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Marshall updates its noise-canceling earbuds with better battery life

Two hands holding Marshall Motif II ANC in their charging case.

Marshall’s second-gen Motif ANC wireless earbuds — appropriately called the Marshall Motif II ANC — look exactly like the first-gen Motif, but under the hood are some welcome enhancements like better battery life, better active noise cancellation (ANC) performance, and support for Bluetooth LE Audio. The price, on the other hand, remains the same: you can buy them staring August 29 for $199 on Marshall’s website. The company expects them to ship on September 12.

Marshall has a talent for understatement. Its press release for the Marshall Motif II ANC talks about the improved battery life twice — the new earbuds now get six hours of ANC playtime on a charge and a total of 30 hours with the case (versus 4.5 and 20 on the first-gen) — but never mentions that the new Motif now have Bluetooth Multipoint for connecting two devices simultaneously.

Man wearing Marshall Motif II ANC.

It also talks about the improved ANC by offhandedly mentioning the extra microphone that’s now on board, but then neglects to say that you can now talk to your phone’s voice assistant, something the original Motif ANC wireless earbuds didn’t support. I know that modesty is the better part of valor, but c’mon, guys.

Support for Bluetooth LE Audio is also a part of the Motif II ANC specs, but once again, Marshall seems almost apologetic about the fact that getting LE Audio to work will depend on support from your chosen smartphone, which is hardly Marshall’s fault. Unlike many companies bringing LE Audio-compatible headphones and earbuds to the market, Marshall had no problem committing to supporting Bluetooth Auracast — arguably the most interesting aspect of the new Bluetooth standard — once the feature is supported by all of the players who need to make it happen.

Marshall Motif II ANC in charging case.

Wireless charging continues to be a feature of the Motif buds, as does a battery-saving mode, which Marshall says has been improved. However the more important eco note might be the fact that the earbuds are now made from 70% post-consumer recycled plastic, including used electronics, water bottles, and automotive light covers.

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Simon Cohen
Contributing Editor, A/V
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