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Marshal Monitors

post #1 of 4
Thread Starter 
So I'm new here, and pretty new to higher quality audio in general. However, after a regrettable purchase of some of the original Beats studios freshman year of college (hey man, they were cool), I have started to collect some other, more respected headphones. I have some Shure SE215 IEM's (that were just replaced by Shure due to cutting out, and eventually the right side going silent all together. This was one of the better experiences with warranties that I have had. They even let me get the black ones instead of the clear!) I also have a pair of Klipsch S4's, though I vastly prefer the Shures.

Recently, I saw the Marshal Monitors at Best Buy, and figured I'd go give them a listen. These are easily the best headphones I have heard, albeit in my relatively limited experience. The bass is super tight and goes real low, and yet the highs are crisp, and stringed instruments and percussion come to the front when they are supposed to. I am hearing things in music I have never heard before, which hasn't happened since I purchased the S4's several years ago. Also, the build quality on these is impressive. They are almost entirely metal besides the ear cups, which are a plastic with a nice leather texture to cut down on weight. They do not feel cheap at all, however. The bronze tags screwed into the headband to denote right and left are a nice touch, and not having to hunt for which side is which is nice. The ear cups are also nice and soft, both in terms of the leather-like material they are made out of, as well as the quality of the foam padding itself. The clamping pressure is just enough for them to stay put, but I don't ever have problems with them hurting after long periods. The headband is also nice and large, as usually I have to make headbands as big as they go, but I still have a few notches left on this one. Another nice feature is that the cable can plug in to either the right or left ear cup, and the jack on the other, unused side becomes a headphone splitter. I don't know what they does to quality, but when I tested it I was hard pressed to tell much of a difference, and it can be pretty convenient at times.

I am aware that these are by no means the best headphones out there, and I hope as I go I can at least try out some better ones. But I feel that for the money I spent on them ($199), they beat out most of the competition at this range, especially for someone looking for "fun" headphones rather than the flattest and most accurate ones out there (those these are not as unbalanced as, say, the M50 or something of that nature. In fact, there is a graph of the EQ of the headphones on the back of the box, both with the filters in and with them out, and with them out, they have emphasized bass and treble, with mids just a little recessed, but in music vocals still come through brilliantly.

Has anyone else tried these out/have any impressions on how they compare to other sets in this price range? (Senn 380 pro, etc).
post #2 of 4

I've tried the Monitors.  There's actually a thread about them in the full-sized section although I see them more as portables XD  They are great headphones, but employ a warmer, slightly dark sound that is still very technically strong still.  I found the highs to be a little too subdued on them though, personally speaking; even with the filters removed.  

 

They are one of the better headphones I've heard under 200.  I'd still take an M-80 any day over these, but they are on-ear as opposed to over-ear.  As for over-ears in this price range, there aren't too many recent ones out there that target the same portable crowd.  

post #3 of 4

I have the Monitors for some weeks now, and I really like them as portable phones! I think they beat other comparable portables I have tried: e.g. Sony MDR 1R or Bose AE2, and are on par with the Sennheiser Momentum, although they sound quite different. Sound stage and bass extension is better on the Marshalls, mids are cleaner on the Senns, highs are maybe a tad smoother on the Senns. I feel the Monitors benefit from burn-in, the treble seems to extend better over time.

 

I haven't heard the Focal Spirit One, but I think they are the most direct competitor. They schould be very similar to the Marshalls. Concept and price are about the same, and the Focal's graphs pretty much reflect what I'm hearing on the Marshalls.

 

What I love about the Monitors:

- quality, look & feel

- size/portability with its clever construction

- bass: tight, well extended, fast and kicking, but not overpowering (unless you want it -> EQ it and you have a basshead's dream)

- can handle EQing very well (good for on the go when I want more bass)

- quite a wide soundstage for the size/construction (similar to the Sony MDR 1R)

- overall balanced bass/mid/treble, slightly on the darker side

 

Not so much:

- ear cups on the smaller side (partly on-ear, only slightly bigger than the Sennheiser Momentum)

- in the soundstage the bass is in your head, like a subwoofer, while mids/highs extend to the sides

- mids can be slightly boxy at times (middle/high piano sounds, some female vocals)

- missing upper treble sparkle (if you boost the treble it can get slightly sibilant)

 

Compared to bigger headphones, they compare a bit to the Shure SRH 840 and the Beyerdynamic Custom One Pro, which I also liked. I tested some phones in this league and almost bought a "big one", but in the end I'm happy to have this portable guy now! I might buy some big open cans for at home, maybe the AKG K 701 or the Beyer DT 880.

 

All in all, I think the Monitors are a very underrated pair of headphones. Many people see them only as a fashion can, but they are far more than that!


Edited by levito - 11/26/13 at 6:14pm
post #4 of 4
Quote:
Originally Posted by levito View Post
 

I have the Monitors for some weeks now, and I really like them as portable phones! I think they beat other comparable portables I have tried: e.g. Sony MDR 1R or Bose AE2, and are on par with the Sennheiser Momentum, although they sound quite different. Sound stage and bass extension is better on the Marshalls, mids are cleaner on the Senns, highs are maybe a tad smoother on the Senns. I feel the Monitors benefit from burn-in, the treble seems to extend better over time.

 

I haven't heard the Focal Spirit One, but I think they are the most direct competitor. They schould be very similar to the Marshalls. Concept and price are about the same, and the Focal's graphs pretty much reflect what I'm hearing on the Marshalls.

 

What I love about the Monitors:

- quality, look & feel

- size/portability with its clever construction

- bass: tight, well extended, fast and kicking, but not overpowering (unless you want it -> EQ it and you have a basshead's dream)

- can handle EQing very well (good for on the go when I want more bass)

- quite a wide soundstage for the size/construction (similar to the Sony MDR 1R)

- overall balanced bass/mid/treble, slightly on the darker side

 

Not so much:

- ear cups on the smaller side (partly on-ear, only slightly bigger than the Sennheiser Momentum)

- in the soundstage the bass is in your head, like a subwoofer, while mids/highs extend to the sides

- mids can be slightly boxy at times (middle/high piano sounds, some female vocals)

- missing upper treble sparkle (if you boost the treble it can get slightly sibilant)

 

Compared to bigger headphones, they compare a bit to the Shure SRH 840 and the Beyerdynamic Custom One Pro, which I also liked. I tested some phones in this league and almost bought a "big one", but in the end I'm happy to have this portable guy now! I might buy some big open cans for at home, maybe the AKG K 701 or the Beyer DT 880.

 

All in all, I think the Monitors are a very underrated pair of headphones. Many people see them only as a fashion can, but they are far more than that!

 

I personally wouldn't call the Monitor's bass tight or fast IMO.  There are so many other examples that would do so much better in that regard.  As for wide sound stage, I've heard better NAD's VISO does better in this regard without losing the warm sound.  The MEE Atlas, despite being on ear actually offers a more expansive sound stage.  

 

As for the comments about the Focal Spirit One, I don't think there are 3rd party measurements for the Monitor yet, so comparing measurements is a no go with the Monitor.  That said, the Spirit One is a whole different animal than the Monitor.  It's much more linear and offers less warmth and a brighter midrange and treble.  

 

I will agree that the Monitor is an underrated phone, it's not seen as a serious attempt at a headphone yet, Marshall, UrbanEars, etc aren't really seen as serious on Head-Fi.  But I do agree that they are still a great headphone despite their flaws.  

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