“These headphones function high-energy sound and large battery life wrapped in Marshall’s iconic model.”

Signature Marshall model

Very comfy

Good ANC and transparency

Very intuitive controls

Glorious battery life

Expensive for what you get

No put on sensor or multidevice pairing

Slender soundstage

Considering of shopping for a set of energetic noise canceling (ANC) headphones? Along with the various wonderful fashions you’ll discover on our greatest noise-canceling headphones listing, we now additionally advocate the $320 Marshall Monitor II ANC.

These ANC cans seize the enduring Marshall design language whereas including some cool options to create a classy various to the headphones made by Sony, Bose, Apple, and others.

However the competitors is stiff — do the Marshall Monitor II ANC have what it takes to justify their hefty worth? Let’s have a look.

What’s within the field?

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Props go to Marshall for creating packaging that at the very least tries to be sustainable. It’s largely recyclable cardboard, save for a number of bits of froth that can ultimately should be discarded in a landfill. Inside, you’ll discover the Monitor II ANC, a USB-C charging cable, a coil-style three.5mm analog cable, a quick-start information, and a comfortable cloth carry pouch.

Design

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Whether or not you dig Marshall’s guitar amp-inspired design language or not (I feel it appears superior), you’ve received to confess, the Monitor II ANC are peak Marshall.

From the textured black plastic on the earcups to the coil of included analog cable and, in fact, the distinctive Marshall script emblem, these headphones exude a rock music vibe you received’t discover on another cans.

And Marshall’s dedication to this look hasn’t gotten in the best way of some eminently sensible options. The mix of the three units of hinges and pivots lets the Monitor II ANC contort themselves into an extremely compact form. I’m hard-pressed to consider a set of full-size headphones which might be extra travel-friendly.

Whereas it’s true that the majority headphones at this worth (and plenty of which might be significantly cheaper) include a zippered, hard-shell case, the best way the Monitor II articulate makes them beg to be tossed right into a bag. Talking of the included carry pouch, it’s laborious to not be aware of the best way Marshall has channeled the Herschel backpack search for its black denim bag. Very cool.

The earcups are tremendous low-profile, even with the beneficiant padding afforded by the ear cushions, which provides the Monitor II a clear, head-hugging look. And while you pull them off your head and allow them to grasp round your neck, they simply fold flat in opposition to your collarbones.

The development is generally plastic, however Marshall has used steel for the earcup forks and headband sliders, which helps to offer these cans a sturdy, sturdy really feel.

Consolation, controls, and connections

Simon Cohen / Digital Developments

Simon Cohen / Digital Developments

Simon Cohen / Digital Developments

Simon Cohen / Digital Developments

At 11.29 ounces, the Monitor II ANC might not be thought-about mild when in comparison with different over-ear headphones, particularly the featherweight Sony WH-1000XM4 (eight.eight ounces), however they don’t really feel particularly heavy when worn. I credit score the mix of clamping pressure, ear cushion match, and stability for the way properly they sit.

I’m a very large fan of the Monitor II’s controls. They’re easy and efficient.

Given my Dumbo-like ears, I would like barely deeper cavities within the earcups, however general, these headphones are greater than comfy sufficient for hours of steady use.

I’m a very large fan of the Monitor II’s controls. They’re easy and efficient. The gold-tone button that stands proud of the underside of the appropriate earcup is definitely a tiny joystick that you may click on for energy, Bluetooth pairing, name reply/finish, and play/pause. You nudge it up, down, ahead or again for actions like quantity and monitor management.

There are two different controls that you simply’d miss solely in the event you weren’t wanting carefully. Every is about into the hinge level of the earcup forks, the place they mix seamlessly into the design and are simple to succeed in. The left button is for switching between ANC and transparency modes, which occurs in a short time. The appropriate “M” button, which is user-configurable, along with your alternative of EQ mode switching, prompts Siri (iPhone solely) or Google Assistant.

You make these choices and others within the Marshall Bluetooth app.

As a substitute of spreading out and making a heat thrum that you may really feel, the bass stays considerably two-dimensional.

Bluetooth vary on the Monitor II is about 20 to 30 ft, which ought to be sufficient for many conditions.

Sadly, in contrast to many Bluetooth headphones, you may’t pair these cans with a couple of system at a time, which makes them much less appropriate for people who prefer to recurrently change between their telephones and laptops.

There’s additionally no put on sensor, so eradicating the headphones out of your ears can’t set off an auto-pause of your music.

