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Master & Dynamic MG20 Review aptX LL Gaming Heaphones With Multipoint

 

Master & Dynamic jazz up the gaming world with style with the new MG20 - a stealthy pair of gaming headphones that don't scream gaming headset! 


In fact, up close and personal, the MG20 does not strike as a gaming headset until the boom arm microphone is attached. This is actually a strong selling point for the MG20 headset because you can confidently wear the headphones when commuting or walking around in town without raising too many eyebrows like you would with the average gaming headset! Right of the gate, the MG2 headset is a winner against the competition by making virtual 7.1 surround sound easily accessible without the need for software. The 7.1 sound function is integrated as a dedicated button on the earcup to toggle between 7.1 sound and standard stereo audio on the fly without having to run a desktop application, which is super convenient.


The MG20 detachable boom arm integrates a neat looking microphone capsule that looks like a mini retro style microphone. The mic capsule is made of metal and integrates a visible fine mesh grille and a mute status led below it. The boom arm is covered with a soft silicone sheath and made of memory wire so, you can keep the boom arm bent at any angle you like. The MG20 boom arm microphone attaches to the headset via a 2.5mm plug connector. The boom arm plug connector has an interesting design. It is made of a metal cylindrical part and a square white piece with a 45-degree angle, which plugs snugly and securely below the left earcup. A foam windshield is included to cover the mic capsule and minimize unwanted noise popping sounds. The MG20 boom arm weighs 10 grams and measures 12.5cm long.


As far as the microphone sound quality, it is clear, natural sounding and with high amplification so, you don't have to scream into the microphone. The microphone quality is studio grade with noise filtering so, you can use it for professional recordings, as well as for working from home calls. The MG20 also integrates a secondary microphone internally onboard the earcup so, you can still take calls without using the boom arm mic. The quality of the internal on-board mic is good, although not as good as the boom arm mic.


The MG20 earcup tilt has a short travel, as well as swivel, although the earcups do not fully rotate to 90 degrees, which means the earcups do not sit completely flat. The 3cm wide headband feels like it's made of plastic and, it's covered with canvas fabric material (on top) and soft alcantara fabric underneath it. The headband padding is split into cell sections, which looks stylish and also functional for minimizing hot spot on top of the head.



Aesthetically, the MG20 headphones look very similar to other Master & Dynamic headphones - same earcup design and magnetically detachable earpads, which are way more easier to remove and attach than any other type of replaceable earpads. The MG20 uses similar earpads so, you can potentially interchange them with the MW65/MW60 headphones earpads. Being made of real leather, the MG20 earpads are more comfortable for longer listening times as they do not heat up as much as PU leather earpads and should last longer too. The MG20 weight is adequate for a gaming headset - 314 grams - and has a low clamping force headband. The earpads weigh 24 grams each and are made of springy memory foam padding with a fine mesh to protect the drivers. The earpad dimensions are 5.5cm high, 4cm wide and 2cm deep.


Master & Dynamic has kept the MG20 headset as premium looking as the other headphones in their line up but with some differences though. The MG20 earcups are made of magnesium metal, while the swivel/tilt arm mechanism is made of solid aluminum metal. The MG20 headband inner band adjustment works similarly sliding in and out securely via friction. There aren't any fancy RGB lights built-in anywhere on the headset.

More metal construction can be found on the earcups volume wheel and microphone volume wheel with centre button for muting the mic. The volume wheels are made of mill textured anodized aluminum and integrate encoders with infinite spin - similar to a mouse scrolling wheel. There are two plastic buttons for 7.1 sound and bluetooth on the left earcup and another button (on the right earcup) for audio playback control. The bluetooth button integrates an amber led which stays lit up during audio playback.



The biggest selling points for the MG20 gaming headset are the sound, premium looks and stealthy design, making them a "sleeper" gaming headset that you could wear outdoors without screaming gamer! The MG20 also comes with mobile app (M&D app) support, which is unusual for a gaming headset but more convenient to use than desktop software. The M&D app gives you access to three sound presets to tailor the sound signature to your needs. The sound presets include a bass boost mode and an ESPORT mode, which de-emphasizes the bass response so, the midrange is more clear. There is also a "no EQ" mode that delivers a flat, accurate audio reproduction. Given that the EQ mode is main feature of the mobile app, it could have perhaps been added as an extra button on the MG20 headset for user convenience.


The volume can be cranked up very loud and has no distortion at 100% volume. When 7.1 sound is enabled, the sound stage widens noticeably, making everything sound more spacious, which is great for game immersion and directionality. There is no voice prompt to alert you that 7.1 sound is enabled and the button does not light up either. You can enable 7.1 sound in wireless and wired modes. There are some limitations to the M&D app too. There is no sidetone, no custom EQ mode and no button remapping, which would have been useful for swapping buttons around.


The MG20 headset can be used three ways: via cable, bluetooth and 2.4Ghz wireless via the included wireless adapter, which is a long USB-A dongle with a white status led on the front. The wireless dongle provides better battery life, lower latency and more stable wirelessly signal than bluetooth connection. That said, the MG20 bluetooth 5.0 chip does support multipoint dual connectivity, as well as AAC, aptX-HD and aptX Low Latency codecs, so, you can still enjoy low latency wireless gaming via a phone.


Battery life is around 20 hours with fast charge support, which charges the MG20 headset to 50% in just half an hour. For wired mode, the MG20 headset connects via the USB-C port to a 3.5mm audio source, which is great if you have a phone with a headphone jack. However, the USB-C port only supports audio transmission between USB-C and 3.5mm connection. If you use a USB-C to USB-C cable to connect to the USB-C port of a phone, it does not work, which is a bit strange.


A canvas pouch is included for transporting the MG20 headphones, although it isn't a hardshell case, which is always better for protecting headphones. The canvas pouch is designed for storing the MG20 headphones and accessories separately on the front facing zippered pouch compartment. The pouch also features a dedicated sleeve for storing the boom arm microphone so, it doesn't scratch the headphones. The soft canvas outer shell feels nice to the touch, although it isn't water resistant and attracts lint like a magnet. The lining material is very soft too, made of fleece like material. The canvas pouch fastens via magnetic connection and opens easily via leather pull tabs.


The included accessories all have Master & Dynamic branding, including the wireless dongle, which supports Windows 8 and newer versions of Windows. The wireless dongle does not work with Windows 7 and older Windows operating systems. 

 

The included cables are of high quality and made of strong braid sheath with metal alloy plug connectors for longevity. The cables include a 3.5mm to USB-C an audio cable (36 grams/1.5 meters), USB-A to USB-C cable (1.5 meters long) and shorter splitter cable (4cm long) for computers with separate microphone and headphone ports. The pouch weighs 113 grams and measures 23cm wide and 26cm long. The mouth of the pouch opens up about 12cm wide, making the pouch very roomy.



The price tag of the MG20 headsetcould be an obstacle facing the MG20 headset, not only against the gaming headset competition but also against other Master and Dynamic headphones. The MG20 is currently priced very similarly to the MW65 headphones and MW60 headphones and, it's also twice more expensive than the MW50+ headphones, which are also wireless.

The MG20 is aimed at the high end gaming market so, it won't be within reach of the average gamer. To entice more gamers though, the MG20 could have included a few other features such as wireless charging and touch control gestures for controlling audio playback. Wireless charging would definitely have worked on the MG20 headphones, thanks to the flat earcup design which allows the MG20 headset to remain upright on a desk with a stand. You can buy the MG20 headset from Master & Dynamic.


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