Marshall squares up to Sony WH-1000XM3 with rocking noise-cancelling headphones

marshall monitor anc ii
(Image credit: Marshall)

Marshall has launched its latest pair of noise-cancelling headphones, in a bid to take on the mighty Sony WH-1000XM3

In an update to the brand's first wireless headphones, the Marshall Monitor Bluetooth, the new Marshall Monitor II ANC boast built-in support for Google Assistant and an impressive 30-hour battery life, as well as active noise cancellation. 

Available to buy from March 17 (and to preorder from the Marshall website right away), the rock-inspired over-ear headphones will cost $319 / £269 (roughly AU$475), which is about $30 / £30 cheaper than our current favorites, the Sony WH-1000XM3. 

They're significantly pricier than the Marshall Major III Voice, the company's most recent on-ear headphones; though it's worth noting that these cans don't come with noise-cancelling technology. 

marshall monitor ii anc

(Image credit: Marshall)

Long battery life

Like their predecessors, the Marshall Monitor II ANC come with a 30-hour battery life, matching that of the Sony WH-1000XM3 and easily surpassing the Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700

That's with noise cancellation switched on, too – turn it off and Marshall says you'll get 45 hours of wireless playback. 

According to Marshall, the level of noise cancellation can be amended thanks to a dedicated ANC button, that allows you to toggle between regular active noise-cancelling, 'Monitoring Mode', and turning it off altogether. 

This, alongside a travel-friendly collapsible design, could make the Marshall Monitor II ANC ideal commuting headphones, letting you block out the annoying sounds of your fellow travelers. 

As for audio quality, the new headphones contain custom-tuned 40mm dynamic drivers that Marshall claims will deliver "bright and crisp highs, punchy mids, and deep bass". Hopefully these cans improve upon the Marshall Major II Voice, which, despite offering a balanced soundstage, weren't the most agile or exciting headphones we've listened with.

marshall monitor ii anc

(Image credit: Marshall)

Design-wise, they look pretty similar to the original Marshall Monitor headphones, with a leather-look surface that harks back to the brand's legendary guitar amps. The Marshall logo is displayed in its iconic white script on each earcup, making the new headphones eye-catching, if not subtle. 

As well as the dedicated ANC button, the Monitor II ANC feature a button that allows you to switch between customized equalizer presets (which you can change via a new Marshall Bluetooth app), and summon Google Assistant. 

When you press and hold this button, Marshall says you'll be able to "tell your Assistant to play your favorite playlist, read your text messages, or give you directions on the go". 

Support for Bluetooth 5.0 means that pairing the new headphones with your smartphone should be seamless, while a 3.5mm audio cable is included for those who would prefer to listen with a wired connection. 

Whether the Marshall Monitor II ANC can provide a worthy alternative to top noise-cancelling headphones from the likes of Sony and Bose remains to be seen, but we'll be sure to put the new cans through their paces when we carry out our review. 

Olivia Tambini

Olivia was previously TechRadar's Senior Editor - Home Entertainment, covering everything from headphones to TVs. Based in London, she's a popular music graduate who worked in the music industry before finding her calling in journalism. She's previously been interviewed on BBC Radio 5 Live on the subject of multi-room audio, chaired panel discussions on diversity in music festival lineups, and her bylines include T3, Stereoboard, What to Watch, Top Ten Reviews, Creative Bloq, and Croco Magazine. Olivia now has a career in PR.