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Review: Noise-Canceling Headphones That Live Up To Marshall’s Heritage

Marshall’s Mid ANCs have taken everything good about the Mid Bluetooth and added active noise-cancellation.

The Marshall Mid ANCs ($269) are the company’s first active noise-canceling headphones and look and feel like Marshall’s other wireless, non-ANC headphones, the Mid Bluetooth ($80). Announced in March 2018, the Mid ANCs are on-ear headphones, so they won’t have quite the same passive noise-canceling abilities as more popular over-ear ANC headphones. They have a 20-hour battery life when ANC and Bluetooth are both turned on, and a 30-hour battery life when just Bluetooth is used. Additionally, they support Bluetooth aptX and have a collapsible design.

Buy Now: $269

The Good: Marshall’s Mid ANCs have taken everything good about the Mid Bluetooth and added active noise-cancellation. They have the same 40mm custom dynamic drivers and pretty much the same sound quality, plus the same all-black design with brass details like the brand’s iconic rock ‘n’ roll amplifiers. Also, there’s a multi-directional control knob on the side of the left ear cup, which is your button for play/pause, volume control and to accept calls.

Who They’re For: Those looking for on-ear rather than over-ear headphones, and dig the black and brass design that Marshall is known for. From a sound perspective, these headphones are best for listening to music with heavy bass, such as R&B or Pop.

Watch Out For: My ears are more sensitive than most, admittedly, but I found the Mid ANCs difficult to wear longer than 45 minutes. The headband really squeezes the earcups tight to your head, which is great for noise isolation but not so great for comfort. Sound quality isn’t quite at the level that you’d expect from a fairly expensive pair of headphones; the midrange-tweeter separation can get muddled, especially when playing R&B, Pop and Rock tracks. I found it difficult to tell if the headphones were on or off, as there’s really nothing on them to indicate this; there’s an LED light on the bottom of the right earcup, but this only lights up when the headphones are charging or in pairing mode. Also, there isn’t a voice or beep when turning ANC on/off, so it can be difficult to tell what mode you’re currently in.

Alternatives: If you like the aesthetic, rather than the active noise-canceling abilities, you can buy the Mid Bluetooth, which are pretty much the same headphones, sans ANC, for just $80. For superior audio quality at a more affordable price, I’d recommend the AKG N60NC headphones ($150). The B&O Play Beoplay H8i ($399) are also another option, albeit at a much more premium price.

Review: The Marshall Mid ANC headphones held up quite well while I listened to them walking to and from work in New York City. Their passive noise-canceling was impressive, frankly — so much so that there is not too much difference when ANC is turned on or off. (That said, the ANC does cut out more ambient noise.) They sound pretty good, as they have virtually the same drivers and design as Marshall’s well-reviewed Mid Bluetooth headphones. These are definitely headphones that thrive on bass, so much so that I found the treble and midrange get often overwhelmed and drowned out, especially when listening to them at high volumes. Songs like Lorde’s Green Light and Duran Duran’s Come Undone noticeably suffered with this.

Marshall-Mid-Bluetooth-Review-gear-patrol-ambiance-v4

Nitpicking at sound quality aside, the Mid ANCs are pretty straightforward wireless headphones. There’s no app to adjust ANC levels or EQ. There’s a single button to pause/play music and an answer calls. And there’s a switch on the side to toggle ANC on and off. The only other qualm I could say is the user experience is almost too simple. There’s not really anything on the headphones to indicate whether they’re on or off. Otherwise, they just work. And look pretty cool.

Verdict: There’s no doubt you can find more affordable ANC on-ear headphones. The noise-canceling and sound quality won’t disappoint you, but they also won’t blow you away either. The battery life is phenomenal, though. Let’s be honest: Marshall Mid ANCs are first and foremost about style. If you dig the signature look that Marshall is known for, you’re going to dig these as well.

What Others Are Saying:

• “If you just love Marshall’s amps and brand, the Marshall MID ANC should be a comfy fit. They look good, are fairly comfortable and – while not perfect – the active noise cancellation does take the edge off city noise. However, they’re not the best you can get at the price. The AKG N60NC offer up a fuller sound, and at £239 the Marshall MID ANC are a little too close to the current street price of the best full-size headphones, such as the Sony WH-1000XM2.” — Andrew Williams, Trusted Reviews

• “The Marshall Mid A.N.C. is a unique product in the noise-canceling headphone market that melds great looks, warm and punchy sound, and the ability to seal out the outside world. They may cost a pretty penny more than the step-down Mid model, but excellent noise reduction means you get what you pay for.” — Parker Hall, Digital Trends

• “Thankfully, the headphones don’t sound drastically different with the ANC enabled or disabled. This should be a given, but with wireless ANC headphones, it hasn’t been, and we’ve tested some high-priced options that sound quite different with the noise cancellation turned on. Here, switching the ANC on or off while music is playing might affect the audio for a split second, but that even happens with some Bose QuietComfort models. So while this isn’t the most impressive noise cancellation we’ve heard, it’s certainly effective, and it gets the important things right—cutting down on noise more so than creating it, and not altering the audio performance drastically.” — Tim Gideon, PCMag

Key Specs

Drivers: 40mm
Driver type: Dynamic
Impedance: 32 ohms
Frequency Range: 20Hz-20kHz

Buy Now: $269

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