Marshall Minor III et Motif ANC: new additions to Marshall’s IEM lineup

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Mis à jour le 1 December 2021.

Today we’re bringing you a two-product test with the Marshall Minor III and Marshall Motif ANC True Wireless in-ear monitors. Sold for 129€ and 199€ respectively, they join the Marshall Mode II that we previously reviewed (read the Marshall Mode II review) to complete the British manufacturer’s range of True Wireless IEMs. The Marshall Minor IIIs are the entry ticket to the range, while the Marshall Motif ANCs are situated at the top end of the lineup. The latter are also the only Marshall models equipped with an active noise cancelling feature. Adopting a design that is reminiscent of the Apple AirPods, without forgetting the rock’n’roll aesthetic that is Marshall’s identity, will these two new models be able to compete with Apple’s IEMs?

Les intra-auriculaires Bluetooth Marshall Minor III et Marshall Motif ANC séduisent au premier coup d’oeil par leur design compact et leur esthétique unique inspirée des amplificateurs de la marque.

Packaging et accessoires

The Bluetooth Marshall Minor III and Marshall Motif ANC IEMs instantly impress with their compact design and unique aesthetic inspired by the brand’s amplifiers.

  • The charging case
  • The Marshall Minor III or Marshall Motif ANC monitors
  • A USB-C to USB-A cable to charge the case
  • Four pairs of silicone ear tips (S, M, L, XL) (only with the Motif ANCs)
  • A quick start guide
  • A leaflet containing safety instructions

Presentation

Design & ergonomics

As we previously mentioned, the Marshall Minor III in-ear monitors’ design looks a lot like that of the Apple AirPods. The Marshall Motif ANCs, however, feature a duct connected to a silicone ear tip and therefore look more like the AirPods Pro IEMs. The stem underneath the earbud makes them less discreet, but also easier to handle, as you don’t risk activating the touch sensitive controls by accident when adjusting the monitor in your ear.

The Marshall Monitor III in-ear monitors’ design is similar to that of Apple’s in-ear monitors. The Marshall models differ with their rock’n’roll esthetic, typical of the British manufacturer.

The in-ear monitors have the same matte black finish as their predecessors, along with the white “M” logo on the back of each earbud. The stem is reminiscent of the switches on the company’s guitar amplifiers. Each design element of the Marshall Minor II and Marshall Motif ANC in-ear monitors reflects the brand’s strong visual identity. Each Minor III earbud weighs 4 grams, compared to 4.25 grams per earbud for the Motif ANCs, making them very pleasant to use. The charging cases weigh 40g and 395g respectively and are small enough to be discreetly tucked into a pocket.

The metal stem makes the IEMs easier to handle, as they can be adjusted without accidentally activating one of the touch sensitive controls.

The Marshall Motif ANC monitors are slightly more compact and are equipped with a duct to which a silicone ear tip is attached. This distinction may seem minor, but it really does make all the difference. The Marshall Motif ANC IEMs offer superior wearing comfort, passive isolation to prevent sound leakage and a better fit, making them compatible with sporting activities.

Thanks to their silicone ear tip, the Marshall Motif ANC monitors provide greater comfort and a passive isolation that offers better immersion.

Acoustic design

The Marshall Minor III in-ear monitors are equipped with a 12mm dynamic driver per earbud with a frequency response announced from 20Hz to 20kHz and a maximum sound pressure level of 93 dB (+/- 2 dB). The Marshall Motif ANC True Wireless IEMs use a 6mm dynamic driver per earbud with a frequency response from 20Hz to 20kHz for a maximum sound pressure level of 106 dB (+/-2 dB). Suffice to say that these True Wireless monitors stay true to Marshall’s philosophy and don’t lack power or energy. 

Both models support the aptX Bluetooth codec for superior transmission quality with compatible sources. The Marshall Minor III True Wireless Marshall Minor III in-ear headphones benefit from a battery life of 5 hours on a single charge and 20 more hours with their charging case for a total of 25 hours. The Marshall Motif ANCs have a total battery life of 20 hours with the case and the active noise cancelling activated, and 26 hours without the ANC.

Accompanied by their charging case, the Marshall Motif ANC in-ear monitors benefit from a total battery life of 26 hours that drops to 20 hours when the active noise cancelling feature is activated.

