Reviewed on Sep 12, 2018

Marshall Major 2/Major II HEADPHONES REVIEW

Usage Ratings - Version 1.3
6.0
Mixed Usage
6.7
Neutral Listening
5.8
Commute/Travel
6.1
Sports/Fitness
5.9
Office
5.0
Wireless Gaming
6.7
Wired Gaming
6.5
Phone Call
Type : On-ear
Enclosure : Closed-Back
Wireless : No
Noise-Cancelling : No
Mic : Yes
Transducer : Dynamic

The Marshall Major II are straightforward on-ear headphones with a decent sound for recording or critical listening. They have a relatively unique look, they're lightweight and decently comfortable. However, they're not the most durable headphones and do not block a lot of noise in loud environments so they won't be the best choice for commuting. They also have a limited control scheme and lack a lot of features when compared to other headphones in their price range.

Test Results
Design 6.5
Isolation 5.8
Microphone 7.0
Active Features 0
Connectivity 3.8
Pros
  • Lightweight, and stable design.
  • Low leakage.
Cons
  • Poor noise isolation.
  • Slightly tight on the head.
  • Fragile build quality.
  1. Update 11/6/2019: Converted to Test Bench 1.3.
  2. Update 2/16/2018: Converted to Test Bench 1.2.
  3. Update 10/2/2017: The microphone has been tested with our new methodology, as explained here
  4. Update 8/10/2017: Converted to Test Bench 1.1. Learn more about our new versioned test bench system here.

Check Price

6.5

Design

The Marshall Major II have a simple yet unique design that's reminiscent of other Marshall-made accessories. They're lightweight on-ear headphones that feel a bit tight on the head but are sufficiently well-padded to deliver a comfortable listening experience. They're relatively easy to carry on you thanks to their portable design. However, their build quality feels a little lacking and cheap. They also have a mediocre button layout that gives you very limited control over your audio.

Style

The Marshall Major II have a sleek studio design that looks pretty good. They come in a simple all-black color scheme with a relatively wide headband and square ear cups that have a textured finish. The design is reminiscent of Marshall-made amplifiers and instrument accessories, which feels unique yet understated enough to work for most listeners. Sadly, the plastic used in the build quality feels a bit cheap upon closer inspection.

6.5 Comfort
Weight : 0.32 lbs
Clamping Force
:
1.01 lbs

The Marshall Major II have a lightweight on-ear build and are sufficiently well padded, to deliver a decently comfortable listening experience. Unfortunately, they're a bit tight on the head. That combined with the small, square ear cups puts a lot of pressure on the ears that can become a bit uncomfortable when listening for long periods of time.

5.1 Controls
OS Compatibility
:
Not OS specific
Ease of use : Okay
Feedback : Mediocre
Call/Music Control : Yes
Volume Control : No
Microphone Control : No
Channel Mixing
:
N/A
Noise Canceling Control : N/A
Talk-Through
:
N/A
Additional Buttons : No

The button layout for these headphones is mediocre-at-best. All they provide on the inline controls is a call/music button. This means you will have to adjust the volume or skip tracks directly on your audio device, which can get a bit tedious when on the go.

7.9 Breathability
Avg.Temp.Difference : 2.3 C

The Marshall Major II are decently breathable on-ear headphones. They do not fully cover your ears and therefore do not obstruct as much airflow as some of the closed-back over-ear models we've tested. They will not make you sweat more than average during casual listening sessions but won't be as good as in-ears when working out and exercising.

6.3 Portability
L : 5.63 "
W : 5.38 "
H : 2.50 "
Volume : 75.7 Cu. Inches
Transmitter required : N/A

The Marshall Major II are fairly portable headphones. They're a bit on the larger side for an on-ear model but they will easily fit into a bag or even some bigger jacket pockets. The foldable design saves a decent amount of space but they may still be a bit bothersome to carry on your person and do not come with a case.

0 Case
Type : No case
L : N/A
W : N/A
H : N/A
Volume : N/A

These headphones do not come with a case.

7.0 Build Quality

The build quality of the Major II looks sturdy at a glance but actually feels fragile and plasticky. They won't get damaged easily from a few drops thanks to their simple, lightweight design that doesn't have too many moving parts. However, the mostly plastic build does not feel very durable and the headband, especially, is a bit weak and may warp under heavy physical stress.

