When I think of Marshall products, I typically think about the company’s signature line of amps or their Monitor headphones. Alongside these products, Marshall also has a line of high-end Bluetooth headphones. One of the newest products in that group is the Marshall Mid ANC On-Ear Bluetooth Headphones. I got to spend a few weeks using these headphones and despite having never used one of their products before, I can confidently say I was satisfied with my experience. For the purposes of this review, I have broken down my thoughts into notes on their design, features, and performance.
Marshall Mid ANC Headphones: Design
The Marshall Mid ANC Headphones have a very distinctive old-school look to them. In addition to their nostalgic appearance, you will quickly notice that a lot of care was put into the design of the headphones.
Packaging, Leather Travel Case and Cables
When you open the box, you will pull out your new headphones from the box and then from the included leather travel case. The style of the case evoked the look and feel of the company’s signature amps. The case possesses a high build quality (leather exterior and plush inside), but for future iterations of the product, the case could be improved by adding a small pouch for the USB charging cable and the 3.5mm cable. On an additional note for those with sleek/small messenger bags: this case will likely not fit in your bag because of the depth of the case.
Build Quality: Marshall Mid ANC Headphones
These headphones are lovingly crafted again matching the aesthetic of some of the company’s other products. The headphones feature a soft, microfibre headband and foam/leather earcups. Given the materials used and the high entry price, these headphones should not be used at the gym, but any other purpose would be well suited to them, like commuting or listening to music/podcasts, for instance. They also feature a set of very flexible hinges. These hinges allow the device to flex to fit different head sizes and also fold up for easy storage. Above the ear cups are connected coiled cables that add to the nostalgic look of the device.
A Very Tight Fit
One caution about these headphones: they have a very tight fit. This works both as a positive and a negative. On the positive side, you will not have to worry about these headphones coming off your head during a dash to the bus, but you will probably have to adjust them every 20-30 minutes if you have a larger head and/or larger ears.
Marshall Mid ANC Headphones: Features
There’s no app or bells and whistles, but the Marshall Mid ANC Bluetooth headphones have all of the features that you would come to expect from a device like this.
Marshall Mid ANC Headphones: 30 Hour Battery Life
The product claims to deliver 20 hours of battery life with the active noise canceling turned on and 30+ without ANC. This feature is activated via a switch on the right ear cup. A breakdown of the device’s Active Noise Cancellation technology can be found in the next section of this review. The headphones do not feature quick charging, but only take about three hours to fully charge.
The Multi-Directional Knob
Despite being enamoured by the design, I take issue with the control knob on the device. The multi-directional knob controls most of the functions of the device. The single gold five-direction knob controls the on/off, Bluetooth syncing and play/pause function, volume, and the previous/rewind and fast-forward/skip functions. Compounded with the fact that this button sits at a 45-degree angle, it may take you a second to think about which direction to depress the knob. Many other devices have purpose-built buttons for these functions and although it may go against what the company is trying to accomplish from a design perspective, it would be helpful to have more buttons on the device.
Not having a dedicated on/off switch also unintentionally depleted my battery twice during testing. Powering off the device takes a very long press with only a very short sound to confirm that the device has powered off. A power switch or button and a larger power indicator would be greatly appreciated in the next iteration.
Marshall Mid ANC Headphones: Performance
One of the biggest draws of the headphones is the active noise cancellation. Given the form factor, they performed well. They won’t beat a high-end over-the-ear headphone, but they’re good. These headphones use an array of four microphones to dynamically block out sound based on the ambient noise that surrounds them. In my testing, I found that the headphones blocked most sounds except for very loud high-pitches and bass-heavy sounds. I travelled with these headphones on a four-hour trip and most sounds were kept out except for the low hum of the airplane.
These headphones feature a sound profile that focuses on the bass and treble over the mid-range. The sound is warm and clear with good detail. Even at mid-volume with the noise cancelling, you will be able to hear some fine details within your favourite tracks. Details like the record crackle at the beginning of the Weeknd’s I Feel It Coming or the granularity in Justin Vernon’s vocoder-voices on Bon Iver’s 715 – CR∑∑KS. In my opinion, the company showcases their product engineering by showing a frequency chart on the product box. They should. For the form factor, they sound great.
Marshall Mid ANC Headphones: Verdict
The Marshall Mid ANC On-Ear Bluetooth Headphones have quite a few things going for them: they look good, active noise cancellation works very well, and they sound great. If they fit within your price range and you do not want an over-the-ear option, I implore you to add these headphones to your consideration set and consider dropping into your nearest Best Buy Canada location to try them on. If you have a larger head/ears, the headphones might not be the most comfortable options for long-term use.