone and screen; we will get back to that shortly.

Master & Dynamic MG20 Gaming Headphones Review: A Premium Listening Experience for Gamers

MW65 Over-the-Ear Headphones with ANC

Master & Dynamic’s over-the-ear headphones have an iconic look. They have a grill on the earcups made from metal and leather that is a cross between retro and steampunk.

Master & Dynamic MG20 Gaming Headphones Review: A Premium Listening Experience for Gamers

The Master & Dynamic MG20 Gaming Headphones have the same design language from the perspective of shape, they are immediately recognizable as Master & Dynamic headphones, but they employ different materials.

Master & Dynamic MG20 Gaming Headphones Review: A Premium Listening Experience for Gamers

The MG20 is available in either Black Onyx or Galactic White. And while the hardware connecting the earbuds to the headband is metal, the housing of each ear cup is made from lightweight magnesium with a white or black coating.

Master & Dynamic MG20 Gaming Headphones Review: A Premium Listening Experience for Gamers

Like the other headphones in M&D’s lineup, the Master & Dynamic MG20 Gaming Headphones’ earpad is made from soft lambskin leather that is comfortable to wear for hours on end and does an excellent job blocking ambient sound.

Master & Dynamic MG20 Gaming Headphones Review: A Premium Listening Experience for Gamers

The headband is Alcantara and coated canvas. In my opinion, it doesn’t look or feel quite as premium as the headband on my MW65, but it is comfortable and, after weeks of use, is showing no signs of wear.

Master & Dynamic MG20 Gaming Headphones Review: A Premium Listening Experience for Gamers

Interestingly, when designing the Master & Dynamic MG20 Gaming Headphones, the company opted to lose its iconic metal grills. I’m sure they had a good reason for the change, but I miss the “cool” factor of the prior design.

Master & Dynamic MG20 Gaming Headphones Review: A Premium Listening Experience for Gamers

Inside, the headphones have 50mm Beryllium drivers tuned with the sound signature that initially made me a fan of the company. The drivers produce excellent sound with an expansive sound stage. In addition, the Master & Dynamic MG20 Gaming Headphones have Bluetooth 5.0 with AAC and Qualcomm aptX HD and aptX Low-Latency for mobile gaming.

Master & Dynamic MG20 Gaming Headphones Review: A Premium Listening Experience for Gamers

The Master & Dynamic MG20 Gaming Headphones are wireless, and they deliver up to 22 hours of playback per charge. If the battery runs down, you can plug it in and get back to at least 50% battery capacity in just 30 minutes.

Master & Dynamic MG20 Gaming Headphones Review: A Premium Listening Experience for Gamers

I was sent a pair of the Master & Dynamic MG20 Gaming Headphones with white ear cups and a headband with black leather cushions and under-headband padding for review. I rather like the clean look and appreciate how intended or not; they pay homage to the original Storm Troopers in Star Wars.

And while the headphones look and feel substantial, they are surprisingly light. They weigh just 312g without the Boom Mic attached. That’s important for a pair of gaming headphones if you tend to spend long sessions defending the planet or taking back territory from terrorists.

Master & Dynamic MG20 Gaming Headphones Review: A Premium Listening Experience for Gamers

When I first took the Master & Dynamic MG20 Gaming Headphones out of the box, the physical buttons really caught my eye. I’ve always appreciated that while many companies have opted for touch controls on their headphones, Master & Dynamic have always had physical buttons.

When I took the MG20 out of the box, the first thing I noticed wasn’t just that the company had maintained the physical buttons but the fact that they added physical controls… a lot of them.

Taking a walk around the headphones is the best way to understand what the company has done here.

Master & Dynamic MG20 Gaming Headphones Review: A Premium Listening Experience for Gamers

There is a physical volume dial on the left ear cup to adjust the microphone. This lets you quickly and easily make adjustments without needing to take your eyes off the game you are playing.

Beneath it, there is a button to activate the 7.1 surround sound so you can get the full audio experience if your gaming console supports it. Beneath that is a button to turn the wireless functionality on and off. The USB-C charging port sits just below it alongside a small LED to indicate that charging occurs.

ThermoWorks Thermapen Mk4

This indicator light deserves a bit of attention shine, as noted, lets you know that the headphones are charging. It is important because I’ve found that not all USB-C cables can recharge Master & Dynamic headphones.

If you aren’t using the charging cable that ships with the headphones, you will want to make sure the light is illuminated and the headphones are actually getting power when you plug it in.

Master & Dynamic MG20 Gaming Headphones Review: A Premium Listening Experience for Gamers

Below the USB-C port, there is a second port into which the included detachable boom microphone connects — two small, silver ovals on the left ear cup house onboard microphones.

Because the headphones have these onboard microphones, you don’t have to use the boom microphone, but let’s face it, there is only so much you can expect from flat microphones that aren’t anywhere near your mouth; they are convenient, but they certainly aren’t optimal.

That’s why the Master & Dynamic MG20 Gaming Headphones ship with a detachable boom microphone. To use it, you simply snap it into its dedicated port. The MG20 sense the boom microphone is present and selects it as the primary audio input.

It is a slick design and, as I’ll explain momentarily, one of the reasons I wanted to review the headphones.

Master & Dynamic MG20 Gaming Headphones Review: A Premium Listening Experience for Gamers

The right ear cup has a second volume dial, which lets you adjust the speaker volume without needing to remove the headphones. Like the microphone control, this dial is part of what makes these gaming headphones stand out. Beneath the volume dial, there is a multipurpose button for controlling audio playback.

The first thing I wanted to check out when beginning the review process was how the MG20 does as wireless over-the-ear headphones. They don’t have the active noise cancellation of the MW65, so I assumed they would deliver a similar experience to the ANC-less MW60s. I was pretty much right.

