There’s a place in this world for on-ear headphones, which perch neatly on your lugs and don’t intrude into the ear canals. And there’s a place for over-ear types, which isolate you from most outside noise and those around you from your musical tastes. But there’s no place at all, at least not in my travel bag, for both. Until now, that is. New York’s Master & Dynamic has an ingenious take on its paradigm for on-ear cans, the wired-or-Bluetooth MW50+. It’s such a simple trick it’s hard to imagine why it’s not done more often. The ear cups on M&D headphones are attached magnetically – so why not include interchangeable on-ear and over-ear pads in the pack and, voilà, you have this two-in-one headphone, the MW50+.
One American reviewer complains that the over-ear cups are not magnetised strongly enough and fall off. I thought he had a point until I realised that even once the magnets have gripped, you can push the cups a further 5mm or so in, so Mr Friction also plays a part in holding them firmly on. The audio credentials of the MW50 are already established: they are one of the best on-ear wireless headphones around. Putting on the over-ear cups may for some compromise that fine sound fractionally, but it didn’t trouble me. And the build quality and materials, as with all M&D products I’ve seen, make me wonder how they do it for the price.