Today, we are taking a hands-on look at the new Marshall Major IV Headphones. The Bluetooth 5.0 Major IV pack 80+ hours of un-tethered playback, Marshall’s iconic branding, and wireless charging built into the ear cup. Clocking in at $150, it’s time to see how Marshall’s new Major series headphones stack up and to give the modernized feature set a test for ourselves. Head below for a closer look.
Marshall Major IV Headphones Review
As expected from Marshall, you’ll find its iconic branding laid out across each of the form-fitting ear cups alongside a textured black vinyl cover. While the headband and ear cups don’t feel overly cushy with your hands, they were just fine on my head through extended listening periods. It took nearly two hours of straight listening before they needed to be re-adjusted and loosened on my head, for example. The vinyl material feels nice in the hands and could easily be mistaken for a more high-end finish at a distance in my opinion.
When I initially unboxed them, the ear cups seemed a little be smaller than I expected — even awkward looking. But the on-head look and feel put those worries to rest quite quickly. If you’re the type that thinks you look odd with the larger ear cups on your head, these Marshall’s are certainly worth a closer look. Well, I, for one, might have preferred real leather wrapping the headband, and possibly the ear cups to some degree as well — the Major III line adorned the on-ear pieces with the tumbled-like vinyl texture — that would have pumped up the price tag for consumers considerably.
The company has implemented what it refers to as a new fold clip for the Marshall Major IV headphones. While I’m not noticing all that much of a difference in terms of conformability here, I can certainly appreciate the even more compact package these headphones can fold up into.
Marshall Major IV Headphones — Audio:
According to Marshall, you are looking at a 20Hz to 20kHZ frequency response range, with 99 dB SPL driver sensitivity rating, a 32 OHM impedance (ready for your smartphone right out of the box), and 44mm drivers. In my time with the Marshall Major IV headphones, that all stacks up to what are some of the better sounding on-ear headphones in the consumer-grade category/in this price range. These things sound quite good to my ears. The bass response might not be as booming and subby as some of the more hop-hop and electronic-facing brands, but that also amounts to a clearer, more dynamic mid- and high-range to my ears and what is likely a more universally versatile set of headphones in general.
Pairing, charging, mic, accessories:
The Bluetooth pairing (10-meter range) and charging process have been flawless thus far. You’re looking at 80+ hours of wireless play time over Bluetooth 5.0 with a 15-minute quick charge feature that adds an additional 15 hours to your cordless setup. Alongside the three hours it takes to achieve a full charge, Marshall offers at least a little bit extra in this regard than much of the competition, which becomes even more apparent with the inclusion of wireless charging (wireless charging pad not included). Apple’s Beats Solo3 on-ears, for comparison, feature a total of 40 hours of battery life per charge with speedy quick charge setup (five minutes for an extra three hours) and a steeper regular price tag. Add the ability to place the right ear cup down on your Qi pad alongside an included USB-C charging cable, and you’re looking at quite a capable setup ready to integrate into your existing wireless charging pad/nightstand station.
The control knob Marshall has employed here left me skeptical when the Major IV were initially announced but has left me with nothing but confidence since. This handy, multi-directional joy-stick like controller takes care of all of the on-board audio and pairing features. On top of the usual phone control (answer, reject, or end call), just about all of the headphone’s functionality can be controlled through various directional gestures, swiping left or right skips to the next song, while holding in those directions will fast forward or rewind through your track. Double-click and hold clicking pairs and turns off the headphones.
The whole system just works here. There’s no directional confusion as to what “swipe up” or “click left” actually means when the joystick control is oriented on your head, as I was initially fearful of. It all just works as it should with the various methods of control becoming quite intuitive and second nature within about an hour or less. The particularly practical and tactile nature of the Marshall Major IV headphones’ clickable joystick is certainly a highlight here, especially for those constantly getting hands-on with their audio.
The Marshall Major IV Headphones are a welcomed, next-generation addition to Marshall’s growing lineup. They carry a $149.99 MSRP and are on par with previous generation pricing which has now fallen to $100. The extended onboard battery system is a compelling selling point for many in the market for wireless on-ears on its own. And with so many folks now flipped over to wireless-based charging solutions for the gear they already own, being able to toss a set of Major IVs down on the same pad to juice back up is a particularly notable feature here. While it might have been more practical to have the wireless charging pad connection in both ear cups just for more user placement options, that just seems like a bit of a nitpick that could have driven the cost up.
All-in-all, my hands-on time with the new Marshall Major IV Headphones has been pleasant. It is easy to recommend these cans for anyone looking for a subtly stylish alternative to more expensive Beats sets and a simple purchase for those who are already fans of Marshall’s home audio lineup of headphones and speakers.
Buy the Marshall Major IV Headphones featured in this review from Amazon or direct from Marshall.
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