Marshall Motif II ANC review


Some audio brands pass on a lot of confidence to customers with just their name. It is the sheer legacy that makes people buy their products even without experiencing them. And this legacy stands brands in good stead when they switch to new verticals. That is exactly what is happening with Marshall as it ups its game in the truly wireless space. And after listening to the Marshall Motif II ANC earphones I think buyers will be happy that their intuition worked.

The Marshall Motif II looks unique with a charging case that has a textured leather feel to it. Inside, the earphones are classy with a textured metallic stem that ends with a gold cap. There is nothing plasticky about the design and that is important for a brand that touts its premium value.

The earphones look premium and offer typical Marshall-like tuning (Image credit: Nandagopal Rajan/The Indian Express)

But Marshall is about its signature sound and that is what I was eager to check out on the Motif II as well. And it was sort of apt that the first song I played was Beautiful Things by Benson Boone. Boone’s sharp vocals and the sudden change in the tempo of the song, moving almost from a melody to rock, would have tested any earphone. The Motif II played it cool and was certainly up to the task.

Listening to Spotify’s Acoustic Chill playlist I soon became convinced this was one of the most neutral earphones I have tested in a while. And you know this is the kind of audio profile I prefer, instead of those that come with amped-up bass that gives the user no choice but to step down to something more palatable. Billie Eilish’s TV was a perfect showcase of the Marshall signature sound. Just the guitar and Eilish’s soulful voice — I added the coffee and sofa to take the mood to the next level… because that’s what happens when you fall in love. This relationship just went another level up with the stripped version of “Satranga” from the movie Animal. Again the guitars and vocals create an ethereal ambience that is special.

I wanted to push the Motif II a bit and switched on After Hours by The Weeknd, almost a song that plays on two storeys, with both highs and lows sharing space across. The Motif II did well managing this complex composition, allotting space for sharp vocals as well as bass-heavy arrangements. On the Marshall app, there is the option to increase the bass and treble in the equaliser, but I stuck with the preset which was perfect for me.

The active noise cancellation is pretty good with the Motif II and this comes with the ability of the app to adjust to exactly the level you are comfortable with. And this is despite there being a full transparency mode. Both ends work without overwhelming you.

The one aspect I did not like about the Marshall Motif II is how it has a sort of recoil at times when you are on a call, creating these weird shrieks inside the earpiece. This does not happen all the time and comes up mostly when you are on the move.

The earbuds can offer 30 hours (with the case) of battery life (Image credit: Nandagopal Rajan/The Indian Express)

The battery life is good and can last over 30 hours on a full charge. And the Motif II comes with wireless charging which is very convenient for users like me who have moved on from wires. Plus you can charge this back up in just about 15 minutes.

At Rs 19,999, the Marshall Motif II ANC is clearly in the range of the Apple AirPods Pro (review) and Sennheiser Momentum, but not just because of the price tag. This is a real top-end truly wireless earphone that offers the kind of rich and natural sound that is pure pleasure to the ears. Buy this to take your music sessions to a whole new level.

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