Marshall sent us over their most recent product, their ergonomic over-ear Monitor Bluetooth headphones, a wireless take on their Marshall headphone line to check out. The company is known for giving users a top-of-the-line audio experience, but now that they’ve cut the cord, will the audio still be the same?
At $249, the Marshall Monitor Bluetooth headphones have a lot of promise if you just look at the specs, and even when you unbox them you are greeted by a marvelous looking pair of headphones, that feature what Marshall considers an ergonomic collapsible style complete with a protective carrying bag it’s easily a pair of headphones you can grab and go with. Outside of that, here are some specs that Marshall highlights:
Sound Principle: 40 mm dynamic drivers
Frequency Response: 10Hz-20kHz
Sensitivity: 92dB SPL
Connection: Bluetooth® aptX / 3.5mm plug
As much as I hate wires and loves wirelessly listening, I was a bit skeptic about the Monitor Bluetooth because even though they looked premium initially out of the box, when in your hand they feel a bit flimsy, even for a pair of headphones that you just paid close to $250 for.
Now take into account that the Monitor Bluetooth headphones by Marshall is the company’s first over-ear headphone that completely does away with wires (although they do include an additional 3.5mm aux cable and a micro-USB cable for charging in the box) but a company whose name is world-renowned for premium products, I was a bit disappointed in the overall feel not only in the hand but on my head as well.
Aesthetically the headphones feature the Marshall logo in the company’s signature white font on the ear cups as well as a leatherette texture that is inviting to the eye. There’s also a modest gold knob on the left cup that allows you to control your music.
I’ll admit, this is a nice little addition that is WAY more functional that touch-controls. Being able to toggle the volume up and down by simply moving the knob naturally in the direction it should go to is a nice touch, and possibly the biggest highlight of the headphones to be completely honest.
The inner cup of the headphones is where I found a bit of trouble. Outside of the gold accented labels to let you know your left from your right ear, the headband is pretty sturdy and can bend and expand which feels nice. Maybe my head is a bit oddly shaped however because even with all of the cushion, it felt as if the band itself was clamping down on my head a bit too tightly. Now you can always adjust the arms accordingly, but after fully extending them and wearing a hat (which I normally do), I felt the headphones to get to be tad a bit uncomfortable after three hours of wearing. Three hours may sound like a lot of time for the average person, but for someone who plans on taking a long flight from point A to B, you will find yourself re-adjusting the headphones in order to get a fit that you’re comfortable with for extended periods of time.
For a pair of over-ear headphones, I’m expecting an element of comfort that should last me at a minimum of three hours, or the length of two movies comfortably, as I’ve done this with previous headphones, but I feel as though Marshall compromised on the ergonomics and overall comfort of the headphones by trying to slim down the headband. No matter how soft the padding is though, it does nothing if the headband is sitting at an uncomfortable position on your head. This could be an isolated case that is just exclusive to me, however.
In terms of audio quality though, the Monitor Bluetooth headphones are an absolutely beast. If you’re waiting for a company like Marshall to slack on bringing you an excellent audio experience, you might be waiting a while. Working with strictly Bluetooth, I could comfortably say that the Monitor Bluetooth will give a great listening experience to the average user, especially compared to other headphones at this price point. The Monitor headphones are loud, clear, and in terms of vocals, you can have a sing-a-long and still not miss a beat. Listening to “Penthouse Floor” By John Legend”, which is a song with high vocals with various elements in the background, the soundstage in the Marshall Monitors, even at a moderate volume allows me to head every thump of bass coupled with John’s voice in a way that you couldn’t on those headphones that focus mainly on the beat.
This could be mainly due to the awesome 40mm drivers that the Marshall Monitors have, but on top of that, you can’t really beat what Marshall considers a 30-hour battery life. Now, none of us can possibly listen to music for thirty straight hours so I went about using the Monitor Bluetooth headphones for an entire week without charging them just to see.
I typically listen to about 18 hours of podcasts a week, and some music here and there when in the gym (which I use different headphones for). Other times I’m listening to YouTube clips from my desk with the Monitors as well, and I can comfortably say I got through an entire five-day work week listening to about 4-5 hours of content, and my Marshall Bluetooth headphones didn’t tell me the battery was low until the Saturday afternoon. While I wish that the battery meter that shows on my Apple iPhone was a bit more accurate (the battery bar isn’t really a good gauge), Marshall was able to include a voice that not only lets you know when connected, but when your battery is low, notifying you multiple times that your battery is low before eventually cutting off your music if not plugged in to charge. Or you can go and use the 3.5mm aux cable if your smart device allows it.
Overall, if you can get past the comfort problems that I had with the headband, or if you’re just a firm believer in Marshall products, these are some great headphones that for the average listener, can get by with and be completely happy with using on a day-to-day basis. If you are an audiophile looking for a pair of headphones that you can take with you on the go that gives you a sound similar to those headphones you possibly paid upwards of $500-plus for; this, of course, would not be for you.
For more information on the Monitor Bluetooth headphones, you can head over to Marshall’s website today.
Source: Manufacturer supplied review unit
What I Like: 30 hours of battery life is actually really great, and the Bluetooth connectivity is modest
What Needs Improvement: Although ergonomic and folds neatly into a bag, the compromise is the comfortability when on your head