Master & Dynamic has been making high-end headphones for a while; some of them are okay, others are great. But this is the first time they’ve entered speaker territory. The concrete behemoth in question is the MA770, with a price to match: $1,800.
Pre-orders start today, with shipping in mid-May. Besides the material, it’s the first time I’m seeing this many connection options: a 3.5mm audio jack, optical, Bluetooth with aptX and WiFi with Chromecast support.
I had a chance to visit the M&D headquarters in Midtown Manhattan to spoke with CEO Jonathan Levine. “We always planned to make a speaker,” he said. The physical design that made use of concrete was a wonder project, but was actualized by none other than Sir David Adjaye, whose most recent work was the National Museum of African-American History in Culture, located in Washington D.C.[gallery ids="1477988,1477989,1477990,1477991,1477992,1477993"]
I had a short listening session with the MA770, where Levin encouraged me to put it on full blast despite being in an office full of working employees. I listened to “HUMBLE” by Kendrick Lamar on Spotify Premium — it was banging, to say the least. The deep, warm-bodied sounds and clear vocals I heard were produced by a 1.5″ titanium dome tweeter and dual 4″ woven Kevlar long throw woofers.
The whole thing weighs 35 pounds/16kg and is amplified by 100W class D 3 discrete channels. While those are all specs only audiophiles care about, it translates to controlling the sound on an entire floor.
When I asked Levine if he sees the MA770 as being a studio speaker with as much permeation in the market among artists and studios, like the headphones that came before it, he said that was up in the air. At first he said, M&D plans to market the MA770 to audiophiles, museums and “luxury spaces”, but not ruling out studios entirely.
When I asked Levine what other streaming services the MA770 supported, he mentioned Tidal, Pandora, Soundcloud and Deezer — but not Apple Music, at least not yet.