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Marshall Major IV Review - Rock On, and Stand Out from the Herd!

OPPO
Huawei
Marshall's latest version of the Major series of headphones, the Marshall Major IV, is a huge step forward in establishing the device as the de-facto headphone for those who have the confidence to effect style, attitude, and swagger in their everyday day carry kit without compromising sonic and wireless performance.
Marshall Major IV Review - Rock On, and Stand Out from the Herd!
Marshall Major IV review Philippines!

Unboxing/Accessories

The box
The box

The Marshall Major IV still sports the brands' iconic retro-cool styling. The matte black & white cardboard box is sturdier than ever, while the inside still retains that all-black theme. All are intended to evoke the classic Marshall amplifier stack.
Inside the box
Inside the box

The pack-ins include 2 cables: your detachable 3.5mm coiled "classic rock guitar"-styled cable, with one end angled, so you can plug the IV into your DAP, amp, phone, tablet, or laptop, and, finally, a USB-C charging cable!

There is still no included storage bag though. I’m calling this out because it’s a basic and effective way of protecting your investment. Just dump the headphones into an appropriate storage bag with a packet of desiccant, and your headphones, particularly the drivers, will be safe from dust and humidity.

Build Quality/Design

Solid build
Solid build

The IVs have the same dimensions as the IIIs but are noticeably lighter. The IV is at 165g compared to the III's 182 g. This is something that you can feel as soon as you put on the headphones. Light and comfortable but definitely not frail and shoddy. The previously gold hinges are now matte-black on the IV. After my daily evaluation process, the hinges are still solid and show no signs of wear.
Slightly flexible design
Slightly flexible design

Another design change is the outer side of the driver housings. These are now smooth and slightly recessed (more on this feature detail in a bit), compared to the textured styling on the IIIs. We still have the embossed all-white Marshall logo on both the left and right driver housings. The headphones still fold securely inwards to save space during storage and transport. The textured headband (designed to emulate the vinyl finish of Marshall guitar amplifiers) is retained.

The multi-directional and multi-functional control knob is now on the right side!

Finally, my favorite multi-directional, and multi-functional control knob (still clad in gold!) is now on the right side. Right-handers will welcome this revision. Right-handers usually hold their device with the left and navigate the device with the right hand. Having the control knob on the right is simply more convenient. The top of the control knob is now recessed to match the driver housings–nice touch! I personally prefer this style because it offers a more satisfying tactile feel.
Rotatable cups
Rotatable cups

Overall, the IV still howls rock and roll but in a sleeker package.

For more information on the esteemed (at least for me!) control knob, read our review of Marshall's Major III here.

Comfort/Isolation

Comfy pads
Comfy pads

If there is any marked improvement that the IV holds over the III, it is in the overall comfort for the user. The IV dropped the Marshall amplifier style textured finish on the earcups and opted for a softer, finer-textured material to enclose the even squishier padding.

Pads are literally cooler on the ears!

The result is not only more comfortable, but the pads are literally cooler on my ears. I've been using the IV for the past 2 weeks as my main work-from-home headset, and I can comfortably use the IV the whole workday.

There is still no active noise canceling but the new softer pads offer above-average isolation for an on-ear headphone.

Battery

STRONG battery performance
STRONG battery performance

Marshall implemented an outstanding set of upgrades on the IV. The first and foremost is the significantly increased battery life, from 30 hours to a massive 80 hours! I can use the IV for a whole work week, where one day is comprised of 9 to 12 hours for work plus a couple of hours on Spotify, YouTube, and Netflix. Moreover, Marshall claims that a 15-minute charge will give you 15 hours of wireless convenience.

STRONG battery performance!

As if that wasn't enough, Marshall managed to squeeze in a wireless charging coil inside the right driver housing.

As I mentioned previously, the outer part of the driver housing is now recessed and encircled with a rubbery, non-slip border. This is so the headphones can rest flat, and not slip-off your wireless charging pad.

Hails and Horns to Marshall for thinking about this design cue!

Audio

Improved audio quality?
Improved audio quality?

Since I tested the IV for both work and play, I'll give my listening impressions based on these.

