The first edition of the in-ear headphones with active noise cancellation from cult manufacturer Marshall already made a good showing in 2021, but suffered above all from a battery life that was too short. The successor aims to rectify this flaw and improve in all areas. In the Marshall Motif II ANC test, we find out whether this has been achieved and whether it’s worth buying.
|The product||Marshall Motif II ANC|
|Bluetooth codecs||SBC, AAC, LC3|
|Maximum operating range||12m (without obstacle)|
|Charging time||1.5 hours (for charging case via USB-C or wireless)|
|Size of charging case (H x W x D)||49 mm x 55 mm x 29 mm|
|Weight||3.4 g per earbud; 56 g charging case & earphones|
|Most important functions||ANC; Transparency mode; Wear detection; Multipoint|
|Price||€ 198.45 *|
Marshall Motif II ANC test: design and workmanship
- Iconic, very chic design
- Outstanding build quality
The first model was already one of the most attractive in-ear headphones on the market. The Marshall Motif II ANC take up the design and rely on an extremely high-quality and handy look in the typical Marshall style.
Like the manufacturer’s Bluetooth speakers, the in-ears feature a black color scheme with brass-colored details. The manufacturer’s logo is set off in white on the outside, creating a harmonious color accent.
The slightly roughened surface ensures an extremely pleasant feel, while the styles with a ribbed design bring out the rocker. The oval, slightly pill-shaped design of the earbuds promises impressive wearing comfort, while the styles do not protrude too far from the ear with a length of around 18 mm.
The build quality of the Marshall Motif II ANC is impeccable, with a very robust and high-quality feel. This also applies to the charging case, which has a classic shape but comes in a faux leather look.
It is 55 mm wide, 49 mm high and around 25 mm deep and weighs 56 grams with the earbuds inside. The only drawback is that the charging case cannot stand upright on a table thanks to its rounded underside – a shame.
- Only 4.3 grams per earbud
- Three ear tip sizes included
- Excellent wearing comfort thanks to sophisticated design
With a weight of 4.3 grams per earbud, the Marshall Motif II ANC are pleasantly light. The scope of delivery also includes ear tips in three different sizes to achieve the best possible comfort.
When inserting the Motif II, they are twisted in slightly and then achieve a pleasantly firm but very comfortable fit. In fact, I really like the wearing comfort, even in the long term without any pressure or pain.
In my opinion, the design is ideally chosen to make prolonged use comfortable. For me, the Marshall Motif II ANC are actually some of the most comfortable in-ear headphones on the market and clearly outperform the Sony WF-1000XM5 (our test), at least in this area.
Features of the Marshall Motif II ANC
- Modern Bluetooth 5.3 with Bluetooth LE
- Waterproof and durable
In terms of features, the Marshall Motif II ANC also leave little to be desired. They communicate using the modern Bluetooth 5.3 standard including Bluetooth Low Energy, which promises an impressive battery life. This allows you to reach a distance of around 12 meters from the audio source.
Bluetooth Multipoint is also included, allowing the earbuds to be connected to two sources. Nowadays, the sustainable approach should not go unmentioned; according to the manufacturer, the earbuds and charging case are made from 70 percent recycled plastic, while the charging case can also be powered wirelessly.
Another plus point is the water resistance of the earbuds and charging case, which are protected against rain and splash water in accordance with IPX5 and IPX4 respectively.
As the name suggests, the Marshall Motif II ANC feature active noise cancellation with a counterpart in the form of a transparency mode. They also feature wear detection, which automatically pauses playback when you take the earbuds out of your ear.
Operation of the Motif II ANC
- Convenient and precise touch control
- Volume adjustment on the earbuds possible
The Marshall Motif II ANC are operated via the touch-sensitive outer sides with touch control. Here, too, the second iteration improves significantly and scores points with its versatile and precise operation.
Starting and pausing playback, skipping to the next or previous song, switching between ANC, transparency mode and normal sound, as well as call control are all no problem.
Operation is quick and reliable and is confirmed in the earbuds by a short beep. If you like, you can also use the companion app to adjust the action for pressing and holding separately on both earbuds.
If desired, you can change the equalizer, activate the voice assistant and even adjust the volume – the latter was missing from the first edition.
The “Mini” touch setting also offers the option of reducing commands to a minimum and thus counteracting incorrect entries. Instead of a single press for play/pause, this is triggered by a double tap in the mini setting, for example.
