Master & Dynamic is a relatively new company in the headphone space, but it has quickly grown to become one of the most well-respected new headphone companies — and for good reason. Not only are its headphones beautifully designed, but they sound great. We recently took a look at the ME01 in-ears, which ended up scoring an excellent 8.4/10 and winning the Headphone Review Silver Medal. Now, we’re looking at the model one step up from the ME01 — the Master & Dynamic ME03 in-ear headphones.
But can the headphones live up to the increasingly valuable Master & Dynamic name? Are they worth the $30 increase over the ME01? We put them to the test to find out.
The first thing you’ll notice about the Master & Dynamic ME03 headphones is their design, and they’re stunningly beautiful. They don’t look all that different from the ME01’s — but that’s not a bad thing at all, and in fact hints that the advantages to these headphones come in the form of better sound quality.
Still, there are a few subtle differences to notice. They’re slightly sleeker and thinner, and instead of a solid metal plate on the back, there’s a grill, which looks quite nice.
The headphones are available in two colors — black or “gunmetal,” and both of them look awesome. We’re reviewing the gunmetal pair, which is super sleek. Perhaps the best word you could use to describe these headphones is “premium.” That, however, is something that shows in Master & Dynamic’s entire range.
Partway down the right-hand cable you’ll find a small microphone, and under that, where the two sides meet, you’ll have access to a control module — which offers volume up and volume down buttons, as well as a central multi-use button.
The headphones are packaged exactly like the ME01’s. In the box, they’re wrapped around a circular foam mold, which sits nice and tightly into a leather case. In that case, you’ll also find three extra pairs of eartips — bringing the total included to four pairs. You’ll also get a small clip, and a nice fabric carry pouch.
The Master & Dynamic ME03 headphones look beautiful — which we absolutely expected from the company. They’re well-built, too, and feature a nice slew of accessories.
In-ear headphones often have a tough time being comfortable, but Master & Dynamic has managed to ensure that despite their form-factor, the Master & Dynamic ME03’s are relatively comfortable. The in-ear units themselves are quite small and sleek, which is very helpful in ensuring their comfort, and the headphones come with a nice number of eartips.
We would highly recommend you try out the different eartips included with the headphones. As it turned out, the pre-installed ones were a little too large for my use, but the pair slightly smaller worked perfectly. Not only does finding the right pair ensure comfort, but it also helps prevent the headphones from falling out, which can be a little frustrating during use.
In general, the Master & Dynamic ME03 in-ear headphones are much more comfortable than most other in-ears. They’re never going to be as comfortable as a pair of good over-ear headphones — but no one expects them to either.
Perhaps the most important thing to consider about a pair of headphones is how they sound, and the Master & Dynamic ME03 headphones sound quite good — but not perfect, by any means.
Let’s start with the bass, which is deep, powerful, and present. It’s not overdone either — while there is excellent bass presence, the headphones sound natural and accurate. Finding the right eartips here is paramount to achieving the right bass sound — the headphones need to have a proper seal in order to truly deliver the best sound they can, and without it the bass will be seriously lacking. With it, however, you’ll be in heaven. Of course, some mega-bass fans might wish there was a little more bass — but the rest of us will love what these have on offer.
The midrange on the Master & Dynamic ME03 headphones is quite well-tuned. It’s definitely a little top-heavy — that’s to say the high-mids are a little more boosted than the lower mids, but there’s still a good amount of warmth in the midrange. We would have liked to see a little less of a boost in the high-mids — but it’s not overdone by any means, and the headphones still sound very good.
The high-end is clear and crisp, and sounds quite good. Vocals and synths cut through the mix well, while cymbals have that sheen that we want to hear. The high frequencies are often overlooked by headphones manufacturers, but that doesn’t seem to be the case here.
Overall, the Master & Dynamic ME03 headphones sound great. They offer plenty of bass for almost all uses, the midrange is nicely tuned, and the high-end helps give the music a nice amount of clarity. Perhaps the only downside in the sound department is the fact that the cable is a little noisy — but when you’re listening to music that shouldn’t be a huge issue.
The Master & Dynamic ME03 in-ear headphones are well-designed, and generally comfortable, but the best thing about them is the sound. When worn correctly, they offer excellent depth and clarity — more so than most other in-ear headphones on the market.
So should you shell out the extra cash for the ME03’s over the ME01’s? In our opinion, absolutely — though at the time of this writing the headphones are on special for $99, which is even less than the ME01’s. The slightly refined design and better sound quality is well worth the cash.
Because of their excellent design, high comfort-level, and the fact that they sound awesome, we’ve awarded the Master & Dynamic ME03 headphones the Headphone Review Silver Medal.
|Master & Dynamic||$159|
|Frequency response||Unknown||Active noise cancellation
|Driver size||8mm||Noise attenuation||Unknown|
|Total harmonic distortion
|Rated input power
|Maximum input power
||No||Cable length||1.2m (4ft)|
||3.5mm||Case type||Leather hard case, canvas pouch|