In this article, I’m reviewing the Master & Dynamic MG20 wireless gaming headphones. The MG20 features 7.1 surround sound, a detachable boom mic, aptX HD, 50mm Beryllium drivers and more. It retails for $449.
Yes, that is a beefy price for a gaming headset but not unusual for true luxury items. There have long been markets for premium headphones and IEMs so why should gamers be left out in the cold? Admittedly, it’s the gamers with deeper pockets that are the target demographic for the MG20.
Disclaimer: This sample was provided by Master & Dynamic for the purpose of an honest review. All observations and opinions here are my own based on my experience with the product.
Master & Dynamic MG20
Package and Accessories
The MG20 experience begins with the packaging which looks and feels in a word – fancy. Here’s what’s in the box:
- Master & Dynamic headphones
- Detachable boom microphone
- Low-latency USB adapter
- USB-C to USB-A charging cable
- USB-C to 3.5mm input cable
- Headphone pouch
As you would expect for the hefty price, the MG20 looks and feels exquisite. It’s available in black or white and bears a strong resemblance to its MW65 and MH40 siblings. The headphones are crafted from premium materials like Alcantara leather for the headband and magnesium for the earcups.
The earpads are made from lush lambskin leather on the outside and breathable fabric on the inside to help keep your ears cool. They’re attached magnetically and thus are extremely easy to replace if necessary.
The earcups are attached with sturdy metal connectors and swivel 180 degrees so they can be cosily worn around your neck or placed flat on a table. They also tilt slightly and conform naturally to the shape of your head for a comfortable fit.
On the left earcup is the USB-C port used for both charging and wired connection. In addition, there are power/Bluetooth and 7.1 surround toggle buttons. There’s also a connector for the detachable boom microphone and a wheel for controlling the microphone volume.
Speaking of the microphone, it’s gunmetal grey in colour and has a flexible arm. It comes with a detachable pop filter as well. The MG20 also features a built-in microphone that can be used on the go, although it doesn’t sound nearly as good as the boom mic.
The right earcup hosts a metal volume control wheel and a multifunction button for playback and call controls. There is an app available to use with the headphones but the functionality is limited to 3 preset EQ settings (No EQ, Esport and Bass Boost) and a setting for the auto-off timer. The app is not available for Windows or Mac, only iOS and Android.
Bluetooth, Wired Connectivity and Battery Life
Although it’s designed primarily to work with the included low-latency USB adapter, you can also use the MG20 as a standard Bluetooth headphone. Furthermore, you can use the MG20 wired via the included USB-C to 3.5mm cable, however, it should be noted that you still need to power on the headphones to use them with the cable.
You can get around 22 hours of battery life from the MG20 which is reasonable even if not class-leading. The headphones have fast charging and you can get to 50% battery life with 30 minutes of charging.
MG20 has a special battery-saving feature that detects when the headphones are not being worn and puts them into standby mode. You can set the auto-off timer in the app to 10 min, 30min, 1 hour, 3 hours or never.
Calls, Video and Gaming Performance
For chatting with teammates or video conferencing, the MG20’s boom microphone sounds fantastic. It’s crisp and clear with a fairly rich tone and is easy to understand. The built-in microphone array doesn’t sound anywhere near as good though so I’d recommend using the boom mic when possible.
Video and gaming performance is excellent. Using the low-latency USB adapter there is no noticeable delay when watching videos and it’s nearly imperceptible when gaming. Of course, if you’re a professional player FPS player, I’d recommend using the headphones wired but for the average player, the gaming performance is superb.
Master & Dynamic has been making great sounding headphones for years so it should come as no surprise that the MG20 sounds great too. The MG20 gets loud and can pump some serious power from its 50mm Beryllium drivers.
The first impression I get is one of tonal balance – this isn’t your typical boomy bass monster gaming headphone sound. Instead, the tuning is reminiscent of its sibling the MW65 and presents a clear sound that’s on the warmer side of neutral.
For closed-back headphones, the MG20 has a wide soundstage that gets even larger when you activate the 7.1 surround sound. In addition, when the surround sound is activated the sound becomes clearer, more detailed and a tad brighter.
Bass notes are fast and controlled but not especially punchy, although you can use the bass boost EQ setting if you want more impact in the lows. Listening to Solar Fields’ “In Motion (Good Morning edit)”, the resounding bass notes sound epic and enveloping without showing any distortion even at high volume.
The midrange is forward and intimate with clear vocals and gritty electric guitars. The treble is slightly laid back and soft, creating a warm sound rather than a highly detailed or precise one; MG20 is tuned for musicality more than transparency.
As I mentioned earlier, turning on the 7.1 surround sound adds clarity (i.e. treble) and detail but it can get a bit fatiguing with certain types of music. I prefer to leave the 7.1 turned off unless I’m gaming.
So how does the MG20 perform in games? Firing up Amazon’s New World, the MG20 creates an immersive experience as you hear the living world around you. With 7.1 activated the soundstage is noticeably larger and you can more clearly hear the movement of other players or mobs around you. However, I much preferred the meatier thud of my axe chopping down trees in normal mode to the rapping thinness with 7.1 enabled.
Halo Infinite proved to make much better use of the surround sound (in addition to being less boring than New World). I could clearly hear the position of teammates and enemies’ footsteps. I was impressed by the scope of the battle sounds around me and it truly felt like I was playing in a vast large area.
Next up was God of War and the MG20 is a good match for this game too. I could easily tell where the boy Atreus was, even when he ran ahead of me out of view. And when the Draugr erupted from the ground around me it would often make me jump in my seat.
The Master & Dynamic MG20 continues the brands’ legacy of making exquisite premium headphones with great audio quality. It certainly sounds better than most other gaming headsets on the market but I wouldn’t go so far as to say it sounds better than regular headphones in its price range.
With its low-latency USB wireless, Bluetooth and wired connectivity options, the MG20 is versatile and compatible with all kinds of sources. The included boom microphone works well, does a fantastic job of blocking out background and keyboard noise and is perfect for gaming or zoom meetings.
Yes, it’s expensive but it’s still cheaper than a mid-tier graphics card – in that context, it doesn’t seem so steep. If you’re an audiophile you can find better audio quality in similarly priced regular headphones. If you’re just a gamer, there are better value gaming headsets out there. But if you’re an audiophile who likes gaming or simply a gamer with a taste for the finer things in life, the Master & Dynamic MG20 will put a smile on your face.
- Dimensions: 173.83mm x 197.32mm x 84.53mm
- Drivers: 50mm Beryllium
- Impedance: 32 Ohms
- Weight: 312g // 322g with Boom Microphone
- Battery life: 22 hours
- Materials: Alcantara® inner headband / coated canvas outer headband / lambskin leather ear pads / magnesium ear cups / anodized aluminum controls
- Bluetooth Profile: Bluetooth® 5.0 with AAC & Qualcomm® aptX™ HD for music, aptX™ Low-Latency for mobile gaming