In Marshall’s Headphone series, the supra-aural Mid A.N.C. scores high marks when it comes to active noise reduction. In fact, the A.N.C. stands for “Active Noise Cancelling”, demonstrating that Marshall are focused squarely on this area of audio tech.
Workmanship and Product Contents
The presentation of the Marshall Mid A.N.C. is certainly impressive. The travel case of these headphones is of the hard-wearing variety, with the vinyl surface in a cowhide leather finish and an embossed Marshall logo guaranteed to go down well. Purple velour linings can be found in the inside of the case, adding another level of premium luxury. There is also embossed accents on the inside of the lid, with the detail making reference to the founding year of the Marshall company. A detachable mini jack cable and a USB charging cable are included along with the headphones themselves, while an easy-to-follow user manual is also included to help you get started.
These headphones come in slick black and boast a closed, supra-aural design. Each earpiece has a golden Marshall logo on it while the headband features discreet padding for comfort. On the outside, the headphones are covered in black imitation leather with embossed accents, while the interior has a black synthetic material lining. Faux suede accents are also featured, once again featuring the iconic Marshall logo. However attractive this all is, it is a wonder as to how long these textured details will last before wearing and degrading.
All other elements of the headphones have been produced to an incredibly high standard. The rest of the materials used in the construction of these headphones are all consistently impressive. The earpieces themselves are constructed of hard plastic shells, with faux leather and matt black metal accents. The ends of the cable attached to the headband features a spiral construction, ensuring it will never get in the way of the earpieces themselves. The enclosed mini jack cable is also manufactured to a high standard, with gold-plated plugs preventing corrosion. Kink protection on the angled plug is also made of sturdy metal, rather than more delicate plastic.
In addition to the noise-cancelling properties, these headphones also boast Bluetooth aptX. Two microphones are integrated into the Mid A.N.C. so that it can also be used as a speech input when connected to a smartphone. In addition to Bluetooth transmission, the enclosed audio cable can be connected via a mini jack plug. The cable is partly designed as a spiral cable and has an integrated remote control for use with smartphones. A USB cable is also included to charge the battery of the Bluetooth unit.
Marshall has given the Mid A.N.C. specially tuned 40 mm drivers to deliver an impressive clarity of sound and substantial bass levels. Their frequency response ranges from 20 to 20,000 Hz, covering the typical human hearing range. With an average impedance of little more than 34 ohms, these headphones are ideally suited for mobile devices such as smartphones, laptops and other media players. Considering that this is a closed headphone with noise reduction, its maximum sound pressure level of 97 dB SPL is very practical.
From a technical standpoint, the multi-function headphone button is the most impressive element on offer here. It can be tilted in four directions and pressed for varying lengths of time. This allows you to control a total of eleven functions, ranging switching the headphones on and off, track selection, forward and rewind, volume adjustment, call answering and rejection, as well as activation and muting of the microphone. All this with one just button!
The headphone can be folded down to a compact size, as its modestly proportioned earpieces can be folded inwards. Another great thing about these headphones is that the travel case also folds to a smaller size when not in use, further protecting the Mid A.N.C.
At 210 grams, these headphones are reasonably lightweight, with the cable adding a discreet 30 grams of additional weight. Compared to other headphones, the contact pressure of the Mid A.N.C. falls somewhere in the middle of the range. This is quite astonishing considering these are supra-aural and not a more conventional, circumaural model. In practice, the contact pressure of these headphones is set at a level that’s both comfortable and ensures minimal external noise intrusion. The ear cups are pleasantly positioned with their faux leather coverings. The cable length of 120 cm is also welcome and can be easily stowed away under clothing. The upper part of the cable has a spiral design, providing additional length when required and plenty of freedom of movement.
The setup of the Bluetooth connection is as easy as ever, with the transmitted sound free of unwanted artefacts. Only the previously mentioned Bluetooth multi-function button, located below the right-hand earpiece, is complex enough to require some familiarisation. The LED info display is particularly appealing, located just beneath the multi-function button. It not only provides important information about battery status, but also indicates paused playback and Bluetooth connection status. This makes things incredibly practical and the whole unit very easy to use.
One point of contention for me is that the ear cups aren’t interchangeable. On the other hand, the integrated microphones offer the ability to record voice messages. Since the Bluetooth and headphone socket can be used simultaneously, the free mini jack socket can be used to share the sound with another headphone when using Bluetooth connection. This is incredibly handy.
The specified operating time of 20 hours allows the Mid A.N.C. to be used with noise-cancelling functions and Bluetooth connectivity every day, as well as during short trips and long flights alike. Bluetooth transmission can also be used for up to 30 hours when noise suppression is not in use. Charging takes just under three hours.
Sound Profile and Application Areas
The noise-cancelling functionality of these headphones works perfectly. However, there is a good volume boost as soon as the function is activated. This concerned me during the test and as such, it’s hard to effectively describe the two different headphone modes. In general, however, the headphones are positioned in the bass range, down to the deep bass range level, without emphasising it too much. In the mid-range, the Mid A.N.C. can be quite harsh. This leads to a good differentiation of the vocals, with high speech intelligibility in some pop productions. When it comes to rock music, however, guitar sounds can be a little overwhelming for the ears. At the top end, sound is silky soft, standing in clear contrast to the sharp mid-emphasis. Due to the frequency response, stereo image and depth graduation also suffer. For my taste, there’s an urgent need for improvement in this area. All this, of course, is entirely subjective. For those who prefer pop instead of rock and audio books instead of heavy metal, the Mid A.N.C. should prove entirely satisfactory.
The Marshall Mid A.N.C. offers a great design with a solid choice of materials. When it comes to accessories, the folding carry case is particularly eye-catching, with its purple linings and faux leather accents. The noise-cancelling properties of the Mid A.N.C. works perfectly. However, the output level of the headphones jumps back and forth when activating/deactivating the feature. When it comes to suitability for everyday use, the headphones are well positioned due to their small size and folding mechanism. On the other hand, the multi-function button control of these headphones is both a blessing and a curse, only becoming a practical addition once you’ve taken the time to become familiar with it. Ultimately, a second button would have made a handy addition to these headphones. The sound of the Mid A.N.C. lies squarely in the middle range. Therefore, it’s perfectly suitable for listening to speech productions, such as audiobooks, rather than guitar-heavy genres like rock and metal. The price/performance ratio of the Mid A.N.C. is reasonable enough considering the technical limitations and benefits these headphones deliver.
Measurement ResultsMore measurement results
- Ear couplingOn-ear
- Transducer principledynamic
- Frequency response (headphones)20 - 20.000 Hz
- Impedance34,45 ohms
- Sound pressure level (SPL)97 dB
- Pressure averaged from big and small head570,5 g
- Weight with cable238 g
- Weight without cable210 g
- Cable length120 cm
What's in the box
- Mini jack cable
- USB charging cable
- Travel case
- Bluetooth codec: aptX