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Lifewire / Andy Zahn
Great build quality
Excellent sound quality
Effective active noise canceling
Control button can be mildly finicky
A little tight for large heads
The Marshall Mid ANC Headphones provide high-quality sound for lovers of on-ear headphones. With their eye-catching looks and top-notch build quality, they manage to live up to the high expectations attached to the Marshall brand and their steep price tag.
We purchased the Marshall Mid ANC so our expert reviewer could thoroughly test and assess it. Keep reading for our full product review.
If you want to listen to music on the go but abhor earbuds, then on-ear headphones offer an attractive middle ground between comfort, audio quality, and portability. The Marshall Mid ANC proves that this middle ground does not have to be a compromise, and that some of the best wireless headphones live in this range. The question is whether or not they can justify their steep asking price.
The Marshall Mid ANC headphones practically ooze style in their beautiful design, wonderfully reminiscent of Marshall’s renowned guitar amplifiers. They really are eye-catching with their faux-leather exterior, anodized metal, and proudly displayed gold logo. The exposed audio cables connect each earpiece and give the headphones a professional appearance.
They're quite compact when folded down and come with a very attractive carrying case styled in a similar fashion to the headphones. They're lightweight at 208 grams, though they retain a reassuring solidity that denotes quality construction. Besides the case, a USB charging cable and a 3.5mm audio cable are included.
The Marshall Mid ANC is easy to control via a tiny joystick that protrudes from the left-hand earpiece. This is used for powering the headphones on and off, skipping tracks, adjusting volume, and activating pairing mode. It’s an elegant and simple system, though I did occasionally have issues powering it on as I accidentally pressed the stick directionally rather than clicking and holding it down.
Connecting the Marshall Mid ANC to my phone initially was very straightforward. I just powered them on and paired them, a process which only required a minute or two. It was a little more difficult to pair a second device, as I had to power them down and back on, holding the button until a secondary noise told me that pairing mode was activated.
The Marshall Mid ANC headphones are comfy as long as your head isn't quite so rotund as mine. I found that they feel a bit tight on my overly large head even at their maximum adjustment. However, keep in mind that I have trouble finding hats that fit me, so chances are these headphones will be more comfortable for you than they are for me. Both the headband and ear pads are well padded.
The Marshall Mid ANC stands out for its stellar audio quality; lows are punchy, mids clean and powerful, and the high end is piercing in its clarity. This is nowhere more clearly observable than in 2Cellos cover of Thunderstruck, my favorite track with which to test the capabilities of headphones and speakers. The 40mm drivers of the Mid ANC propelled this song along in a decidedly thrilling fashion, bringing new life to a track that is quite familiar to me.
Six Days in June by The Fratellis was also wonderful to listen to on the Marshall Mid ANC. The definition between vocals and instrumentals was particularly noticeable and granted the song a new degree of depth and complexity.
These headphones practically ooze style.
I also thoroughly enjoyed listening to Alright by Pearl Jam, largely because of that aforementioned depth and clarity. I was impressed by the ability of the Marshall Mid ANC to provide a feeling of space that I'd normally expect from much larger over-ear headphones.
It should also be noted that the Marshall Mid ANC is capable of terrifyingly loud volumes. I found that I was only comfortable listening at around 30%. Happily, you won’t need to raise the volume to dangerous levels to drown out exterior noise. The Active Noise Cancelling (ANC) in these headphones is truly impressive.
They're capable of drowning out or significantly reducing noise, even in quite loud conditions. It dampened nearby conversations indoors to a faint murmur and was similarly effective at cutting out the noise of loud birds and lawnmowers outdoors. The sometimes headache-inducing effects of active noise cancellation were thankfully less pronounced in the Marshall Mid ANC than in other active noise-canceling headphones I've used.
The internal microphones of the Marshall Mid ANC provide similarly good quality audio for phone calls. They're as effective for communication as they are for enjoying music.
Over the 30 hours in which I tested the Marshall Mid ANC, I never once had to recharge them. Marshall claims a 30+ hour battery life when using Bluetooth or Active Noise Canceling, and 20 hours when using both. I used a Bluetooth connection for most of my time with the headphones, switching ANC on and off as needed, and the claimed battery life seems to be accurate.
Most people will likely find the battery life good enough for weeks, and recharging them from empty takes about three hours. The headphones can also be used without power via the included 3.5mm cable.
The Marshall Mid ANC features Bluetooth aptX technology, which according to Marshall, allows the headphones to transmit higher quality audio up to 10 meters with improved response times. This might account in part for the shockingly good audio quality I enjoyed with these headphones, and I never experienced any issues with response time while watching videos.
They certainly provide excellent range as well. Several times I left my phone in one room and walked to the other side of the house without realizing that my phone wasn’t in my pocket as audio wasn’t interrupted. In fact, when testing the maximum distance I was able to leave my phone in the backyard and walk around my house to the front yard, putting trees, bushes, and part of the house between the headphones and my phone. I found them capable of maintaining a connection at twice their claimed range despite serious obstacles obscuring the line of sight.
The Marshall Mid ANC stands out for its stellar audio quality.
I appreciated easily being able to share my music with friends through the Marshall Mid ANC. When connected to a device via Bluetooth, a 3.5mm cable can be used to connect a further set of headphones. This is a simple and effective way to share music, as it doesn’t rely on finicky wireless pairing and is universally compatible with any headphones that accept a 3.5mm input.
At their MSRP of $279 the Marshall Mid ANC is definitely a bit pricey. However, they can be found for around half that price if you shop around or wait for a sale, at which point they're an excellent value.
A potential budget alternative to the Marshall Mid ANC is the Status BT One. Despite being significantly less expensive, the Status provides reasonable audio quality compared with the Marshall, and they are much more comfortable for large heads. However, the build quality of the BT One is a significant downgrade compared to the Mid ANC, and they lack active noise canceling.
The Marshall Mid ANC are expensive but spectacular wireless Bluetooth headphones.
Despite a high MSRP and being a little on the small side, the Marshall Mid ANC headphones provide spectacular audio quality, excellent build quality, top-notch noise canceling, a robust Bluetooth connection, and buckets of style. They are by far the best on-ear headphones I have ever used, and well worth their high price tag.
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