In addition to their active noise cancelling feature, the Marshall Motif ANC in-ear monitors differ from the Minor IIIs with their compatibility with voice assistants and the Marshall app. The latter allows you to activate or deactivate the noise cancelling and transparency modes, but also apply a predefined equalizer (Marshall, Rock, Spoken, Pop, Hip-Hop, Electronic).

Marshall Minor III specifications

Design

  • Type: closed
  • Coupling: in-ear
  • 12mm dynamic driver
  • Frequency response: 20Hz to 20,000Hz
  • Driver impedance: 32 ohms
  • SPL: 96 dB +/-2 dB
  • IPX4 certified

Bluetooth

  • Bluetooth 5.2
  • Codecs: SBC, AAC, aptX
  • Bandwidth: 2.4 GHz
  • Transmission range: approximately 10m

Battery

  • Autonomy: 5 hours + 20h (case)
  • Charging time: 2h

General

  • Weight (per earbud): 4g
  • Weight (case): 40g

Included accessories

  • Charging case
  • USB-C charging cable
  • Quick start guide
  • Safety instructions

Marshall Motif ANC specifications

Design

  • Type: closed
  • Coupling: in-ear
  • 6mm dynamic driver
  • Frequency response: 20Hz to 20,000Hz
  • Driver impedance: 16 ohms
  • SPL: 106 dB +/-2 dB
  • IPX5 certified
  • Transparency mode
  • Marshall Bluetooth app for iOS and Android
  • Voice assistant compatibility

Bluetooth

  • Bluetooth 5.2
  • Codecs: SBC, AAC, aptX
  • Bandwidth: 2.4 GHz
  • Transmission range: approximately 10m

Microphone

  • Frequency response: 100 – 7,500Hz
  • Pickup pattern: omnidirectional
  • Sensitivity: -20 dBV/Pa

Battery

  • Autonomy: 26h (with case) without ANC
  • Autonomy: 20h (with case) with ANC
  • Charging time: 2h

General

  • Weight (per earbud): 4.25g
  • Weight (case): 39.5g

Included accessories

  • Charging case
  • USB-C charging cable
  • 4x silicone ear tips (S, M, L, XL)
  • Quick start guide
  • Safety instructions

Marshall Minor III, Mode II and Motif ANC

SPL WeightBattery lifeApp Voice assistantsTransparency modeActive noise cancelling
Minor III
93 dB4g25hNoNoNoNo
Mode II
100.5 dB4.75g25hYesYesYesNo
Motif ANC
106 dB4.25 g26h / 20h (ANC)YesYesYesYes

 

Listening conditions

We paired the Marshall Minor III and Marshall Motif ANC in-ear monitors with an Android smartphone compatible with Bluetooth aptX to listen to albums on Qobuz as well as tracks stored in the phone’s internal memory. Pairing was very quick and easy. Once the case is opened, the monitors are automatically detected and a dialogue window pops up on the screen to prompt you to pair the IEMs. With the Marshall Motif ANCs, you’re also prompted to download the Marshall app. 

Compact and lightweight, the Marshall Minor III and Marshall Motif ANC True Wireless in-ear headphones sit comfortably in the ear, particularly the Motif ANCs. The silicone ear tips make them easy to insert and seem to provide a more secure fit. It is therefore easy to imagine wearing the Motif ANCs while jogging or during a workout, while the Minor IIIs will be more suitable for daily use in public transport, in the street or at home, for example.

Thanks to their compact design, light weight and silicone ear tips, the Marshall Motif ANC monitors are designed to accompany you during all of your activities.

Listening impressions

Although they have a similar design, the Marshall Minor III and Marshall Motif ANC True Wireless Minor III in-ear monitors were quite different when it comes to sound signature and comfort. The Marshall Minor IIIs displayed a lot of energy and power, but without the control of the Marshall Motif ANCs. The sound was consistently punchy, and it was evident that the Minor IIIs are designed to bring more modern musical styles, such as rock, hip-hop, pop and electronic music, to life. They were very intuitive to use, thanks to their responsive and convenient touch-sensitive interface.

