Headphones Comparison: Beats Solo Pro vs. Marshall Mid ANC
If you prefer noise-canceling headphones in a wireless on-ear format, the Beats Solo Pro and the Marshall Mid ANC are two of the best options currently out. Both are expensive on-ear headphones that normally sell for around $300 and $280, respectively. But while they belong in the same category and are similarly equipped with active noise cancellation (ANC) and Bluetooth, they have different strengths – one is better-designed while the other has better performance.
In this head-to-head comparison, we’ll give you a detailed look at the many differences, as well as the few similarities, between the two headphones to help you decide which product is more suitable for your usage habits and preferences.
|Beats Solo Pro||Marshall Mid ANC|
|Type||Wireless on-ear||Wireless on-ear|
|Connectivity||Bluetooth 5.0||Bluetooth 4.0, 1/8 in (3.5 mm) analog|
|Battery||22 hours||20 hours|
|Weight||9.4 oz||7.3 oz|
Both products are well-designed headphones, but the Mid ANC are better-designed overall, edging out the Solo Pro in three of the five categories in this section. They are more comfortable to wear for long listening sessions, with a looser clamp, and have a more portable design that makes them easier to carry for travel and everyday use. Their accessories are also better, though their older charging cable type can be inconvenient for some people.
In the opposite corner, the Solo Pro are the better-built headphones and look more premium. They are also available in more color options, which is not surprising for Beats headphones. Additionally, they are better in the controls category, offering a more complete set of functions as well as hands-free Siri support on compatible iOS devices.
The Solo Pro and the Mid ANC are both wireless on-ear headphones, though the former may seem like an over-ear type at first glance. Since their earpads rest on your ears instead of around them, both headphones are more breathable than over-ear headphones, but they feel tighter on the head. Both are also generously padded, with their thick earpads helping mitigate their tightness for better comfort.
If you prefer headphones that are more comfortable for long continuous use, the Mid ANC are the better headphones. They are lighter and have a looser headband clamp while still maintaining a secure and stable fit. Even if you have a large head, you’ll find them more comfortable to use for long hours in the office and during long flights.
Although they are still decently comfortable for on-ear headphones, the Solo Pro are more fatiguing to use for extended listening. They have a tighter clamp, which makes them more uncomfortable for long listening sessions despite their good breathability. Moreover, their headband flexibility is relatively limited, which means they are not ideal for larger heads. They are also heavier than the Marshall headphones, with their unusually large ear cups (at least for on-ear headphones) easily sticking out.
Both headphones have good stability. They stay securely on your head and don’t slide off easily under normal circumstances, allowing you to walk or move around without worrying about your headphones sliding forward or backward. However, both are not recommended for running and sports. If you really want wireless on-ear headphones that are decent enough for jogging, the Solo Pro are the better option between the two, but only because of their tighter fit, which adds to their stability.
Both headphones are well-built and certainly look like expensive headphones due to their eye-catching aesthetics, but the Beats headphones are better-built overall. The Solo Pro are sturdier and more durable and have a more premium construction. Compared to previous Solo models, they have fewer plastic parts. Their headband has visible metal components while their round ear cups are made of high-quality plastic. Their earpads are also covered with synthetic leather that doesn’t peel off easily.
The build quality of the Mid ANC is also good and noteworthy. Their wide headband has metal hinges and fabric-covered padding while their earpads are coated with artificial leather, similar to the Beats headphones. They are lightweight but quite sturdy and will easily survive a few minor drops with minimal damage. However, their foldable design means there are more parts that are vulnerable to wear and tear, which can also be said for the Solo Pro.
As mentioned, the two headphones have eye-catching aesthetics, but their styles are very different from each other. The Solo Pro have the same modern look of other Beats headphones, with the familiar Beats logo displayed on their ear cups. They are quite bulky for a pair of on-ear headphones, with their large ear cups making them seem like over-ear headphones at first, and will attract more attention than the Marshall headphones. They are also available in more color options: Beats currently offers them in black, gray, ivory, red, dark blue, and light blue.
On the other hand, the Mid ANC have the iconic aesthetic of Marshall guitar amps that musicians will easily recognize, complete with gold accents that work well with their black color scheme. The ear cup backplates and the outer side of the headband have textured surfaces, with the former also featuring the familiar Marshall branding. Compared to the Solo Pro, the Mid ANC have smaller, squircle-shaped ear cups and look more like on-ear headphones, but they still stand out. Unlike the more colorful Beats headphones, they are only available in black.
The Solo Pro and the Mid ANC have efficient and user-friendly on-cup control schemes, with the former slightly edging out the latter in this category by having more functions. Composed of a multi-function button – called the “b” button – and volume buttons, the main controls of the Beats headphones are located on the right ear cup, discreetly integrated into the backplate. You can press the top and bottom sides of the backplate to adjust the volume, but you can’t press on the left and right sides to skip tracks.
