Master & Dynamic MA770 speaker review: casting to concrete never sounded so good

Speakers and art are generally separate entities. The most
important thing about a speaker is how it sounds, with looks being
a distant second priority. However, that’s not all a speaker can
be. Some speakers are art. The Master & Dynamic MA770 is art,
and that’s a bit hard to understand unless you see one in person.
Suddenly
that $1,800 price tag
makes just a bit more sense.

Overview

Build quality

Built in partnership with architect Sir David Adjaye, Master
& Dynamic MA770 wireless speaker is made entirely out of a
proprietary blend of concrete and hand finished to perfection.
Concrete is an oddball choice for a speaker but M&D claims that
its material blend has exceptional acoustic benefits, like
dampening (you can place a turntable right next to it and it
won’t skip). It’s true that it can play at a crazy loud volume
without vibrating. The finish of the concrete is smooth and
beautiful. It’s really a sight to behold, which is not something
I say about products often. It’s eye-catching yet subtle enough
to fit into most houses, and it’s really something that’s a
pleasure to stare at and even to touch. It very much doubles as
art.

The woofers and tweeters are secured by individual screws, each
of which has M&D engravings around the outside. That’s great
attention to detail.

The panel below is made out of aluminum and has the volume
buttons, pause button, and a source button. Near the source button
is text for the four sources and a white LED next to each to
indicate what source is selected.

Included is a magnetic steel grille that you can attach to the
front if you wish. It’s both for aesthetics and protection of the
exposed drivers, but you can rock the bare speaker if you prefer
it.

Sound quality

As beautiful as the MA770 speaker is, it has to sound good too.
Master & Dynamic doesn’t skimp on sound though. The custom
dual 4-inch woven Kevlar long throw woofers are front-firing with a
bass port in the back. Above them is a 1.5-inch titanium
tweeter.

Titanium tweeters are lighter than aluminum, thus performing
better on paper. Many would call metal tweeters “bright,” and
while this isn’t necessarily a rule, they do tend to generally be
brighter. This means that highs will be super clear and detailed at
the risk of becoming shrill or harsh.

Fortunately, Master & Dynamic has pulled off an awesome high
end of the frequency range. The highs are very bright, but
they’re beautifully detailed and sharp. Despite being bright, I
never found them to be overly harsh after break-in. The highs
sounded brighter and maybe even more detailed
than the $2,400 Phantom Silver
, coming close to the $3,000
Phantom Gold. This focus on bright highs is a sound signature most
consumers love, though it’s usually used to give the illusion of
clarity. Here, the clarity is ridiculous. You can hear every detail
of each song you play, discovering something new every time.

The mids and lows produced by the Kevlar woofers are excellent
but not quite as impressive. You won’t be feeling much low end
punch until you’re going over 60% volume. However, the overall
low end is quite good and well represented at any volume. It’s
also tight and very accurate, never rumbling or distorting. Though
not super powerful, the low end is great and reasonably warm.

The highlight of this speaker is definitely the high end. The
titanium tweeter does some amazing work. Nonetheless, the overall
sound is fairly well balanced. It matches Master & Dynamic’s
classic sound signature very well: an emphasis on highs and a good
balance of mids and lows.

The volume of this speaker is ridiculous. Turn it up past 75%
and you’ll be expecting it to stop, or start distorting. But
there’s no distortion whatsoever, and it gets as loud as the
Phantom Silver. At full volume the woofers are moving quite a bit,
and the bass gets really punchy and you can finally start feeling
it in your chest. Just don’t expect it to shake your house,
because that 100W amplifier is simply not pushing enough power for
a big rumble. Even at full blast there is generally no
distortion.

The MA770 excels for casual listening as well as blasting at
full volume. I definitely wish the low end punch was stronger to
match the beautiful highs though, as below 60% volume the lack of
punch makes the music feel a bit empty in the low end and this is
where the speaker will spend most of its life playing music. This
is no trouble at higher volumes though. It’s a surprise how much
sound M&D managed to squeeze out of 100 watts and a chunk of
concrete.

Keep in mind that the speaker won’t sound perfect from day
one. It’ll start off shrill and harsh, lacking low end and
detail. The drivers need some time to break in, and over the course
of the first 10 hours of use, the sound will get warmer and the
harsh tones will go away.

And hey, if you want stereo sound with better separation, you
can wirelessly hook two of these up and use them at the same time
via the built-in Chromecast!

Features

The key feature of this speaker is the integrated Chromecast.
Most speakers rely on Bluetooth, and though the MA770 has
Bluetooth, it’s not the way you should be listening to music. As
great as Bluetooth is, it’s very flawed and has a relatively
short range and inferior sound quality. The Chromecast allows you
to cast music from your favorite app directly to the speaker
without having to worry about keeping your phone close by. It’s
just so simple and elegant. You can also ask your Google Home to
play music through the MA770.

Many high-end speakers have proprietary apps that require local
music, so seeing such a consumer-friendly feature is a huge breath
of fresh air. If you really want to use Bluetooth, you have that
option. You can also use hard wired connections like 3.5mm and
optical, switchable via the “Source” button on the front.
Unfortunately, you’ll have to get up to switch the source if you
want to go from Chromecast to optical to watch a movie.

Strangely, 3.5mm and optical cables are not included. It’s a
shame because M&D cables that come with their headphones are
magnificent.


Master & Dynamic MA770
Rating:
star_fullstar_fullstar_fullstar_fullstar_50
(4.5 / 5)
The Good

  • Sounds amazing
  • Highs are especially brilliant
  • Incredible build quality and materials
  • Chromecast is a huge selling point
The Bad

  • Could sound a bit better for the price
  • No included 3.5mm and optical cables
  • No remote

Let’s ignore sound for a second. This thing is akin to a
decoration, a piece of art. Covering the sculpted rear is a real
shame, but the front is so beautiful and eye-catching. Even when
it’s not playing music it just looks great and accents a living
room beautifully. Is that odd to say about a device that’s meant
for playing music? Extremely. It might even be bordering on
pretentious. But this is the kind of product that’s more than
just a speaker. Not everyone will agree or care, but it’s
important to point out how much work went into its aesthetic
design.

Not to worry though, because the Master & Dynamic MA770 is
an awesome speaker. It’s easy to use thanks to the built-in
Chromecast, versatile thanks to the four inputs, and unbelievably
loud. You can use it for parties as background music or for rocking
out to your favorite music at full volume, as long as your
neighbor’s walls are far enough away. That’s my favorite part
about the speaker. It’s versatile. It can be used for both casual
listening and going all out.

It’s an expensive product. If you want the ultimate sound, you
can absolutely get better for the price. But if you want an amazing
speaker that’s easy to use and looks gorgeous, this is the one.

You can pick one up in the natural concrete color or in a deep
black right here
.

Source: FS – Phones
Master & Dynamic MA770 speaker review: casting to concrete never sounded so good