Skip to main content

Montblanc’s first wireless earbuds get a little help from Axel Grell

Montblanc MTB 03 wireless earbuds with charging case.
Montblanc

Montblanc, the iconic maker of luxury writing instruments, is expanding its reach into the audio world with its first set of wireless earbuds. The MTB 03 are small and stylish, with active noise cancellation (ANC) and a design that incorporates the company’s instantly recognizable glossy black finish and rounded star motifs. They’re available starting July 1 at all Montblanc boutiques and Montblanc.com, for 345 British pounds (about $438).

The MTB 03 benefit from the expertise of Axel Grell, the man behind the development of many of Sennheiser’s headphones and earbuds. Montblanc says that Grell was responsible for creating the MTB 03’s sound signature. This is a consistent pattern for Montblanc, which partnered with Audeze’s founder, Alex Rosson when it began its audio journey with the MTB 01 wireless ANC headphones, which launched in 2020.

Montblanc MTB 03 wireless earbuds inside charging case.
Montblanc

Grell was given some potent material to work with. The MTB 03 feature 7mm beryllium drivers, support for Qualcomm’s aptX Adaptive hi-res Bluetooth codec, and the ability to customize the sound using Mimi’s sound personalization software. Grell is apparently a fan of these adaptive audio systems — he partnered with SoundID (a similar technology) when he created his own line of wireless earbuds.

Speaking to this personalization aspect in a press release, Montblanc’s director of new technologies, Dr. Felix Obschonka said, “Headphones have become such an essential part of our daily endeavors and digital routines, we wanted to create a high-performance solution that used premium materials to ensure a subtle yet elegant statement of quality, with a design that was uniquely Montblanc. Just as everyone’s handwriting is different, so is everyone’s hearing, requiring the level of customization that Montblanc Sound Signature can offer for an optimal experience.”

Man wearing Montblanc MTB 03 wireless earbuds.
Montblanc

The MTB 03 are rated IPX4 for water resistance and the included aluminum charging case can recharge wirelessly or via USB-C. Battery life looks like it might be disappointing — Montblanc claims you’ll get five to six hours of playtime per charge in the earbuds, but only a total of 18 hours of use since the case only contains two full recharges. Still, a quick charge of 15 minutes will buy you a claimed 100 minutes of extra playtime, so perhaps that won’t be a deal-breaker.

The earbuds have wear sensors for music auto-pause and the onboard touch controls (as well as EQ and other settings) can be configured using a companion app that will be available for both iOS and Android.

At $438, the MTB 03 might just be the most expensive set of wireless earbuds to date, eclipsing even Bang & Olufsen’s $399 Beoplay EX. If we get a review model in for testing, we’ll let you know if their sound and ANC are enough to justify their sky-high price, or whether it’s all about the exclusivity of the Montblanc brand.

Simon Cohen
Simon Cohen covers a variety of consumer technologies, but has a special interest in audio and video products, like spatial…
Sennheiser debuts new ergonomically shaped wireless earbuds
Sennheiser Accentum True Wireless earbuds.

Sennheiser's new $200 Accentum True Wireless earbuds look different from the company's past wireless earbuds, and that's thanks to its partnership with Sonova, the hearing-aid maker that bought Sennheiser's consumer audio division in 2021. They're available for preorder in black or white starting May 6, and will officially launch May 21.

The Accentum, according to Sennheiser, have been shaped using the data from thousands of ear models, which Sonova provided. The result is "an innovative contour that complements a wide range of wearers in a singular form."

Read more
Nothing’s new earbuds upstage Apple, Google, and Amazon by embedding ChatGPT
Nothing's ChatGPT integration in Nothing OS.

Niche smartphone company Nothing has two new sets of wireless earbuds that go after Apple's AirPods Pro in more ways than one. The Nothing Ear ($149) and Nothing Ear (a) ($99) both offer noise cancellation, hi-res audio, and tight integration with Nothing's phones, but they also provide pinch-to-speak access to ChatGPT, arguably the most popular AI service in the world.

That's a full-frontal assault on the three major voice assistants that currently dominate on smartphones: Siri, Google Assistant, and Alexa. These assistants are very capable when it comes to simple voice commands like pausing your music or asking about the weather, but they haven't kept pace with Open AI's ChatGPT, which offers more sophisticated tasks and turn-based conversations.

Read more
Marshall’s latest headphones get 100 hours of battery life and wireless charging
Marshall Major V headphones.

Marshall has updated its popular Major on-ear wireless headphones and Minor wireless earbuds with new features, while keeping the same authentic Marshall amplifier styling that has earned the brand a lot of customers. The Marshall Major V ($149) and Marshall Minor IV ($129) are available for pre-order starting April 16 at marshall.com and will begin shipping on April 23.

The Marshall Major V (pictured above) are the company's latest generation of on-ear wireless headphones. On the outside, there's almost no way to distinguish them from their predecessors, except perhaps for a slightly deeper black color.

Read more