Marshall isn’t necessarily known for its headphones, but it is known for its high-end audio equipment — most notably its much-loved guitar amplifiers. Recently, however, the company has been dipping its toes into the consumer audio world — like with the new Marshall Monitor II ANC headphones.
The headphones are aimed at delivering that legendary Marshall audio quality in a pair of high-end headphones. But they’re also relatively expensive. At $320, are the headphones worth buying, or should you go for something like the Sony WH-1000XM3 headphones? We put the Marshall Monitor II ANC headphones to the test to find out.
The first thing to notice about the headphones is their design, and they look like a Marshall product. That’s to say, the headphones offer a retro look to them, thanks to the leather-looking finish that’s reminiscent of the company’s guitar amps and other pro products.
The headphones offer oval ear cups that hug closely to the head when they’re on — but not in an uncomfortable way. On the right ear cup, you’ll get a golden joystick power button / playback control, while on the right is where you’ll get a button to control noise cancellation, as well as the USB-C charging port and the aux port. I particularly like the placement of the noise-cancellation button, as it blends nicely into the rest of the headphones. I actually couldn’t find the button at first, and had to look at the manual to double-check that you could even turn noise cancellation off.
The headphones fold up nicely, ensuring that they’re relatively portable, and making them easy to take on the road. They feature a good amount of padding on the ear cups and under the headband too, which plays into how comfortable they are.
Generally speaking, I really like the design of the Marshall Monitor II ANC headphones. They’re built from premium materials, and look unique in a subtle way — meaning that they’re still sleek and stylish.
In the box, apart from the headphones themselves, you’ll get a carry pouch, a USB-C charging cable, and an aux cable. It’s pretty much everything you’ll need, but a hard case instead of a carry pouch might have been nice.
As mentioned, the Marshall Monitor II ANC headphones offer plenty of padding in both the ear cups and under the headband. The result, thankfully, is that the headphones offer a relatively comfortable fit, ensuring that they can be worn for hours at a time without any issue.
The comfort-level on the headphones is good, but it’s not perfect. The clamp on the headphones is a little tight, and while you’ll get used to it, it still would have been nice if it was a little lighter.
When you’re buying a Marshall product, perhaps the biggest expectation will be on its sound quality. Thankfully, these headphones deliver — offering a well-tuned frequency response that most will love.
The lows, for starters, are relatively deep and powerful, without going too far and offering a muddy sound. These probably aren’t the headphones for mega bass fans, but others will appreciate the well-tuned lows on offer here.
The mid range is pretty well-tuned too. There are nice, warm low-mids, and plenty of bite in the high mids — which is perfect for the guitar bite that these headphones were built for.
The highs are crisp and detailed, making for a relatively good listening experience across all genres — though especially with rock music. At times, there did seem to be a bit of extra sibilance, but it was never too much, and on contrary, much of the time it added to the overall frequency response.
The noise cancellation on these headphones is pretty good. It won’t beat the likes of the Sony WH-1000XM3 headphones, so if noise cancellation is your top priority, then it’s worth looking into those instead.
The Marshall Monitor II ANC headphones connect to your listening device through Bluetooth 5.0, and we found that they retained a good connection throughout testing.
The battery life on the headphones is excellent. You’ll get up to a hefty 30 hours with noise-cancellation, or an even more impressive 45 hours without noise-cancellation. In other words you should get at least a few weeks of normal use out of the headphones, and they should last even the longest of long-haul trips.
The Marshall Monitor II ANC headphones have a lot to offer. They’re well-built and designed, plus they sound great, and offer the added bonus of noise cancellation.
That said, if noise cancellation and modern features are your top priority, it may be worth looking elsewhere. The Sony WH-1000XM3 headphones are our favorite noise-cancelling headphones, plus they offer an excellent design and awesome touch controls. That said, if you like Marshall’s aesthetic, and want the company’s signature sound, then these are still a great option.
Considering the headphones’ great design, good sound quality, and more, we’re awarding them the Headphone Review Silver Medal.
|20Hz – 20kHz
|Active noise cancellation
|Total harmonic distortion
|Rated input power
|30 Hours (With ANC), 45 Hours (Without ANC)
|Maximum input power