Ever since Marshall started making headphones, earphones, and speakers in the early 2010s, its Major line of headphones has always been one of its most popular products. It’s not hard to see why: its iconic, retro-inspired look inspired by Marshall’s amps and great audio quality has made it a popular choice for people looking for stylish cans without breaking the bank.
The Major, now in its third iteration, offers a refined listening experience thanks to better drivers, highly usable multi-control knob, better overall build quality and wired and wireless variants. Is the iconic Marshall Major still a good buy in 2020?
-Stellar audio quality for its price
-Versatile multi-control knob
-Generous padding (with replaceable ear cups)
-Still stuck with MicroUSB
-No fast charging
-No support for Google Assistant
Sticking to the “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix” it mantra when it comes to the overall design, the Major III BT looks very identical to its predecessor. Marshall implemented very few teaks to the design like bulkier earcup covers, better earcup foams (that are also replaceable), and more solid hinges and loop wires, but has left the overall look and the design of the Major largely untouched.
Unlike with the Major II BT where you have a separate control knob and power button, the Major III BT integrates both with a single multidirectional control knob dressed in metal. The control knob can manage music playback, control volume, and answer/reject calls. There’s no support for voice assistants in this version—you will need to get the Major III Voice if you want native support for Google Assistant.
For ports, you get a 3.5mm jack in case you want to use them in wired mode and an aging MicroUSB port. Do note that the Major III BT came out in 2018, so expect the next iteration to make the shift to USB-C.
Aside from the generous amount of padding on both the earcups and headband, the Major III’s metal headband core is flexible, letting me enjoy listening to my favorite tunes while experiencing minimal ear fatigue from wearing them for a prolonged period.
One of the main improvements of the Major III BT over the Major II BT is the use of 40mm Neodymium drivers with a 32ohm impedance for better overall sound quality. Most Marshall audio products are tuned for rock and alternative music, but the Major III did fairly well in handling other genres like pop and EDM. I tried to play a few bass-heavy KPop and electronic tracks with the Major III, and it handled all frequencies—from the lows to the highs—quite well. They are not heavy on the bass side, but they do fine for me—as someone who has tried many headphones through the years, I prefer those that don’t overdo the bass tuning.
You don’t get active noise cancellation with the Major III BT because of their on-ear design, and it is fine. To be fair, its design manages to isolate environmental noise, but only to a certain extent. If you plan to use them for traveling and commuting, you will need to manage your expectations when it comes to noise isolation.
As a pair of wireless earphones, the Major III has support for aptX for better and more detailed audio over Bluetooth. With its internal battery, the Major III BT can easily last for around 30 hours before you would need to charge them up. Should you run out of juice (or prefer things old school), you can just use the supplied audio cable to enjoy the Major III BT as a pair of wired cans.
Charging the Major III BT is done through its MicroUSB port, and it takes around 3 hours to fully charge them. That is considered to be slow in 2020 standards considering newer wireless headphones offer fast charging solutions. The slow charging issue is something I’d nitpick on a pair of two-year-old headphones, and we expect Marshall to address this in the next iteration of the Major.
Despite being two years old, the Major III BT is still one of the best pair of wireless headphones to get if you want a good audio upgrade. While it is showing its age—you don’t get support for voice assistants and you have to contend with an aging MicroUSB port with no fast charging support—the Major III BT shines with its well-tuned drivers that deliver a soundstage that is suitable to a broad selection of songs.
While Marshall has yet dropped any hint of a possible Major IV, the Major III BT is your best under-Php 10k wireless headphones if you want both the retro styling and the versatile soundstage.