Sony PiiQ Marqii Review

Sony PiiQ Marquii Headphones

Sony PiiQ Marqii

“Sony dips into high-fashion headphones with the funky, pink-tinged Piiq Marqii.”
  • Smooth Treble
  • Punchy Bass
  • Tangle Free Cable
  • Solid Value
  • Not Collapsible
  • No storage case
  • Muted Midrange

Introduction

The trend of merging high style and high tech continues to be outrageously popular and it seems like electronics mega giant Sony thinks it is about time they got a piece of the action. With the new PiiQ series of headphone products, Sony offers their take on stylish headgear. The new line offers everything from tiny earbuds to full sized headphones and in some absolutely outrageous colors and designs. Here, we review Sony’s Marqii headphone, the top of the new PiiQ line, to see how they stack up against the likes of Monster Beats, SkullCandy and Phiaton.

Out of the Box

Typically, we would use this section of the review to list the contents of the package, give our impressions of the case or the included accessories and make general comments on the out-of-box-experience. In the case of the Marqii headphones, you won’t find a case or any accessories – just headphones. Here’s the most remarkable thing, though: They’re PINK. Not pretty in pink, pink, but a radioactive neon pink. To be fair, they aren’t entirely pink. The predominant color is actually black but the inner lining of the headband, earcup trim and cable are all pink and you just can’t help but be taken aback by the color’s loud statement.

Features and Design

At just 9 oz., the Marqii headphones are one of the lightest pair of over-the-ear headphones we’ve tested. According to Sony, the headband’s design was inspired by the technology in snowboard boot binders. Two Velcro-lined plastic tabs pull away to allow for size adjustment. Once the desired size is achieved, the tabs lock back in place, assuring that the headphones will remain properly sized. The pink underside of the headband is sparsely cushioned with three rather firm pads.

The outside of the square ear-cups are lined with a sheer fabric that is reminiscent of a speaker’s grill cloth and, like the rest of the headphones, is smattered with an unintelligible design that seems to mimic Sony’s Xplode graphics. The inside of the earcups are lined with pink grill cloth and plush, black leather ear cushions. The Marqii’s pink, 3 foot cable is flat, tangle resistant and cleverly secured to the left ear-cup by a small loop of bungee cord. Inside the ear-cups we found a large, 40mm driver mounted at an angle that aims the driver toward the back of the ear. Looking back at the ear-pads, we notice that the padding is significantly thicker and more heavily padded on the back side, likely due to the driver positioning.

The Marqii headphones are not collapsible and, as we already mentioned, do not come with a storage case nor do they come with any adapters for use with larger stereo equipment or during air travel. Unlike the rest of the PiiQ line, the Marqii come in just one color option. We’re not sure why that is and we’re a little surprised by their choice of color, but we’re sure that some will enjoy sporting the retina-burningly pink Marqii accents.

Performance

We found the Marqii to be a reasonably comfortable pair of headphones. The unique headband design eliminates hair-pulling potential and, although barely cushioned, did a good job of keeping the top of our head from experiencing any discomfort. The unique ear-pads seem to have been designed so that they seal around the back of the ear. Initially, the feeling was a little foreign but the strange sensation soon passed. Otherwise, we found the ear padding quite comfortable and conducive to long listening sessions.

The Marqii’s closed-back, over-the-ear design combined with their dense foam ear pads did provide some isolation from ambient noise, but not much. We found the noises of a loud coffee shop or busy bus ride a bit distracting. While they aren’t great at keeping noise out, they did a good job of keeping the sound they produced within the ear-cups. As closed-back headphones typically do, they didn’t share much with outside listeners.

We tested the Marqii with a number of sources including an iPod Touch, Dell Laptop, Onkyo A/V receiver and with HeadRoom’s Micro DAC and Micro Amp. Surprisingly, the Marqii sounded more or less the same regardless of the source or amplification.

The Marqii’s sound quality was above average for their price point. We’ve tested plenty of $100.00 headphones that didn’t sound much better than those in the $40-$50 category but, thankfully, the Marqii do plenty to earn their asking price.

The large drivers that Sony built into the Marqii offer punchy with deep bass response that should satisfy all but the most ravenous of bass heads. Isolating the bass response, we felt that the performance was well above average for their class. Taken in the context of the whole sound spectrum however, we felt that the bass seemed a little heavy. This turned out to be due to the somewhat muted or veiled upper midrange quality. Vocals in particular lacked a certain presence and we heard that effect trickle down into the reproduction of certain string and brass instruments, too. We also noticed that snare drums seemed to have a little less snap than we’d like.

Fortunately for the Marqii, what they lack in midrange accuracy, they make up for in treble response. We’ve often found ourselves fatigued by the tinny, trashy treble response of other budget headphones. The Marqii exhibited a smooth, almost understated high end that allowed our ears to relax into the music. Long listening sessions were made more enjoyable by the fact that the Marqii never got tiresome.

Conclusion

The Marqii headphones represent a solid value at $99.99. They sound much better than many headphones in their price range and fit comfortably as well. We’re less than enthusiastic about some of the aesthetic design factors, but if you dig their pink vibe, we think you’ll appreciate how easy they are to listen to and how easy they’ll be on your wallet.

Highs:

  • Smooth Treble
  • Punchy Bass
  • Tangle Free Cable
  • Solid Value

Lows:

  • Not Collapsible
  • No storage case
  • Muted Midrange

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