Review: Marshall Mode II

Legendary Marshall sound directly into the ears

It's Marshall Mode II, one must have if one loves that it presses a little in the ears when playing music. Loud, of course.

Karakter
Marshall Mode II
We think
Very engaging sound with good bass dynamics and strong rhythmic contrast. Small, light and waterproof with approved battery life.
No active noise reduction. The bass focus does not suit everyone's taste. Lacks some sophistication.
Specifications
  • Type: Wireless, in-ear
  • Bluetooth: 5.1
  • Waterproof: Spray-proof (IPX4)
  • Microphone and operation: Yes/touch
  • Charging cable: USB
  • Battery life: Up to 5 hours, 25 hours with charging case
  • Weight: 4.75 g, case 35 g
  • Color: Black
  • Web: marshallheadphones.com
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You can wonder what they have been doing. While every conceivable manufacturer from any conceivable branch has long since launched at least one, preferably several completely wireless earplugs, Marshall has only had earplugs with a cord.

Which in itself is not that stupid. If they fall out, they do not fall far, and with a cord hanging around your neck, you know where you have them.

But the market does not care about that. It craves for completely wireless and cordless earplugs, and now Marshall can also offer that in Mode II. Not to be confused with the wired Mode models. These are new and come in a flexible case that charges the plugs, and which is among the smallest cases we have seen.

Marshall’s first completely wireless earplugs. Photo: Lasse Svendsen

The earplugs are also small. Comfortably small, and much smaller than the reference Sony WF-1000M3, which also has adaptive noise reduction. Something Marshall Mode II does not have. The battery life is also not as long as on Sony plugs, five to eight hours, but the battery in the case can extend the battery life to 25 hours.

The Marshall plugs are waterproof, at least with IPX4 certification, and the rubberized surface provides a secure grip when you get off the treadmill with sweaty hands and pick the plugs out of your ears.

The compact size makes it easier to place the earplugs in the ear. They come with silicone plugs in four different sizes, and light up immediately when you place them in the ear, and go out when you take them out.

USB cable and extra silicone plugs included in the box. Photo: Lasse Svendsen

Fit and ease of use

Pairing with your mobile is a breeze, and if you download the Marshall app, you can also choose between several eq settings, or create your own so that you can change the sound image a little to your liking.

There are no buttons here one has to deal with. The rubberized surfaces are touch sensitive, and you can control the music without having to take your mobile phone out of your pocket. You can also answer calls, and the integrated microphones can also be listened to with a little pressure on the left earplug.

Marshall Mode II are earplugs for you who love to feel the rhythm of the music. Photo: Lasse Svendsen

Outdoors, the range is very good, as on most wireless earbuds, but outdoors you usually have your mobile phone in your pocket, so indoor range is more interesting. There you are happy to put your mobile phone away, and then it is a point to be able to pick up refills, for example, without the sound breaking up and disappearing.

It works fine with Mode II, which also manages to play through the concrete floor upstairs, without the music disappearing completely.

Sound quality

But in the end, we are more interested in the sound quality. Our experience with the Marshall sound has been varied, from unbalanced and bass-heavy to more usable and engaging. Mode II definitely poses in the second class.

They still emphasize bass more than e.g. a couple of RHA plugs, but are not as dissolved in the midrange or treble. For example, it gives piano sound more bottom and fullness, but the overtones do not sound as free on Mode II. It helps to use the eq in the app, but it does not come from the fact that Marshall Mode II thrives best on pop, rock, hip-hop, electronics, metal and much more, than chamber music and German songs.

You may need to adjust the sound, then the app is nice to have. Photo: Lasse Svendsen

They also work for hard-hitting jazz. Terje Rypdal and Jaga Jazzist sound rock hard through Mode II, which brings out the rhythm and weight in the bass better than most earplugs can. The bass on Rypdals Conspiracy sounds mighty tough in the small earplugs, and even though the guitar sound sounds a bit withdrawn, it is steady and clearly placed in the soundscape. The drums on the opening of Jagas Starfire sound fat that may not be as tightly defined as on the RHA plugs, but more engaging.

The vocals on Zara Larsson’s Look What You’ve Done, are clearly defined, and you really feel that it jerks in the hips when the drums thunder into the soundscape. They also deliver usably defined treble, not very airy or distinct, but also not stinging, hard or sharp.

EOne of the smallest cases, which also charges the plugs. Photo: Lasse Svendsen

Conclusion

The strengths of the Marshall plugs are rhythm, bass dynamics, and the fat bass, which in no way overshadows any part of the frequency range, but nevertheless dominates the soundscape of all music. This means that Mode II is not among the most balanced or refined wireless earbuds on the market, but they are definitely among the most engaging. The price is not too bad either, although you can get the Sony WF-1000M3 even cheaper at the moment. The Marshall plugs lack noise reduction, and do not sound completely neutral, but in our opinion that is notr a big problem as long as they bring out the smile and hip movements when listening to music.

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