Youtube review: http://youtu.be/7YzmjaCpQXQ Photos: http://dalethorn.com/Photos/Leica_Dlux/Headphone_Marshall_Major_01.jpg http://dalethorn.com/Photos/Audioforge/Marshall_Major.jpg Sources: iPhone6+ with Portaphile Micro/PA2V2/Decware Zen Head amps using the LOD, various computers using Microstreamer/Beyer A200p/v-moda Verza DAC/amps. Review notes: My first impressions of the sound of the Marshall Major are based on direct comparisons to other headphones - the v-moda M100 and XS, the FAD Pandora VI and IV, the Beyerdynamic T1 and T90, the AKG K812 and K712, and notes that I've accumulated from many prior reviews. I describe how I relate to the Major (i.e. my personal tastes and how I use the headphone) only after covering all of the objective issues. First impressions (after 8 hours burn-in): I've had 2 of the Marshall Monitor series headphones, which were excellent in physical quality, and I've read a number of reviews of the Marshall Major that describe less-than-stellar build quality. Some of the Marshall Major reviews included frequency response graphs that showed very irregular curves, which presumably should be flat from the low bass at least to 1 khz or so. As a result of those reviews I've avoided this headphone, which I haven't had the opportunity to see in person or listen to. When I did get a chance to open the box in the Apple store and take a brief listen, I could see that the build quality was very good, in addition to having some nice cosmetic touches with the gold trim etc. The treble was weak which is common with lower-price headphones, but I use the Audioforge equalizer for iOS, which fixes up that problem extremely well for all of my music genres. Lesson learned: See it and hear it before dismissing it. Summary of sound: The Major's lower bass is a bit weak, so for my use I added a 6 db bass boost centered at 40 hz. That boost does not make the bass more than mildly warm, so bass lovers might want to look elsewhere. The midrange has a recess of approximately 6 db around 1.5 khz, followed by a peak around 2 khz, followed by a very deep recess of 14-16 db in the upper treble. I say this not as an absolute, but in comparison to the average signatures of the best 20 or more headphones I've reviewed in the past couple of years. As a rule, trying to correct such a steep recess with EQ (especially with a $99 USD headphone) does not make that headphone into an audiophile model, for several reasons. One of those reasons is that such extreme EQ usually produces many narrow but deep recesses and peaks adjacent to the EQ slider frequencies. Another reason is due to the basic physical quality of the headphone, which is not assumed to be audiophile quality at the $99 price point. In spite of those caveats, the EQ curve I developed (one of 54 posted on my dalethorn website) makes the sound quality very hi-fi, although even with the large treble boost I applied, the Major's resulting treble response is in the lower range of the 20-plus best headphones that I've reviewed. For the average user who is limited to $99 and who won't use an equalizer, it might not matter anyway - the sound they intend to purchase may satisfy them indefinitely, or get them by until such time as they upgrade to a higher priced headphone. On the other hand, for users who are very hi-fi conscious but have to live on a tight budget, the good news may be extremely good. Note here that conventional EQ will probably not change the Major sound into hi-fi sound, but Audioforge is not conventional - its design encourages fixing the resonance peaks and recess areas first, then fixing up the overall balance last, which reduces distortions that are common with conventional EQ. Soundstage is tricky to describe since it's dependent to a large extent on the amount and quality of treble that the headphone presents, not to mention the recording itself. I'll just say that the Major can sound amazingly good in that respect, depending on how you EQ for an ideal treble balance. In my case, it's as good as the last half-dozen $200 headphones I've reviewed. One very demanding track I use in evaluating a headphone is David Chesky and Wonjung Kim's "Girl From Guatemala", and the strong treble percussion starting at 3 minutes in is delineated very well by the Major. Another track that's a stress test for treble is 'Time' from Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon, and the Major plays that very cleanly too. While these treble details are not as good as what can be obtained with a $500 headphone such as the Shure SRH1540, I don't hear any problems that would diminish the hi-fi experience I get with the EQ'd Major. Isolation is below average with the Major compared to the average closed-back headphone, yet on my walks within 500 feet of a busy freeway, it hasn't been a problem. Very fine sonic details will be obscured in very noisy areas, so you can't expect the best listening experience in those environments. The Leakage is higher than average, but not nearly as bad as open-back headphones. Suffice it to say that playing the Major in a public library or a very quiet office at audiophile volume levels isn't feasible. The impedance of 32 ohms suggests high efficiency, and the Major is very efficient. I don't feel a need for more volume than an iPod or iPhone can supply, but in most cases I recommend a good quality headphone amp to get the best sound. The iPhone6-plus I use has equal or better sound quality than my $100 amps such as the FiiO E07k, but older iPhones and iPods will sound better with those amps, using the i-device's LOD port. The Major is a combination of metal and plastic, and Marshall uses excellent pleather earpad covers that make the headphone very comfortable, despite the strong headband clamp. The headband padding is good, but the Major's light weight combined with the secure headband clamp means that pressure on top of the head is unlikely to be felt by most users. The headband sliders that adjust for different head sizes go 1/2 inch larger on each side compared to my average-size head, and one inch smaller on each side. That's a great range of adjustment for such a small on-ear headphone. The cable is single-sided and not detachable, but the thickness is good for a small headphone - in fact, the cable is twice as thick as my $300 Beyer T51p's cable, and that Beyer cable failed after just 2 months of use, so I have pretty good confidence in the Major's cable. The termination is a gold-plated miniplug, and the sleeve ahead of the plug is also gold plated. Topping it off is a metal spring strain relief ahead of the sleeve. The excellent 4 ft. cable has a 6-inch coiled section just below the Apple control box (which also has a microphone), and that coil can stretch out to about 45 inches long, making the actual maximum cable length about 7-1/2 feet. What's great about the coil is how compact it is and how little it weighs, in spite of it being a very sturdy cable. Summing things up, for Apple i-device users the Major could be the bargain of the year, since those users have access to Audioforge and other similar apps and can achieve a very high level of sound quality. The sound quality, the build quality, and the Marshall design asthetic combine to make the Major my current favorite portable headphone. The comments in the music tracks listed below can be compared to other headphone reviews I've done, to get an idea of how the Major** plays the different music tracks listed here compared to other headphones. My suggestion is instead of reading each comment below as an absolute unto itself, you could compare these notes to other reviews as they get posted, and see how the Major compares with each individual track. **These comments are valid only with the EQ applied as described above.