For better or worse, noise-canceling headphones are all the rage. They use opposing sound waves to counteract external noise like jet engines. And now Marshall has a wireless headphone that features the technology: The Marshall Mid ANC ($269, £239 or around $AU350).
What's a little unusual about it is that it's an on-ear model -- you just don't see too many noise-canceling on-ear headphones, since the design lets in external noise by default.
It's also a more refined follow up to the company's Major II Wireless, which is currently selling for the bargain price of $62 on Amazon and the noise-canceling version of the Marshall Mid Bluetooth, which is selling for around $90 on Amazon. Marshall also makes an over-ear wireless headphone, the Monitor Wireless, but it chose to add noise-canceling to an on-ear model first.
From a comfort standpoint, I'm not a huge fan of on-ear headphones. They tend to bother me after longer listening sessions. However, I didn't find the Mid ANC uncomfortable and I think it's more ergonomically sound than Marshall's earlier Major II Wireless.
It's built sturdily with metal hinges and has a nifty little joystick-like universal control button that allows you to skip tracks forward and back and adjust the volume (the same controller is found on the Major II Wireless and Monitor Wireless). It also comes with a nice, though somewhat bulky, carrying case. An included cord allows you to listen in wired mode.
Overall, this is a pretty well-balanced sounding headphone that should work well with a wide variety of music. It has decent clarity, with only a touch of treble push (presence boost) and tight, deep bass, particularly for an on-ear model.
One of the tracks we test the bass with is Alt-J's "3WW." With some headphones the bass from that track tends to come off sounding boomy. But the Marshall Mid's bass held together nicely and was well defined.
I compared the Marshall Mid ANC to the best two overall noise-canceling models, theand . Both are more comfortable headphones than the Marshall.
I found the Bose and Sony slightly more pleasing to listen to, particularly over long periods -- and not just because they're more comfortable. They're just a little warmer and slightly more open (with better overall clarity, the Sony arguably has a slight sound advantage over the Bose). But the Marshall is a very good sounding Bluetooth headphone.