7.0 Stability

The tight fit makes them above-average stable. They don't move much once on your head, which makes them decent headphones to jog with. However, they're not specifically designed for sports or physical activity, so under intense exercise, they may slip off your ears. On the upside, the cable will detach if hooked by something.

Headshots 1
Headshots 2
Top

Sound

Their sound quality is not quite as good as the MID ANC, but they have a well-balanced, consistent, and extended bass, a good and even mid-range but an average treble. Also, their mid-range is a bit forward and honky sounding, and their treble is recessed and lacks some detail and presence. Also, like most other closed-back headphones, they don't have a large and speaker-like soundstage.

Sound Profile
Neutral
:
6.2
Bass-Heavy
:
6.4
Warm
:
8.5
Bright
:
3.2
7.7 Peaks/Dips
Peaks
:
1.31 db
Dips
:
1.51 db
7.8 Frequency Response Consistency
Avg. Std. Deviation
:
0.43 dB

The frequency response consistency is great. In the bass range, there is very little variance across our five human subjects, even for our human subject who wears glasses. In the treble range, below 10KHz, the maximum deviation is less than 4dB, which is also good. Therefore, the Major 2 will have a consistent bass and treble delivery across multiple users and re-seats.

8.3 Imaging
Weighted Group Delay
:
0.2
Weighted Amplitude Mismatch
:
0.45
Weighted Frequency Mismatch
:
2.03
Weighted Phase Mismatch
:
10.4

The Marshall Major 2 has a very good imaging performance. Their weighted group delay is at 0.2, which is quite good. The GD graph also shows that their group delay never crosses the audibility threshold. This indicates a tight bass and a transparent treble reproduction. In terms of driver matching, the L/R drivers of our test unit were very well-matched in amplitude, phase, and frequency response, ensuring accurate placement and localization of objects (voices, instruments, and video game effects) in the stereo image.

3.7 Soundstage
PRTF Accuracy (Std. Dev.)
:
5.08 dB
PRTF Size (Avg.)
:
-0.38 dB
PRTF Distance
:
7.43 dB
Openness
:
4.9
Acoustic Space Excitation
:
3.1

The soundstage is poor. Due to their on-ear and closed-back design, the Marshalls don't interact with the pinna much and therefore, don't activate its resonances. This corresponds to the low PRTF size and high PRTF error values. Overall, the soundstage of the Major 2 will be perceived as small and located inside the listener's head.

7.5 Weighted Harmonic Distortion
WHD @ 90
:
0.191
WHD @ 100
:
0.194
5.8

Isolation

The Major II are passively isolating headphones. The tight on-ear design and decent padding block a good amount of high-frequency noise. But unfortunately, it's not enough for the varying ambient noise of a busy commute or lively office. On the upside, they don't leak much, so people shouldn't be able to hear what you're listening to, except at relatively high volumes.

5.0 Noise Isolation
Isolation Audio
:
Overall Attenuation
:
-13.29 dB
Bass
:
0.41 dB
Mid
:
-8.42 dB
Treble
:
-32.47 dB

The isolation performance is mediocre. These on-ear headphones don't have ANC (active noise cancellation) and therefore don't isolate in the bass range. This means they will let in all low rumbling noises like the sound of airplane and bus engines. In the mid-range, important for blocking out speech, they achieve about 10dB of isolation which is average. In the treble range, occupied by sharp sounds like S and Ts, they reduce outside noise by more than 33dB, which is good.

7.3 Leakage
Leakage Audio
:
Overall Leakage @ 1ft
:
37.58 dB

The leakage performance of the Major II is above-average. The significant portion of their leakage is spread across the mid and treble ranges, which is a relatively broad range. This makes leakage fuller sounding than that of in-ears and earbuds. However, the overall level of the leakage is low. With the music at 100dB SPL, the leakage at 1 foot away averages at 38dB SPL and peaks at 48dB SPL which is just below the noise floor of an average office.

