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Saturday 18th October 2014,
Noble Press

Marshall Minor In-Ear Headphones

Damian Estrada January 30, 2013 No Comments
Marshall Minor In-Ear Headphones
Overall Score
3

Quality

Sound

Noise Cancelation

Design

Comfort

Marshall is mostly famous for their amplifiers, known throughout the music industry to have a “Marshall crunch.” This “crunch” that was only found in Marshall amps would be a standout factor in Mashall’s products, and would lend to their success. My interest was piqued when I first heard that Marshall was getting into the consumer headset market.

A few months after its release, I ran out to my local shop and picked up my first set of Marshall Minors. I had spent some time looking for great in-ear headphones, but what I found is that most were cheap, lacked personality, or were “Beats” (aka overpriced and filled with unnecessary bass). My first set of Marshal Minors lasted me a good year until the right channel gave out. There was no rhyme or reason… it simply stopped working. I attributed this to it being Marshall’s first run at consumer level in-ears.

Quality – 3/5

My previous set of Marshall Minors had given up the ghost in about a year. For this reason, I chose not to review them or talk about the whole experience, as it was very traumatic. Coming on to my second set of Marshall Minor in-ear headphones, I was amped. No pun intended on the the audio legacy that would be gracing my ears.

I went with the white Minors this time around. They’re great if you’re a clean person, and terrible if you are messy (or have a habit of dropping your headphones into things). If this is you, I would suggest the Black or Pitch Black version of this headset. In order to get a better feel on the sound in these head phones, I have included a playlist that you can find in this review. You can get a better grasp of what I put through these headphones, as well as which generation of music you feel fits your headphone taste.

Spec Sheet:

  • 15.4mm Drivers
  • Frequency Response Range: 20 – 20,000 Hz
  • In-Line Microphone & Remote
  • 1 Year Replacement Warranty


Sound – 3/5

In-ear headphones are very hit-or-miss on bass reproduction. While the Minor did create clean bass, the sound that was created always felt a bit hollow. The mid reproduction is where the headset really shines. It’s as if Marshall spent a bit of time focusing on the mids and highs of this product. The lack of a full bass does leave some wanting more, on the same note products like Beats offer an overcompensation of bass, and miss mids and highs entirely. Most higher pitched notes come paired with a metallic sound that is anything but pleasant. The glimmering feature of the Marshall Minors is their fantastic mid reproduction. Below you can find my reaction to the Minors in a test of sound and stamina!

Rock/Folk
Here is where I found some of the best bang from the Minors. Artists like Bon Iver and Bright Eyes have their full production style and small details preserved in intended sound. “Wash,” “Perth,” and “Method Acting” are perfect examples of this. Radiohead’s “Everything in its Right Place” is a treat to be heard with these.. I found my self getting lost in the atmosphere and intricacies laid down in this track. When tracks like “Butterflies and Hurricanes” or “We’re In This Together” came on I was often left with a want for more. I could not correctly “rock out” with the Marshall Minors. which is somewhat strange considering their lineage.

Electronic/Dub-Step
Diehard EDM fans beware, these are not the in-ears you are looking for. While the sound is not terrible by any stretch of the imagination, I could not suggest this to you. For the price, I would imagine you can find something that better suits your listening habits. 

Hip-Hop/RnB
Throwing in some RnB and Kanye soul into the mix gave the Mashalls a strange run for their money. Kanye’s “Devil in a New Dress” felt as though it was pushing the headphones to their limit, often producing a crunching sound that was unpleasant. I will note that after about 5 hours of burn-in, the crunching has cooled off by at least 75%. “Mercy” is riddled with this metallic sound, aging feeling as though the drive is going to shoot right out of the headphones. Odd Future’s “Same (Is Dead)” also reproduces this metallic sound, honestly I have never really experienced anything like this. Maybe its my audiophile taste, but then again I don’t know if I would qualify my taste in sound on that sort of level. So again for Hip-Hop or RnB fans, stay away. 

The above critiques of specific songs and my reaction or interoperation of the sound is simply to give you a solid understand of what I listen to and what I listen for.

 

Podcast & Movies
I can suggest the Minors to someone that will use them for a casual style audio listening expierence. Firing up The Vergecast, TWIT, or watching “Its Always Sunny In Philadelphia” were pleasant experiences. The Minors are a great purchase for a long road trip with family, or a simple headset for publica transportation. I would suggest them for the gym if they did not exhibit a history of breaking in one ear after strenuous use. 