Call and music management controls are assigned to the multi-function button, which recognizes single and multiple presses and press-and-hold inputs. You can also use it to activate the supported voice assistant on your smartphone. If connected to a compatible iOS device, you have the option to summon Siri hands-free, which is very convenient. The Solo Pro also have a dedicated button on the left ear cup for switching between ANC and ambient sound modes, with the option to disable both. There is no power button on the headphones; to turn them on or off, you simply need to unfold or fold them.
For the Mid ANC, the main functions are accessible through the multi-directional golden knob on the left ear cup. You can use the knob to manage your calls and music, adjust the volume, and activate Siri on compatible Apple devices. The knob also functions as a power button and can be used for initiating the Bluetooth pairing. On the other ear cup, the Mid ANC have a dedicated ANC switch, but it can only be used to enable or disable the ANC, with no option to switch to ambient sound mode.
While the Solo Pro have more functions on their on-cup controls, the Mid ANC offer an alternative control scheme that some people will prefer in certain situations. Unlike the Beats headphones, they include an audio cable with a one-button remote. You can use the remote for managing your calls and music, but you can’t adjust the volume with it.
The Mid ANC are more portable than the Solo Pro. They are more compact and have a smaller footprint, folded or otherwise. This allows them to take up less space in your bag. Their smaller ear cups also make them less cumbersome to wear around your neck when not in use. Lastly, they come with a collapsible soft case that takes up less space when stored in your bag while the headphones are in use.
Although their foldable design is a plus, the Solo Pro are some of the least portable on-ear headphones on the market. They are quite bulky for on-ear headphones and have a larger footprint even when they are folded. Furthermore, their larger ear cups, which don’t swivel into a flat position, make them more awkward to wear around your neck when not in use. In summary, they have the same portability issues commonly associated with over-ear headphones, which are the least portable type of headphones.
The Mid ANC include more accessories than the Solo Pro. In addition to their collapsible soft case, they include an audio cable with an in-line remote and mic, along with a micro USB charging cable that has a USB-A connector on the other end. Meanwhile, the Solo Pro only include a soft case and a Lightning charging cable. There is no audio cable included for switching to a wired connection, which is disappointing for an expensive product normally selling for around $300. The Lightning charging cable is a plus if you own other Apple devices, though.
The Solo Pro have better overall performance, beating the Mid ANC in the sound isolation and battery categories and offering more connectivity features for iOS devices. Their noise isolation performance is better, largely due to their more effective ANC, while their sound leakage is lower. Their battery life per charge is longer while their charging time is significantly faster. They also offer more benefits when connected to iOS devices, such as lower latency and hands-free Siri support.
Although their overall performance is not as good, the Mid ANC are better than the Beats headphones in two important areas: mic performance and wired connectivity. Their built-in mic is better for phone calls and video conferences, with better record quality. Unlike the Solo Pro, they include an audio cable for switching to wired mode when the battery is depleted, which offsets their slightly shorter battery life per charge and slower charging time. The audio cable also includes an in-line remote with a mic, giving you another option for phone calls.
The Solo Pro and the Mid ANC are both good-sounding headphones that are suitable for a variety of music genres, but they have different sound profiles. The Beats headphones have a lighter and more neutral bass, which is a notable change from the very bass-heavy sound of the older Solo3. They have a clean, detailed, and neutral mid-range and a more detailed treble than the Marshall headphones, but their soundstage is mediocre. They are a solid all-rounder that some people consider as the best-sounding Beats wireless headphones so far.
If you want more bass, the Mid ANC are the better option. They have a more bass-heavy sound profile that makes them suitable for hip hop and electronic dance music. Their bass is deep, punchy, and not overpowering. While a bit recessed, their mid-range is also great, with good detail and clarity, but their emphasized treble can be piercing in some tracks. The Mid ANC also have a more spacious and more open soundstage than the Solo Pro.
Both headphones are good for listening to music and for general media consumption, but they are not suitable for professional use. Their sound profiles can’t be altered without using third-party solutions, as both headphones lack a companion app with sound customization options. In fact, both lack a full-fledged app for any kind of customization.
Although both headphones are equipped with ANC, the Solo Pro are significantly better at reducing background noise than the Mid ANC. They are great at blocking out ambient chatter and high-frequency noises and are decent at reducing low-frequency noises. This makes them more suitable for commuting, traveling, and office use.
Their sound leakage is also lower, allowing you to listen to media at high volume without disturbing people around you, which is beneficial in some situations. In addition to their better noise isolation and lower sound leakage, the Solo Pro feature an ambient sound mode. When set to ambient sound mode, the headphones use their integrated mics to filter noise in, allowing you to monitor your environment without removing them. You can easily switch between ANC and ambient sound modes using the mode button on the left ear cup.
The sound isolation performance of the Mid ANC is quite disappointing for ANC headphones. They are decent at reducing background chatter and high-frequency noises, which is good enough for office use and home use. But they are subpar at blocking out low-frequency noises, making them less effective for commuting and traveling. With the Marshall headphones, your media volume needs to be higher than usual if you want more effective noise isolation in loud places.
