Master & Dynamic, the three-year-old New York startup, has quickly made an impression among aficionados for its headphones and earbuds. It also has a way with collaborations, including standouts with the Rolling Stones, Bamford Watch Department, and Leica Camera. Now, for its first venture into the world of speakers, Master & Dynamic has enlisted Sir David Adjaye, whose National Museum of African American History and Culture opened in Washington last year. The architect upends the category with the MA770, a striking 35-pound, 16-by-20-inch countertop unit made of concrete composite.
In spirit and price, the $1,800 MA770 belongs in the rarefied class of speakers that includes the $1,990 Devialet Phantom and the $1,399 Naim Mu-so, both of which also demand to be seen as much as heard. The MA770 is Wi-Fi and Bluetooth enabled and can be paired with a second one, but the system isn’t part of a mix-and-match constellation of speakers such as those made by Sonos Inc. or Bose Corp. For that reason, Master & Dynamic uses Google Inc.’s popular Chromecast streaming platform instead of a proprietary app—eliminating a frustrating learning curve that can hamper the use of most high-end equipment.
The sound that comes out of the MA770 is remarkably full. The two 4-inch woven Kevlar woofers and 1.5-inch titanium tweeter render vocals and high notes vividly, whether you’re listening to a favorite concerto or if, like Adjaye, a former DJ, you prefer Nina Simone and Fela Kuti. Configuration via the Google Home app is easy, and the speaker is recognized in Spotify, Pandora, and Tidal, among other platforms. The stylish concrete shell absorbs vibrations even when the diamond-cut, anodized aluminum controls are turned all the way up.