Marshall and music are two words that we all instinctively connect; famous of course for their amplifiers. However, Marshall and headphones are things we didn't connect - until now. Marshall have now released a straightforward lineup of headphones which features four models. Here we have the Marshall Major FX headphones which retail at £100 in the UK and $129 in the USA. Does the brand's move actually offer up anything that's worth a look at or is it just a well known brand name stuck on a pair of uninspiring headphones?
After we yanked the Marshall Major headphones out of their understated plain stylish cardboard box, we were surprised to find a compact and lightweight pair of headphones. We had an image of something much bigger, but they do still just claw themselves into the over-ear headphones category. The build is first class though. Marshall have applied their tried and tested design material which is vinyl, and used it on the skirts of the ear cups and the headband which keeps them robust, and they have also used the well-recognised white Marshall logo on each cup to look instantly familiar. They are quite a retro pair of headphones because of this scheme, and the colours Marshall are offering just vault the extravagancy and borderline ‘hipster’ image, with white, black, pitch black and a very 1960’s brown theme. For this reason the age range they will appeal to doesn’t really have any boundaries.
Comfort & Cable Length
We've listened to the Marshall Major FX headphones throughout three hour stretches and the soft padding within the quality faux leather ear cups remained comfortable, but the headband does clamp itself on the head (great for activities such as running) to compensate for the small design, which could feel uncomfortable on larger heads. Adjustment in the length of the headband is easily altered via metal sliders and the cups also retract into the headband, so storing them is tidy and simple. Plus the cable length is conveniently long, but small in length when not needed as most of it is coiled. Our cable has the added extra of a microphone and a three button remote, which is bundled with the Marshall headphones that apply 'FX' after the model name, but such a feature is only compatible with Apple iOS devices.
One of the standout factors of the Marshall Major FX headphones is how they relay live music and reflect the excitement and sound of live music - something so many headphones within this price range and style just fail to grasp. This is clearly an area of sound Marshall know better than most brands in the headphone field, and if you ever get an opportunity to sample the Major brand we urge you to play some live recorded music through them. With prerecorded tracks they also display phenomenal audio playback attributes for their price range. For one thing, the bass has grunt and is balanced against the mid and high range frequencies. 'Twentysomething' by 'Jamie Callum' is a great song to demonstrate these abilities. It's a rather busy track at times, but the Marshall Major headphones were untroubled by this. The vocals from Jamie are forthright and the upright bass is thumping, with fine details such as the bounce back of the strings on the bass clearly audible. In general all music genres sounded tremendous through these headphones.
Despite the uniformity of the frequencies, it is evident that the separation of elements within the audio could be better, but this has to be slightly forgiven when taking into account the size of the ear cups. This also contributes to the Marshall Major FX headphones to not having much of a soundstage, even though the stereo separation is very good. This means the audio is directed into the head and not around it from each 40mm moving coil dynamic speaker driver sitting within the ear cups. These speakers have a rated frequency response of 20Hz-20kHz and an impedance of 32. Our best in class headphones within this price range previously were the Spider PowerForce headphones, which offer nice separation of audio elements but a different signature sound from that of the Major's.
To reiterate, the Marshall Major FX headphones are an excellent and fairly priced pair of headphones that also make a timeless and stylish fashion accessory.