If you are looking for no-frills great sounding headphones, these may well be the ones for you. Coming from Marshall, you know they are going to look as cool as they sound. And, honestly, there’s plenty to like about these headphones.
However, they are not without one or two minor moans and niggles. I will, of course, seek to explore drawbacks in my in-depth Marshall Major IV review to give you a better idea if these are you or not. Let’s get started with the…
Build Quality and Design
Marshall Major IV headphones are on-ear rather than over-ear headphones. So, what is the difference? On-ear headphones are significantly lighter than over-ear headphones. In this case, the Marshall Major IV headphones weigh just 165g.
That is light, and when you compare it to a set of over-ear headphones at a similar price and quality. For example, when compared to the Beats Solo3 Wireless On-Ear Headphones, you can expect to save somewhere in the region of 50g.
Another difference is that on-ear headphones are less effective at cutting out external noise. However, more positively, on-ear headphones are less bulky. Therefore, they are easier to carry around with you. If this is a consideration, on-ear headphones might be a better option for you.
But you should be aware of one thing…
If you decide to buy a pair of Marshall Major IV headphones, know that they don’t include a carrying case. Fortunately, if this is an issue, you can buy a good quality Honbobo Hard Storage Bag Case relatively cheaply. It is off-brand, but it’s an inexpensive and a good alternative for those of you that need to carry around your headphones.
What’s the build quality like?
It will come as no surprise that these headphones are made in the Far East. Marshall has major manufacturing sites in Taiwan, China, and Thailand. Although this might cause some reservations, you frankly need not worry because the build quality is rock solid. I might even rank them among the most durable headphones on the market today.
How about the design?
It mirrors the aesthetics and design language of just about any Marshall product you can think of. In other words, they look epic. The prominent logo on the outside of both cups and the inside of the headband is a great piece of classic Marshall branding.
I also love the old-style metal folding clips that connect the cups to the headband. They add a touch of aesthetic flair to a highly practical system that makes adjusting the headphones. Likewise, folding them away is quick and easy. If they only came with a carrying case, they’d be some of the best portable headphones out there.
One last thing…
A nice upgrade from the Marshall Major III is that the ear cups are made from a softer and better-looking material. I don’t like the fake leather-covered cups on the Marshall Major III. Quite frankly, they look like they have come off a cheap old vinyl chair.
Incidentally, I also don’t like the fact that Marshall has chosen to keep this same material on the headband for the Marshall Major IV. It looks cheap and does nothing to improve their overall look.
No doubt, these are comfortable for even the longest of sessions. One big advantage is that they’re lightweight, so they are awesome headphones for long listening sessions. Additionally, I think the new material used to cover the cups has also boosted the comfort rating.
Just as importantly, the headband provides a solid grip but falls short of feeling overly tight. It is also easily adjustable, so if you need to loosen it a little, you can do that in a couple of seconds. All good news for those longer sessions; I am sure you will agree.
Most headphones use a simple switch for carrying out functions like changing the volume, skipping tracks, playing/pausing, pairing with your phone, and answering calls. It is tried and tested method and works well. But I think the Marshall Major IV system offers something different and something better.
So, what is it?
A multi-directional button that sits at the bottom of the right cup. It works by using directional force to activate your commands. I like it because it feels incredibly tactile and has a highly satisfying quality when used.
It does take a little bit of getting used to, but this is made easier by a musical note that confirms you’ve completed your changes. Thankfully, this is sensibly omitted when you want to either increase or decrease the volume. Otherwise, it could have been very annoying.
Neatly tucked away at the base of the right ear cup is a 3.5mm port that allows for passive listening. Another cool feature of this 3.5mm audio port is that a second person can plug in and listen with you whilst you are using Bluetooth. Situated right next to the 3.5mm port is a USB-C port for recharging. And happily, both the 3.5mm audio cable and the USB-C cable are provided.
The headphones use 40mm drivers, which are more than big enough to provide a powerful deep base. This will also stay distortion-free as long as you don’t go mad and ramp up the volume to crazy levels. Probably a good idea for your ears to keep those volumes to reasonable levels anyway.
At the other end of the spectrum, the highs are crisp, bright, and clean. The Marshall IV headphones are great when listening to higher-pitched vocals, acoustic, or electric guitar. Even better, none of them sound overly harsh, which makes for a pleasant overall experience. This is all good, but where the headphones feel a little lacking is in the mid-range.
This becomes most apparent when there is multi-layered music…
In this instance, some of the instruments can feel a little lost. Male vocals may also be less clear when there is more going on. Despite this, the headphones still provide a great dynamic experience. They are great headphones for general listening. Not surprisingly, this applies particularly to listening to Rock music.
It would have been nice to see these headphones talking with their Marshall App, but unfortunately, they don’t. That means you cannot customize the sound if you want to. This is not unusual for a product in this price category.
But you should be aware that this kind of communication is becoming increasingly common at this price point. And headphones like the Anker Space Q45 offer a great hook-up to their Soundcore App.
How about when they are used for calls?
When you use the Marshall Major IV for making or receiving calls, the microphone does a good job in most circumstances. However, it does pick up background noise if you’re in an office or on the street, for instance. This can be a little distracting for the listener. But unless you are regularly using this function, it isn’t bad enough to make it a deal breaker.
Another slight negative is that they are also not the best when it comes to noise isolation. They do cut out some background noise. But, if you are regularly in a noisy external environment, they might not be the headphones for you.
In these circumstances, you might want to try something like the Sennheiser HD 450BT headphones. They have a similar price and offer very similar features but with much better noise-canceling characteristics.
Battery Life and Charging
The Marshall Major IV battery life gives you a great upgrade over the outgoing Marshall Major III headphones. The latest Major IV gives you an impressive 80 hours of playtime before needing a recharge. That is compared to just 30 hours for the old model, which I’m sure you will agree is a significant improvement.
Just as impressive is the fact that they have also kept the charging time (from flat to full) to a very manageable three hours. These figures put them up there as some of the best battery life headphones in their class.
This is all great, and the icing on the cake is that they can also be charged wirelessly. Plus, if you do run out of power, and you are in the house, studio, or office, you still have the wired connection to fall back on in an emergency.
Marshall Major IV Review – Pros and Cons
- Tactile and quality controls.
- Eighty hours of playtime on a full charge.
- Wireless charging.
- Cool looks.
- Good sound quality.
- Average sound isolation.
- No included carrying case.
- No App support.
Need A Great Pair Of Headphones?
Well, then check out our reviews of the Best Headphones For Rock & Metal Music, the Best Headphones for Music, the Best Headphones for Hip-Hop, the Best Studio Headphones For Home Recording, as well as the Best Headphones for Mixing and Mastering you can buy in 2023.
Also, have a look at our thoughts on the Most Comfortable Headphones, the Best Headphones with Volume Control, the Best Headphones with Microphone, the Best Wireless Headphones for TV, the Best Headphones Under $200, and the Best Bluetooth Headphones Under $100 currently available.
Marshall Major IV Review – Final Thoughts
In the right circumstances, I think these are a great set of headphones, with fantastic battery life and a great controller, that more than warrant the price. If you are after a dependable, stylish, and solid-sounding set of headphones without all the bells and whistles, these are a great choice.
However, they are not perfect. And one or two of the minor niggles highlighted in this review of the Marshal Major IV headphones may lead you to pass. If this is the case, I hope a few of the alternative suggestions can help you find what you are looking for.
Until next time, happy listening.