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Turn it up to 11 with Marshall’s new Emberton speaker

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The most famous scene from spoof “rockumentary”This Is Spinal Tap focusses on guitarist Nigel Tufnel, who shows the documentary maker a Marshall amp that, instead of the usual zero to 10, has volume knobs that are marked up to 11. 

Nigel can’t process that the sound is the same as other amps, just without the normal 0-10 settings – to him, that extra notch shows the amp’s superiority: “It’s one louder, isn’t it?”

Marshall, a go-to name in professional-level sound, is superior regardless of an extra volume notch. Founded almost 60 years ago, its amps are some of the most recognisable in the world, the italicised Marshall name a sign of punchy sound and crunchy rock.

Away from stadium-filling amps, Marshall also makes personal audio kits, channeling the same design ethics into each.

One of its most recent releases, The Marshall Emberton, certainly evokes the brand’s spirit, down to the guitar lick that booms out of it whenever you kick it into life.

The question is, does the Emberton hold up under the pressure of Marshall’s high standards in the audio world? Read our review below to find out.

You can trust our independent reviews. We may earn commission from some of the retailers, but we never allow this to influence selections, which are formed from real-world testing and expert advice. This revenue helps to fund journalism across The Independent.

Marshall Emberton

Frequency: 60 Hz to 20 kHz

Wireless options: Bluetooth 5.0

Battery life: Up to 20 hours

Design

This is a no-holds-barred rockstar of a Bluetooth speaker. Marshall’s style is so characteristic that the Emberton was onto a winner before pen had met paper in the design room. However, it’s not just a good-looking speaker – it’s rugged, too.

The hard rubber casing (almost completely sealing the speaker) and metal grille are heavy-duty, and mean you shouldn’t worry about throwing it in your bag for a day at the beach – the IPX7 water resistance will also help when the “Great British Summer” invariably turns damp.

As mentioned, the best part of the entire speaker is arguably the noise it makes when you switch it on via the gold or brass control button on the top: the familiar punch of a Marshall guitar that makes us excessively giddy.

Speaking of control, Marshall has made using the Emberton easy, all via the one button – slightly press side to side for track changes, and up or down for volume, although your connected device will be able to control the speaker too.

Other design aspects pay tribute to Marshall’s bigger products. The battery life is an impressive 20 hours, and you can track this via the line of red lights on the top, reminiscent of Marshall’s amp lighting. The two colourways – black with grey grille or black and brass – both stay true to the brand’s lineage.

Marshall has gone for a purely-Bluetooth design – there’s no input, wifi or mic for voice assistant. The Emberton knows what it is, and does so with style.

Sound

You’d expect a perfectly-formed, mini version of a regular-sized Marshall amp to have decent sound quality. What you wouldn’t expect is just how good the audio is from the Emberton. It’s the little speaker that could: sound bursts out of it, louder and clearer than could be hoped for. Bass-driven tracks are dealt with pretty easily, and higher frequencies aren’t a problem, either, with treble particularly impressive.

For a speaker of its size, the sound is punchy and more than enough to fill your workspace with sound or give a day outside a proper soundtrack, especially as the two 10W speakers also provide 360-degree audio.

We found ourselves using this as a mini boombox, carrying it around while doing the household chores that seem never-ending, now we’re at home more to notice the dust piling up. It produces a warm, full sound that is a pleasure to listen to.

The verdict: Marshall Emberton

The Emberton finds itself at an interesting position in the market. Its price point indicates a proper piece of audio technology, but at the lower end of the point where portable speakers become more sophisticated.

If anything, the Emberton is slightly underpriced: the sound is impressive, with only margins separating it from more expensive speakers, but it’s the characteristic design that makes it stand out from the rest. Marshall is so recognisable as a brand that anything it produces will stir strong feelings in any enthusiast, and just look cool. This is no different: from the grille, to the Blade Runner battery lights, to the brass/gold finish, this speaker looks the business, and backs it up with its sound. Turn it up to eleven.

IndyBest product reviews are unbiased, independent advice you can trust. On some occasions, we earn revenue if you click the links and buy the products, but we never allow this to bias our coverage. The reviews are compiled through a mix of expert opinion and real-world testing.

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