Short version: An attractive and compact pair of headphones, not revolutionary by any means, but more than adequate, and hey, they say “Marshall” on them.
- First headphones from Marshall
- 1/8″ and 1/4″ audio jacks
- Foldable design
- Marshall-style texture and decoration
- MSRP: $ 99
- Small and foldable means easy travel
- Powerful, big sound
- Nice details in design
- Not really $ 100 sound
- Cord seems short
I’ve been looking forward to these things since they first got teased a couple months ago (on my birthday, actually). At the time, I thought they were much larger, and on opening the packaging I found that they’re actually quite petite compared to the larger surround-sound headsets I’ve used. For example, here they are next to the (admittedly large) Logitech G35s:
It’s not a good or bad thing, but they’re not the fully-over-the-hear style, nor as small as other on-ear designs. They just barely cover up my ears entirely, and the leather or faux-leather (I’m the worst at telling the difference) earcups are quite soft, almost distressed-feeling. There’s an attractive little grill inside the earpieces, and the outsides have the famous Marshall lettering. The headband stays close to the head and is generously padded. Overall, I’d say they’re quite comfortable, though if your ears tend to get sore or sweaty from on-ear designs, these will be no exception.
The cord is a nice, thick satin-finish rubber, and has a coil near the earpiece, as you can see. This gives the cord an actual length of six feet, but it feels much shorter, since the coil is stiff enough (which isn’t really that stiff) that pulling away from the “resting” length of 3 feet will tug on the headphones a bit. They fit too well to be pulled from your head with even a violent motion, but the effective length of the cord is still reduced somewhat.
It has a lovely instrument-style audio jack, with grippy metal and a spring that prevents cord fatigue at the plug end. There’s also a 1/4″ adapter included for all you musician types.
And how’s the sound? Well, it’s good, but not spectacular. Lows are booming and a little overpresent, and they slide smoothly into mids, but I feel like the highs lack clarity, and don’t stand out. A little EQing helps this, but these aren’t audiophile headphones; they’re rocking out headphones. The balance of the low to the high actually seems to improve as I turn up the volume. The bass gets punchier and the highs stay on top a little better.
One thing I liked about these was that there was an almost virtual-surround feel to the sound stage, as if stereo separation was being spread out a bit. I felt this made the sound take up more of your little world, and combined with the good isolation offered by the earcups, these make for good headphones to use on the subway, while watching a movie on a plane, and so on.
The Marshall Majors aren’t in-a-quiet-room headphones for appreciating music — though being a closed design, they let little sound escape (good for roommates). They’re also not gaming headphones; for a little less money you can pick up the excellent Nox Audio Specialists, which are also foldable but offer a mic and on-set controls. No, the Marshalls are about two things: the brand, and listening to music out in the world. You’re paying extra for the Marshall logo, make no mistake, but that doesn’t mean they’re bad. They’re good-looking, have a nice big sound, nice isolation, and a good cord for portable use. If you’re willing to overpay by a small amount, you’ll have a nice little pair of cans to show for it.
Product page: Marshall Major
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