With the Master & Dynamic MG20, the American headphone specialist adds a versatile gaming headset to its range which can be operated via wireless, Bluetooth and cable. In addition to a high-quality choice of materials, these semi-open over-ears are characterised by a warm, powerful sound tuning, with 7.1 surround sound and a detachable boom microphone among their features.
As soon as you unpack the Master & Dynamic MG20 gaming headset, you will notice with satisfaction that hardly any plastic elements have been used. The choice of components is sophisticated: from the magnesium ear cups to the lambskin ear padding, which, thanks to the use of magnetic pins, is easy to replace if necessary. The build quality of these headphones, which are available in white or black colour options, seems beyond reproach and conveys an overall impression of good value.
For longer periods of use, the wearing comfort benefits from a loose rather than tight fit, while sufficient stability is provided for outdoor use in Bluetooth mode. The stepless size adjustment of the headband covers a wide range of head sizes, from very small to large, especially as the swivelling and tilting ear cups can be flexibly adjusted. However, we noticed that the ear pads, with an inner size of 40 millimetres in width and 57 millimetres in height, did not offer a particularly large amount of space, which might cause problems for those with larger ears.
Multiple connection options
Wireless operation of the MG20 from Master & Dynamic is intended for gaming sessions on the PC as well as on the Playstation 4 and 5, which enables high synchronicity of picture and sound as well as a stable range of up to ten metres. In addition, these over-ears support Bluetooth 5.0, including high-quality audio codecs such as the AAC format, aptX, aptX HD and aptX Low Latency. This means that this compact gaming headset can also be used in everyday life for listening to music, watching films or mobile gaming. In Bluetooth use, the MG20s bridged distances of twelve metres within an urban environment without any problems, and there was not any bother even across several rooms indoors.
Parallel use via wireless and Bluetooth is also possible so that you don’t miss any calls, and app settings can be made when diving into the gaming action. Multipoint connections with two Bluetooth devices at the same time, such as a smartphone and tablet, are also supported, although the implementation seemed somewhat awkward, as both devices first have to be paired individually one after the other and only then can they work together. Consoles such as the Xbox or Switch, on the other hand, can be connected via cable, which is done with the headphones switched on rather than passively, so that the surround mode and controls are made available. For this purpose, a two-metre-long USB-C to 3.5 mm audio cable is included.
The MG20 gaming headset has a total of three buttons and two rotary controls, which allow the volume of the playback and microphone to be adjusted separately. Another clever feature is that the microphone technology can be activated or deactivated by pressing the dial, and a red LED on the microphone arm signals muting. Fine adjustments, as well as quick volume increases and decreases, were possible via the rotary wheel.
A multifunction button on the right-hand side is used to control playback and to answer and end phone calls, and by holding it down this can also be used to call up a voice assistant. In addition, there is a track selection function that allows you to skip forward by pressing twice and backwards by pressing three times. The 7.1 button on the left earpiece is exclusively for surround mode. These over-ears can also be switched on and paired via the Bluetooth button, and the battery status is indicated by an LED when the system is started. In wired mode, a battery life of more than 20 hours seems realistic, while the MG20 Gaming Headset achieves a battery life of about 16 hours when used wirelessly or by Bluetooth. The headphones can be used while charging, and this was easy to implement thanks to the two-metre USB-C to USB-A charging cable.
In comparison to competitors, the range of functions of the M&D Connect app (Android and iOS) is rather lacking. Only two pre-configured pre-sets are available for sound adjustment, both of which affect the bass reproduction by either lowering or raising the lower frequency range. There is no way to make your own settings. In this respect, an EQ section would be a desirable addition. Otherwise, the personalisation options of the MG20 by Master & Dynamic are limited to individual naming and a timer function. Firmware updates can also be made via the app.
Speech quality of the microphones
For mobile Bluetooth use, the MG20 gaming headset has integrated microphones that offer solid voice intelligibility when making calls, although voice reproduction on both sides of the call seemed murky rather than bright. The internal microphone technology can be muted and the volume can be adjusted via a rotary control. Background noise is attenuated so that your own voice remains intelligible in a busier setting. However, the filtering does not work silently, which means that the person on the other end of the line will perceive a choppy, metallic whirring.
When the detachable boom microphone with a pop shield is mounted, the speech quality increases significantly. The microphone arm transmits your own voice noticeably more neutrally and with greater clarity, especially as ambient noise from the other side of the conversation is not perceptible during speech.
For action-packed gaming and movie watching, the MG20 gaming headset’s 50mm beryllium drivers deliver an imposing bass response that reaches deep down and it is set up to be full-bodied, even in the low end. Despite the rich bass range, the reproduction of cannon blasts or thunder and lightning during a storm is precise and powerful, as well as rich, reverberant and rolling, and the representation is spatial appealingly due to the semi-open design. This makes for an engaging listening experience with a high fun factor when gaming and watching films but it only works to a limited extent with bass-oriented music productions as the low-frequency range can sometimes seem a little muffled.
While the basic sound of these over-ears is characterised by a powerful bass reproduction, in surround mode the accentuation shifts to the upper registers and this conveys a rather bright listening impression, especially as the low-frequency range seems distinctly reduced. In my opinion, the open, uncluttered midrange of the basic tuning offered much better localisation and a higher level of detail than the 7.1 surround sound. In surround mode, the imaginary stage seemed more expansive and moved from the head more into the room, but the sound image seemed rather diffuse and reverberant. In contrast, the individual signals in the basic sound were cleanly separated, exposed and finely resolved. Differences were also reflected in the reproduction of voices, which had impeccable, high speech intelligibility in standard operation.
In contrast to the striking treble reproduction in Surround Mode, which might be perceived as harsh at higher volume levels, the basic tuning of these headphones presented as being rather benign in the upper reaches. This gaming headset certainly had a present, agile treble presentation that skilfully sets accents, but it did not come across as loud at all and reproduced sibilants unobtrusively.
For a high-priced gaming headset, the Master & Dynamic MG20 offers few personalisation options via its app and markedly lacks an EQ section. The added value of the treble-heavy 7.1 surround mode also seems rather limited for gaming sessions on a PC or console. On the other hand, the elegant choice of materials and the wide range of connection options via wireless, Bluetooth and cable are plus points. Especially as these semi-open over-ears with their rich, multi-faceted basic sound are appealing for more than just gaming and have good all-rounder qualities.
- interchangeable ear pads
- usable via wireless, Bluetooth and cable
- separate volume control for playback and microphone
- speech intelligibility via microphone arm
- support AAC, aptX, aptX HD and aptX LL
- extensive accessories package
- App functionality with room for improvement
- awkward use of multipoint connections
- treble-heavy surround sound
- Ear couplingOver-ear
- Transducer principledynamic
- Impedance32 ohms
- Weight without cable311 g
What's in the box
- 2m USB-C to 3.5mm audio cable
- 2m USB-C to USB-A charging cable
- Audio splitter
- Detachable microphone boom
- Pop shield
- Low-latency USB adapter
- Travel pouch
- Available in black and white
- BT codecs: SBC, AAC, aptX, aptX HD, aptX LL
- BT version: 5.0