Best sounding portable headphones EVER

A Review On: Marshall Headphones - 'Major' Over Ear (Black)

Marshall Headphones - 'Major' Over Ear (Black)

Rated # 49 in On-Ear
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Price paid: $140.00
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Pros: Kick ass mids, great very detailed bass, SMOOTH detailed highs

Cons: VERY LONG burn in period on some, conservative estimate about 250+ hours.

I'm a professional DJ/Producer. In my rider I ask that the venue supply the headphones. So I have at least 100 pairs of headphones, and that's after giving away the majority of them to friends. Not going to bother to run off every pair but I've tried just about every pair out. 


Just before I was about to play in Stockholm I received a pair of these Marshall Major FX headphones and out of the box they were noticeably the best sounding portable headphones I'd ever heard. A friend had just come into my room (He's also a DJ) and I let him hear them and his response was the same. He had an iPhone 5 and I had an HTC 8x Windows Phone and the latest generation iPad that I tested them on. We played Simon and Garfunkel, Carly Simon, Van Halen, The Police, and Bill Withers. 


My friend begged me not to DJ with the headphones because "they sounded too beautiful and sweet to DJ with" and he thought I may blow them out putting them on the DJ system's headphone jack. I decided to try them out anyway since i got them for free and I figured I'd just but another pair if I blew them. Anyway, I DJ'd with them and it was a beautiful experience, and trust me they took plenty of punishment that night. 


Anyway, they quickly became my go-to headphones for air travel and portable listening. Every single music business professional I exposed them to said the same thing: best sounding portables ever. I made it back to Chicago, where my family is, and did a listening test with another roomful of professional and they all agreed. Afterwards, my cousin had gotten a new iPhone and I gave her my beloved Marshalls. No problem, I'd just order a new pair off Amazon or somewhere. 


 The new pair came and sounded totally different. Like crap actually. The high end was completely gone. The soundstage was non existent. Everything was muddy as hell. I couldn't believe it. Now normally I would have given them 24 hours of burn in and tried them again, if they didn't sound better I'd toss them aside or give them away. But the problem here was I'd heard these at their absolute best and they were made for GOD. 


 So I did 24, then 48 hours of burn in and got only a slight change. I was incensed. What was the problem???? I thought that maybe I'd gotten a defective pair or worse, fake pair. Surely the difference couldn't be THAT  dissimilar?? I began emailing Marshall and asking them what the problem was and they suggested that maybe I got a defective pair and they were willing to replace them. I kept burning them in in, playing them on iPods and phones as I slept. 


FINALLY, after 3 weeks and 200+ hours of play, I got a noticeable breakthrough. Within the next 5 days, the sound quality was at the very least on par with my previous pair, if not even better! I've never owned a pair of headphone where burn-in made such a radical difference. I contacted Marshall and told them the crisis was over. 


 That part deals somewhat with the sound quality, which is phenomenal. 


Now, as far as build quality goes, I give low marks because they seem flimsy, but they're actually much sturdier than they look. And the non-replaceable cable is a HUGE downer for me, it means I'll have to buy and possibly burn in another damn pair if the cable craps out. And yes I WILL buy a new pair if that happens without hesitation, because I am now addicted to the sound. Comfort I can't really comment on because you have different sized heads and I've found with on-ears more than any other can that what's nirvana for one guy is hell for the next. These are comfortable for me but they're a snug fit so I'll bet they'll hurt like heck on someone else. 


I HAVE to give these 5 stars based on the sound alone. 


Well, they aren't terribly expensive to begin with. That's the good part.
Personally, I have not found "burn in" to matter in any equipment I have ever owned, but that has been MY experience. Obviously, YYMV. 250+ hours? That is definitely a downside, to me.
They look very similar.......the only difference seems to be the Urbanears version has round earpads and the Marshalls are square. I haven't heard the Urbanears version yet so I can't confirm
I'd never burned in a pair for more than 48 hours. I've *heard* of burn in periods of 1000 hours but this was the closest I've experienced to that. Also, the 1st pair I got sounded great immediately with NO burn in so go figure.
I've been into hi-fi for a while. Personally, burn-in, has never done anything for my equipment. Maybe I just don't have very good hearing and can't tell the difference?
Maybe I'm lucky and things have been good or bad out of the box for me?
Or maybe the headphones you got never needed burn in Spinnin. I burn in a lot of headphones if they're not sounding great right away, some get better and some don't. The Marshalls were definitely the most radical change and longest burn in period for me.
I remember certain Sennheisers (595's, 650's) needing a burn in period but others (600's) were great from the start. I also remember Ultrasones (2400's, Signature Pro's) needing a burn in period before sounding magical. V-Moda's (M-80's, Crossfade 2's) have sounded great immediately.
The Marshalls have me puzzled because 2 of the exact same headphone needed different burn in periods.
Hmmmmmm, interesting.  I could not stand the sound of these, myself, when I demoed them at Sam Ash.  I thought that everything but vocals sounded way too wonky on them.