I’m not bananas about branded products. More often than not it’s a case of a manufacturer trying to cash in on the brand’s allure, all the while building the cheapest product possible. The best analogy I can think of is video games that are released in concert with the launch of a movie. They too are usually junk and prove to be an unfulfilling product for the end-user, but instead serve as a payday for the movie studio and its producers. For a product that sits outside of this categorization, you’ll want to check out our review of the LSTN Cherry Wood Troubadours headphones.
So it stands to reason that I approached Marshall’s Major headphones with a healthy dose of skepticism. While the Minors, the earbud version of Marshall’s headphones are clearly a rebranded version of UrbanEars’ Medis, the Major’s seem to be an original, though I have a sneaking suspicion a smart assed commenter will fix that in due time.
Before we get into details, have a quick look at our best over-ear headphones.
The Major’s could have used a bit more ear padding
All together the Majors expressed little to no flaw in the manufacturing. Marshall says that the same vinyl found on the Major’s headband and ear cups is also used in the manufacturing of their amps. The fabric that covers the 40mm drivers was flaw-free and the stitching was consistent and tight all around. The plastic that adorns the outer portion of the ear cups is finished in an opulent matte black and detailed with Marshall’s signature logo, reminiscent of the brand’s 51-year history.
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However, I did take issue with the headphone’s metal rods that are used to adjust the fit of the Majors. They aren’t anything more than metal rods fed through a plastic housing. This is nothing like the Incase Reflex headphones. While adjusting the headphones is most certainly feasible, it doesn’t mimic the same care and thought that went into the Majors overall build, and required me to be cognizant of how much oomph I used to adjust them.
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The adjustable portion of the Major’s headphones are very tedious to use
However, I did appreciate the gold plaques engraved with the Marshall logo found on the inside of the band, just above the L and R indicators. This is also complemented by the gold plated plugs (includes a 6.3mm adapter) and old-school spring cord that stretches that extra inch when need be.
The band, while soft to the touch, lacks significant padding, though turned out to be the least of my worries from a comfort standpoint. The Major’s are supra-aural, which means they rest on top of the ears. After just 15 minutes of use, my ears began throbbing with a slight bit of pain, so much so that it served as a distraction from work. More padding might have resolved this issue, but the overall design and shape of the headphones ultimately led to this problem.
Marshall Major’s gold plated plug
Sonically the Major’s keep pace with similarly priced headphones. As discussed in my ‘first look’ they produce even timbre and express a decent range, but do leave something to be desired in the low-frequency department; they’re a bit bright with almost any genre of music. Ambient or outside noise is only slightly muted and really shouldn’t be considered a feature with the Majors. For a set of cans that does a bit better job, check out our JBL Tempo on-ear headphones review.
So is Marshall guilty of brand leveraging? Have they simply “dialed” the Major’s in and not spent the same time and care that won them the hearts (and wallets) of guitar players the world over? Yes and no. Aesthetically they drip with Marshall’s charm and attention to detail. But they suffer slightly in the sonic department and sure as hell aren’t comfortable enough for mid to long-term use.
You can buy the Marshall Major’s from Amazon for around $100.