A solid set of headphones
Tue Apr 02 2019
Marshall does and excellent job here with the Monitor headphones. My exposure to Marshall is of course pro-audio amps (which I haven't used in a number of years). Here Marshall is going consumer oriented. While other manufacturers have gone this route, Marshall does stand out in the crowded market of headphones.
First of all, they have a distinctive style. They look and feel like a piece of studio equipment. The materials are all very premium and softtouch. Cables going from the headband to earcups are coiled - which lends itself more to the 'guitar amp' look. Metallic trim is a Marshall bronze for the joystick, side labels, and hinges. Everything is well designed here - which is more than I can say for many headphones I've had from other manufacturers in the past. Metal runs the entire length of the headband, and the space saving fold away feature is fully metal pieces. No plastic here to disintegrate (I'm looking at you Klipsch). The top headband has some super comfortable foam embedded too, which I can appreciate. The headband clamping force is on the tighter side, but not uncomfortable. Rather it feels solid enough they won't fall or move when you turn your head. Charging occurs through a micro-usb jack - standard, but I'm still waiting for USB-C ubiquity. The earcups are modular and magnetic, so easy enough to replace assuming they sell the replacements. Battery life is really great. Like others have stated, it's pretty dang good - lasting longer than I can really keep realistic track of. Unfortunately there is no removable battery here, so these are disposable headphones unfortunately (I did remove the T-8 torx screws but didn't find anything user serviceable).
While construction is excellent, sound is good. I'm not trying to be too picky, but at the MSRP there are more compelling sounding headphones. While we'll have to wait and see what retail pricing actually looks like over time, they compete sound wise very well in the $100-150 range. Volume is loud. Notes are clear and vibrant. Bass is clear, and definitely enhanced, but the low end doesn't seem quite as powerful as other headphones in this class. The soundstage is narrow (as expected in over the ear designs), but again, sound quality and volume are both excellent here. Noise isolation is quite good, and while not noise cancelling, I could hardly hear anything outside the heaphones. Here the quality of the foam padding outweighs what can be accomplished on the low-end of the noise cancelling world.
Marshall does something here I wish more headphone manufacturers would do more: be honest with you about the sound. We all know that manufacturers tend to enhance bass, and treble. Marshall actually prints the frequency response curve of the headphones on the box as a graph. This indicates that you aren't looking at a 'flat' set, but rather a 'powerful' curve (like most retail headphones). I love this about Marshall, and it builds credibility.
In the box are a few accessories. The included bag seems durable, if not overly protective (although the headphones themselves seem pretty durable). The cable looks the part, with a coiled area for better cable management. The cable includes an AHJ mic and button. The 3.5mm jack is found on the base of the right earcup. All connections and cable ends are gold plated.
Marshall executes a solid offering here. If you're in the market for bluetooth headphones and travel durability is on your priority list: you need to give these a shot. The value proposition at MSRP is there, given the construction quality, but audio is just average in that price range. Assuming you can find them lower, then this set makes a ton of sense. Highly recommended!