The Marshall Major line of headphones are about as iconic as they come. Sharing the same name as a guitar amp built back in 1967, the on-ear headphones carry on the rough-and-tumble spirit of its namesake. They’re usually viewed as a product for audiophiles and musicians – what with its deep roots in the music industry – but the new Major 4 is a surprisingly good match for gaming. Its built-in microphone leaves a bit to be desired, but Marshall’s latest addition to the storied lineup has quickly become my favorite pair of mobile gaming headphones.
A Timeless Design
If you’re familiar with the Marshall Major series of products, you’ll know that only small iterations are made to the design with each new release. This time around with the Major 4, Marshall focused on creating a more ergonomic set of headphones that are comfortable to wear for hours on end. And I’ve found that to largely be true. It took me a few hours to adjust to the design – I typically use over-ear headphones – but now that they’re broken in I barely notice them resting on top of my Dumbo-sized ears. The earcups are soft enough to be comfortable, yet durable enough to retain their form despite daily use and the constant abuse of being thrown into my backpack.
It helps that the Major 4’s are easily adjustable, too, thanks to a sliding frame that doesn’t rely on preset notches to lock it into place. You can just throw them on your head, slide each earcup into place, and it’ll stay that way for the duration of your session – regardless of how animated you get.
To easily adjust volume, sync to new devices, or skip songs on your playlist, Marshall has put a stylish multi-directional knob on the back of the right earcup. It’s worked well in my experience, although it does have a tendency to get stuck in the down position if you press too hard – turning your volume completely off unless you pull it back to the center. Other than that minor issue, I’ve found the knob to be an elegant way to quickly and efficiently control the Major 4.
But my favorite part of Marshall’s new product is how portable it is. The Major 4 can completely fold in on itself, letting me carry it around in a form that almost fits in the palm of my hand. For someone that constantly finds themselves on the road, that portability is a godsend.
Like everything with a Marshall tag on it, the Major 4 is a powerhouse under the hood. Here’s a quick look at the headphones’ stat sheet:
- Frequency Response: 20Hz – 20kHz
- Driver Sensitivity: 99 dB SPL (100mV @ 1kHz)
- Driver Type: Dynamic
- Driver Impedance: 32 Ω
- Drivers: 40mm
Those stats translate to a raw listening experience. Whether I was blasting Arctic Monkeys, trying not to die in Counter-Strike, or playing my new favorite mobile game (9th Dawn III), everything had a shockingly visceral sound to it. You can really hear the bass coming through in explosions and gunshots, and it’s incredible how powerful the tiny headphones truly are.
But the listening experience is only half the story – the other half is the Major 4’s battery life. On a single charge, the headphones will give you over 80 hours of playtime. And, with just three hours of charging, you’re back to a full battery. In the month or so that I’ve been using the Major 4, I think I’ve had to plug them in once. That convenience is a huge selling point, and dwarfs the specs of other wireless headphones sold at much higher prices.
As for the microphone, it’s nothing to write home about. It’s good enough for a few phone calls, and your teammates will probably be able to understand what you’re saying, but a dedicated gaming headset like the HS60 Haptic is a better fit if you’re looking for a true gaming-ready product.
For single-player experiences and as a companion for your mobile gaming needs, the Major 4 is certainly a worthy contender. It’s portable, stylish, and pumps out raw sound unlike most other headphones in the sub-$200 price range. I’ve also found them to be durable and resilient, letting me pack them wherever they fit in my backpack without getting damaged.
If you can get over the lackluster microphone, there’s a lot to love about the Marshall Major 4. Despite not being marketed towards the gaming sector, the incredible sound quality and affordable price of the headphones make them a viable option for single-player games. For listening to music, making phone calls, and playing mobile games, it doesn’t get much better than the Marshall Major 4.
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Marshall Major 4 is now available for $149.99. TheGamer was provided with the Major 4 Headphones for this review.
Jon Bitner is an Associate Editor for TheGamer. His passion for gaming started with his first console (Sega Genesis) and he hasn’t stopped playing since. His favorite titles include The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, Team Fortress 2, Rainbow Six Siege, Pokémon Sword & Shield, Old School Runescape, Skyrim, and Breath of the Wild. He can usually be found playing the latest RPG, FPS, or some obscure mobile game. Before working as Associate News Editor, Jon earned a Biology degree and worked in the Biotechnology sector — experiences that taught him how to put words together and make sentences. When not playing or writing about the gaming industry, he enjoys sleeping, eating, and staring at birds.
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