B&W MT-50 review

Best style package £1000+, Awards 2015. Small package, hugely impressive sound Tested at £1095

What Hi-Fi? Verdict

Best style package £1000+, Awards 2015. Small package, hugely impressive sound


  • +

    Flexible, compact design

  • +

    crisp, clear, insightful sound

  • +

    great sub/sat integration


  • -

    Struggles to fill huge rooms

  • -

    other subs go deeper

  • -

    pick partnering kit carefully

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The B&W MT range has received many a plaudit over the years. Most recently we gave five stars to the MT-60D package, but £2000 may be a bit steep for some. Which is where the MT-50 package comes in.

The basis of this package are the recently relaunched M-1 satellite speakers, which are very nicely made. While the styling updates are subtle, the matte finish does make for a more sophisticated overall look.

MORE: Awards 2014 - Best speaker packages

To reduce costs, the magnificent PV1D subwoofer has been replaced by the ASW608, and while it’s a shame that the sub hasn’t had a refresh to match the satellites we still like its detail, tonal agility and pace. It may lack the deep bottom-end of bigger rivals but it’s extremely easy to find a home for.

The satellites are designed to work best when close to a wall, and B&W fully expects the majority of buyers to take advantage of that wall bracket.

B&W MT-50: Sound quality

Play Quantum of Solace and the package gives the orchestral opening plenty of barely concealed threat, even though the lowest strings and drums don’t have the huge depth that the PV1D can deliver.

The action erupts with the roar of Aston Martin engine, followed by a hail of gunfire, the sharp sparkle of glass shattering and the shriek of tyres stretched beyond their limit.

This diminutive system should struggle, but while it’s true that it doesn’t have the dynamic might of bigger or more expensive packages, it has all the detail, attack and deftness to deliver exhilaration in spades.

The brutal physicality that marks out Daniel Craig’s Bond is also present: as the film progresses, the MT-50 package revels in delivering every bone-crunching punch with solid weight.

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B and W MT50

B and W MT50

The revised satellites have upgraded connections

B&W MT-50: Subwoofer

Essentially, it feels as though it’s constantly trying to prove that the sub’s lack of bass depth isn’t a problem. And largely it isn’t – but that doesn’t mean spending more or going bigger won’t result in greater impact and a fuller sound stage. Still, the quality that’s delivered is something to marvel at.

The good news continues with dialogue. The verbal sparring between Bond and M is projected with superb directness and enough clarity to reveal the nuance in each barbed retort, while echoes and dusty foot-shuffles are impressive.

And music? Well, the new satellites can reach lower frequencies than the previous model, so they’re better in stereo. Even without a sub you get a fairly full-ranged performance.

B&W MT-50: Verdict

Factor in the punch, agility and detail of the delivery and you’ve got a system that provides a mightily enjoyable music-listening experience.

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What Hi-Fi?

What Hi-Fi?, founded in 1976, is the world's leading independent guide to buying and owning hi-fi and home entertainment products. Our comprehensive tests help you buy the very best for your money, with our advice sections giving you step-by-step information on how to get even more from your music and movies. Everything is tested by our dedicated team of in-house reviewers in our custom-built test rooms in London, Reading and Bath. Our coveted five-star rating and Awards are recognised all over the world as the ultimate seal of approval, so you can buy with absolute confidence.

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