For wireless voice calls, conferencing via MS Teams, Zoom, and Google, the IV paired effortlessly with my Windows 10 PC via Bluetooth 5.0. The auto-install drivers even offered 2 headphone audio settings: "Major IV Stereo" and "Major IV Hands-Free". The latter setting is for voice calls and conferencing while "Major IV Stereo" is for pure audio listening.

For my current working-from-home environment, which can have a lot of potential ambient noise, voice performance was excellent. Incoming voice audio was clear balanced and free from sibilance.

The sensitivity of the on-board microphones is way above average. My speaking voice was transmitted clearly and with enough heft and weight that I could speak in my normal speaking voice.
Wired audio option
Wired audio option

Of course, there is a notable difference between the wired and wireless performance. As always, the wired connection will give you better spatial clarity and a wider sense of space especially when videoconferencing with multiple participants where participants sometimes speak over each other.

Wireless performance is usable up to the standard 30 feet. It was highly convenient that I could refill my drink or sneak-in a cigarette while still being a significant contributor to an ongoing virtual conference.

Still, the major motivation for getting the IV is for rockin' out to your favorite tunes. This a Marshall after-all!

Let’s get one thing straight first, the IV is not meant for critical listening. The IVs were tuned to give music energy and agility. On the metal classic "Crazy Train" [from Ozzy Ozbourne’s Blizzard of Oz Album], the IV will not help identify every single note on the full minor scale the late great guitarist Randy Rhoads used on the song’s main riff. Instead, the IV’s 40mm drivers were tuned so that Randy’s riffage and guitar solo would crush your skull!

On lighter tunes, like Lindsey Buckingham’s live version of "Trouble" from 2008 Live At The Bass Performance Hall, Lindsey's acoustic guitar and singing are full-bodied, snappy, and powerful. This being an excellently recorded and produced album, the IVs, in this context, are transparent headphones. I like how tight and focused the low and high end were on the acoustic guitar.

The same tightness and focus can be heard on louder tracks. There is a monstrous Dave Lombardo drum fill after the lead breaks on Slayer's epic "Angel of Death", and again the IVs effortlessly moved this massive wall of heavy metal drumming.

For the midrange, the IV offers generous warmth and details with just enough instrument spacing to give that sense of being in a small concert hall.

Across the highs, mids, and lows, the spacing was tuned just right to give the music an element of coherency and accuracy despite the IVs spirited sound signature.

If you own a device that has the older Wolfson DAC chip, and you like your music loud, heavy, and bouncy the IV (and even the III) will form a hard-rocking pair with your device. Compared to other DAC chips, the Wolfsons have this edgy, dirty sound that’s perfect for rock and roll, and yes even K-pop!

Still, Wolfson or no Wolfson, the Marshall Major IV is one of the most energetic and vivid headphones I've heard.

So, the obvious question here, is the IV an upgrade over the III? If you want an even more enjoyable listen, my fearless reply is a "Yes!".

Improved details and dynamics across the frequency range versus the Marshall III

Compared to the III, the IV stands out with improved details and dynamics across the frequency range. Both have roughly the same Bass quantity but on the IV, the Bass is tighter, focused, and thus more immediate.

The III still trumps the IV on warmth and intimacy particularly on acoustic tracks and classic jazz. So, like almost everything in personal audio, it's subjective and dependent on personal preferences.

Personally, I did not miss the absence of aptX on the IV simply because Marshall made up for this with the expanded sonic tuning and EQ. Besides, if you really want to do some critical listening and maximize the sonic qualities of your source hardware and software, use a wired connection.

Verdict

Marshall made worthy upgrades on their latest version of the Major series of consumer headphones. Like the previous version, the IV is tuned to work great with consumer digital sources particularly wireless devices.

One can argue that there are lower-priced alternatives with equal sonic performance. However, the additional coin is worth the style, attitude, and swagger as these will let you stand out from the herd. Plus, not everyone can say that they have up to 80 hours of battery life.

Marshall Major IV now comes with a promo price of PHP 7,690 from PHP 8,690 at Digital Walker and Beyond the Box branches nationwide. You can also grab it online via ShopeeLazada, and Home Office.

Build/Design - 4.5
Comfort/Isolation - 4.5
Battery Life - 5
Features - 4.5
Sound - 4.80
Average - 4.66/5
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