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Marshall Major III BT Review - Rock & Roll All Night!

OPPO
There are probably only three names in rock music that are bulletproof from trends: Gibson, Fender, and Marshall. Gibson and Fender are celebrated for their electric guitars, while Marshall designs and manufactures amplifiers for electric guitars.
Marshall Major III BT Review - Rock & Roll All Night!
Major III review Philippines

Established in 1962 in London, UK. Marshall amplifiers gave these acclaimed guitars a growling, non-conformist distorted tone that guaranteed rock & roll will forever be loud and proud.

At around 6 foot tall, the "Marshall Stack"an amplifier "head" on top of two stacked cabinets that each housed 4 speakers - is an enduring cultural icon for "loud". Jim Marshall, the creator of the amp, was often called the "Father of Loud".

In 2010 Marshall entered the personal audio market with headphones and IEMs. Their on-ear headphones, called the "Major", are designed to look like their iconic amps, and the model name is a nod to the 200-watt vacuum tube guitar amplifier that Marshall introduced in 1967.

Now on its third iteration, we have the Marshall Major III BT. For all Major III's classic-rock, retro styling, the headphones are undoubtedly made for our contemporary "my own personal digital content bubble" that is mobile, wireless, streaming, and at times hi-resolution.

Let's begin the review.

Unboxing/Accessories

Box
Box

Printed in matte black & white cardboard, Major III's outer packaging is retro-cool. 
The inner all-black box continues the Marshall amplifier theme.
Everything inside
Everything inside

Inside are the headphones plus 2 cables: a detachable 3.5mm coiled cord in case you want to go wired to save on battery power, and a micro USB charging cable.

It would have been great if Marshall included a storage bag but there is none. However, I'll let this go because I dig how the cables are consistent with the amplifier concept. The coiled 3.5mm cable, in particular, mimics an electric guitar's cable.

This has a practical purpose because it minimizes cable dangle between your headphones and your source device when you're rocking wired.

Build Quality/Design

Pretty nice build
Pretty nice build

By feel alone, Major III's are light but not flimsy. They're the right size, and heft for everyday use. Plus, the headphones fold securely inwards for compact storage or transport. 
The hinges that allow you to do this are smooth and robust.

Designed to look like the venerable Marshall stack, the Major III is decked out in all-black vinyl that simulates leather.

Gold accents can be found at the hinges, and at the multi-function button—more on this brilliant feature in a bit.
Leather-like pads, micro USB port, 3.5mm female port
Leather-like pads, micro USB port, 3.5mm female port

The square ear-cups, the cabinets of the Marshall stack, have the white Marshall script logo on the left and right.

On looks alone, the Major IIIs confidently stands out and screams "rock n' roll!"

Comfort/Isolation

Comfy enough pads
Comfy enough pads

Do this when you have a fresh pair of headphones: gently pull on the headband towards opposite directions to spread and loosen the band. I did not have any fitting issues after doing this. The ear-cups and the thick yet soft padding are comfortable enough.

I spent 2 hours straight streaming on Netflix and playing F1 Mobile.

Since these are on-ear headphones, isolation is automatic—there is no need for active noise cancellation most of the time.

Battery

Legit battery life claim
Legit battery life claim

You can rock and roll all night! Rated by the manufacturer at 30 hours playing at medium volume, the Major III is among the market leaders in battery life. In our experience, battery life is as claimed at moderate listening levels.

Charging time is about 3 hours from 0 to 100 percent.

Features

It can be used with or without cables
It can be used with or without cables

There are 3 major features going for Major III.


First, is Bluetooth aptX. So, be sure to activate aptX on your source device to get the full audio quality of your source over the wireless transmission.

Second, voice calls. As long as you are in a location with minimal ambient noise, voice calls on Major III was surprisingly great.

Third, but the most impressive, is the multi-directional and multi-functional control knob.

With this one single button, you can affect different commands: power on/off, lower/increase the volume, play/pause, skip forward/back, fast forward/rewind, answer/reject incoming calls, and if you're on iOS or Mac OS: activate/stop Siri.

Seriously, this control knob is a remarkable idea It should be a standard for headphone controls. I am wondering why other headphone manufacturers are not adopting this.  Personally, these are cooler than touch controls.            

Audio

Streaming HQ on Spotify on my 2-year old Xiaomi Mi Mix 2S, Yuki's flashy yet never self-indulgent shredding on D_Drive's latest track, "Thumbs Up", played strong and urgent. The cowbell hits on the Runaways' cover of the Velvet Underground's "Rock and Roll" was precise and transparent.  

Lately, I've been listening [again] to instrumental surf music.  Mostly by the Bomboras, Laika and the Cosmonauts and the slower, darker, experimental surf stylings of the Aqua Velvets [stream their 2015 album "El Morocco", and yeah, you're welcome!].

It was a trip matching the Marshall Major III's with this style of reverb-heavy guitar-driven tunes. Each note was clearly distinct and memorable. For some variety, Itzy's pop-punk leanings on "Don't Give A What" was fun and vibrant.

The headphones are also faithful to great vocalists, in my case, it's Sharon den Adel, Bruce Dickinson, and Ronnie James Dio.  Undeniably, the Marshall Major III is well-suited for the way we currently consume digital media. I'd even say that it is a lifestyle product.

Curious if I could squeeze out a little more performance and volume, I went wiredmy Onkyo DPX-1 as a line source, and an Ibasso PB3 Mockingbird as an outboard amp.

I like this combination because the DACs on the DPX1 is extremely fluent yet the onboard amplification is too polite for my taste.  The PB3 provides the "roar" that I want with my tunes.  With this hardware combination and FLAC files as a source, the Marshall Major III was capable of even more heft, volume, and spacing between vocals and instruments.   

Notwithstanding Marshall's classic rock and heavy metal lineage, the signature sound of Major III's 40mm dynamic drivers is clear, detailed, clean, and balanced.

There is a solid boost to the upper mids for us who prefer loud and heavy guitars. The boost was ingeniously done such that it does not overwhelm nor interfere with the rest of the frequencies. Bass, particularly the sub-bass, is flat with a slight lift in the 50hz range. The logic behind this tuning curve is simple: to give the Major III compatibility with a broad range of devices, musical styles, and content.

ProsUnique design, Bluetooth aptX - great sound up to 30 feet away from your device with minimal to zero latency.

97dB sensitivity. It's easy to disregard this from the spec sheet but a 97dB sensitivity rating means that the headphone is easy to drive and can potentially play loud.

The multi-directional and multi-functional control knob.

Cons - Earpads can get warm and sticky with humidity. The upside is, these are easy to remove for cleaning. There's also a ton of affordable replacement earpads in the market. This will be great for long-term ownership.

The flat bass tuning may not be suitable for some. Tip: There is a very-capable equalizer app for Android called "SpotiQ" that works great with Spotify. It allows you to customize your sound without shrinking the sound stage, as some of the other EQ apps I tried tend to do. 

Verdict

If you want a distinctive looking and an almost do-it-all daily wireless driver with the ability to jack-up performance when called upon, the Marshall Major III Bluetooth is perfect for you.

The Marshall Major III is now available at Digital Walker, Beyond the Box, Home Office PH, and Marshall LazMall for PHP 7,890.

Build/Design - 4.5
Comfort/Isolation - 4
Battery Life - 4.5
Features - 4.5
Sound - 4
Average - 4.3/5
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