A little over 5 years ago, Marshall teamed up with Sweden's Zound Industries to break into the headphones market with the Major on-ears. Last year, the iconic British amp maker also entered the crowded mobile space with the audiocentric-but-mediocre London smartphone. Music lovers looking to tap into the phone's high quality streaming prowess no longer need to wander off brand, they can now go cable-free with the Major II Bluetooth headphones.
A pair of first generation Majors has been hanging from a hook on the side of a Marshall combo amp in my office pretty much since the day of release. We have found the sound signature to be lively and clear, with strong mids and a good measure of low end presence. The only downside has been pinch fatigue after long-haul listening sessions. The Major II on-ears brought the same cool look, lessened the pinch and delivered an even better sonic performance, with improved bass and more detail.
Marshall is promising a similar user experience with the new wireless version. The Major II Bluetooth headphones have the same 40 mm dynamic driver in the square cups, the same 64 ohm impedance, the same 10 Hz to 20 kHz frequency response and the same 99 dB sensitivity. But they also pack a battery that's claimed good for over 30 hours of continuous wireless music and claimed CD-like streaming quality thanks to Bluetooth aptX technology.
On the left earcup is a brass-colored analog control knob which allows listeners to play, pause and shuffle tracks, and adjust volume. There's a built-in microphone for taking calls wirelessly or to have a conversation with your favorite digital assistant, though a detachable curly cable is supplied that has an mic and inline controls. When going wireless, the 3.5 mm socket on the right earcup can be used to share tunes with a friend.
The Major II Bluetooth headphones are available in Europe now for €150, with a US release following shortly (priced at US$150).
Product page: Major II Bluetooth