Today, Marshall has opened up pre-orders for its newest active noise canceling earbuds: the Motif II ANC. It’s actually the first headphone or speaker product released by Marshall Group, a new venture combining the core Marshall Amplification company and Zounds, which has been producing the headphones and speakers under the company’s name since 2010. These earbuds boast some big advances over the last gen (2021), with improved battery life and quick charging at the forefront. You can pre-order the Motif II ANC ($199) from Marshall’s website today and the product will be shipping on September 12th.

Plenty of features remain the same as before, so existing Motif users can do a cost-benefit analysis to decide if they’re ready to upgrade. There’s still the 6mm dynamic drivers pushing out tunes within the 20Hz – 20kHz frequency range. You get touch controls for core operations like play/pause, skip and noise control (ANC and transparency mode). The Bluetooth range of approximately 33 feet still persists although the Motif II buds now have Bluetooth 5.3 and will support Bluetooth LE Audio (LC3) with future updates.

The Marshall Motif II ANC earbuds with a gridded red spray paint background.
Photo by Jon Turi / Engadget

The sound of the new Motif II should also be essentially the same as before, although, to be honest that’s just based on specs since I haven’t tried the first-gen model. The buds fit snugly in my ear (at least) and provide a thick bass experience and the rich and familiar Marshall sound profile. The active noise canceling works well to block out most environmental noise like a subway or crowded bar, letting only some voices slip through as distant chitchat.

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The IP rating is also unchanged with an IPX5 water resistance for the earbuds and IPX4 for the charging case. That means these buds are fine for a normal workout, but not great to dunk in the sink. And the charging case itself should be treated with a little more care. You can also still charge the case wirelessly, which leads us to one of the biggest upgrades of the Motif II: battery life.

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