The British company, known for its thundering guitar amps, has managed to build a solid reputation for headphones and earbuds over the years. While they are a bit more of a surprise for what you get, I like the Marshall Monitor II ANC headphones for their style and clever mini-joysticks to control audio playback. But now Marshall is stepping into the true wireless earbuds market – and it is too late for the party.
The new Mode II earbuds are priced at $ 179, start shipping March 18, and offer a “phenomenal” sound, wireless charging, IPX4 water resistance, and a design for the Marshall’s poignant arrival at home next to the company’s other Sounds right, products intended to come up with. As the first stab at True Wireless, these earbuds get a lot right for the price. But that price is also probably his biggest drop.
These certainly appear to be part of the martial earbuds. The case has a textured, leather-like finish, as proudly embossed at the top with the Monitor II headphones with the Marshall logo and a USB-C port on the left. Open it and you’ll find earbuds, three LEDs to indicate the charging status for the case, and a round, gold button inside the case for the pair. Marshall claims that there is enough juice in the case to give the earbuds four full recharges. Since Mode II can last up to five hours of direct listening time, that puts you for a total of 25 hours.
The earbuds have a matte black finish, with a very prominent “M” on them; You are definitely wearing a martial brand with these. They are well compact and not as chunky as some competitors like the Jabra Elite 75t. Marshall includes four sizes of silicone ear tips in the box – including an XL option, which is good to see. Some foam tips would also have been good.
Marshall’s signature control knob is slightly impractical for earbuds, so like countless others, Mode II earbuds use tap gestures. The controls are not customizable, and unfortunately, you are left with no way to adjust the volume directly:
Tap once for transparency mode or to answer the call
Double tap for voice assistant
Tap to pause / play or answer call
Double tap to move to the next track
Tap three times to return to the last track
This would sometimes take a strong tap, which I hoped would register some of these commands, especially with the correct earbuds. Those strong taps pushed the earbuds deep into my ear, which became unpleasant.
I’ve also encountered some weird bugs with Mode II, such that a correct earbud won’t play any audio until I touch it. There were sometimes some noticeable balance issues with vocal sliding between the left and right earbuds. Those issues seem to be both More tar Resolved with the latest firmware update, but still pops up several times. Marshall tells me that another OTA update will be released before the Mode IIs ship to customers to further smooth the performance.
Insects aside, these earbuds look quite good. I’m listening to the new album of the studie open door policy, And some of those songs have a lot going on. Mode II earbuds do a great job of keeping everything in the mix – guitars, horns, keys, vocals, drums. Upper-end frequencies can be slightly increased on some tracks, depending on how they were made, but this is better than nothing. And if you’re not happy with the default “martial sound” tuning then the Marshall app gives you full EQ control. AAC and SBC codecs are supported.
As always, fit and a good seal are key to getting the best sound. And this is especially true here. Even when I have XL tips, these are the kind of earbuds I need to bend right in my ear if I want the most bass and balanced soundstage. They never feel loose, but something about the fit can be a bit finicky in my experience, while I can just turn off the other earbuds without giving it much thought.
Mode II earbuds do not include any type of active noise cancellation, but Marshall still added a transparency mode if you need to hear more clearly what is happening around you. The best I can say about this feature is that it is serviceable, but the ambient sound is far more knotted than the airy, natural transparency modes of other earbuds. Voice call performance is average: the people I talked to could hear me well, but they said that my voice sounded a little hollow and trebly – something that happened when I heard the sound of a memo sample.
When you remove a bud, the marshal includes an auto-pose, rounding out the features, and they should be suitable for normal workouts to an IPX4 rating. Like the vast majority of real wireless earbuds, these two do not support multipoint for simultaneous Bluetooth connections. but you can do Use one independently.
If the Marshall Mode II buds were priced at $ 130 or $ 100, I think I’d land on them with more positive totality. But at $ 180, they lack any real stalemate moves that would help me reach the established competitors for them. The case is sleek, fully pocketed, and includes wireless charging. Sound quality is good, but not to the point where Marshall beats competitors in the same price bracket. In addition, you can get a set of true wireless earbuds with proper noise cancellation by spending $ 30 to $ 50 more.
Coming into the fold so late, Marshall really needed to bend the knob by 11. But the Mode II earbuds don’t quite match, and the style points count less with the company’s wireless headphones, where the quiet design is so visible.
Photography by Chris Welch / The Reporter Door