Assuming you need a pair of headphones that are comfortable to wear, have a long battery life, great sound quality, and a distinctive design, the Marshall Motif ANC is actually a good choice. Motif ANC has design, workmanship, sound quality, long battery life and stable connection. Its noise cancelling ability is also adequate for daily commuting, and the price of $200 is a bit expensive but not outrageous.
The disadvantage is that the vocals of Marshall Motif ANC in the factory state have a slight glitch (in theory, it should disappear with time). The game latency is slightly higher, and the noise cancelling effect is not top-notch, but it also reaches the “T2” level. If you are particularly looking for the noise cancelling effect, then I would suggest you to buy BOSE or Sony noise cancelling earbuds directly.
The Marshall Motif ANC charging case is one of the most unique of all these headphones I’ve experienced recently. What makes it special is not how different its shape is from similar products, but its appearance design and details. If the AirPods Pro charging case is described as refined, then the Marshall Motif ANC charging case is more stylish than refined.
Marshall brings its own classic design language to this earphone perfectly, with the white handwritten Marshall logo and black retro pebbled leather being highly recognizable. The more detailed place is that when you open the charging case, you can see the golden EST.1962 words at first sight. The long brand history makes the product more convincing.
The overall design style of earbuds is consistent with the charging case, which is also dominated by black and white elements. Friends who have known Marshall over-ear headphones before should know that Marshall usually prints the brand logo on the side of the headphones. However, Marshall Motif ANC is limited by volume and changed to handwritten M, which is eye-catching and recognizable.
There are two points that can be said about the headphone handle part. First of all, the headphone stem of the Marshall Motif ANC is shorter than many similar products. The direct benefit is that it can provide a more “senseless” wearing experience, which can greatly reduce the accidental falling off. In addition, the diamond-shaped structure design on the surface is also helpful for enhancing the visual sophistication.
Noise Cancelling Effect
The noise cancelling scheme of Marshall Motif ANC is active + passive. Passive noise cancelling is easier to understand. Since it fits more closely with the ear canal than semi-in-ear headphones, the in-ear design can inherently provide a good noise cancelling effect. In the active noise cancelling section, it is set up with 2 ANC microphones to pick up ambient sounds.
In terms of absolute noise cancelling depth, Marshall Motif ANC is a bit far from the current “T1” level. The overall noise filtering level of Motif ANC is OK. The filtering effect of simple and common background noise such as subway driving noise is not bad, but the filtering effect of other noises is relatively mediocre.
In addition to noise cancelling, the performance of Marshall Motif ANC’s transparency mode and call clarity also has some gaps with the flagship TWS of mobile phone manufacturers.
The transparency mode of Marshall Motif ANC sounds more natural overall, and the delay is not high. Compared with the flagship TWS of mobile phone manufacturers, the transparency mode of Motif ANC will slightly overemphasize the mid-to-high frequency of the sound, causing some ambient sounds to sound harsher than the real situation.
It is worth mentioning that after turning on active noise cancelling, you will not feel a sudden increase in ear pressure, which is very comfortable. However, since its microphone is set at the bottom of the earphone stem, it will receive more noise during calls.
Calling & Battery Life
The Marshall Motif ANC has a “headphone handle” that puts the microphone closer to the user’s mouth than the bean-style TWS. Motif ANC’s call microphone is located on the outside of the headphone handle instead of the bottom. So the pickup effect is a bit worse than with headphones where the mic is at the bottom of the headphone handle. Mobile phone manufacturers tend to implant high-specification noise cancelling algorithms in bluetooth SoCs, so the call quality of Motif ANC in noisy environments is also slightly inferior.
After all, the R&D capabilities and technical accumulation of audio manufacturers such as Marshall in this type of new electronic products are not on the same level as mobile phone manufacturers. Marshall Motif ANC can at least achieve the three points of stable connection, clear call and excellent battery life, and then the noise cancelling effect and ambient sound mode performance are also good, which has met or even exceeded my expectations.
The battery life of the Marshall Motif ANC is also very good. The noise cancelling mode can play 4.5 hours, the transparency mode can play 6 hours, and the charging case will provide 20 to 26 hours of battery life (ANC on/off). It also supports charging for 15 minutes, fast charging for listening to songs for 1 hour, and wireless charging.
Sound Quality of Marshall Motif ANC
The first thing to point out is that, as an ANC TWS, the Marshall Motif ANC, like other TWS, has an “upper limit” on the amount of sound information due to the bluetooth transmission bandwidth. Motif ANC also only supports ordinary SBC bluetooth encoding, and it does not support high-bandwidth bluetooth transmission protocols such as LDAC. So in terms of “quality”, the upper limit of Motif ANC is a little bit inherently insufficient compared to those TWS that support higher-level transmission protocols.
The sound quality is still typical Marshall style. It uses a 6mm dynamic driver with a frequency response range of 20Hz~20kHz, and supports EQ personalization settings in the Marshall Bluetooth App.
The tuning style of Marshall’s products has always been consistent, from bluetooth speakers to headphones. The Marshall Motif ANC sounded well-balanced and sounded full. The tri-frequency is easy to stretch from top to bottom, and the brightness of the sound is also set just right, so you don’t feel tired after wearing it for a long time and listening to music. As a TWS, this sound can be regarded as the top level of similar products.
If I have to talk about the shortcomings, then I would think that the vocals of the Motif ANC in the factory state will have a slight glitchy feeling. In theory, this small defect should disappear over time. However, even with this small flaw, it does not prevent the Marshall Motif ANC from becoming one of the best-sounding new ANC TWS I have come across this year.
Comfort & Control
What I like more about the Marshall Motif A.N.C is the wearing experience. Three pairs of silicone eartips of different sizes are included in the package. The earbuds are also light enough, and with a good ergonomic design, they actually fit the ears very well. Even if you wear it for a long time, it will not cause obvious discomfort to the ears.
The control logic is the same as most similar products, click to pause/play music, double-click the next song, triple-click the previous song, and long press to switch the noise cancelling mode. During use, I also noticed that there will be a corresponding sound effect reminder when switching the noise cancelling mode. However, since it is not a human voice to broadcast the reminder, it may not be so intuitive.
In other respects, the charging case supports IPX4 waterproof, and the earbuds supports IPX5 waterproof. There is nothing wrong with wearing it when you are exercising, sweating, or wearing it outdoors on rainy days. Marshall Motif A.N.C uses Bluetooth 5.2 version.