With its classic guitar amp looks, the Marshall Emberton is unquestionably one of the coolest speakers available right now, and it's impressive how many of the little design touches of its bigger speakers that Marshall has ported over without it becoming clunky.
And the Marshall Emberton doesn’t just look the part. Its impressive sound quality and breezy setup mean it’s not simply a case of style over substance – it stand up against the best Bluetooth speakers.
But do its relatively high price tag and list of missing features make it the right buy for you? Our review will reveal all.
Marshall Emberton review: Price & release date
At £129.99/$149.99/AU$249.99, the Emberton is fairly high for portable Bluetooth speakers. It's notably cheaper than the Sonos Roam, which offers extra features compared to the Emberton, but more expensive the likes of the UE Wonderboom 2.
It was released in September 2020 originally.
Marshall Emberton review: Design, specs and battery life
Marshall has opted to keep things simple with the Emberton, paying homage to its range of guitar amps with a near identical design. The result is a reassuringly sleek piece of kit that manages to combine effortless cool with rugged good looks.
That ruggedness is borne out in its IPX7 waterproof rating, which means it can handle being left out in the rain, or even brief immersion in your swimming pool or hot tub. It’s small – just 0.7kg and 160mm long – so it’s very easy to carry around, slipping easily into a backpack.
Featuring Bluetooth 5.0 tech, pairing the Marshall Emberton is a doddle: power it up using the large gold button on top, press the adjacent Bluetooth button and it’ll enter pairing mode so you can find it within your device’s settings. Press play and you’ll be given a blast of audio right away.
That gold button acts as a volume control and lets you skip tracks back and forth too, while a red light indicates how much battery life you have left. Marshall says the Emberton can go 20 hours between charges. We managed 19, although we tested the speaker at a higher volume, meaning it drew more power. That’s still mightily impressive for such a small device. Five hours charging will get it back to that 20 hour start point, but just 20 minutes will give you five hours, handy when you’re low on time before heading out.
Marshall Emberton review: Sound quality
Featuring two 10W drivers alongside two class D amplifiers, the Marshall Emberton delivers punchy, well-rounded sound that works especially well with classic rock, as you’d expect, as well as electronica, pop, hip-hop and more. It’s not one for audiophiles seeking lots of detail and no colouration, but it will satisfy most listeners.
Vintage Joni Mitchell sounds great, with the speaker picking out plenty of detail in the mid and high end. Bass heavy hip-hop sounds superb too, although this becomes a little less clear when you really crank up the volume. It’s a small issue, however, and one that’s unlikely to draw many complaints when used outdoors or at a party.
The promised 360º sound is better than you might expect as well, and means you can pick up aspects of songs deep within the mix wherever you are in relation to the speaker. We really noticed this with ambient tracks, such as Brian Eno’s Music For Airports album, which sounded lush and well rendered.
Marshall Emberton review: Other features
While the Marshall Emberton more than holds its own when it comes to sound quality and battery life, it falls down when it comes to other features. There is no mic for calls or ordering voice assistants around. Considering that you can get an impressive smart speaker, such as Apple’s excellent-sounding HomePod Mini, for around £99/$100, that’s a bit of a miss if you want to use the Emberton as a purely at home speaker.
Although to be fair, Marshall no doubt sees this as being for outdoor use largely – they would rather you bought one of their larger and more expensive speakers for home use, thanks. Still, a mic is a pretty standard inclusion these days.
There’s also no app, so you can’t tweak the EQ settings of the Emberton. Awesome Emberton bonus features in summary, then? There are none.
Marshall Emberton review: Verdict
With its rockin’ looks and powerful all round sound, the Marshall Emberton is a very competent portable speaker. As well as looking great, it can handle bumps, scrapes and splashes. Throw in battery life that will see you through two long days on the beach and it’s a solid option.
There is a lot of excellent competition in the compact Bluetooth speaker market, and the price tag is a little high for this size and featureset. However, with a small footprint, great sound and Marshall’s usual design approach, the Emberton is well worth inviting to your next pool party.