Sound high quality

Simon Cohen / Digital Developments

Total, the Monitor II ANC sound excellent. Within the manufacturing unit EQ setting (generally known as the “Marshall” sound), the sound veers towards increased frequencies, however the Marshall app helps you to select from six extra EQ presets, in addition to helps you to create your personal customized stability.

These changes assist the Monitor II ship extra bass if you would like it, and I used to be capable of finding settings that labored with a variety of genres, from rock to classical.

Throw on a monitor like Jay-Z and Swizz Beatz’ On To The Subsequent One, and the depth hits you want an electrical shock.

The soundstage isn’t as huge or as detailed as you’ll discover on the Sony WH-1000XM4, however what the Monitor II lacks when it comes to openness, they make up for with vitality.

There’s a exact, vibrant, and punchy high quality to the acoustics that places a pointy deal with snare drums, cymbals, vocals, and better frequency woodwinds just like the clarinet.

Throw on a monitor like Jay-Z and Swizz Beatz’s On To The Subsequent One, and the depth hits you want an electrical shock.

Deeper, extra resonant feels like jazz bass, which depend on the middle-low to low frequencies don’t fare fairly as properly. As a substitute of spreading out and making a heat thrum that you may really feel, they continue to be considerably two-dimensional.

All of this provides as much as a set of headphones which have clearly been tuned for energetic rock, pop, and hip-hop music.

Noise cancellation and transparency

Simon Cohen / Digital Developments

Some headphones with energetic noise cancellation search to get rid of as a lot background noise as doable. The Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700 are the poster youngster for this strategy. Marshall’s Monitor II ANC aren’t as aggressive — you don’t fairly get that cone-of-silence impact — however they nonetheless considerably scale back low-to-mid frequencies when ANC is engaged.

I discovered it labored greatest when listening to podcasts, the place sounds that might in any other case make it laborious to listen to spoken phrases had been very successfully muted. As a software for silencing a loud atmosphere, they weren’t as useful because of a small quantity of detectable hiss that I discovered tiresome after some time.

Transparency mode, however, is superb. A press of the devoted ANC button and the world was out of the blue very audible.

You may fine-tune each ANC and transparency modes within the Marshall app, however I discovered the 100% ranges to be greatest in each modes.

Battery life

The Monitor II ANC’s battery life is among the many greatest for a set of premium ANC headphones. Marshall claims 30 hours with Bluetooth and ANC turned on and as much as 45 hours with Bluetooth solely. That beats the $400 Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700 (as much as 20 hours), Apple’s $549 AirPods Max (as much as 20 hours), and even the $280 Sony WH-1000XM4 (30 hours with ANC on, 38 hours when it’s off).

In addition they have a decent fast-charge function that provides you a claimed 5 hours of enjoying time after 15 minutes of charging.

From what I may inform, these numbers are correct, and in contrast to some wi-fi cans, you should utilize the Monitor II ANC with their analog cable even whereas recharging them, so that you’ll by no means be with out your tunes.

Name high quality

Simon Cohen / Digital Developments

Calls on the Monitor II ANC are usually good. They’re in a position to cancel out most background sounds when calling outdoor whereas holding your voice moderately clear. It’s not the excessive constancy you’ll get from the Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700, however it’s completely wonderful for many calls and so they carry out very properly indoors.

For some purpose, you may’t select how a lot sidetone you get throughout calls (that is the equal of transparency mode for calling). The headphones change to what feels like about 50% transparency — sufficient to listen to your personal voice a little bit extra clearly, however not fairly as clearly as if transparency was at 100%.

Our take

As with most Marshall merchandise, the Monitor II ANC include a worth premium that may be a bit laborious to justify on efficiency alone. However in the event you like that retro-cool, guitar amp model that solely Marshall can ship, these cans are a enjoyable, full-featured set of wi-fi companions.

Is there a greater various?

For those who don’t thoughts their comparatively conservative look, the $280 Sony WH-1000XM4 are a superb various. They’re cheaper (by $40), lighter, and extra comfy, with higher sound high quality and ANC, and so they have extra options like put on sensors and Bluetooth multipoint.

However there’s no denying that with regards to model, the Marshalls are actually in a category by themselves.

How lengthy will they final?

The Marshall Monitor II ANC look to be very well-built from high quality supplies. The ear cushions are simply eliminated and changed if and once they put on out, and Marshall backs these headphones with a one-year guarantee. I believe they’ll final for a few years if properly cared for, although the dearth of a hard-shell case means it’s best to take note of how they’re packed.

Do you have to purchase them?

Sure. If you need a set of premium wi-fi ANC headphones with a novel model and a sound signature that favors high-energy music, the Monitor II ANC will make you very comfortable.

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