The Marshall Monitor headphones are the latest offering to feature the feature the legendary amp brand's distinctive logo, but are they any good?
Marshall first dipped into the headphone market back in 2010 with its original Marshall Major and Marshall Minor headphones. Three years later, it's ready to take a stab at a true over-ear headphone - with the Marshall Monitor - and we’re on the spot to test them out.
As some will already know, these headphones are not technically made by Marshall, but by Zound Industries - the same group who make headphones for Urbanears, Molami and Coloud.
Whereas the Marshall Majors were similar in design to the Urbanears Plattans for example, the Marshall Monitors are a unique design, a collaboration between Zound and Marshall to try and create a pair of headphones that does justice to the famous Marshall amplifier brand.
Marshall Monitor: Design
Marshall’s latest headphones are a totally new design, and a significant departure from the style of the Marshall Majors and Zound-siblings Urbanears.
The ear-cups are now a fully ear-encasing oval, complete with classic Marshall details. That means vinyl leather on the headband, brass detailing, and that vintage Marshall signature on the cups. If the Majors were nice looking but a bit flimsy, the Monitor headphone feels infinitely more premium.
There are some nice ideas in here as well. The headphone cable is detachable, and there is an input on both ear-cups, so you aren’t forced to have the cable on the left hand side.
The headphones are also collapsible, and they fold into a very neat, compact little package - although they do have a nasty habit of pinching your fingers when you fold them up.
Marshall Monitor: Audio Quality
As we’d expect from anything with the Marshall name on it, the sound quality is extremely robust. We didn’t notice the same initial ear-melting loudness that comes with the Marshall Majors, but 40mm drivers still deliver a loud and more balanced sound than their predecessors.
Naturally, these are closed-back headphones, so the sound is quite bassy and punchy - perfect for rock and metal fans, and even some cheeky dubstep and drum & bass.
Here’s where things get clever. The built-in 'F.T.F.' system lets you play with the sound of the headphones, though only to an extent. Remove the magnetic ear cushions and you can take out the F.T.F. insert - resulting in a clearer, far more open sound, a little like what you would expect to hear on a pair of open-back headphones.
Marshall Monitor: Comfort
The Monitor headphones can feel a little vice-like when you first put them on. T3 Reviews Overlord Libby Plummer described them generously as ‘a snug fit’ on first try. They’re like the Majors in this regard, but again, like the Majors, they do loosen up after a little bit of use.
Aside from that, they’re very comfy. The leather ear-cups are nice and don’t make your ears ache after a couple of hours. They fit nicely if you want to wear them around your neck. All in all, a nice package, though as always, we always recommend that you try before you buy.
Marshall Monitor: Verdict
Marshall’s first venture into the full over-ear market is undoubtedly a successful one. There are better sounding closed-back headphones out there - the Philips Fidelio L1s spring to mind, as do the legions of people
who swear by their Beats by Dre cans.
But for this price, we reckon you’ll struggle to find anything that sounds better, that is as well built and well-designed as this. And don’t forget that Marshall styling too. The Monitors are a credit to the Marshall brand.
Marshall Monitor release date: Out now
Marshall Monitor price: £180