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REVIEW: Marshall 30HR Noise Cancelling Headphones Pack A Serious Punch

From the moment you unpack the Monitor II ANC (A$449) it’s apparent these headphones have an edge. Their rocker aesthetic is a welcome change in the often ‘same-same’ noise-cancelling headphones market.

A robust 30-hour ANC battery life joins the Sony WH-1000XM3, beating the Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700. Battery life jumps to around 45 hours of wireless use when noise-cancellation is turned off.

The Monitor II headphones are among the most distinct, aesthetically pleasing over-ear headphones on today’s market, with jagged details and a chrome button offering detailed finesse.

Music aficionados will likely wear these with pride – the Marshall logo in full view – reinforced by a pleasing guitar strum sound when the product is connected. No boring robotic tone here.

The headphones are also notably more compact versus other active noise cancelling over-ears, which is great for smaller heads as mine.

Padded oval ear cups are comfortable, connected via a flexible rotating spring.

I appreciate that the top of the head is well padded too, facilitating comfort for long periods of listening/working. My only qualm is that out of the box, the headphones are notably ‘tight’, and sometimes strain my ears with pressure after very extended use.

Gradual wear-and-tear made them more comfortable to match my personal preference.

A simple golden button on the right earcup offers a suite of functions including; volume adjustment, play/pause, answering calls etc. No issues.

Added points for a USB-C charging port, 3.5mmm headphone jack and included coiled wire – beneficially when travelling – plus Google Assistant support. The latter is triggered via the gold button.

Users can customise equaliser presets via the accompanying app, and swap them using the headphones’ ‘M’ button. Audio quality is indicative of Marshall’s reputation – superb and reliable – out of the box, with no need to customise over underperformance.

The product boasts some serious active noise cancellation, which is showcased on noisey public transport. One of my favourite uses for ANC headphones is to create an immersive ‘bubble’ to focus on work (especially in a public place). These do a splendid job, and are compact enough to keep in my bag always.

I wouldn’t consider the active noise cancellation quite at the same level as Sony’s WH-1000XM3, but it’s still very good. You get a compact build, and Marshall aesthetics.

The price is on the high-end, and users will likely gravitate to the product for its wholistic value proposition, rather than just solely noise cancelling.

Unfortunately, the product doesn’t come with a hard case, instead a soft carry bag, limiting protection from everything in my bag. It is super compact and fully collapsible, making for easy portability.

Portability is also enhanced via a 15min charge which delivers five hours of playback.

Reviewed over several weeks, I did not experience any dropouts either on my phone or Mac.

The headphones also perform well for voice calling, however, if I’m picky the microphone could be improved a touch.

Noise cancellation is customisable via the Marshall app, which allows you to set how much you want (percentage based).

Concerning audio quality: they’re Marshall, you can’t really go too wrong. It has the brand’s signature sound, which is best suited to rock, but not at the isolation of other genres.

The product is also an upgrade versus its predecessor released in 2017. Vocal harmonies are enjoyable, bass robust – great performance regardless of song type.

Overall, the Marshall Monitor II headphones are a pleasure to wear, use and own.

They offer a sense of personality that more generic looking headphones do not, and I definitely appreciate their compact nature for excellent portability to match audio smarts.

Golden dial, soft ear cups, leather look – it’s premium, in a distinct way – with little compromise for active noise cancellation intelligence.

It’s tech with the heart of a rocker, reflected inside and out.

RATING: 4.1/5

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