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Marshall Monitor II ANC wireless is a full-size over-ear headphone with active noise reduction. The second generation of "monitor" headphones from Marshall was released in 2020 with the same corporate sound and design, good noise reduction, and impressive autonomy (up to 30 hours with ANC) as the previous model. The Marshall Monitor ANC noise-canceling headphones were undoubtedly fantastic for lovers of retro audio products, but could the same be said about Marshall Monitor II ANC? Of the many similitudes, only the price is different. Let's figure out if the headphones are worth the cost.
Marshall Monitor II ANC Headphones Review
1. Overview - not finished
Type: Over-ear Noise Cancelling Headphones | Bluetooth: 4.0 | Battery: 30 Hours | Charging: 4 Hours | Drivers: Dynamic | Drivers-Size: 45 mm | Weight: 385g
The Marshall Monitor II ANC is supplied in its usual package: headphones, audio cable, charging cable, soft case, and documentation. We were immediately pleased that USB is Type-C, a not micro USB. The audio cable is traditionally “twisted” – plus one retro feature in the design. All analogs have a case. However, sometimes, the cover can be more convenient. Here, the soft pouch protects the headsets from scratches and provides a more manageable fit than a case. By the way, the soft carrying case is made of denim.
The design of this model is expectedly branded: retro. Some people like this style, while others don’t. But it clearly stands out among other more or less smooth and minimalist models in the price range of $300. Marshall Monitor II ANC has fewer brass design accents compared to the first version. Also, the earcups’ coating is softer and more even; overall appearance has become more universal, although it has retained the corporate approach.
The headband is durable: the metal base is covered with fashionable, pleasant to the touch “eco-leather. “The lining is a soft but resilient—foldable design. Another nice detail in the design of the Marshall Monitor II ANC is the rather low-profile earcups. On the outside, they are covered with a more dense and textured “eco-skin,” reminiscent (of course) of Marshall amplifiers. A few more words about the headband: due to its slightly elongated shape and very elastic base, the headphones “sit” well even on the largest head. You don’t have to worry.
The earcups are quite large, accommodating to any ears. The earpads are soft and, let’s say, not small. On the right bowl is the control joystick and the “M” button, responsible for choosing an equalizer preset or calling a voice assistant. On the left is the “ANC” button, which controls the noise reduction modes and connectors: USB Type-C and 3.5 mm mini-jack.
It is extremely difficult to find fault with the materials and assembly of the Marshall Monitor II ANC. Headphones will obviously last far from one year, it’s difficult to break them, and coverings will not “fly around” in the fall. Design is for everybody. I like it, but it seems strange to many. One thing is certain – he stands out among others, not crossing the boundaries of pretentiousness.
Marshall Monitor II ANC – comfortable headphones. As mentioned above, they are suitable for any size of ears and the head too. The model is not one of the lightest (320 grams), but the weight is well distributed. Downforce is sufficient for a secure fit, but not excessive: in general, the headphones do not tire for at least 2 hours. Without obvious inconvenience, you can wear them without taking off even a couple of hours.
Comfort here is the merit of not only soft ear cushions but also customizable earcups. They are suspended with a certain degree of freedom, which gives a denser and more comfortable fit. Of course, many analogs have this too. But what is more surprising is that some neglect this small but important nuance.
Marshall Monitor II ANC can connect to the source via Bluetooth (up to version 5.0) or a standard audio cable (3.5 mm mini-jack). When connecting over the air, only the standard SBC codec is available. It is very strange that, given the model’s high price, the headset doesn’t even have aptX and AAC. Most competitors have such features.
The pairing with the source is standard: we turn on the headphones and the device search mode in them, and then we find them in the list of available Bluetooth devices. A connection with two gadgets is supported at the same time. It may be convenient, for example, to listen to music from a laptop, but not to miss a phone call.
The communication quality of the Marshall Monitor II ANC is excellent. “Stuttering,” cliffs, and other artifacts are almost nonexistent—working radius – 10 meters confidently. However, there is a slight lack of sync between video and sound. It is minimal, but you can notice it.
