Marshall's Major fifth and Minor fourth are gear for your ears

The Marshall Major V and Minor IV promise to set new standards for in-ear and over-ear Marshall sound

Marshall Minor IV
(Image credit: Marshall)

Marshall, the legendary music brand whose amplifiers have powered so many of rock's greatest hits, have two brand new releases to excite your eardrums: the Major V headphones and the Minor IV earbuds.

The fifth generation of Marshall's Major over-ears have been redesigned to deliver lower distortion than before, and the Minor IV have been similarly improved. The over-ears deliver a staggering 100-plus hours of listening time and their smaller siblings deliver a very respectable 30-plus.

I really like Marshall's headphones and speakers: the use of signifiers from its music-making lineage is very smart, so for example the Major V over-ear headphones almost look like you've strapped a pair of Marshall amps to your head and the charging case for the Minor IV has the same look and feel as the covering on my old Marshall ValveState amp. This is definitely a good thing, but of course what really matters here is the sound. Marshall says these are the best-sounding Majors and Minors yet.

Marshall Major V and Minor IV: key features and pricing

Both sets of headphones are Bluetooth LE-ready for improved audio quality, better streaming range and improved audio sync when you're watching video.

The earbuds have been redesigned to deliver a better fit and improved acoustic performance, and there's improved customisation via the Marshall app. Bluetooth multipoint makes it easy tos witch between devices and there's an in-app battery preservation feature that can eke out maximum playtime from a single charge; Marshall says you can expect 30-plus hours via the charging case and 7 hours without.

The drivers here are 12mm dynamic drivers with a frequency response of 20-20,000Hz and the Minor IV weighs 7.39g per bud. 

The Major V drivers are a tad bigger – 40mm – and deliver the same frequency response; 3 hours of USB-charging will deliver over 100 hours of listening time.

It does look like Marshall hasn't changed the one concern we noted in our Marshall Major IV review: like many over-ears they're kryptonite for people who wear glasses. But if that's not an issue for you, they're likely to be an impressive set of headphones. The outgoing model were "crowd-pleasing headphones" that "strike a stylish chord", and the fifth generation offer wireless charging and customisation of the M button to enable in-app features such as Spotify Tap, EQ switching and voice assistance.

The Marshall Major V and Minor IV are available for pre-order today (16 April) and will ship from next week. Recommended retail prices are £129 / $149 for the Majors and £119 / $129 for the Minors.

Carrie Marshall

Writer, musician and broadcaster Carrie Marshall has been covering technology since 1998 and is particularly interested in how tech can help us live our best lives. Her CV is a who’s who of magazines, newspapers, websites and radio programmes ranging from T3, Techradar and MacFormat to the BBC, Sunday Post and People’s Friend. Carrie has written more than a dozen books, ghost-wrote two more and co-wrote seven more books and a Radio 2 documentary series. When she’s not scribbling, she’s the singer in Glaswegian rock band HAVR (