Not way back, it was merely a on condition that Bluetooth headphones and noise-canceling headphones have been two separate issues, however now it is exhausting to seek out any new noise-canceling pairs that are not wi-fi. At $269, Marshall’s Mid ANC headphones aren’t for budget-minded patrons, however they’re simply the most effective noise-canceling pair we have examined below $300—and practically $100 lower than the industry-leading Bose QuietComfort 35 II. Audio efficiency is great, with boosted lows and sculpted highs, whereas the lively noise cancellation (ANC) is much better than common. For those who’re in search of wi-fi noise cancellation below $300, you are our Editors’ Alternative.
The Mid ANC’s supra-aural (on-ear) design is exceptionally snug, with well-padded earcups and a generously cushioned headband. There is a leather-based patina on practically each floor of the black earcups and headband, and naturally, the gold Marshall emblem is emblazoned on the outer panel of every ear. The earcups, which look nearly sq., match very securely and the padding manages to dam out a major swath of ambient room noise passively.
On the left earcup, there’s an easy-to-operate button/multi-directional change that controls energy/pairing, playback, name administration, observe navigation, and quantity. Each time I take advantage of certainly one of these controls on Marshall headphones, I ponder why it is not the default on-ear management system for all Bluetooth headphones—it’s miles less complicated than most, and it does all the things you want it to. The correct earcup homes connections for the included cables—a micro USB port for charging and a three.5mm jack for the removable headphone cable. The ANC change can also be situated on the correct earcup. Internally, every earcup homes a 40mm dynamic driver.
Even the cables for the Mid ANC are in step with the Marshall-branded model—the black micro USB charging cable includes a crosshatch sample on both finish, and it is prolonged, which is useful and never all the time a given. The audio cable has gold-colored connection factors, contains an inline distant and mic, and has a black wire that’s half-coiled, like many studio headphones. The distant is of the single-button selection, so it may well’t management quantity, however its inclusion can also be not a given, so nitpicking about it’s simply that—not a significant gripe.
Plugging the cable into the correct earcup does not routinely break the Bluetooth connection, so it is potential to empty the battery unintentionally. Nonetheless, the headphones will be powered down for use in passive mode, and when powered up, the ANC can be utilized when the cable is related.
The built-in wi-fi mic presents above-average intelligibility. Utilizing the Voice Memos app on an iPhone 6s, we might perceive each phrase recorded, and there wasn’t the usually fuzzy Bluetooth mic high quality. The distant’s mic high quality can also be fairly good—no distorted audio, and there is even a little bit low frequency presence so issues do not sound skinny.
The included case is among the coolest we have seen ship with headphones. It is nearly box-like, with a magnetic flap that folds over the entrance and shuts all the things in. The headphones fold down flat into it. It is a little bit cumbersome for journey, however its faux-leather exterior and crimson velvet inside get severe model factors.
Marshall estimates battery life to be as much as 20 hours, however your outcomes will range together with your mixture of wi-fi and wired playback, in addition to your use of ANC.
Like most ANC headphones, the Mid ANC reproduce a slight excessive frequency hiss, like tape hiss—not disagreeable, however audible to a level. They do fairly effectively blocking out mid-to-higher vary sounds, like some AC items or followers would possibly produce. The decrease frequency rumble of an airplane will even be tamped down, however the ANC is barely much less efficient on this realm.
Fortunately, the headphones do not sound drastically completely different with the ANC enabled or disabled. This needs to be a given, however with wi-fi ANC headphones, it hasn’t been, and we have examined some high-priced choices that sound fairly completely different with the noise cancellation turned on. Right here, switching the ANC on or off whereas music is taking part in would possibly have an effect on the audio for a break up second, however that even occurs with some Bose QuietComfort fashions. So whereas this is not essentially the most spectacular noise cancellation we have heard, it is actually efficient, and it will get the vital issues proper—slicing down on noise extra so than creating it, and never altering the audio efficiency drastically. For lower than $275, that is spectacular.
On tracks with intense sub-bass content material, like The Knife’s “Silent Shout,” the headphones ship highly effective bass efficiency, and at high (unwise) quantity ranges, the bass does not distort. At affordable quantity ranges, the lows are nonetheless outstanding and highly effective within the combine, although there’s sufficient high-mid and excessive frequency presence to maintain issues balanced.
Invoice Callahan’s “Drover,” a observe with far much less deep bass within the combine, offers us a greater sense of the Mid ANC’s total sound signature. The drums on this observe get an additional serving to of sub-bass presence, making them sound heavier than typical, however by no means pushing issues into unnaturally thunderous territory. They sound sturdy and full right here, as do Callahan’s baritone vocals, which obtain a stable quantity of high-mid presence to maintain them crisp, regardless of their richness within the lows and low-mids. The acoustic guitar strumming and better percussive hits on this observe are given a great high-mid presence as effectively, that retains all the things vibrant and clear regardless of some severe bass boosting.
On Jay-Z and Kanye West’s “No Church within the Wild,” the kick drum loop additionally will get a stable high-mid presence, serving to its assault keep its sharpness and slice by means of the layers of the combination. The loop packs some added bass punch, and the sub-bass synth hits that punctuate the beat are delivered with gusto, although they do not fairly take issues to insanely boosted subwoofer-levels like some bass-heavy headphones do. The vocals on this observe are delivered with stable readability—they’re crisp and exact, with none added sibilance. That is a sculpted, boosted sound signature, nevertheless it’s balanced and nothing within the combine will get altered too far past actuality.
Orchestral tracks, just like the opening scene from John Adams’ The Gospel In line with the Different Mary, are usually not the Mid ANC’s power, nonetheless. The bass boosting runs into hassle right here, pushing the decrease register instrumentation too far ahead within the combine. It is not that issues sound terrible, however they actually sound unnatural—this is not a sound signature for purists, although there may be loads of sculpting and boosting within the highs to match the intensified decrease register instrumentation.
The Marshall Mid ANC headphones get nearly all the things proper, from glorious Bluetooth audio efficiency to respectable noise cancellation. If you throw in a cable with a distant, a pleasant journey case, and a cushty design, you’ve a winner. There’s actually not a lot to complain about right here, besides that maybe the audio is simply too sculpted for purists, and the look is not for everybody. On this worth vary, we’re additionally followers of the Libratone Q Adapt On-Ear, the B&O Play Beoplay H8i and the AKG N60 NC Wireless. However for individuals who just like the aesthetics and a few boosted bass, Marshall’s Mid ANC headphones are our Editors’ Alternative.