Marshall provide the Minor II with a wireless connection courtesy of the aptX codec and Bluetooth 5.0 standard. In addition to this, the design of the popular Marshall Minor in-ears has been significantly upcycled. What’s more, the headphones offer some interesting special features for improved use.
Accessories and Specs
In addition to the Marshal Minor II headphone in-ears themselves, don’t expect too much in the way of accessories. In fact, you’ll only be greeted with a USB charging cable upon opening. In terms of technical specs, Marshal utilises Bluetooth 5.0 for these Minor II in-ears, ensuring data transfer speeds are twice as fast and boast a range four times greater than previous devices that were limited to older Bluetooth versions. Furthermore, Bluetooth 5.0 allows multiple devices with larger data volumes to access a single source at the same time. Since the Minor II headphones use the transmission codec, aptX, premier sound quality is all but assured when in wireless transmission.
The dynamic 14.2mm drivers, specially designed for this Minor II model, transmit audio in a frequency range from 20 Hz to 20 kHz. As such, they cover the usual hearing range of humans. According to the manufacturer, with their 117 dB SPL sound pressure specs, these outperform their predecessor by more than 15 dB SPL. A lightweight build coming in just shy of 23 grams is definitely welcome, as is the generous 53.5cm cable length. At the time of this test, impedance data was unfortunately unavailable. The performance of the Marshal Minor II certainly shows that it is capable of delivering quality audio at a decent volume level, particularly with lower spec headphone amplifiers.
Design & Processing
The design of these headphones has Marshall character all over. In addition to a white and brown variant, there’s the version tested by us here in this review in a slick, matte black form. The concentrically grooved gold bezels of the in-ear enclosures are branded with the Marshall “M”. The rhombic recesses at the sides of the remote are enhanced with additional grip, while classic Marshall lettering can be seen emblazoned across the top of the wired remote in white. A golden multifunction button is also on hand to enable operation of key features. The sides of the model are clearly marked from the inside, with soft rubber components forming the extensions of the in-ears.
Functions & Handling
A nifty feature is hidden in the backs of these in-ears. They are magnetic, meaning the drivers stay close together when they’re taking out of the ears and stowed away when you’re on the move. The real gimmick, however, is that the pause function is automatically activated when the in-ears meet magnetically. Of course, this can also be controlled remotely via the multifunction button. This button also offers all expected functions, such as on/off, play/pause, forward/back, rewinding forward and back, volume changes, call acceptance and rejection, as well as a mute function for use with the integrated microphone. A tiny LED on the remote also indicates whether the Minor II battery is charging, has charged to full capacity, or is in pairing mode. However, the use of the multifunction button requires a certain amount of focus and some training. It can be moved in all directions and can also be pressed down upon. In connection with iTunes on a MacBook Pro, the button worked just as smoothly as with a standard app on an Android smartphone.
If the neck cable is too long for you at a little over half a metre, you can adjust the length via the loop system. With this, excess cable length can be looped and routed along the inner edge of the earpieces for convenience. This is the promised practicality, anyway. In the practical test, I found the fit of these headphones is at its best when the loop feature is avoided. Even without using it, the headphones do suffer from a relatively poor fit, with the feeling they’re simply sitting there upon your head rather than applying any reassuring sense of pressure. Even the smallest of head movements can cause the in-ears to fall free from the auricle. However, if a medium loop length is chosen, this loop will prevent the small earbuds from even being close to sitting securely within the ear. Ultimately, neither proper isolation from external noise nor sufficient dampening of sound escaping from these earphones into the outside world is possible thanks to the shortcomings here. The fit of the Minor II is simply a hard-to-comprehend construction to my eyes.
Sound Character & Application Areas
Marshall promote the Minor II in-ears by referencing their rich treble reproduction, crisp midrange and a clear, well-balanced bass. If the buds of these headphones are pushed a little more firmly into the ear canal, they actually can deliver a full-bodied sound experience with a great rounded sound. Fortunately, the Minor II retains this impressive sound experience, despite a loose fit, with audio that’s characterised by immensely powerful bass, a distinctive midrange and sufficiently open and airy highs. However, the loose fit means these in-ears can’t really achieve high volumes.
The runtime of these headphones on a full battery is an impressive enough 12 hours, according to the manufacturer. A quick charge function is on offer as well, ensuring these in-ears can be ready for use in no time at all. A quick charge cycle of 20 minutes should deliver around two hours of playback time when charging from an empty battery. According to Marshall, complete charging of the onboard battery should only take a maximum of two hours. In the test, however, charging time via USB cable took around three hours to complete. However, it’s worth pointing out this was via a computer connection, rather than a mains power supply. Even at three hours, this is still a relatively quick charging cycle. Bluetooth pairing worked without any incident, but when using aptX on a MacBook Pro, I did find several wireless interruptions an unwanted hassle. Things run more smoothly when connected to an Android smartphone via SBC codec, with no interruption detected during the test.
The Marshall Minor II Bluetooth didn’t completely convince during this test. Having said that, these in-ears lean a little more toward the pro side of things with a chic design and interesting features, with their size adjustment, automatic pause functionality, magnetic “park positioning” and multifunction remote the biggest standouts. However, my list of issues against these in-ears means I can’t in all good faith give them too high a rating.
From the bare minimum approach to accessories to the complex multifunction button, the tiny info LED to the misquoted battery charging time, not to mention a generally poor fit; these headphones have plenty working against them. In particular, this last factor means there’s a poor performance in the sound isolation stakes, with far too much external noise intruding upon your listening enjoyment. What’s more, Bluetooth connection is not stable enough for purpose sometimes, with several dropouts recorded during the test. However, if you do manage to enjoy a good stretch of audio with no interruptions, you’ll be treated to plenty of power and boost.
In theory, Marshall has succeeded in bringing the Minor in-ear model up to date with more of-the-moment specs. In my opinion, Marshall has to do more to maximise the practicality of these Bluetooth headphones if the manufacturer intends to conquer the market at some point in the future.
- Ear couplingIn-ear
- Transducer principledynamic
- Frequency response (headphones)20 - 20.000 Hz
- Sound pressure level (SPL)117 dB
- Weight with cable22,5 g
- Cable length53,5 cm
What's in the box
- USB charging cable
- Available in black, white and brown
- BT version: 5.0
- BT codec: SBC, aptX