Marshall Motif ANC review

Marshall Motif ANC

The Marshall Motif ANC is the first pair of noise-cancelling true wireless earbuds from a British brand with a storied rock ‘n’ roll history. That heritage is evident in nearly every aspect of the Motif, from the way their audio profile has been tuned to an aesthetic that takes into account Marshall’s extensive back catalog of amplifiers and speakers.

Sound and style are the manufacturer’s bread and butter. And while Motif excels in these areas, they lack many similarly priced options. Customization options are limited compared to their competitors, and battery life also fails to impress.

Whether you find those drawbacks worth compromising will likely come down to your musical taste. If your library consists primarily of rock and metal, you’ll be hard-pressed to find earbuds capable of delivering those genres. Those of a more eclectic persuasion will still appreciate the sound quality on offer but may find more complete packages elsewhere.

Things we like
Great sound
Decent ANC
Fast Charging
Super stylish
Strong battery life
Things we don’t like
Pricey
Limited Customisation

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Price and Availability

Marshall Motif ANC come with a Black color variant. it is price $199. You can buy this headset from company’s official website marshallheadphones.com

Who should have to buy this headset?

  • The amp-maker isn’t afraid to bring big sound to the everyday listener.
  • Because of IPX4 and IPX5, it is best for swimmers, who always stay around water.
  • Motif A.N.C. true wireless headphones
  • Charging case
  • USB-C charging cable
  • User manual and legal and safety information
  • Ear tips (S, M, L)

Marshall Motif ANC: Design and Build Quality

Marshall Motif ANC

Starting with the design, the Marshall Motif ANC come with a rectangular case and covered in a PU leather (plastic) material that’s rugged. You see the iconic “Marshall” branding on the front that, when lifted, reveals an “Est. 1962” message. The case is fully leather wrapped and attracts fingerprints. There’s also a Bluetooth 5.2 pairing button at the front of the case and a USB-C charging port at the bottom.

This gives the case scratch protection and a ton of grip (and personality). The earbuds weigh about 4.25 grams, which is light. These feature an in-ear design and also come with medium-sized ear tips pre-installed. You can change to bundled Large or Small sized ear tips if you wish. There is an Optical Sensor for Wear Detection, so that it can automatically pause the audio when you remove it from your ears and play when you put it back. There is a microphone on the back of the headset for noise cancellation and the bottom microphone is used for calls. You can also see the contacts for charging in the stem.

Below the microphone there is a touch-sensitive area on the outer surface. Which control play/pause, open Google Assistant and attend or disconnect calls. Overall the headset offers a decent build quality for the price and fits your ears perfectly so that they don’t fall off your ears easily even when running or cycling. To wrap up the design elements, the case is rated for IPX4. Meaning it can take a splash of water from any direction. The earbuds have an IPX5 rating, making them resistant to sustained, low-pressure water (i.e. faucet, toilet, shower, etc.). 

Marshall Motif ANC: App and software

Like most companion software, the Marshall Bluetooth app — available on iOS and Android. Which gives you the ability to modify the earbuds’ equalizer (EQ) settings, touch controls, ANC levels and more.

While phones including Samsung and OnePlus have native equalizers, being able to fine-tune frequency levels within the Marshall app is a great addition. However, one of my issues with the software is that you can only choose from a preset list of EQ profiles (Rock, Spoken, Pop, Hip-Hop and Electronic). There is also a default “Marshall” preset that normalizes all frequency levels. To my surprise, I found it to sound the best.

In addition to basic features like changing the functionality of touch inputs, the Marshall app has some additional settings and tweaks that greatly enhance the overall listening experience. One of which is the option to turn off interaction sounds, the beeps and chimes that play whenever you tap or pair the earbuds. While some may find the auditory feedback useful. It was very jarring to my ears and I felt a twitch every time I interacted with the earbuds.