7.0

Microphone

Integrated
:
No
In-line
:
Yes
Boom
:
No
Detachable Boom
:
N/A

The in-line microphone of the Marshall Major II is decent. In quiet environments, speech recorded or transmitted with this mic sound a bit thin, but clear, detailed, and intelligible. In noisy situations, however, it may struggle to fully separate speech from ambient noise even in moderately loud places, like a busy street.

7.8 Recording Quality
Recorded Speech
:
LFE
:
359.19 Hz
FR Std. Dev.
:
2.08 dB
HFE
:
10388.94 Hz
Weighted THD
:
0.408
Gain
:
22.56 dB

The microphone has a good recording quality. The dips in the bass range results in a recorded/transmitted speech that sound a bit thin. The bump around 20Hz though could make this mic prone to pops and low rumbling noises. The HFE (high-frequency extension) is at 10KHz, suggesting a speech that is detailed and clear. However, it may lack some brilliance and airiness due to the dip above 10KHz. The response in the mid and treble ranges is quite even and flat, resulting in a natural and intelligible speech.

6.3 Noise Handling
Speech + Pink Noise :
Speech + Subway Noise :
SpNR
:
15.53 dB

The noise handling of the Major II's mic is mediocre. In our SpNR test, this microphone achieved a speech-to-noise ratio of 16dB. This indicates it is best suited for quiet environments since it may struggle to fully separate speech from ambient noise even in moderately loud situations.

0

Active Features

The Marshall Major II have no active features and therefore do not require a battery. They also do not have a dedicated app or software for added customization options.

N/A Battery
Battery Type
:
N/A
Continuous Battery Life
:
N/A
Additional Charges
:
N/A
Total Battery Life
:
N/A
Charge Time
:
N/A
Power Saving Feature
:
N/A
Audio while charging
:
N/A
Passive Playback
:
N/A
Charging Port : N/A

These are passive headphones with no active components and no battery.

0 App Support
App Name : N/A
iOS : N/A
Android : N/A
Mac OS : N/A
Windows : N/A
Equalizer
:
N/A
ANC control
:
N/A
Mic Control : N/A
Room effects
:
N/A
Playback control
:
N/A
Button Mapping : N/A
Surround Sound : N/A

The Major II do not have a dedicated, compatible app for added customization.

3.8

Connectivity

The Marshall Major II are wired headphones with no Bluetooth or base/dock. They have practically no latency for watching movies and videos but do not have the convenient range of a wireless headphone.

0 Bluetooth
Bluetooth Version
:
N/A
Multi-Device Pairing
:
N/A
NFC Pairing
:
N/A
Line of Sight Range
:
N/A
Default Latency
:
N/A
aptX Latency
:
N/A
aptX(LL) Latency
:
N/A

These headphones are wired and do not have a Bluetooth connection. If you want a similar design from Marshall that has a wireless Bluetooth connection, then consider the Marshall MID ANC instead.

They have negligible latency because they have a wired connection.

0 Non-Bluetooth Wireless
Non-BT Line of Sight Range
:
N/A
Non-BT Latency
:
N/A
9.5 Wired
Analog Audio
:
Yes
USB Audio
:
No
Detachable : Yes
Length : 3.93 ft
Connection : 1/8" TRRS
Wired Latency
:
0 ms

The Marshall Major II have a 1/8TRRS audio cable with an inline remote microphone that is compatible with the PS4 and Xbox One controller. They should also have mic support for PC and tablet if you have a 4-pin headphone jack or a headset adapter.

PC / PS4 Compatibility
PC / PS4 Analog
:
Audio + Microphone
PC / PS4 Wired USB
:
No
PC / PS4 Non-BT Wireless
:
No
Xbox One Compatibility
Xbox Analog
:
Audio + Microphone
Xbox Wired USB
:
No
Xbox Wireless
:
No
0 Base/Dock
Type
:
N/A
USB Input
:
N/A
Line In
:
N/A
Line Out
:
N/A
Optical Input
:
N/A
RCA Input
:
N/A
Dock Charging
:
N/A
Power Supply
:
N/A

The Marshall Major II do not have a dock. If you need a headset with a dock that also has a wired connection for gaming or watching movies, then consider the SteelSeries Arctis 7.