Autonomy has always been a strength of the Marshall headphone, and the Marshall Monitor II ANC is no exception. With noise reduction turned on, they can work for about 30 hours, and with it turned off. They can last up to 45 hours. According to the first tests, the stated numbers are more or less plausible. At medium volume with activated “noise reduction,” they worked for almost 29 hours.
You can download a free application to the Google Play Store or AppStore, which will slightly expand the Marshall Monitor II ANC functionality. It works quite stable, although there are still rare problems with the definition of headphones. This is not surprising; the model is new. But everything is “finished”. The display of the charge level, of course, is already there.
The same “M” button that can call the voice assistant (Google Assistant or Siri) can be used to scroll through the equalizer presets. All this is configured in the application. If you prefer to call an assistant, everything is simple – we assign it. But if you prefer the ability to change the sound “on the fly,” the application gives more freedom.
The equalizer here is a five-band. There are several presets (by genre), the default preset is “Marshall” (it is neutral), it cannot be configured. But others – you can. Three of the predefined or customized presets can be assigned to a button. When switching them, different sound signals will be played. It will always be clear which preset is set.
The “ANC” button is responsible for the “noise reduction.” By default, 3 modes are set: on (100%), “monitoring” mode (music stops, external sounds are sent to the headphones), and noise reduction is turned off. In the application, you can configure the ANC level for all modes.
Passive sound insulation is at an average level. For example, when walking around the city, you can ANC and not include. But in more noisy conditions, it is worth taking advantage of this achievement of technology. Active noise reduction is high-quality here. It somewhat does not reach the leaders of the industry (Sony and Bose), but much better than the budget models. I am glad that the “leakage” of sound here is small. Those around your music are unlikely to hear unless you go too far with the volume.
Marshall Monitor II ANC sounds pretty good: brighte and energetic. There is an emphasis on midbass, a slight decline in the middle, and another slight emphasis on the lower part of the treble, although the highs are generally smooth.
Starting with the basses, Marshall Monitor II ANC emphasizes a lot the mid-bass, adding energy and saturation. “Liveliness” in a sense. There is a slight decline at the very bottom. There is sub-bass, but it is not enough percussion for some styles. The mid frequencies play without distortions: everything is smooth, quite saturated. In some compositions, a certain “remoteness” of the voice and some instruments is felt, which, at the same time, does not help to “draw” the volume. Somewhere in the middle of the midrange, there is a recession that explains this. The trebles are a bit accentuated in the lower part of the range, which adds energy and brightness, while the top is smoothed, airy and clean. Overall, the wireless Marshall Monitor ANC headphones enjoy a great sound response with a playful character.
Virtual scene. Pretty narrow. As they say, I would like to be wider. Several “protrudes” beyond the head. Sound sources are positioned mainly in the plane. In-depth, the “drawing” is not very accurate. But, of course, a lot depends on the records. If I may say so, a minimal separation into layers is present but does not immerse into the atmosphere.
The headsets are detailed and quite natural. The detail is sufficient to enjoy music. On the midrange, details are sometimes lost, the highest frequencies, too, but nothing overbearing. Naturalness is also good. You can listen to live music. You can hear synthetics on the bass and treble on some good recordings, but this is if you listen carefully.
The Marshall Monitor II A.N.C. positively surprised us. The headphones are meticulously crafted, impressing with their foldable design, quality materials, and soft earcups. Ergonomics are great, handling is comfortable, and ANC works effectively. You can expect a long runtime, handy features, and great sound. The sound is not lacking in energy, midrange, and exciting bass, so the headphones work well for guitar playing, but not only.
All in all, the Marshall Monitor II active noise cancellation headset is a success, a real treat for lovers of rock and metal. Undoubtedly, it’s also a fantastic cheaper alternative to the top headphones from Bose, Sony or Sennheiser, especially if you want a natural sound reproduction.