Battery life: far ahead of the rest
- 6 hours with and 9 hours without ANC
- Up to 45 hours with charging case
- Wireless charging supported; battery saver mode
The biggest criticism of the first Motif ANC was the poor battery life. Marshall has made significant improvements here and is also at the forefront. Up to 6 hours of runtime with active noise suppression and 9 hours without ANC are now possible.
The charging case adds a further 30 hours and 45 hours respectively – truly outstanding figures. Fortunately, charging itself is also pleasantly quick. It takes around one and a half hours to fully charge the earbuds and charging case.
A quick charge function is also included, which makes the earbuds ready for an hour of music playback in 15 minutes. The Marshall Motif II ANC also have a battery saver function, which can also be set via the app.
Here you can set, for example, that the battery should only be fully charged to a maximum of 90 percent or that charging should only take place at room temperature. The charging speed can also be reduced, all in the interests of sustainability – very commendable.
Audio quality, ANC and microphones
- Harmonious, warm sound
- Treble somewhat reduced; slightly shrill
The Marshall Motif II ANC are equipped with dynamic, 6 mm drivers. These cover a frequency band from 20 Hz to 20,000 HZ with an impedance of 16 ohms. In terms of audio codecs, however, only SBC, AAC and LC3 are supported – high-resolution equivalents such as aptX or LDAC are unfortunately not available.
In terms of sound, the in-ears cut a good figure and score points with rich, detailed – but not over-present – bass and clear, warm mids that skillfully bring voices and instruments into focus.
The rock tuning is undoubtedly a matter of taste, so no one should expect a neutral sound. Depending on the mix, a few details may be lost in the mids and highs, while the bass comes to the fore somewhat.
At high volumes, the treble also tends to be slightly shrill – some competitors in this price segment manage this better. Even if the Motif II ANC are not perfect in terms of sound: Fans of rock and heavy metal music in particular should really like Marshall’s mix.
If you like to switch on the rock equalizer on other in-ears, you don’t need to do anything here. But you can also do so, as various EQ presets can be selected in the app or you can create your own.
ANC and transparency mode
- Very good active noise cancellation
- Decent, but not entirely convincing, transparency mode
Although the active noise cancellation of the Marshall Motif II ANC cannot quite compete with the best in-ear headphones, Marshall also delivers very good ANC. Lower, uniform noises in particular are suppressed excellently and almost completely faded out.
For higher frequencies such as conversations or typing on the keyboard, however, competitors from Apple, Bose or Sony provide better isolation. Nevertheless, the background noise here is also pleasantly low and is only really noticeable in absolute silence.
Unfortunately, the transparency mode falls somewhat short in comparison. The background noise is more audible here and the ambient noise that is let through is somewhat distorted and unclear. The mode is by no means bad, but the gap to the best competitors is more noticeable here.
The situation is similar with the built-in microphones, which offer decent intelligibility, but are also not quite up there with the best. The sound is too spongy and there is a lack of detail in your own voice. Good, but unfortunately nothing more.
Microphone test recording of the Marshall Motif II ANC:
App connectivity: Marshall Bluetooth
- Clear, well-structured app
- Coherent range of functions
As with the manufacturer’s Bluetooth speakers, the Marshall Bluetooth app, which is available to download free of charge on Android and iOS, is used as a companion app. The app boasts a clear and easy-to-understand design and has plenty of functions to offer.
The main page provides information about the charging status of the earphones and the case and not only offers the option to switch between ANC, transparency mode and normal sound, but also to adjust the strength of the active noise cancellation.
You can also adjust the sound using a 5-band equalizer or select one of five different presets. You can also customize the touch controls, at least in part, and set options for battery saving. Spotify Tap can also be set and adjusted via the app.
Marshall Motif II ANC test: Conclusion
The Marshall Motif II ANC are not only a significant improvement on the first edition, they have also become really good in-ear headphones. Admittedly: At the manufacturer’s recommended retail price, it was difficult to compete with the competition, but at the now lower price, the overall package is just right.
The earbuds are at the forefront, especially in terms of their unique and elegant design and high-quality workmanship, and the wearing comfort is also outstanding.
In addition, the battery life is significantly longer and the operation is flawless. The earbuds also cut a fine figure in terms of sound, although a few compromises have to be made in terms of the level of acoustic detail. The active noise suppression also performs well, while the transparency mode and microphone quality are much lower.
If you are looking for convincing in-ears with a long battery life and a unique, rocking look, the Marshall Motif II ANC are the perfect choice. In terms of technology, however, some competitors offer a little more for the money.