Looking for some of the best true wireless earbuds? This Marshall Motif ANC review might be able to help.
Founded back in the 1960s, Marshall is an audio brand with a long and iconic past, but its rock n’ roll image has stayed fresh to this day. You can see it in every single one of their most recent audio devices, from their amplifiers to their headphones and their portable Bluetooth speakers.
The Marshall Motif ANC true wireless earbuds are a prime example of Marshall living up to its name. These wireless earbuds don’t just sound great but they look the part too. You can find out everything you need to know about them in this Marshall Motif ANC review.
Marshall Motif ANC review: price and availability
You can buy the Marshall Motif ANC right now, starting from $200 in the US, £169 in the UK and AU$285 in Australia. To find out where you can pick up a pair, take a look at the widgets on this page.
Marshall Motif ANC review: design and fit
The Marshall Motif ANC look really cool and they perfectly echo the renowned Marshall style. Each earbud has a textured metallic stem and the familiar ‘M’ on the outside, while the charging case looks like a mini amplifier, covered in what’s designed to look like broken black leather, and with Marshall written in white across the front.
Each earbud weighs about 4.5g and they are designed in a way that makes them comfortable to wear. I kept forgetting I even had them in. That’s helped by the good fit provided by the three different sizes of silicone ear tips included in the box, some earbuds come with even more choice but three is still plenty - although this may not be true for everyone. When I tested them out, I found they stayed securely in my ear throughout the day and even during high energy workouts.
Both the buds and the case have some level of water resistance as well, that being IPX5 in the earbuds and IPX4 in the case. As such, they’ll be fine to use at the gym and they’ll survive if you get unexpectedly caught in the rain. You’ll have to be careful not to drop them into water though as they may not survive that so easily.
You’ll be able to pause or play the music without needing to reach for your phone thanks to the touch controls on the outside of each earbud. Through the Marshall Bluetooth app, you can change how you want to use the touch controls, they let you pause or play the music as well as skip through tracks and flick through the noise-cancelling modes, or even cycle through the preset equaliser settings. Unfortunately, there’s no way of adjusting the volume using the touch controls so you will need to pick up your phone to do that.
While the touch controls were handy they didn’t actually always respond when I went to use them. The length and pressure of the press took a bit of getting used to, it’s not just a quick and responsive tap like you'll find with other pairs of wireless earbuds.
Giving you about 4.5 hours of music with ANC switched on, the battery life isn't amazing. If you turn off the noise-cancelling it goes up to 6 hours, which is better but still not very much at all, especially if you plan to use them on long-haul flights. The charging case, on the other hand, does have a decent amount of battery, with 20 total hours of music in the case when you’re using ANC, going up to 26 hours when you’re not.
The Marshall Motif ANC case supports wireless charging if you already own a compatible charger, or you can plug it in using the included USB-C cable, which will take about 3 hours to recharge the case back to 100%. If you need some last-minute extra juice then a quick 15-minute charge will give you an additional hour of listening time.
Marshall Motif ANC review: sound and performance
Given Marshall’s place in music history, you’d expect their audio products to sound good. The Marshall Motif ANC can back that up because the sound quality is excellent. A rich deep bass is the most noticeable element but it doesn’t overpower the track at all, leaving space for a detailed high-end with loads of clarity.
Naturally, these earbuds are best suited to rock music, that’s where the Marshall tuning really shines through. But in saying that, I thought these sounded great across all types of music, videos and podcasts.
There are also a number of preset sound modes to choose from depending on what you’re listening to which includes Spoken, Hip Hop, Marshall and Rock to name just a few. Once you’ve figured out your three favourites, you can assign them to the headphones making it much easier to switch through them on the fly using the touch controls.
When dialled up all the way, the ANC does a great job at blocking noise out, the sound of traffic around you fades away and even your own keyboard taps are dulled out. It’ll be great for journeys on trains or planes too.
Transparency lets some noise in and balances it with the music so you can hear what’s going on around you. That way you won’t miss anything if someone wants to get your attention or if you're crossing the road.
You can adjust both the level of noise cancellation and the amount of transparency through the Marshall Bluetooth app.
Thanks to built-in dual microphones, you'll be able to take your calls through these earbuds and you’ll also be able to speak to your smartphone’s voice assistant, although you won’t be able to activate it just by using your voice, you’ll need to press the touch controls or go through your phone.
The Bluetooth 5.2 connectivity has a range of about 10m which is fine, you can wander away from your devices without the sound dropping.
Marshall Motif ANC review: verdict
They may not be as feature-packed as some other true wireless earbuds, lacking things like voice control or a manual equaliser, but the Marshall Motif ANC are still well worth their price tag because they focus on what matters the most, the music.
Superb sound quality is the crowning glory here, and that’s exactly how it should be. It’s all well and good packing in bells and whistles but if the audio isn’t up to scratch then what’s the point? That’s paired with impressive noise-cancelling and a really cool design, although the battery life leaves a lot to be desired.
Well-rounded and versatile, if you need headphones to use for your morning commute, your evening run and everything in between, you should definitely consider the Marshall Motif ANC.
Marshall Motif ANC review: also consider
Those who want to keep the cost down should also consider the Cambridge Audio Melomania 1 Plus - they might not look quite as cool and the array of features might be even more basic, but they sound fantastic and they're a lot cheaper than the Marshall Motif ANC.
If money is no object then the best true wireless earbuds you can buy are still the Sony WF-1000XM4. They offer an impressive package across the board and have some really handy extra features to play around with too.