Rock music-themed headphones are more popular than ever but before another new trendy model comes out, let's direct our focus to Marshall's over-ear Monitor headphones. Designing a lifestyle just as much as they do their iconic guitar amps, this brand is usually pinpointed the moment someone walks into a room. To be honest, most guests spot the Stanmore sitting in my living room before they even notice the giant plastic T-Rex head hung above the mantel (true story), and that's because Marshall is synonymous with cool. But before they launched their on-ear Major and in-ear Minor models in 2010, headphones were uncharted territory for them—territory which they've seem to have perfected with their over-ear Monitor set. (Sure, Marshall released Monitor last year, but we're still obsessed and that's saying something.)
Marshall promises "deep bass with extended highs, and natural, well-balanced mids" and one of the coolest things about the $200 Monitor, which has low distortion 40mm drivers that cover the entire audible frequency range (including down to 10Hz), is that the sound is customizable. Usually a set of headphones will excel in a specific area—Klipsch's X11i is great for rock but not for pop, for instance—but the Marshall's Monitor can give you a full or crisp sound depending on the tunes. They do this by designing what they call a FTF (felt treble filter), which is basically a removable felt disc that sits right behind the ear pads.
If you want a crisp, clean sound, just remove the magnetic ear pads and pop the FTF discs out; if you want a fuller, richer sound that tones down the treble, leave them in. Personally, I prefer keeping the discs in because I like the warmth compared to the harsher crispness of the sound when they're taken out. It's also important to note that while the ear pads are removable, they don't feel loose at all so you won't have to worry about them falling off. The Monitor has two 3.5mm sockets so you can hook multiple sets up to one another to make a musical chain, which is perfect if John Carney's Begin Again made you want to roam the streets of New York City while sharing your favorite songs with someone special.
In terms of its aesthetic look, the black leather Monitor features the classic Marshall script logo and is accented with heavy-duty cast metal hinges and brass stamps. The detachable coil cord has an integrated mic (though it doesn't have volume controls) and can be plugged into either the right or left side. Another perk is that these headphones fold up really nicely to fit into an accompanying black canvas bag, making them a breeze to travel with.
And finally, the Monitors are actually really comfortable. If they fit a little too snug when you first put them on, simply stretch them out a little and give the band a twist (gently!) and they should stretch enough to accommodate your head (I had to do this too, so don't feel bad about your huge noggin). As much as we really loved these headphones, we have a feeling people are going to ultimately be swayed by the rocking lifestyle that Marshall promises. Lucky for you, Monitor has the quality to back their cool factor up.
Buy the headphones here: Marshall 04090800 Monitor Over-The-Ear Headphones - Black