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Marshall Emberton Review

Verdict

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A speaker that’s minimum fuss and maximum value, the Marshall Emberton is another entertaining effort from the company. With stylish looks, rugged design and a confident audio, the Emberton is a great addition to Marshall’s wireless speaker range.

Pros

  • Rugged design
  • Entertaining sound
  • Nice control interface
  • Stylish looks

Cons

  • Other speakers deliver more precision and clarity
  • Slightly soft bass
  • IPX7 water-resistance
  • Bluetooth 5.0

The Marshall Emberton continues Marshall’s spree of 2020 product launches continues with its portable wireless speaker.

Following the Monitor II ANC headphones and Uxbridge smart speaker, the Emberton is the smallest wireless speaker in Marshall’s range, sporting a rugged design and long battery life. Is Marshall onto another hit?

The Marshall Emberton was released in 2020 for an RRP £129 / $179 / €149 / CAD$249 / AUD$249.

  • Rubbery feel to design
  • Multi-directional control is great for operation
  • Easy to use

The Emberton keeps up the distinctive Marshall livery, though the quality of the materials are different in lieu of the speaker’s purpose. Rather than the textured vinyl covering seen on Marshall’s bigger speakers, the Emberton adopts a hard-rubbery coating that makes clear this speaker won’t be unduly affected by outdoor conditions.

Marshall Emberton

Rectangular in shape – think of it as like a big bar of butter – the Emberton can be held in one hand quite easily, though it doesn’t feature a handle or a strap so you won’t be able to hang or carry the speaker in that way.

And at 700g it’s not particularly heavy though it does feel weighty, and like the material it’s made out of, the weight gives you the confidence the Emberton could survive a few drops without breaking. Aside from the placement of a USB-C charging port on the right-hand side, the speaker’s design is completely sealed.

On top is a golden multi-directional control knob for playback. A firm push down turns the speaker on (or off) with that familiar Marshall guitar strum sound. Depress a little less firmly for play/pause, while a nudge to the left or right skips tracks and up and down is for volume control. Marshall is great at coming up with tactile and responsive ways of controlling speakers, and this is another one that’s nice to use.

Marshall Emberton

To the left of the multi-directional dial is the Bluetooth pairing button, and to the right is the battery charge indicator. They light up with a red LED, and when it gets dark it gives the speaker a KITT from Knight Rider-esque appearance. I like it.

  • Water resistant
  • Battery life around 20 hours
  • No smarts

There’s not much to speak of in terms of features. The Emberton covers pretty much the specification you’d expect from a more rugged portable speaker.

Rated at IPX7, the Emberton is water-resistant and can survive a trip into a body of water 1 metre deep for 30 minutes. Battery life is a lengthy 20+ hours and in case you find battery levels dropping, a 20-minute charge is enough for five more hours of playback. If the battery is fully depleted, it’s three hours to get it back to full.

Bluetooth connectivity is 5.0 with a range of 10m/30ft, and wireless connection has proven to be pretty robust with no connection drops even when far away from the speaker.

The Emberton features Marshall’s True Stereophonic sound, which is a fancy way of saying it’s capable of delivering a multi-directional 360° audio performance. It does so through its 2 x 10W full range dynamic speakers.

And that’s your lot. No app, no voice assistant support, no other flashy features. What you see is pretty much what you get.

  • Smooth, warm presentation
  • Energetic tone at times
  • Soft bass output

The last Marshall product we looked at was the Uxbridge Voice Alexa speaker, and while it had its good aspects (good enough to get a recommended badge), the sound quality wasn’t quite what was expected. That’s not the case with the Marshall Emberton.

Marshall Emberton

Right from the off the Emberton is a step up in quality over the Uxbridge – better balanced and with better control over bass. It feels like it’s been tuned to deliver clarity over sheer power.

Cunninglinguist’s Hourglass streamed from Spotify and the low-end performance is decent – the Marshall Emberton showcases a good sense of tonality – and while there’s a slight feeling of tubby bass, there’s no distortion or the feeling that bass sounds diminished despite the speaker’s smaller dimensions.

Marshall Emberton

And it’s still capable of the energy that’s a signature of Marshall speakers without forgoing a good sense of dynamism either. It’s a punchy speaker that can go big and loud, the ‘Stereophonic’ sound features means you do get a similar-sounding performance whether you’re in front of or behind the speaker.

The positive vibes continue with good vocal clarity as voices are brought to the fore of the mix. Compared to the more expensive Beosound A1 2nd Gen it has less midrange detail and doesn’t exude the same sense of clarity, nor is it dynamically as capable. That said, it’s a speaker with a solid, weighty presence to its sound; it’s warm and smooth approach to music is thoroughly enjoyable.

  • You’re after a rugged speaker for the great outdoors

Its rugged design is better suited to the outdoors than the B&O Beosound A1 2nd Gen, but it doesn’t sound as good as that speaker. It’s also not as dear on the wallet as the B&O either.

  • You favour energy over precision

Marshall’s been on strong form in 2020 and the Emberton is another enjoyable speaker. It resists the urge for rumbly bass but keeping the punchy, energetic tone that makes Marshall’s speakers appealing. Indoors or out, the Emberton is another excellent speaker from Marshall.

  • You want a cheaper wireless speaker

Another option is the Tribit Stormbox Micro speaker. Much, much cheaper, while it doesn’t have the warmth of the Emberton, but it’s terrific value for its price.

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