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What earbuds was Kendal Roy wearing in Succession season 4, episode 2?

If there’s one thing that stands out on HBO’s Succession — and to be clear, damned near everything stands out on that show — it’s the little things. The details about what someone’s wearing. Or what kind of car they’re hopping into. The status symbols that mean very much to the billionaire crowd while not meaning a thing in real life.

A shoe is still a shoe, even if it costs $800. It goes on your foot. (The other shoe is thrown in for free at that point, right?) A $20,000 watch still tells the time. A $500 belt still holds up your pants.

Kendal Roy (Jeremy Strong) in Succession on HBO.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

But the tech? That’s where things tend to get a little interesting on the show. For the most part, the upper crust is still limited to the same products that you or I can buy. Sure, they might get some gold plating or something similarly insane, but an iPhone is an iPhone. And an earbud is an earbud.

And that brings us to episode 2 of season 4. Kendal Roy (Jeremy Strong) ducks outside a Manhattan bar to take a call — something any one of us has done any number of times. And like us, Kendal pops in a set of earbuds so he can hear what’s being said, and without anyone else listening in.

But unlike the person on the other end of the call (there are only very light spoilers there, but we’ll still avoid them by not naming names), Kendal wasn’t using Apple’s AirPods Pro with his iPhone.

That’s not the first time we’ve seen that sort of thing. We’ve seen him with some monstrous Beyerdynamics before — exactly what you might expect him to be wearing on his PJ. (AirPods Max weren’t yet a thing in season 2.) But what were these rather larger earbuds he was using? Surely he’s not just popping in a perfectly reasonable $100 set of earbuds like the rest of us?

That doesn’t appear to be the case. I posed the question to our own Simon Cohen, who quickly came back with the supposition that Kendal Roy was using the Master & Dynamic MW08 earbuds — and quite possibly the Mercedes-Benz edition. That makes sense for a couple of reasons. First is that the rest of us use AirPods Pro, and Kendal is not like the rest of us. Then there’s the matter of branding — Mercedes is no stranger to Succession; Logan Roy is seen rolling up to the karaoke bar in a Maybach in the same episode.

And then there’s the simple fact that the M&D MW08 are, as Cohen says, “really fancy.” Sure, the active noise cancellation, transparent mode, and call quality aren’t as good as what you’ll get from Apple. And you won’t get the spatial audio or head tracking, or the find-my feature. But instead, you’re getting ceramics and stainless steel, better battery life — and a better status symbol.

What they won’t get you, apparently, is your father’s love. Some things money just can’t buy, Kendal.

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Phil Nickinson
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