The Marshall brand is not new to the music scene and if you’re into your music or perhaps a music producer or a guitar player, you would have seen Marshall amps for sure, what you won’t see that often is a pair of Marshall headphones. Let me introduce you to the Marshall MONITOR II A.N.C., It’s pricey when compared to the Sony WH-1000XM3 Wireless Noise Cancelling Headphones which is known for its 5-star rating audio quality – well at least on Amazon UK at the point of which this was published – which leads me to think the new Monitor II A.N.C is designed to look cool, premium and one for those in the know with well-balanced sound quality, good battery life and more.
Marshall MONITOR II A.N.C.: Unboxing Video
Marshall MONITOR II A.N.C.: Design
When I think of a headphone’s design, I need something that I can proudly wear anywhere, meaning it has to be stylish, then I need to be able to take it anywhere with me, meaning, it needs to be portable (completely collapsible, carry case), and it has to be comfortable, especially if I’ll be using for long haul flights or may daily commute. The Monitor II ANC ticks all those boxes for me.
It has a bold Marshall logo embossed on both of its 40mm driver earcups in white fonts which so far hasn’t changed colour from frequent touching or use, with the rest of it finished in a leather-looking material for a premium look and where the hinges are connected to the earcups, Marshall even included a fake tear which I really like the look of. The headband has soft materials for comfort and you can adjust it to fit your head size with clear size marking so if you share it with someone else, it’s easy to slide it back where you had it before.
On the right earcup, you have the M button right on the hinge in black to blend in. The M button can be used for toggling equalizer presets and Google Assistant on your smartphone and below that is a gold toggle button which is a multifunctional toggle for turning the headphones on and paring but pressing it, move it in other directions and you can do things like change volume, track, answer calls, pause, shuffle etc.
One the left earcup, there’s more going on; you have a microphone that’s discrete, a 3.5mm headphone port which I was happy to see, USB C charging port with an indicator light next to it to show pairing mode and power on/off and another multifunctional button on the hinge, like the one on the right. The left earcup button is how you can toggle ANC off or partially (Monitoring Mode) off so you can hear what’s going around you. You can also download the free Marshall app (iOS and Android), to change ANC level, I’ve had it on a full level so I’m fully cocooned in my music.
The Monitor II also comes with a carry pouch in the box, and as you can imagine, it doesn’t offer the same level of protection as a hard carry case you’d get with a Bose or Sony rival, but it will stop you from scratching it.
Marshall MONITOR II A.N.C.: Performance
When it comes to sound, Marshalls by default would be best suited to rock music, just like the Beats line is usually better tuned for hip hop and RnB, but that’s not to say the Monitor II can’t handle other genres. Using the phone app, you can tune it to suit your music taste and from my experience, it handled my music taste well.
What the Monitor II ANC does really well is keeping a balance when it comes to varieties of music genres and that’s all one could ask for. ANC is mostly good, but when it’s windy, it doesn’t do well fending off wind noise. If can describe its soundstage, I’d definitely use words like immersive, clean, trebles and bass sounds great naturally and for the sweet spot, it has great mids too.
The Monitor II ANC is not the best in its class if we were to pit it against similar offerings from Bose or Sony, but where it excels is design, portability, battery life and sound quality. Where it doesn’t do well against the others is noise cancellation.