Marshall knocked it out of the park with its last set of Bluetooth headphones, the Major II Bluetooth, which means the new Mid Bluetooth have big shoes to fill.
From the outside they look simple. Small black on-ear speakers with textured black plastic covering, white Marshall logo and a textured pleather headband.
The ear cups are connected to the band by a metal bracket and solid-feeling hinge with a small bungie cable for audio. There are a few small brass accents on the hinge, arms and Marshall’s multifunction button on the left ear cup.
The right ear cup has a microUSB port for charging and a 3.5mm headphones jack for hooking the Mids up by cable, should the power run out or you want to share your audio. They’re not quite as interesting-looking as the Major IIs and are quite dull compared to the likes of Beats, but the Mids are simple, attractive and will look good on the heads of rockers and businesspeople alike.
The on-ear fit means they’re quite small, and they fold up into a fairly compact and robust package for travel. They are also light and the headband is nicely padded, but I found they were really quite tight on the ears, which made them uncomfortable for long listening sessions. Most on-ear headphones suffer from this problem, but these are certainly tighter on the head than the Major IIs.
Controls and connectivity
The Bluetooth connection to various smartphones was rock-solid throughout. The Mids have aptX support, for those smartphones and tablets that support it, which is great if you have a Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge or HTC 10, but neither Apple’s iPhone nor Google’s Pixel support it.
Sadly the Mids do not have NFC for one-touch Bluetooth pairing, but once turned on just double-pressing the power button puts them into pairing mode. The multi-function joystick button is excellent. As noted with the Major IIs, it feels robust and gets everything done with the minimum of fuss.
Press it in to pause or play, up or down to adjust skip or reverse track or left or right to adjust volume. It can all be done with quick nudges with your thumb.
If you’d like to share your music with another, plugging in a headphones cable into the open jack while listening to Bluetooth audio will pipe the music out to anything else you might want to connect. It’s a bit awkward to have someone else connected to your head, but works great when sitting next to your significant other or friend on a plane, train or bus.
Marshall headphones have a distinct sound that’s particularly at home blasting out rock music. But the Mids are more balanced than the Major IIs with more rounded sound that makes pretty much anything sound good.
From the likes of Eric Clapton, the Red Hot Chilli Peppers and the Pixies to Blue Sky Black Death, Tycho and Com Truise, almost any musical genre sounds warm and inviting. Some things with high treble can sound a little harsh if turned up loud: Marshall has tuned the Mids to boost mid-bass and top-end treble.
They struggle a little bit with orchestral music, sounding a little flat and lacking sparkle within Holst’s Jupiter, for instance, but it’s still passable. They sound very good for a set of Bluetooth on-ear headphones under £200.
Battery life, as with the Major IIs, is excellent. The Mids are meant to last around 30 hours between charges. They got something in the region of 32 hours between charges, which meant weeks worth of commutes and listening at work. These are the kinds of headphones you can forget to charge for extended periods of time and be just fine.
- They pinch the ears fiercely when new, but gradually got slightly less tight with a bit of stretching and wearing.
- The Mids block out background noise quite well for on-ear headphones without active noise cancelling.
- Call quality was OK through them, but the other side of the conversation said I was quite difficult to hear.
The Marshall Mid Bluetooth headphones are another excellent set of on-ear wireless headphones from the iconic British brand. They combine great sound quality, solid connectivity and long battery life with good, simple looks and simple, satisfying controls.
Despite being a bit more balanced than the Major IIs, the Mids don’t suit every music genre, but won’t sound bad with much and those looking for great-sounding headphones for rock or anything associated will find they excel.
But, like most on-ear headphones they pinched my ears, even slightly more than some others. They will ease as they wear in a little, but those looking for hours-long private listening parties might want to look for an over-the-ear set.
The biggest problem with the Mids is that Marshall already has some excellent on-ear headphones in the Major IIs, and they’re £40 cheaper.
Pros: great sound, long battery life, good controls, good connectivity, share your music via cable, optional cable listening, simple but not boring styling, solid construction
Cons: pinch a bit, lack a bit of balance for classical music, no NFC for one-touch pairing