A little over a week ago, I sat opposite three of the gentlemen behind Master & Dynamic: Matt, Drew, and Scott. They wore plaid and limned cool. Averaging their ages results in the number 30. I wore stripes and fronted a steadily greying buzz cut. Averaging my age results in the number 34.
Here’s what they look like:
Master & Dynamic’s pre-production MH40 headphones had already captured my attention. I love the super-soft, comfortable pads, the light-footed headband, the strong frames. And, I really dig their intimate and punchy sound.
But my chat with Matt, Drew, and Scott revealed quite a bit more about the company that gels with my better sensibilities.
M&D: Master & Dynamic
HFN: One of those big tech sites called your headphones ‘retro’. Let’s get it out into the open. Are they ‘retro’?
M&D: We gave our headphones a timeless, industrial look, and didn’t shoot for ‘retro’ per se.
HFN: Okay, but what if I were to say something like ‘bandwagon’?
MD: Bandwagons are an easy out. We’re into harnessing timelessness, in designing for the future. Bandwagons don’t really look that far ahead. There are a lot of design bandwagons out there. But we just care about creating classic sound tools that get people excited.
HFN: Um, but what if you just had to do a bandwagon- what colour would it be?
M&D: Well, yellow is our only real brand colour, so I guess our bandwagon would be yellow.
HFN: What’s this emphasis on ‘work’ I keep seeing in your marketing literature?
M&D: We’ve created these phones for the creative class. From techies to artists, musicians, designers. People that would use headphones to help them to create. Not necessarily for the office. For their creative space. Something that puts them into a creative space- or music if you will. Headphones have become a modern office. Put on a pair of headphones and you are transformed into a creative mindset.
HFN: What deficiencies are there in the headphone market?
M&D: Before we even get to audiophile headphones, we have to mention the headphone market in general. Many headphones out there are made poorly. We wanted to make sure our headphones were built from the best possible materials. There is a lot of plastic headphones on the market marketed. Others lack good hardware. We are using the most premium materials and melding them with a sophisticated design. That attention to detail is what we feel is lacking in the market, and what we are bringing to it. It is rare that a brand can tell a unique design story. We want our headphones both to sound and look beautiful.
If you take most of the headphone’s on the market now and melt down the plastic in them, you will get something about the size of a baseball. If you take the plastic from our headphones and melt it down, you will get something the size of a pea. We want our headphones to last for years. That’s why we used anodised aluminium, PVD coatings, use lambskin instead of synthetic leather, and more. Trust me on the lambskin: it feels great and lasts for ages.
HFN: And what about sound?
It continues on the next page!