Marshall has just announced two new Bluetooth options to its stable of portable speakers, along with a few new features. The Willen is the company’s first ultra-compact portable and it’s joined by the Emberton II, which improves on the previous model in a few ways. Both will now work with the Marshall Bluetooth app, which hasn’t been available on any of the portable speaker models before. It was also inevitable that the company would launch a feature called Stack Mode – a throwback reference to “Marshall stacks”. This simply catches them up with the rest of the speaker world and lets you wirelessly expand your music to other Willen or Emberton II speakers. Also worth noting is that Marshall has increased the battery life of the Emberton II from 20 hours of runtime to 30 or more on a single charge (at modest volumes I’m sure).
As we alluded to in our recent Bluetooth speaker buyer’s guide, Marshall speakers (in general) have a wonderful warm sound, chunky bass and dynamic highs. We found the best value in both sound and price when you opt for the larger and relatively less portable Tufton model ($450). Although still priced at a slight premium, the smaller models have a scaled down version of the same sound.
Now that the Emberton II supports Stack Mode, 30 or more hours of runtime and offers an app for EQ tweaks and firmware updates, there’s more value tucked into that price tag. The Willen fills the gap for people looking to get a personal portable and save a few bucks, although we still have yet to give it a listen. Both speakers have Bluetooth 5.1, an IP67 weather-proof rating and are compatible with each other for Stack mode, which takes a triple press of the Bluetooth button to host and a double press on secondary speakers to join or disconnect.
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