Gaming 
I would oddly suggest the Marshalls for someone looking to pick up a headset for laptop gaming. The built in cord on the headset is a little to short for a desktop use. I played 2 games of Dota 2 and a few hours of Dead Space 2 and was never unpleased with what was going on. The only problem you will find with a headset like this is that the in-line mic will most likely not work with your computer, unless of course you have a Mac.

Noise Cancelation – 1.5/5

If you are in the market for a headset that cancels any sort of outside udio I would not advise looking in the earbud/in-ear headphone category. Great or even good noise cancelation is reserved for over the ear headphones.


Design – 5/5

The heavy hitter for the Marshal Minors are their looks. The Minors share the same visual ascetics as their sister Urban Ears but add a much needed flare to the package. The side of the product features a golden metal plate with a radiating design that ties the outside facing bud together. The cloth cord gives the headphones a quality look and feel. While the 35mm input is sturdy and resembles that of the professional stage audio cords. The headset as a whole pay homage to its Marshall heritage. If having style and a sense of flare is something that you look for in your products then this might be your dream come true.

Comfort – 5/5

At first glance almost everyone has no idea how to put there in their ear. The earbuds rest on the outer portion of your ear using your ears outer structure and cartilage to hold in place. This is much different than standard earbuds that use your ear duct as their way of staying attached. Or the in-ear headphones that simply force themselves to rest on the inside of your ears. This alternative way of staying in your ear give you a whole new world of comfort that previous in-ears could not deliver. Often times I found my self forgetting that I had the Minors on. The Minors only fell out of my ear when i placed strain on the cord. This is easily one of the most comfortable in-ear headphones I have used.

You can purchase the Marshal Minors on Amazon here for 54.47!

 

A Personal History – 1.5/5

While this is not important to the product or its functionality, for those of you that care bout a companies ethics or personality I will give you a little bit on my experience with them. 

During my stint at CES 2013 I stumble upon the Marshall booth, my old Black Marshall Minor broken headset in my hands. I approached one of the many lovely PR reps and attempted to tell her my story about my headset and the tragedy that had been bestowed upon them. She was uninterested with me and my plea for help. Our conversation ended aa I walked away. I had been defeated by a PR rep, she was not delivering great PR or PR at all. I walked around the booth taking images of an upcoming gaudy headphone line, that I will leave nameless. The booth was impressive to say the least. I finally landed upon an “end of CES” sale they had on the remainder of headsets in stock. They had the Marshall Minors for sale! I inquired about price and was informed that I could pick up a set of white Minors for $35, a said 50% off. I proceeded to purchase the in-ears and moved along on my merry way.

I quickly got over being “Big Leagued” by the Marshall rep and had mostly forgot about the whole event. Then NAMM happened. I saw the Marshall booth and figured I would rekindle my relationship with the product and its brand. During my review I had been experiencing this “metalic” sound that I talked about in the above review, I wanted to get a clear explantion as to why this was happening. We looked for a PR rep and finally found our guy. I voice my problems and he gave me this stare as though I was an idiot. I tried to further explain my problem and he stared at me blankly. I brough up that it might have been an issue with my iPad and the headphones, as I dont experience it as drastically on my Galaxy SIII. He quickly told me that my iPad must be the problem. While this may be the case since Apple has a history of subpart headphone jacks I dont believe this was the problem at hand. I have used various headphones and headsets with my iPad and had never found this metallic sound that I was getting from the Marshalls.

I was completely over it at this point. I simply and laughed and stated that it must my shitty iPad. I walked away with one of the most sour taste I had ever tasted. I had been “Big Leagued” by yet another Marshal PR rep. What is “Big Leagued”? It’s when someone brushes you off due to their higher tier status or their perception of your value to them. Needless to say I am no Marshall fanboy. But they do have some great looking products!

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About The Author

Damian Estrada is the Editor-In-Chief and Creative Director of Noble Press. He attended the Los Angeles Film School in the major of video editing and set design. Some of his all time favorite franchises are Mass Effect, The Legend of Zelda, Borderlands, Dead Space, and Final Fantasy. In his off time he can be found playing DOTA 2 alongside his co-writers and friends.

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