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Marshall Monitor Headphones Review: Studio Sound for Your Ears

by Paul Strauss
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When listening to music or movies on your computer or mobile device, nothing beats a good pair of headphones. And while the market is flush with inexpensive earbuds, they often make me long for better sound quality. I’m happy to say that the Marshall Monitor headphones deliver on that promise.

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I’ve been using the Marshall Monitors for the last few days as the primary method of listening to media on my computer and iPhone, and I have to say I’m extremely impressed with these headphones. The first thing you’ll notice about the Marshall Monitors is how good they look. They offer exceptional build quality, with a refined industrial design that echoes the classic Marshall amp design, but updates it.

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Nice design touches include lightweight metal construction of the headband and ear swivels, well-padded faux leather earcups, and a padded-faux-leather headband with well-marked brass “L” and “R” channel indicators on the inside. The headphones fold neatly and can be stored in the included carrying pouch.

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Another nice touch is that the cord can be detached, and you can choose whether to plug it into the left or right side of the headphones. As an added bonus, whichever 3.5mm jack you leave open can be used to plug in a second set of headphones if you want to share your music. The cord also includes a microphone and remote if you want to use the headphones for making calls.

But why would you waste a good pair of headphones on making phonecalls? These things really shine when listening to music. For starters, I love the excellent sound isolation with their big earcups. Yes, they do put a little pressure on your ears in order to form a tight seal and reduce ambient sound, but I didn’t find them to be uncomfortable, even after wearing them for several hours at a time.

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Once I shut out the outside world, I cranked up some tunes, and really let the Marshall Monitors shine. I found their sound reproduction to be excellent, sounding as good as some studio monitors. Listening to Adele’s Right at Rain, I felt like I was standing on stage alongside her, the Hammond organ whirling directly into my ears. To test if they could rock out, I cranked up AC/DC’s You Shook Me All Night Long to 11, and I could feel the drum kit rattling my spine while Brian Johnson’s vocals scorched my eardrums.

There’s none of the overly boomy bass that many over-the-ear headphones have, but trust me, there’s still a solid low end. It’s just clean and accurate. Highs and mids are clean and distortion-free even at the highest volume levels I could throw at them. Marshall rates the 40mm drivers at a 10Hz to 20KHz frequency response range, with a 99dB sensitivity at 100mV@1KHz.

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One unique feature Marshall offers are removable filters which attenuate some of the highest tones in the 8KHz to 20KHz range. These filters reduce some of the shrillness that some people might find unpleasant in the higher end of the audible frequency range. Personally, I preferred the sound without the filters in place, and that’s why Marshall gives you a choice. Removing the filters is as easy as popping off the magnetic earcup pads, pulling the filters out, and replacing the earcups.

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Overall, I’m very impressed with the sound, styling, portability and build quality of the Marshall Monitor headphones. I guess I’m not surprised that the company behind some of the best concert-grade amplifiers would be capable of carrying across their expertise to personal audio devices.

If you’d like to grab a pair to make your ears happy, they’re available from Marshall’s website for $200(USD).

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