MTB 03 Wireless Earbuds: After releasing its luxurious MTB 01 over-ear headphones in 2020, Montblanc is back with more true wireless in-ear headphones. The luxury brand’s evolution is clear, but the market is crowded with great wireless earbuds for less money.
Does Montblanc have enough to keep its core audience interested while luring new fans from Bang & Olufsen, Bowers & Wilkins, and Sony?
Montblanc hired Audeze founder Alex Rosson to help with the MTB 01’s sound profile. This time, Sennheiser enlisted audio legend Axel Grell, who designed many of its most famous headphones. Switzerland deserves praise for knowing when to seek help.
MTB 03 Wireless Earbuds Design
Aluminum charging case (85.45 grams) is flawless and understatedly premium. They used the Montblanc snowcap emblem on the case and earbuds to add subtle “luxury” to a true wireless earbud design, which is difficult. The tiny port for silicon eartips has a mountain-peak star shape. Not many will notice this detail, but luxury brands often neglect it when going tech.
The 6-gram earbuds are made from the same black resin as the Montblanc Meisterstück pen and feature a snowcap emblem and a tiny Montblanc engraved chrome ring. The snowcap detailing stands out in a knowing, appreciative crowd (OK, if you usually turn left getting on a plane), and the case feels good in the hand and should appeal to existing customers.
Montblanc concludes with free charging case engraving. You can put 13 characters in three fonts.
Montblanc has packed this device with features, though not as many as the Sony WX1000XM5. Wireless charging, ANC, IPX4 water resistance, and touch controls on each emblem for music and calls. The proximity sensors that play and pause when you put the earbuds in are always appreciated.
The buds can last up to six hours depending on ANC use, and the battery lasts 12 hours. This gives you 18 hours of playtime, and USB-C fast charging can add 100 minutes in 15 minutes.
The earbuds are easy to use. As comfortable as any we’ve tried recently. The touch controls are trigger-happy, so it’s easy to accidentally play/pause when adjusting them, but this is typical of true wireless designs. The lack of volume control is confusing. The onboard controls on Apple’s AirPods Pro are my favorite.
If compatible, your smartphone or audio player supports SBS, AAC, and adaptive aptX audio codecs and Bluetooth 5.2 wireless connectivity with a 10-meter range. Naturally, Montblanc included active noise cancellation, a must-have feature. ANC can be turned on and off in Travel, Sport, and Office modes. Live mode (transparency) lets you see outside, and you can choose Attention, Environment, or Voice Focus.
The ANC is good but not great for premium business traveler earbuds. It’s functional but lacks Apple, Bose, and Sony’s signature calmness
That the MTB 03 didn’t sound good would be a shame given its price, market, and experts. One of the best true wireless headphones this reviewer has tried, they sound great.
The 7-mm Beryllium drivers stand up well here (20 Hz to 20 kHz), and Alex Grell tuned them just right of neutral. They have a Goldilocks-like balance of low end (a fair and appreciated wallop of bass) and upper end to make all digital recordings shine. There are no surprises, just a rich, enjoyable performance.
Despite its high price and typical audio product launch hyperbole, Alex Grell does not consider the MTB 03 audiophile. He tells WIRED, “It’s a great sounding profile, but it’s not made for audiophiles. The product is for those who want to feel good.
They are often bloated, brand-recognition, price-tag-justifying, data-collection exercises with little value beyond firmware updates. The Montblanc Sound App is pretty, easy to use, and has many features, including a comprehensive EQ with sound profiles for most genres, audiobooks, and podcasts. Adjust each profile to your liking and create your own.
The app is complete and easy to use, but tweaking Axel Grell’s sound profile choices feels like telling 19-time Michelin Star chef Alain Ducasse which knife end to hold. Yes, adding a few hertz for personalization is nice, but after trying all the presets with their genres, the default sounds better. Note that “audiobook/podcast” should be ignored.
The Montblanc MTB 03 are luxury headphones. They are luxurious and designed for executive business-class travelers and Montblanc customers. The company succeeded.
They make music sound great, are comfortable to wear for long periods, and discreetly express their exclusivity.
After teething issues are resolved, loyal brand fans who value the tiny white snowcap emblem’s exclusivity won’t be disappointed.
MONTBLANC MTB 03: SPECS
|Active noise cancellation
|6hrs (earbuds) 18hrs (case)
|6g per earbud
|Bluetooth 5.2, USB-C, aptX Adaptive
|20Hz – 20kHz
|Sound tuned by Axel Grell; Qi wireless charging