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Customer Review

8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars These don't quite go to 11, but they sure look the part, 10 Mar. 2011
This review is from: Marshall Minor an advanced in-ear model (Electronics)
Let's face it - a pair of headphones in this price range were never going to be absolutely mind blowing, and although Marshall has a long pedigree in music equipment, they never were headphone makers. That said, when I laid my eyes on these, I knew I had to have them. Being ear canal phones, I always knew that they would not be on par with my isolating in-ear Denons, and sure enough, that was true. The Marshalls struggle to cope with really heavy bass, and the highs seem a bit muffled. On my iPod, I got the best results setting the EQ to Jazz for some reason, but then the headphones started revealing their positive qualities. The sound is meaty... beefy, even. For some reason, only meat-related synonyms come to mind for their sound, and while I initially thought that the iPod standard phones were better because of superior clarity, the Marshalls quickly started winning me over. They actually have a really rock 'n roll attitude, both in look and sound, and they like or even need some equalization to perform best. So there you go, hardly a pair of clear monitor phones, but their down and dirty approach may actually win them some fans, even among audiophiles. Vocals and mids are especially enjoyable, and while you don't want to crank the EQ to 11 on the bass, they can certainly rumble enough to satisfy most people.

Design-wise, the unusual ear clip design really works for me, but I needed to switch the rubber pads to the largest ones of the four included sizes to get it to fit. Now they align perfectly, and they will stay put even during movement - these will no doubt be my preferred gym phones. The open design also means you will be able to hear what's going on in the traffic as well, so I'm leaving the Denons at home when I go biking too. The phones also have a very discrete mic and remote for newer phones and mp3 players, and unlike most others I've seen, this one is almost unnoticeable. And finally, the look. Marshall really nailed it on this one - the gold "dials" on the front look like something straight from a Marshall rack, and the build is simply excellent overall. I also really like the extremely light, tangle-resistant wires - you will not be hearing any wire noise from these.

Finally, there is the issue of burn-in. All serious hi-fi equipment seems to really find itself after a period of varied use. My AKG K701s took well over 100 hours to reach this point, but the Marshalls seem to be changing quicker. Here are my impressions so far:

New - Highs seem decent, but a little muddy, midrange is warm with great vocals, lows are well-defined and present, but not entirely controlled at the deep end.

5 hours - Highs are slightly improved, the midrange is wider with vocals smack at centre stage (we like that!), lows seem more controlled, but still struggling with the deep end (double bass drums in particular, but careful EQ settings solve the problem).

Overall I recommend these phones as a bit of a style icon with great, although not earth-shattering audio performance. They're fun, and you can use them as secondary phones in places where an open, movement-resistant design is required.

*Note: This review was carried out using an iPod 4 running through the FiiO E7 portable amp with the Bass Boost setting at 1 (which might be the culprit in the bass department, but I really like the warm sound of this setting - without the E7, I doubt the iPod alone will be able to challenge the Marshalls beyond their capacity)
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