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A Sound Investment

Posted by James Davie On 2011-01-06 2 comments

Meet the Marshall Minor Headphones. Never heard of Marshall Headphones? How 'bout Marshall Amplifiers? You've definitely seen/heard Marshall amps at some live musical gig at some point in your life, and if you've ever played an electrical stringed instrument you probably plugged it into a Marshall.

Well, last year the Marshall folks took their extensive knowledge of sound reproduction and began work on two sets of headphones. The first is the Majors, typical cans for those wanting larger phones, and the second release were the Minors, for those of us wanting a wee bit more portability.

Both sold out in their first day.

Shortly before Christmas I saw they were available again, and as I was in need of new headphones, I figured, "what the hell?"

They arrived at my door right after New Year's and I've been fiddling with them all week. I am pleased.

One of the first things you'll appreciate about the Minor's is the neat box they come in. It's a small cardboard box with all kinds of info on it, and is blessedly easy to open (die blister-packers, die!). Once you open the box the headphones are beautifully displayed (as seen above) and ready for your listening pleasure.

Design-wise the phones are pretty damn cool. Right off the bat you can't help but notice, and appreciate, the look of these things. They scream Marshall, especially the backs of the buds, which are made to look like the volume knobs on the iconic amps. Other stuff you can't help but to appreciate: the braided fabric cord to reduce tangling and improve durability, the gold-plated plug reminiscent of a guitar cord, and the integrated mic/remote for smartphones (which works fantastically). And no, you don't look like a total loser with volume knobs sticking out of your ears.

One element that I wasn't so sure about was the fit of the headphones. They look odd, and the fit is something new to me. Essentially they sit in your ear and the little nub on top of the bud "screws" into the ridge above your ear canal. When I first put them in it took a minute to get it right, but then I could barely feel the bud sitting there (except for the not inconsiderable weight). Once it's in though, it's in pretty damn solidly and takes a real effort to pull it out, so that's great news for using these while exercizing. Another bonus to this design is that the buds don't go into my ear canal, keeping them cleaner.

Yeah, but how about the sound, dammit? I'm getting there.

At first I wasn't impressed with the sound. It was ok. Not bad, not great, just ok. But then I discovered something in the bottom of the box: different sized nubs for the buds. I swapped out the size that came on the buds and found one that fit a bit more snug, and BAM, awesome sound. By far this is the richest sound I've ever experienced on under $100 small headphones. The bass was responsive, the mids and highs were clear. The sound is just great.

So the summary is this: if you need a small set of headphones, in particular one that will work nicely with your iPod/iPhone, BlackBerry, Android, etc and the design doesn't turn you off, then pick up a pair of these suckers. For a measly $60 you won't be disappointed!