On the bright side, the headphones are good at preventing sound from leaking out. This allows you to listen to loud music for better noise isolation without disturbing people around you, but their sound leakage is still higher than that of the Beats headphones. Unlike the Solo Pro, the Mid ANC lack an ambient sound mode, which can be inconvenient but is hardly a deal-breaker for most people. You can simply remove them from your ears if you want to briefly monitor your surroundings.
The Mid ANC have a better integrated mic than the Solo Pro. Furthermore, they also include an audio cable with an in-line mic as an alternative, making them the undisputed winner in this category. Their integrated mic has better recording quality and decent noise reduction capability. They are more suitable for non-business calls in moderately noisy places, but they are still best used for phone calls and video conferences in a quiet environment.
Although their integrated mic has decent noise reduction, the Solo Pro have mediocre mic performance overall. Their recording quality is worse than that of the Marshall headphones, but many people will not notice the difference. Like the Mid ANC, they are best used for phone calls in quiet places and are definitely not recommended for online multiplayer gaming where you need to communicate with your teammates through voice chat.
The Solo Pro have better battery performance than the Mid ANC. They can run up to 22 hours on a single charge with ANC enabled and up to an impressive 40 hours with both ANC and ambient sound mode disabled. They charge faster as well, requiring around two hours to go from a fully drained battery to fully charged. With their quick-charge feature – a common feature among Beats wireless headphones – they get three hours of playback after just 10 minutes of charging.
The quick-charge feature is especially useful since there is no audio cable included with the Solo Pro, which is ridiculous for such an expensive product. This means you can’t temporarily switch to a regular wired connection when the battery is depleted. But you can give the headphones a quick charge for a few hours of playback if they run out of power at an inopportune time. If you want to be able to switch to wired mode, you’ll need to buy the necessary cable.
With their 20-hour battery life, the Mid ANC are far from mediocre in the battery category. They will easily survive typical work shifts and long flights on just a single charge, assuming they start out on a full charge. Their battery life also increases when one or both of their two active features are disabled, with Marshall claiming more than 30 hours of battery life with either Bluetooth or ANC disabled.
Compared to the Beats headphones, the Mid ANC have a slower charging time, requiring around three hours to be fully recharged from a dead battery. But on the bright side, they come with an audio cable, allowing you to temporarily switch to wired mode if you want to conserve power or when the battery runs out in the middle of your work shift, commute, or flight.
The two headphones have different strengths in this category. The Solo Pro are equipped with the newer Bluetooth 5.0 and have a better wireless range. Like other recent Apple and Beats headphones, they include the Apple H1 chip, which allows for better integration with iOS devices, including easy pairing, lower latency, and hands-free Siri support.
They also feature wireless audio sharing with compatible Apple and Beats headphones, with separate volume controls for each unit. If you own an iOS device, the Solo Pro offer a more attractive set of connectivity features. However, they lack an audio cable for switching to a regular wired connection, which is disappointing, especially considering their price tag. You’ll need to buy a separate Lightning audio cable if you want to use the headphones in wired mode.
On the other hand, the Mid ANC can be used either wired or wirelessly. They include an audio cable with an in-line remote and mic. The audio cable ends in a common 1/8 in (3.5 mm) analog plug, which allows for easy compatibility with most devices, including smartphones and tablets. The analog port can also be used for audio sharing: When the Mid ANC are in wireless mode, you can directly connect another pair of wired headphones to the analog port to share your audio with another person.
Regarding wireless connectivity, the Mid ANC are inferior to the Beats headphones. They are equipped with the older Bluetooth 4.0 and have a shorter (but still good) wireless range and significantly higher latency when paired with iOS devices. But they support the Qualcomm aptX codec for better audio quality and lower latency when connected to certain devices, which is a big plus for some people.
Both headphones don’t support NFC pairing and multi-device pairing. The lack of NFC is not going to be an issue for many people. But for those who want to connect their wireless headphones to two devices at the same time for convenience, the lack of multi-device pairing is disappointing. Unlike some wireless headphones – including products selling for a more affordable price – both the Solo Pro and the Mid ANC also lack a fully developed companion app for customization.
|Beats Solo Pro|
|The Solo Pro are some of the best wireless on-ear headphones currently out on the market. They are well-designed headphones that are better-built than the Mid ANC. Their overall performance is better, with significantly better noise isolation, lower sound leakage, longer battery life per charge, faster charging time, better wireless range, and better integration with iOS devices. Their sound profile is also more neutral, with lighter bass. While some of their flaws can be deal-breakers for some people, the Solo Pro are a great pair of wireless headphones suitable for all-around use. If you have an iOS device, they are a much better option than the Marshall headphones.|
|Marshall Mid ANC|
|The Mid ANC are a good pair of wireless headphones for casual everyday use, with their compact on-ear design making them easy to carry for travel. Their overall performance is inferior to the Solo Pro, but they are the better-designed headphones. They have a more comfortable on-ear fit, a more portable design, and better accessories, including a more premium travel case. Their mic performance is better while their sound quality is also good, but some will find their more bass-heavy sound unpleasant. If comfort, portability, and the option to switch to a regular wired connection are very important factors for you, then go for the Mid ANC.|