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The closed-back, on-ear Marshall Majors headphones carry noise-canceling functionality for your ride to work, school, and anywhere in between. Priced at $100, the Majors deliver excellent sound detail and functional design elements like a Tolex-wrapped headband and a knurled cable jack that are synonymous with the Marshall name. With few complaints aside from fit issues and hot ears after prolonged listening, the Marshall Major headphones provide sartorial flair and brilliant tonal capacity and would make a worthwhile buy for your next pair of headphones.
Design and features
It's difficult to compare the Marshall Major headphones to any other listening device on the market aside from Marshall's own line of sound amplifiers. The all-black set bears a deliberate cosmetic similarity to Marshall's amps, and the white company insignia gets prominent placement on the outside of both the left and right ear cups.
In fact, even the soft leather headband is wrapped with Marshall's own Tolex flexible vinyl fabric that has covered Fender guitar amplifiers and Coffin Case guitar cases since the 1960s. Here, it acts as an extra layer of protection against natural elements while you wear them outside.
The rest of the build gets equal attention as well--dual 40mm drivers hide within the ear cups behind a woven fiber in a lattice pattern, and the outer earpiece is wrapped in soft black leather that feels comfortable the instant you put them on your head. Additionally, the swiveling wire cage allows vertical adjustment and also folds into the headband area for organized storage.
Marshall curiously omits a carrying bag from the package contents, but we'll give it the benefit of the doubt and assume that there's no need, given the strong rubber and thick plastic that line the joints of the earpieces and headband. Regardless, Marshall backs the Major headphones with a one-year warranty.
The single-sided 6-foot cable extends from the left ear cup and includes a coiled portion several inches down that adds extra slack and comes in handy if you store your music player in a backpack or handbag. The 3.5mm plug is unique as well, borrowing its design from guitar cabling with extra-durable spring strain relief and an extra quarter-inch adapter is included in the box.
Although they serve no functional purpose to the headphone, we also appreciate small details like the Marshall-branded gold plates on the ear cup connector, as well as drummer Jim Marshall's own signature printed underneath the headband that adds a personalized element to the cans.
Although the Marshall Majors are technically considered supra-aural type headphones for their on-ear shape, their closed-back style make them an excellent choice for those hoping to drown out external noise. Our anecdotal tests show that very little of your music will leak to the outside world, making them useful for plane rides and public transportation, where your privacy is crucial.
Sonically, the Marshall Majors are on the same level as the similarly priced Sennheiser PX 100-IIi, except the Majors reproduce a more spacious sound that appears more "alive" than the open-backed PX 100-IIi that emphasize the low end and struggle with lighter harmonies in jazz and classical tracks.
We tried the Marshall Majors over the course of a week and listened to nearly every genre of music and although we're impressed with their dynamic sound quality, the leather padded ear cups retain heat and can cause ear fatigue after a few hours of use, which isn't a big deal but should be known if you plan to use the headphones for a full day of work.
The Marshall Major headphones are suitable for anyone shopping for a passive noise-isolating headphone, and the acoustic contouring from the 40mm drivers will satisfy nearly any music listener, regardless of genre. As long as you're not planning to exercise in them, the Marshall Majors are a worthwhile buy for your next headphone purchase.