In the box

  • Marshall Major II Headphones
  • Audio cable
  • Manual

Compared to other Headphones

The Marshall Major II are an above-average-sounding, mid-range on-ear. They're a bit plasticky and don't have the sturdiest build quality but they deliver a decently well balanced audio reproduction, they're compact, lightweight and don't leak much. However, they may feel a bit tight on your head out-of-the-box, and they don't block a lot of noise, so they won't be the best headphones for commuting.  They're also slightly lacking in features especially when compared to some of the competing models below. See our recommendations for the best noise canceling headphones, the best noise cancelling headphones under $200 and the best on-ear headphones.

Bose QuietComfort 35 II/QC35 II Wireless 2018
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com

If you just need a budget wired headset then the Marshall Major II could be a viable option but in most cases, the wireless noise-canceling Bose QuietComfort 35 II are a much better and more versatile headset. The Bose block a lot of noise with their noise cancelling feature which makes them more suitable for commute and travel. They're also a lot more comfortable and a have an over-ear fit that most will prefer over the on-ear design of the Marshall Major II. The Major II, on the other hand, are completely passive, so you do not have to worry about battery life. They're also a bit more compact to carry around than the Bose but do not come with a case.

Marshall MID ANC Wireless
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com

If you want the convenience of a wireless and wired design, then go for the Marshall MID ANC.  However, if you only need a wired headset at a budget price, then go for the Marshall Major II instead. The MID ANC are wireless and also noise canceling, which makes them a more versatile everyday option than the Major II. They also have better-balanced sound quality and come with a cable so you can use them passively if the battery dies. On the other hand, the Major II are completely passive, so you do not have to worry about a battery in the first place. They also have a slightly more compact design, but do not look or feel as premium as the MID ANC.

Audio-Technica ATH-M60x
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com

The Audio-Technica ATH-M60x are better headphones than the Marshall Major II. The ATH-M60x have a better-balanced sound quality than the Marshalls. They're also better built and look more premium and durable than the Major II, and come with three sturdy and durable audio cables. On the upside, the Marshalls have a limited in-line remote that gives you some control over your audio. They're also a lot more compact to carry around, being lighter, smaller, and more foldable than the Audio-Technicas.

Jaybird X3 Wireless
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com

If you prefer the compact design of in-ears, then go for the Jaybird X3; however, if you're not a big fan of the in-ear fit and also do not need a wireless design, then go for the Marshall Major II instead. The X3 are wireless and compact enough to fit into your pockets, which makes them a bit more practical for most listeners than the Major II. They also provide better isolation against ambient noise thanks to their in-ear fit and low leakage (so you can play your music at higher volumes and not distract the people around you). They're also a much better choice for sports than the Marshall. On the other hand, the Major II are completely passive, so you do not have to worry about battery life, latency, or wireless reliability. They also have an on-ear fit that some may prefer over in-ear designs like the Jaybirds.

6.0 Mixed Usage

The Major II are not the most versatile headphones. They have a simple, lightweight design that's decent for critical listening and studio recording. However, they don't isolate enough for loud environments and their build quality feels a little cheap.

6.7 Neutral Listening

Decent for neutral listening. They do a good job reproducing the bass and mid-range but struggle a bit with the higher frequencies. They should sound good enough for most casual listeners. However, their lack of a decent soundstage and poor treble range is not ideal for a pure neutral listening experience.

5.8 Commute/Travel

Mediocre-at-best for commuting. They do not provide enough isolation for loud environments like being on a bus or a plane. On the upside, they are decently compact to carry around.

6.1 Sports/Fitness

Average for sports use. They're lightweight and moderately stable enough on the head to not easily fall during exercise. However, they're not made for sports and their control scheme is mediocre-at-best, forcing you to adjust the volume or change tracks directly on your mobile device.

5.9 Office

Mediocre for office use. Although they don't leak much, except at high volumes, their poor isolation will not prevent the noise of a lively office from seeping into your audio.

5.0 Wireless Gaming

Average for gaming. They have a wired connection, so they have negligible latency which is suitable for gaming. They also have a decent microphone that's compatible with some consoles. Unfortunately, they lack a good app to customize their sound profile like most gaming headsets, and they're also a bit tight on the head to wear for really long gaming sessions.

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