The MG20 sound like a pair of Master & Dynamic headphones. That’s a good thing when you consider the detail and care the company put into creating its unique sound signature.

But while the MG20 doesn’t have ANC, you don’t really need it as the headphones do a remarkable job blocking ambient sound. The audio quality is superb, and thanks to the free Master & Dynamic app, you can control the audio and customize it to your liking.

I’ve used the headphones extensively since the review sample showed up. They are comfortable for long listening sessions, sound fantastic, and they have a surprisingly good battery life of up to 22 hours per charge. Add in the inclusion of on-head detection to preserve battery life, and I can’t imagine the headphones running out of steam mid-game.

At this point, I should confess: I’m not a serious gamer. While I enjoy playing casual games like Call of Duty on my iPad, I have never gotten into console gaming. I enjoy it, but the graphics tend to give me a headache when I play for more than a few minutes.

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Master & Dynamic MG20 Gaming Headphones Review: A Premium Listening Experience for Gamers

So why did I want to review the MG20? It comes down to two things. First, I wanted to see if the company put as much effort as ever into creating a pair of head headphones that sound fantastic for listening to audio or if they put more focus into the gaming aspect of the MG20.

The good news is that they did put all their expertise into creating headphones that are simply fabulous wireless headphones.

Second, I’ve started doing more of my writing by voice once again, and I wanted to see if the MG20 boom microphone increased the quality of the audio capture when using the headphones with a Lenovo laptop and Dragon Naturally speaking. Here too, Master & Dynamic did a fantastic job.

While Dragon does a good job of capturing and transcribing my voice when I use the microphones built into the laptop when I use the headphones and boom microphone, the accuracy is even better.

Master & Dynamic MG20 Gaming Headphones Review: A Premium Listening Experience for Gamers

But what about the MG20 and gaming? I mean, Master & Dynamic included a low-latency adapter to eliminate audio deletes and built 7.1 surround sound into the headphones for a reason.

To find out how the headphones hold up when used for gaming, I turned to my friend Charles and his son Niko. Both are serious gamers, and I lent them the MG20 for a few weeks to see what they thought.

Master & Dynamic MG20 Gaming Headphones Review: A Premium Listening Experience for Gamers

Not Charles or Nikko.

Charles wrote:

As this headset is only PC and PlayStation compatible, I was not able to test them myself on the Xbox, Niko gave them a run on his gaming PC. His thoughts are below, but I can add that the attention to detail and materials are excellent in my opinion.

I find the buttons small and a bit hard to read and there seem to be too many of the same type compared to other designs out there. But younger users will most likely not find the interface too small.

Niko did a deeper dive and had this to say:

The sound quality is great. Better than others I’ve used. The price difference seems quite steep, they are not worth their current price. The 7.1 is interesting, but not all too useful in my opinion, but nice to have, nevertheless. The microphone seems to be pretty standard and didn’t have any sound quality issues.

The aesthetics are nice, they feel very solid and well made, and are quite comfortable. The controls on the headset are all easy enough to use, and not loose enough that moving could change them, etc. The earmuffs are very soft and can be worn for long periods of time without discomfort.

While my computer does not have Bluetooth, I was able to use the USB adapter to use them with my PC. The microphone did not work using the adapter, but I am assuming if I had Bluetooth it would work.

Using them is relatively simple and easy, although you will have to change your sound settings if you are using it plugged in vs Bluetooth. Overall, I’d say they are good but seem overpriced compared to other entries on the market.

Master & Dynamic MG20 Gaming Headphones Review: A Premium Listening Experience for Gamers

I’ve tried other gaming headphones that cost between $100 and $200. Most were made entirely of plastic and, even when they sounded good, looked and felt a bit cheap.

So while Niko found the MG20 to be a bit too pricey, I’m solidly in the camp of “you get what you pay for,” and, in this case, what you get are a pair of headphones that not only sound excellent but are made from quality materials rarely found in gaming headphones.

So while you can get less expensive gaming headphones, I’m not convinced you’d be comparing apples to apples here. The Master & Dynamic MG20 Gaming Headphones are targeted at an audience looking for premium products, and that’s what the company has delivered.

Whether you are looking for an excellent pair of wireless over-the-ear headphones that sound fantastic and get excellent battery life, or you are looking for a headset that excels in voice recognition and video calls, or you want a pair of gambling headphones that scream quality in every regard, you aren’t going to find a better or more versatile pair of over-the-ear headphones than the Master & Dynamic MG20 Gaming Headphones.

I’ve been impressed and find myself reaching for the MG20 as much or more than any of the other headphones available to me.

The Master & Dynamic MG20 Gaming Headphones retail for $449; they are available directly from the manufacturer.

Source: Manufacturer supplied review sample

What I Like: Quality materials and craftsmanship; Maintains M&D’s design language but takes it in a new direction; Excellent, physical on-headphone controls; Detachable boom microphone increases the quality of audio capture; Amazing battery life; Includes a low-latency USB adapter

What Needs Improvement: Some USB-C cables may not charge the headphones properly; The detachable boom microphone might be easy to lose; They are pricey

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About the Author

Dan Cohen
Having a father who was heavily involved in early laser and fiber-optical research, Dan grew up surrounded by technology and gadgets. Dan’s father brought home one of the very first video games when he was young and Dan remembers seeing a “pre-release” touchtone phone. (When he asked his father what the “#” and “*” buttons were his dad said, “Some day, far in the future, we’ll have some use for them.”) Technology seemed to be in Dan’s blood but at some point he took a different path and ended up in the clergy. His passion for technology and gadgets never left him. Dan is married to Raina Goldberg who is also an avid user of Apple products. They live in New Jersey with their golden doodle Nava.