A Less-Than-Awesome Review Of Marshall Minor Headphones

So, about eighteen months ago, I washed my headphones of the time. I’d been hmming and haaaing over the Marshall Minor buds, and took the plunge about a month after that. I never got around to an initial review or anything.

First things first:

The sound is FANTASTIC. Seriously. These are the best sounding buds I’ve ever had. Just great. Good bass, but not overpowering. Great mids, and good high’s as well. They’re never going to be mistaken for serious audiophile hardware, but for the price, they sound absolutely brilliant. Also, the design of them is, again, the best I’ve ever had.

I have a hugely hard time getting buds that will actually stay in my ears, even when they come with multiple ear-pads. I always end up with one that doesn’t quite fit properly. The Marshalls, however, are a spectacular (and true) in-ear format, that dips into the canal, and then wedges (with multiple size pads that fit into the ear, not around the speaker. The buds “fit” in, rather than get “Jammed” in, the way most buds do. In fact, I’d be wary of calling them buds, they are, truly, “in ear headphones”. And, as is becoming more and more imporant to people, the packaging is excellent too: all paper (read, recyclable) and none of that plastic, blister-pack shit that is the bane of my existance. Well presented inside the packaging too.


Yup, there’s a “but”.

The quality is lacking. And while the service was adequate (ie. they took my order, shipped as promised, are active (but not really INTER-active) on social media) it wasn’t spectacular.

Lower issues first.

Shipping. Shipping sucks. These are, on the website, $60 headphones. Cool. Shipping to Ottawa, Canada was fifteen bucks. Ok, so now they’re $75 headphones. However, because they used FedEx (and still do, to the best of my knowledge) I didn’t just get hit with the expected customs/duty (HST, here in Ontario) of another ten bucks or so, but a full on twenty five dollars in “brokerage” fees. SO, by the time I was done? My $60 headphones cost me about $105. Why do companies continue to use FedEx for this stuff? USPS is JUST FINE for 99% of us.

So, cost is an issue, at least for Canadian buyers.

I could live with that, though, given the sound and fit, and how good those are.

The quality sucks. Benefit of the doubt, maybe I got a bad set. But I’ve had ’em just over a year (and, by that, I mean “just out of warranty”) and they’re done. For the last couple of weeks, I’ve had an intermittent flutter in one ear (the left, where the mic is on the cord). As of getting to work this morning, the left ear doesn’t work at all. Period. No sound at all. A much more minor (heh) issue, the gold “dial” discs on each side have both come off at various times. Since I superglued ’em back on, they’ve been fine, but there was almost no glue visible: it’d either disintigrated completely, or had barely been there at all in the first place.

Every headphones we sell is designed to meet and even exceed your expectations. We are dedicated to providing excellent products that use today’s advanced technology. However, as most people realize, electronic products sometimes do have technical difficulties, and sometimes it is due to a manufacturing defect. This is why we offer a one (1) full year limited Premium replacement warranty, from purchase date, against manufacturer defects on each headphone we sell.

Like I said, I’m outside the warranty period, anyway. but…

Thing is, I’m gentle with my headphones, and tech stuff in general.

When they (the headphones) aren’t in use, they’re wrapped, loosely, and in either a jacket pocket, or a pocket of my backpack or messenger bag. I don’t wear ’em while biking. They get the walk to work, worn at my desk, and occasionally, for tablet gaming at home.

And what appears to have happend is that the wire inside the ‘mic’ has seperated. there’s about a quarter inch of play in the bottom section (so, the mic, and attached earphone will pull alway from the main wire about a quarter of an inch).

As I’m out of warranty, when I’ve got time, I’ll probably crack the thing open, and see if I can fix it, whether or not I keep the mic use, if I can get the headphone back, they’ll be a good ‘spare’ set of headphones.

But for the $105 I paid for them, that’s not acceptable. Oh, I’m aware they’re a $60 set of headphones. But I didn’t pay that for ’em. And I can’t get them for less, in Canada, that I’m aware of.

Given that both my issues are effectively “build quality” issues, well, that says they’re spending more on a REALLY glitzy advertising and social media campaign, and less on the actual construction of the product. Again, they’re technically sixty dollar headphones, so how much can you expect? Except I’ve had much more durable headphones over the years for a lot less money.

So, despite the awesome fit, despite the brilliant sound, I won’t be replacing them with another set of Marshalls.

Because $105+ every fifteen months or so is too much to pay for sixty dollar headphones.

I’ll see if I get any response from @marshallHP on twitter. At the very least, maybe they can shore up the manufacturing process on that section of the headphone. In fact, if they really want, (and are willing to pay the shipping) I’ll send ’em back to ’em so they can see where the issue lies.

But the total cost is too high, for me, to keep spending on ’em. If they sold ’em retail in Canada, I might consider a second set. But with the additional $45-$50 cost to get them to me, they’re just not worth it. I’ll probably end up looking at a set of Sennheiser CX 680i, Sennheiser OMX 680, or on the cheap (but well recommended side) Auria Zeal or Auria Exceed.


5 Responses to A Less-Than-Awesome Review Of Marshall Minor Headphones

  1. Chris Quenneville says:

    Just saw a box of these at a Winner’s store in Toronto for $25 CDN!!

  2. Jian Marnela says:

    Same problem with these minors of mine. Gold disks came off and the right bud don’t produce any sound at all.
    The sound quality is great, but the physical quality, ehhh. not so much. Mine lasted only for a year.

  3. pw says:

    I had the same problems as well, but I got a replacement from Marshall and they have fixed the jack problem-the new ones have a reinforced jack with an L shape which fixes the sound problem from the wires. I am very pleased with my new ones-I have tried many headphones, and these are definitely my favorite.

  4. BrianKiddo says:

    Funny how mine started malfunctioning today. The right ear piece stopped working already. I bought mine last May 19, 2014, turns out I only have 10 days to have it replaced. Hopefully they still accept it without any dramas along the way.

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