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Marshall Emberton II Review: Does this speaker rock?
Back with a second iteration, the Marshall Emberton II has been revamped with a longer battery life and new Stack Mode feature.
How much difference do the changes to Marshall Emberton II make?
The new Marshall Emberton II portable speaker. Love it or hate it, you can’t deny its 30-hour battery life and heritage but can it compete with its rivals on sound quality and durability, and how does it compare to the rest of the Marshall Wireless Speaker range?
Watch our in-depth video review of the Emberton II below:
Before we get into each one in detail, let's take a look at the Marshall Emberton II's key specifications and, most importantly, how it squares up against the original Marshall Emberton portable speaker.
As you can see, Marshall has made some important changes to the original Emberton in the creation of this new second iteration. Most notably the battery life has increased by a massive 10 hours, along with the Emberton II's weatherproof rating now including protection against dust ingress.
Interestingly both the Emberton and Emberton II have the same internal driver make-up, but Marshall has revealed that the Emberton II offers a better sound quality overall thanks to True Stereophonic 360 sound and advanced DSP. The Emberton II also features Marshall's Stack mode, allowing you to wirelessly link two Emberton IIs as a stereo pair.
While offering the classic Marshall aesthetic, the Emberton II has been revamped for 2022. Even the packaging is 100% recyclable cardboard in a neat, compact box that’s pretty much no bigger than an average smartphone box. On first impressions, it’s a little heavier than its rivals at 0.7kg and just about fits in the palm of your hand.
A key thing to note is that it’s NOT dual-orientation like some others on the market. It’s fixed to one position being landscape to retain its stereo form and the rubber base helps it to cling on to the surface it’s standing on.
Colour-wise, it’s a two-tone system of black and brass or cream, with the black and brass now retaining a painted all-black colour on the grills and a brass multi-functional control knob, which Marshall call the rocker button. This will handle power, play/pause, skip track, previous track and volume up and down. To the right of this, you will find a useful LED battery life indicator.
Overall, the Emberton II feels well screwed together and built to last.
The Emberton II is an IP67-rated speaker, up from IPX7 on the previous Emberton which means they’ve added a dust-proof rating and can be submerged in water up to a metre deep for up to 30 minutes for full confidence whenever you’re outdoors. The rubber material that wraps around the top and bottom feels very durable - there is nothing on the speaker that can be moved or peeled apart.
Marshall have also paid attention to the sustainability of the Emberton 2 as it actually comprises of 50% post-consumer recycled plastic from used electronics, water bottles and car light covers, and is 100% PVC-free. However, from a durability perspective, the overall package and rubber surround feel really rugged and great for chucking in a backpack - though I will point out it’s a bit heavier than other portable speakers on the market.
The only thing we would be worried about in terms of durability is the grille. While it does feel hardy, I could see this getting some dents and scratches. As the build quality is so high, it would feel a bit like scuffing the alloys on your new car!
For the average user though, this is a durable option and taking it up to IP67 is a really positive move.
It’s really important to emphasise how good the 30 hours battery life is and this is arguably the best thing about the Emberton II. Most portable speakers on the market these days don’t get much past 20 hours so this should keep you going for multiple days. It means you can go for a weekend away or to something like a festival and if you’ve forgotten the charger or won’t have access to power, chances are it’ll still last all the way through.
It also has a handy quick charge feature, again something you’re hard-pressed to find on portable speakers at this price. A 20-minute charge will get you 4 hours of playback time which is really competitive and it’ll only take 3 hours to charge from dead to full.
It’s a shame that they didn’t include any microphones on the Emberton II like you get with something like the Bose Soundlink Flex and this is one of the few things that is missing from the Emberton. If you're looking for a portable speaker that has speakerphone functionality or can relay voice commands back to your phone or connected device, look instead towards the Sonos Roam or B&O Beosound A1 (2nd Gen).
The Emberton II will keep you abreast of its battery life via a handy LED battery life display on top of the speaker.
Inside, you get dual 2” full-range 10-watt drivers and a pair of passive radiators for extra bass. What is quite unique about the Emberton II is its True Stereophonic 360-degree sound indicated by the second grill on the back of the speaker.
It’s a unique form of multi-directional sound which gives it less of a sweet spot and separates out the spatial content of stereo recordings so it can be enjoyed from all angles - perfect for camping, festivals and garden parties!
The Emberton II produces a classic Marshall sound which is both warm and enjoyable. It’s clear that Marshall is appealing to people who love rock music, indie, pop and all of those genres really suit the sound profile but I was certainly not unimpressed with more bass-heavy electronic or even instrumental music.
The vocals are impressive at medium volumes but sometimes can lose a bit of clarity at higher volumes. The vocal boost mode did help with this and this will fill a small-ish size space or outdoor space really easily. Overall I would say £149.99 is bang on for the level of sound quality you get.
It’ll also be visible on the Marshall Bluetooth app which is a fairly basic but functional app where you can adjust the EQ presets.
Here, you can boost the bass with the Push mode or Voice mode for more clarity on more vocal-focused content.
The other thing worth mentioning on the app is the Stack Mode where you can connect your speaker to as many other Emberton II speakers as you like so they’re all playing in sync but you can also start a stack session by just triple pressing the Bluetooth pairing button.
We tested a range of rock & indie music on the Marshall Emberton II, along with some of our more typical vocal testing tracks. To check out what we listened to, please see below:
Without a doubt, this is one of the best-looking portable speakers on the market at the moment and it’s got some great plusses - most notably the design, battery life and sound profile (if it suits your style). You might have owned Marshall products in the past and want to continue the legacy with a portable speaker that builds on that iconic Marshall sound profile.
If you think you’d make use of a speakerphone feature or plan on being really active with your speaker and would prefer a design suited to being chucked around a bit, then you might want to look at other options available.
This is more for taking with you on a break, out into the garden, park or camping etc and will hold up very well in these scenarios against its competitors.
For more information on Marshall, please check out the below content:
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