Monday, August 5, 2013

Marshall Monitor Headphones: A Legacy of Sound

I almost fainted when I held this pair in my hands. It was such a magical box, this little brown cube. It was unassuming enough, especially to those who didn’t know exactly what they were looking at. The big, bold, script letters at the top labeled this pair of headphones as a step above the rest, as a pair that deserved to be held high in esteem. The name has to be said softly, as if a whisper: Marshall. I couldn’t believe I was actually about to review the Marshall Monitor headphones.

If you are an audiophile of any sort, or if you have bothered looking at speaker brands, you will inevitably have heard of Marshall. Started in 1962 by Jim Marshall, the brand set out to create cheaper alternatives to the Fender amplifiers that were well known during the time, but were very expensive. They soon became well-known as a quality manufacturer of amplifiers and speakers, and have remained so ever since. An interesting note about the headphones line though: the brand Marshall is licensed to Zound Industries, the Sweden-based manufacturer who also brings us other brands featured in this blog. Even so, that doesn’t diminish the superior sound and construction quality of this pair.

I felt like a child opening his first gift from Santa Claus on Christmas morning when I unboxed this beauty. The folded Marshall Monitor headphones rested on a bed of foam, reminding me of engagement rings, and are just as luxurious. There was no one element that grabbed your attention when you first pull out the pair. It was a multitude of little design elements that made it so elegant: the gold coating on the labels which told you left from right, the reptile-like leather covering the headband, the little curl of wire connecting headband and ear cup, the embossed white on black logo on each side.

Aside from its outstanding good looks, the Marshall Monitor headphones come with a microphone and remote to give you the ease of taking calls and listening to music without interruption. This cable plugs into either ear cup, which in itself provides a neat little feature: have a friend plug in their earphone jack into the empty 3.5MM socket and have them share your music.

The Monitors collapse into a neat little ball which makes it very convenient to bring around, and they also come with a carrying pouch printed with the logo in the signature script style, finished with a shiny black gloss that just adds to the elegance.

The design itself was enough for me to call this an excellent pair and end the review. Apparently, this was just the tip of the iceberg that is the Marshall experience. Being on-ear, they don’t give the full isolation experience as with active noise cancellation headphones, but the good coverage and fit of the ear cups remove about 70% - 80% of ambient sound.

The custom-made 40MM dynamic driver provides a good coverage of the entire audible spectrum and delivers power on demand. Something unique to the Monitors is what the manufacturers call an F.T.F system, which allows you to customize your listening experience. It basically comes down to a specialized filter hidden behind the ear cushions which you can remove. Keeping the filters in blocks out some of the higher treble sounds, which makes the listening experience more comfortable and warm over-all. Removing the filters allows for the full range of sounds to come through, resulting in a clearer listening experience. Wearing these headphones feel like nothing at all, so you’ll have more lengthy listening sessions without the pain or discomfort.

The Marshall Monitor headphones live up to its heritage, despite being manufactured and styled outside of its home country. This is easily a pair that I would not have second doubts picking up when out shopping for headphones. Be it in a professional studio or for personal use at home, these headphones are certainly top of the line, and are at the top of my list.

Suggested Retails Price: Php8,950

Available at the following stores:
  • Beyond the Box
  • Digital Hub
  • Digital Walker
  • Egghead

Editor's Note: This article was written by Arbi Bautista, a special writer and contributor of Glich's Life. Arbi is an IT Consultant in one of the biggest global IT companies. He is a music and photography enthusiast, and a great public speaker too. Revisions to this article were done by yours truly prior to posting. You can follow Arbi on Twitter (@sowhatifimmaria). - Glenn / Glich


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