The Marshall Minor III True Wireless in-ear monitors are clearly designed for modern musical styles, such as hip-hop, pop, metal and electronic music.

The Marshall Motif ANC IEMs were the big surprise of this review. Pleasant to wear, they have corrected the minor flaws that we noticed with the Marshall Mode II True Wireless IEMs. The reproduction was balanced, the stereo effects pronounced and the sound layers well organized. From the stylistic fusion of progressive rock band The Mars Volta to the electronic fury of The Prodigy, the Marshall Motif ANC in-ear monitors offered a consistently pleasant and lively listening experience without ever sounding harsh, which was our criticism of the Mode II in our review. The application’s integrated equalizers allow you to efficiently adjust the sound signature for an experience tailored to your preferences. The very effective active noise cancelling complements the passive isolation, without being too excessive. We didn’t notice any difference in the sound when it was activated, but the increase in immersion was undeniable. The monitors’ transparency feature was also very effective and once it was activated, we could easily hear what was happening around us. Ideal for hearing announcements in train stations and airports, to remain aware of one’s environment when walking in the street or to simply be available if someone wants to talk to you.

The Marshall Motif ANC IEMs were comfortable with all musical styles and didn’t lack energy, but never sounded aggressive.

During our review, we also watched videos on YouTube to see if the IEMs suffered from latency. We didn’t notice any delay, the transmission was fast enough to watch movies, series and videos on a smartphone, tablet or a Bluetooth-compatible computer. 

Compared to…

EPOS GTW 270: the Epos True Wireless in-ear monitors provide a better fit than the Marshall earbuds, but they are heavier and have a shorter battery life. The EPOS IEMs’ sound is richer than that of the Marshall Minor IIIs, but can’t match the energy of the Motif ANCs. Moreover, the latter have the added benefit of active noise cancelling and the Marshall application.

Apple Airpods (3rd gen): their similar design with a rock’n’roll aesthetic makes the Marshall Minor III a direct competitor to Apple’s in-ear monitors. With comparable weight and sound performance, the Marshall IEMs are not specifically designed for iPhones and iPads like the AirPods, but they do stand out with their typical Marshall look and superior power.

Klipsch T5 II True Wireless: also compatible with the aptX codec, the Klipsch T5 II True Wireless IEMs have a better battery life than both Marshall models. However, the latter are more comfortable. The True Wireless Marshall Motif ANCs also stand out with their active noise cancelling feature and energetic sound.

Who are they for?

The Marshall Minor III and Motif ANC True Wireless in-ear monitors are designed for those who listen to music on the go and who are looking for the perfect companions for their daily commute. Lightweight and sporting Marshall’s iconic guitar amp-like finish, these True Wireless IEMs are particularly suited to modern, energetic musical styles. They’re a great alternative to the Apple AirPods and are sure to be a hit with Android users.

The Marshall Minor III and Marshall Motif ANC IEMs combine style with energetic sound.

Conclusion

By offering a solid entry-level solution with the Marshall Minor III IEMs and an upgrade to the Mode IIs with the Marshall Motif ANC IEMs, the British manufacturer has successfully expanded their True Wireless in-ear monitor lineup. Lightweight and easy to use with a touch-sensitive control interface, the Marshall Minor III and Marshall Motif ANC True Wireless in-ear monitors will appeal to fans of modern music looking for a comfortable solution to enjoy long, energetic listening sessions. The Marshall Motif ANC are the real stars of this test and we particularly appreciated their fit in the ear, their noise cancelling and transparency features, as well as their musicality and drive.

We liked:

  • The light weight of the IEMs
  • The energetic sound
  • The Marshall design

We would have liked:

Difficult to ask for more from IEMs in this price range 


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Amateur de disques vinyle et passionné d'obscurs sous-genres musicaux, mes préférences cinématographiques s'orientent vers les films d'horreur, des classiques Universal aux slashers et films fantastiques des années 80, ainsi que vers la période américaine d'Alfred Hitchcock. Côté matériel je privilégie une installation hi-fi épurée et sobre pour l'écoute de supports physiques et l'utilisation d'un ensemble DAC / écouteurs intra-auriculaires pour les plateformes de musique dématérialisée telles que Qobuz et Bandcamp.

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