Last year, Marshall introduced its highest-end wireless headphones at new event technology, the Monitor Bluetooth. They had almost everything you’d want in cord-free cans — except for active noise cancellation (ANC). Now, Marshall is finally jumping aboard that bandwagon with the $269 Mid ANC. While they’re technically part of the company’s mid-range lineup, the addition of noise cancellation might make them worth the $30 premium over the $249 Monitor Bluetooth.
The Mid ANC look pretty much identical to the, aside from a new switch on the right ear that allows for toggling active noise canceling. Where the original Mid headphones had two passive noise-reduction microphones, the ANC model doubles the mic count to four, allowing for active noise cancellation. Turn it on, and most of the outside world will vanish, although it comes at a cost of about 30 percent less battery life. (Marshall claims 20 hours or so with noise canceling, or 30 hours without).
Outside of its ANC performance, the headphones also sound fantastic, with a well-defined (but not overpowering) low-end, and crisp mids and highs. The Mid ANC’s 40mm drivers had no trouble tackling my eclectic library of tunes, from film soundtracks to classic soul. Given the way noise canceling works, you typically lose a bit of sound quality when it’s activated, but I didn’t notice any significant changes with the Mid ANC. The headphones also feature the AptX codec, which will give you a bump in wireless fidelity from supported devices. If quality is your main concern though, and you’re not typically sitting in noisy environments, the Monitor Bluetooth might be a better option for you.
The Marshall Mid ANC headphones are available today from Marshall Headphones for $269.