"Iconic design meets superior sound in a highly portable Bluetooth speaker."

  • 20 hour battery

  • Warm and rich stereo sound

  • Iconic design

  • 360 degree sound pattern

  • IPX7 waterproof

  • Expensive

  • No aux line-in

  • No speakerphone

  • Stereo or multi-speaker pair not possible

There are now so many Bluetooth speakers that one trend can no longer be distinguished from another. Digital Trends had to take a step back to review each new model. There is simply not enough time to complete this gigantic task.

However, we always keep our eyes peeled for Bluetooth speakers that manage to stand out from the crowd.

Marshall's new $ 150 Emberton is certainly apt, if not in a good way: it's much more expensive than similarly featured portable speakers.

Can Marshall Justify the Price of the Emberton? Let's take a look.

What's in the box?

Marshall EmbertonSimon Cohen / Digital Trends

The Marshall Emberton comes in a simple cardboard box. With the exception of a tiny piece of polyethylene film to protect the speaker, the packaging (and the paper documentation provided) can be easily recycled.

Inside is the speaker and a four-foot USB-C charging cable – which is longer than most.

design

Marshall Emberton "class =" m-Karussell - Bild dt-lazy-no "src =" https://icdn2.digitaltrends.com/image/digitaltrends/marshall-emberton-00003-640x640.jpg "srcset =" https: / /www.digitaltrends.com/data:image/gif;base64,https://www.digitaltrends.com/R0lGODlhAQABAIAAAAAAAP///yH5BAEAAAAALAAAAAABAAEAAAIBRAA7Simon Cohen / Digital Trends

Marshall Emberton "class =" m-Karussell - Bild dt-lazy-no "src =" https://icdn3.digitaltrends.com/image/digitaltrends/marshall-emberton-00004-640x640.jpg "srcset =" https: / /www.digitaltrends.com/data:image/gif;base64,https://www.digitaltrends.com/R0lGODlhAQABAIAAAAAAAP///yH5BAEAAAAALAAAAAABAAEAAAIBRAA7Simon Cohen / Digital Trends

Marshall Emberton "class =" m-Karussell - Bild dt-lazy-no "src =" https://icdn4.digitaltrends.com/image/digitaltrends/marshall-emberton-00007-640x640.jpg "srcset =" https: / /www.digitaltrends.com/data:image/gif;base64,https://www.digitaltrends.com/R0lGODlhAQABAIAAAAAAAP///yH5BAEAAAAALAAAAAABAAEAAAIBRAA7Simon Cohen / Digital Trends

Marshall designs all Bluetooth speakers to look like miniature versions of the famous British guitar amplifiers that bear the distinctive Marshall logo, and the Emberton is no exception.

Despite the fact that the Emberton Marshalls is the smallest speaker to date, the company managed his proportions perfectly.

Whether you're sitting on a dormitory bookshelf, kitchen counter, or patio table, this speaker has miles of authentic rock and roll style to it.

With its silver diamond grille speaker grille and heavy, black rubberized housing, the Emberton looks like it has a guitar input jack somewhere (unfortunately not).

What it has is a single gold colored control panel, an LED power meter, and a bluetooth pairing button. A USB-C charging port on the right is the only input. It is used exclusively for power supply and not for playback.

The back isn't a cladding at all – it's another speaker grille. This is your first clue that the Emberton doesn't quite match most of the other bluetooth speakers you can find on Amazon.

At 24.6 ounces, it has quite a bit of weight despite its small size. That's probably a result of the battery Marshall used, but it also gives the Emberton a feel of real substance.

I like this, although you can comfortably carry it in one hand, it doesn't look or feel like a toy either.

The Emberton focuses effortlessly on its mission and is effortless to set up and use.

One small criticism: like many other ultraportable speakers, the Emberton could have benefited from a carrying handle or strap. I realize this would have taken some of the amp-inspired look away from it, but sometimes function has to take shape.

Controls, connections and ease of use

Marshall Emberton "class =" m-Karussell - Bild dt-lazy-no "src =" https://icdn5.digitaltrends.com/image/digitaltrends/marshall-emberton-00009-640x640.jpg "srcset =" https: / /www.digitaltrends.com/data:image/gif;base64,https://www.digitaltrends.com/R0lGODlhAQABAIAAAAAAAP///yH5BAEAAAAALAAAAAABAAEAAAIBRAA7Simon Cohen / Digital Trends

Marshall Emberton "class =" m-Karussell - Bild dt-lazy-no "src =" https://icdn6.digitaltrends.com/image/digitaltrends/marshall-emberton-00011-640x640.jpg "srcset =" https: / /www.digitaltrends.com/data:image/gif;base64,https://www.digitaltrends.com/R0lGODlhAQABAIAAAAAAAP///yH5BAEAAAAALAAAAAABAAEAAAIBRAA7Simon Cohen / Digital Trends

The Emberton, similar to its big brother, the Tufton, does one thing and only one thing: you can connect a single Bluetooth source like a phone or tablet and play your favorite music.

Your other devices won't charge, it won't work as a speakerphone, you can't talk to Siri or Google Assistant, and you can't connect a non-Bluetooth device like an older iPod through an AUX input.

