Amid all the talk of Apple’s rumored acquisition of Beats, another headphones company quietly entered the market this month. Master & Dynamic is the brainchild of Jonathan Levine, who realized that of all the headphones on the market, none had branding that spoke directly to creatives.
Apple buds are convenient, because, well, a pair comes with our phones. Beats have cred among athletes. And then there are tons of products for audio junkies. But nothing for your average creative office worker.
To make Master & Dynamic the go-to brand for creative, mobile types, Levine isn’t just making headphones available for retail. He’s launching a tiered media campaign around the new headphones. First up is a video series (the inaugural episode features musicians Majical Cloudz.) Second is Levine’s collaboration with New York shared workspace NeueHouse. (Designed by David Rockwell, the venue was crafted for the "solopreneur," such as, for example, a media company CEO who splits his or her time between New York, London, and Los Angeles.) NeueHouse will be stocked with Master & Dynamic headsets, and Levine is building loaner kits for members who keep a more permanent space but who still travel between different cities. It’s all intended to, as Levine puts it, "enhance the modern creative workspace."
The company isn't just slanting a product around branding. The industrial design genuinely backs up the product. Levine added a mini boom microphone (something other headphones don’t often include) so that workers can seamlessly switch between listening to music and taking conference calls. It's a smart outcome of a thoughtful design process.
From a visual perspective, Master & Dynamic headsets channel the aesthetic of an old-timey radio—thanks to grills on the ears and a leather and metal combination (no plastic). "Before I started this project or even considered going into the premium audio and headphone business, I found a great pair of vintage WWII pilot’s headsets, that hung in my office for years," Levine tells Co.Design. The retro looks aren’t just a design fetish, either. Levine is banking on durability. "I loved the combination of materials: metal, rubber, leather, and chamois. "Nothing would make me prouder than to have our products decorating someone’s home or office in 50-plus years."
Master & Dynamic's over-the-ear headphone start at $350. Shop here.