MASTER & DYNAMIC MG 20 WIRELESS GAMING HEADSET Review | How about a bit of high-end?

 Master & Dynamic is certainly not the best-known manufacturer in this country. The audio manufacturer from New York has only existed since 2013 and only started trying to gain a foothold in the German market in 2018. After various headphones, Master & Dynamic is now also trying to find happy customers with the gaming headsets, but is not satisfied with the grab bag corner, but starts with the MG 20 Wireless right away in the posh corner.


If you want to clip the Master & Dynamic MG 20 Wireless Gaming Headset to your home computer, you should have a well-stocked petty cash account. At 449 euros, the MG 20 clearly belongs to the Champions League of gaming headsets in terms of price, which of course immediately raises the question of whether the headset also belongs there in terms of performance. We were also curious about it, which is why we pushed for a test copy, which has finally arrived with us after a slight delay.


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The MG 20 collects a stack of eco-points as soon as it is unpacked. You will look in vain for plastic of any kind in the packaging, which looks quite classy. Everything is stored in a nice, sustainable, and safe way in cardboard materials, that's how we like it. The scope of delivery is also impressive and promises a lot. USB dongle for wireless operation, USB-C to USB-A charging cable, detachable microphone arm, pop protection. We first look at the USB-C to 3.5 mm jack connection cable with the included Y-switch to two jack plugs with some irritation. It works, but only with the headset turned on. Pure offline cable operation does not exist here.


MASTER & DYNAMIC MG 20 WIRELESS GAMING HEADSET Review | How about a bit of high-end?

The wireless connection via USB dongle works perfectly on the PC or PlayStation, but of course not on the Xbox. We know the problem. It also works wirelessly on all BlueTooth-capable devices such as smartphones or tablets, with AAC and aptX HD being supported in pure BlueTooth operation, and in combined operation with a USB dongle and BlueTooth, the headset retracts the latter slightly and switches to an aptX -Low latency mode.


The headset itself is pleasingly light at 322 grams including the microphone but is extremely robust. Master & Dynamic relies on high-quality materials. Such as a soft headrest with Alcantara or ear cushions with lambskin leather. Uiuiui. The good piece is also comfortable. Nicely adjustable and tight enough even without a ratchet, the microphone can be positioned perfectly, the ear cups can be hung up so that they can be rotated and even long gaming sessions are no problem. The earpads are attached with magnets and can be replaced if necessary if they are completely worn out.


The service includes the essentials. On the left, there is a volume control for the microphone and a mute function when you press it, a button for 7.1 modes and a combination button for switching on and pairing with a dongle and BlueTooth, as well as a colored LED that tells you what your battery charge level looks like when you switch it on. On the right side, there is the normal volume control as well as a button for music control and for phone calls.


The battery is supposed to last up to 22 hours, we came up with about 20 hours in the test. Always depends on volume and microphone usage. Use with a charging cable connected at the same time is not a problem. The loading times are moderate. The headset is half charged within about 30 minutes, and full charging takes about 90 minutes.


There is also a mobile app for iOS and Android, but it is extremely minimalistic. You can only do firmware updates with it, plus three EQ presets (No EQ, E-Sports, and Bass Boost). Own EQ settings or presets are not provided. You can also set the waiting time for standby mode. That's it. There is nothing more and you will look in vain for PC software with additional setting options. Practical, by the way: the headset goes into standby after the specified time when you put it down, but automatically starts up again when you put it on.


Before we get into the sound, a few words about the microphone. The detachable, easily positionable microphone arm delivers a fairly clean, clear, and easily understandable voice transmission in voice chat. Not necessarily outstanding, but on a very good level and certainly not a weak point. There is also an integrated microphone as a backup for Bluetooth operation on the smartphone, which also does a decent job.


The MG 20 is equipped with 50mm drivers with beryllium coating and they score points very quickly. The drivers pamper your listeners in two sound modes, namely normal stereo mode and 7.1 sound. The latter sounds pleasingly good and gives your sound a much broader stage, even if the directional perception is not quite as brilliant - albeit at a high level. But it still works really well, especially in open game worlds or in films. However, it depends heavily on the audio source, and the 7.1 modes often sounded a bit too hollow and reverberant to us.


In terms of sound, the MG 20 is one of the best we've had in the gaming headset segment so far. This is already evident in the first test, namely music on the smartphone and on the PC. The sound is simply brilliant and extremely detailed. The headset already scores points with the dry, powerful bass and the clear highs, where not a hi-hat hit goes under. It sacrifices a bit of warmth and balance in favor of a quite unique sound thanks to slightly aggressive upper mids, but never in a way that is annoying. For me, as a listener who tends to be more progressive, it's quite a pleasure, because no detail is really lost, but there's still enough punch.


Even with films and videos, the MG 20 does not show any weaknesses and brings the sounds powerfully into the ears without having to forego good speech intelligibility. The 7.1 mode, which makes everything a bit wider and more open, scores points, especially with more monumental works. The same basically applies to gaming, even if Dolby Atmos or Windows Sonic do a better job with surround sound than the 7.1 modes of the MG 20.


Despite the high price, you have to do without some features. Active Noise Cancellation? none. Game chat balance? Also non-existent. Combined with the fact that the rather minimalist headset also does not allow its own EQ settings, it turned out to be too expensive for our taste. The simultaneous streaming of audio sources via BlueTooth and dongle didn't really work either.


CONCLUSION

Powerful, but too minimalistic for the luxury price
Master & Dynamic's first foray into the world of gaming headsets isn't bad at all. Above all, the clean, clear stereo sound and the luxurious workmanship are convincing and do justice to the high price. I like the clear, slightly aggressive, and immensely detailed sound portfolio of the MG 20 and was pleasantly surprised that it cuts a really good figure, especially with music - you can tell in which area Master & Dynamic usually places the emphasis. The MG 20 has little trouble boxing most of its competitors out of the ring.

Nevertheless, the MG 20 doesn't manage to fully convince me and fulfill my dream of the perfect headset. On the one hand, this is due to the rather mediocre 7.1 sound, which lags behind solutions such as Dolby Atmos or Windows Sonic. On the other hand, I miss some features that would actually be mandatory at this price level - such as ANC, game chat balance, or parallel audio streaming via BlueTooth and dongle (if it does offer that: it didn't work for me). It's also a shame that the mobile app doesn't offer much and that there isn't even a PC app for your own EQ presets and settings.

The bottom line is a minimalist-luxurious, very good-sounding, and quite comfortable headset, which lacks some features in view of its exorbitant price that even significantly cheaper headsets can easily offer.

Pros
  • high-quality workmanship and materials
  • sustainable packaging
  • good connectivity
  • very decent microphones
  • clean, detailed sound
  • powerful, not overpowering basses, slightly aggressive mids, clear highs
  • solid battery life
  • good wearing comfort
Cons
  • mediocre 7.1 mode
  • very expensive
  • no game chat balance
  • no active noise cancellation
  • parallel streaming via dongle and BlueTooth doesn't really work
  • meager (iOS/Android) to nonexistent (PC) apps

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