Marshall Motif ANC: Connectivity, Pairing, and Controls

Marshall Motif ANC

The Marshall Motif ANC supports Bluetooth 5.2 with AAC high quality audio codec. The connection range is around 10 meters, which is common in most headsets, but the connection quality is good. The pairing process is very easy, simply press and hold the function button on the case for 3 seconds until the status light blinks white, this means that the headset is now ready to be pair to a device. Now open the Bluetooth settings on the phone, and it shows up as Marshall Motif ANC, and you can connect to it. As soon as the connection is establish, the blinking LED should go off. You can take the earbuds out of the case and start using.

Since it has Google pairing mode that supports compatible phones, it automatically pairs to the phone when you bring the case with the headset close to the phone with Bluetooth turned on. We tested it on the realme X7, Redmi K20 Pro, and the Samsung Galaxy A52, and never faced any pairing related issue. Since the phone pairs with the case and not the headset, you will need the case if you want to reconnect it. The touch controls are easy to access and are decent.

The headset has Smart wear detection that can sense when they’re in the ear and automatically pause the music when taken out and resume when you put back. Also, for a better wearing experience, when you take one earbud off, the other will automatically switch to Transparency mode. This is very useful.

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Marshall Motif ANC: Audio Quality and Noise Cancellation

Thankfully it’s not just looks for the Marshal Motifs. You get great, full-bodied sound too with a surprisingly rich bass. The Motifs should be able to handle most genres, and of course podcasts too.

The mix sits mostly in the mid-range. Vocals sound crisp and clear but have enough depth to sound warm. You might hear a slight tinnyness at the very top range, but it’s barely noticeable. Unless you blast the volume, which wouldn’t be healthy for your ears anyway.

How good the active noise cancellation of the Marshal Motif?

Motifs do a decent job of shutting out the noise around you with active noise cancellation. However, I was still able to hear distant speech from the neighboring room. So don’t expect a full sensory deprivation chamber – but it will help. I used Motifs mostly at my desk, where it blocks out room hum and reduces typing and clicking noise.

In addition, Transparency mode boosted external sounds, which I found a bit jarring – as it also amplified the sound of my breathing. Fortunately, you can adjust how sensitive both ANC and transparency levels are through the app.

Marshall Motif ANC: Battery life & Charging

Marshall Motif ANC

Marshall rates the earbuds for 20 hours of battery life with the case and 4.5 hours standalone. It doesn’t take into account turning on ANC which, in my experience, has a significant impact on the endurance of the earbuds. While the Marshall Motif ANC earbuds’ battery life isn’t the best on the market. The three to four hours of music playback I got is about the same as the AirPods Pro. And should be enough for commutes, meetings, and workouts.

When you need to top up, the Motif ANC takes about 3H to charge from 0% to 100%. And longer if you’re wireless. The Marshall Bluetooth app also lets you toggle on Eco Charging. Which caps the earbuds’ charging limit at 80% to reduce battery degradation. ZDNet’s Adrian Kingsley-Hughes recently covered this phenomenon but with smartphones, which I highly recommend reading.

Conclusion

I came into this review with moderate expectations for the Martial Motif ANC and I’m ending it with a surprise. These true wireless earbuds offer all the essentials you’d want from a high-end set. Including active noise cancellation, great fit, comfort, full and rich sound quality. And a companion app that tightens any loose bolts. If you can put up with average battery life and an undeniably expensive price, these earbuds are exciting.

Which is the best alternative to the Marshall Motif ANC?

JBL Tune 130NC Review is the great alternative against the Motif ANC. The earphone offers impressive sound with excellent battery life. The earphone includes a ton of features, though Audio Technica ATH-CKS50TW and OPPO Enco Air2 Pro remain our top choice in the price range because both have more effective ANC. The name suggest the earphone come with a active noise cancellation, which is average, but best for the price range. Overall, the earphone provides an impressive sound, Punchy bass and excellent clear voice for longer sessions.

Nothing Ear (1) is another pair of good earbuds against the the Motif ANC. Earbud 4.7g comes with ultra-light, powerful 11.6mm speaker driver, sound by teen engineering, active noise cancellation, up to 34 hours of listening. In addition, earbud also offers 3 High definition microphone, environment noise cancellation, IPX4 splash proof, fast pair and Bluetooth 5.1 out of the box.

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