Yes, these would all be useful things, but once you focus on your mission, the Emberton is effortless to set up and use.

A long press on the large control panel turns on the speaker. If the bluetooth pairing mode doesn't go into immediately (which you can tell by the flashing red light above the bluetooth button), a long press on the bluetooth button will get you there.

Simply select the Emberton from the available Bluetooth devices on the control panel of your phone and off you go.

From there, open the music app of your choice (or a video app) and start playing.

The Emberton control panel takes over all important functions: play / pause, skip tracks forwards / backwards and increase / decrease volume. Like a well-designed game controller, the action of the pad is smooth, effortless, and tactile, with a quiet but noticeable click for each command.

I wish it had two functions: multi-speaker pairing for stereo through two speakers … and bluetooth multipoint.

The 10-segment LED power meter gives a quick, yet very precise overview of how much juice is left. I prefer other systems that use voice feedback or force you to consult your phone.

As much as I don't mind that Emberton focuses on just being a great bluetooth speaker, I wish it had two functions: multi-speaker pairing for stereo through two speakers (or just multiple speakers) and bluetooth Multipoint You can pair two Bluetooth sources at the same time.

JBL has been offering its products with multiple speakers for some time. This is a great way to upgrade the capabilities of such a portable speaker at low cost.

robustness

The Marshall Emberton is rated IPX7, which means you can do pretty much anything you want to do with water exposure, including full immersion, as long as you don't push it too deep below the surface.

But the X in IPX7 means it's not designed for dust and dirt. As much as the Emberton may be an ideal poolside buddy, I don't recommend it for the beach or anywhere else where it could be exposed to a lot of small particles.

Marshall doesn't claim the Emberton's ability to survive a fall, but judging by its thick rubber skin and sheltered corners, I appreciate that it can handle minor mishaps with ease – and maybe even some major ones.

Battery life

Marshall EmbertonJBL Flip 5 (above) and Marshall Emberton Simon Cohen / Digital Trends

Most portable Bluetooth speakers have a battery life of between 10 and 12 hours. To achieve significantly more, you'll need to spend at least $ 150 – which is no coincidence that the Emberton is paid for.

How can I suggest that the tiny, battery-powered Marshall Emberton deliver room-filling sound? Because it is so.

It can run for 20 hours on a full charge, and get another five hours on a 20 minute quick charge.

To put that in perspective, the popular $ 120 JBL Flip 5, which is similar in size, shape and features to the Emberton, can only last 12 hours – also with The $ 100 SRS-XB23 from Sony and the $ 150 Ultimate Ears Boom 3.

Sound quality

Marshall EmbertonSimon Cohen / Digital Trends

We use the term “room-filling sound” fairly liberally when we talk about speakers. When it comes to a product like the Sonos One, the Bose Smart Speaker 500 or the Pantheone I, this term applies in spades. So how can I suggest that the relatively small, battery-operated Marshall Emberton should provide room-filling sound?

Because it is so.

Thanks to its stereo drivers, each driven by a special 10 watt amplifier for a total of 20 watts of power, the Emberton can produce a really surprising amount of sound.

But it's not just loud – it's big. Place the Emberton in the front of your listening room and it creates an admirable balance between lows, mids and highs. This is something that other portable bluetooth speakers struggle with, especially at higher volume levels.

The JBL Flip 5 can get louder than the Emberton, but when it approaches its maximum setting, bass and treble march away from each other, leaving the midrange in a barren desert.

In contrast, the Emberton can maintain sound quality much better without distorting or becoming painfully sharp. At the same time, this little black box gets a real feeling of warmth – another area where portable speakers usually fall short.

The stereo separation isn't perfect – there's about four inches or less between the drivers, after all – but it's pretty decent. Much more notable is the ability to distribute sound evenly in a room.

The best way to appreciate this is to sit the Emberton in the middle of a room, or better yet, in the middle of a patio. With its double grille openings, it delivers almost a 360-degree sound field and practically guarantees that there is no bad seat in the room (or in the backyard).

Our opinion

While $ 150 is the most expensive for a highly compact Bluetooth speaker like the Emberton, it delivers the goods when it comes to sound quality and battery life, and it's difficult to evaluate Marshall's iconic guitar amp style.

Is there a better alternative?

I haven't found a $ 150 portable speaker that matches the Emberton's unique combination of style and sound, but for the same price Ultimate Ears Boom 3 is definitely worth a look. It doesn't work on stereo and its battery only lasts 15 hours, but its 360 speaker design sounds great, it's beach-worthy with dust resistance, and it can be put into party mode to play with the other Bluetooth speakers from Ultimate Ears synchronize.

How long it will take?

Zounds Industries – the company that licenses the Marshall name for consumer audio products – gives the Emberton a one-year warranty, which is standard on this type of device. Given how well the Emberton is built, you will likely use it for many years to come, even if the built-in battery gradually loses its full 20 hour life.

Should you buy it?

Yes. Despite some limitations, the Marshall Emberton is a great sounding and good looking portable bluetooth speaker with exceptional battery life.

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