Marshall Emberton II portable speaker test: another version without taking risks

Marshall is syncing with the arrival of sunny days to draw two new Bluetooth speakers, including the Emberton II, which we welcome as part of this test. This second version was launched at € 169 on May 3, 2022 (ie € 20 more than the launch price of the first version), and this second version pretty much incorporates the special features of the Emberton with a few additions that primarily pertain to the speaker user experience: support for the Marshall Bluetooth application is the coupling of several similar speakers, autonomy of more than 30 hours and the transition to IP67 certification the most important new features on paper.

At first glance, the difference between the two versions of the Emberton is not obvious: If we notice very discreet aesthetic nuances, the two portable speakers together are made of the same shape. The rubberized non-slip surface, which makes it easier to grip the speaker and gives it greater resistance to shocks and scratches, is still present and it is still possible to remove it if necessary. Emberton II still enjoys a very good manufacturing quality and a level of finish that is, so to speak, impeccable, and is just as robust and waterproof as its big sister. Nothing to say at this point.

The USB-C port is used exclusively for recharging the speaker: complete drying will of course be required after immersion if you want to use it.

The USB-C port is used exclusively for recharging the speaker: complete drying will of course be required after immersion if you want to use it.

No change was made on the connection page. It is therefore always necessary to be satisfied with the wireless connection via Bluetooth, the only way to listen to the content, but one can in a way be comforted by the presence of the multipoint function that allows two source devices to be connected simultaneously to the enclosure. Nevertheless, there are more things to put in your mouth in terms of functionality … even if you should not expect too much. Emberton II is actually now supported by Marshall Bluetooth, an application that is certainly fluid, simple, but too concise. This gives access to three equalization profiles, without any possibility of extensive customization, and facilitates the handling of the “Stack” function, which now allows several Emberton IIs to be linked together (only to multiply the effect, and only on Emberton II ). A view of the current reading and battery level is also offered, but it stops there.

The interaction with the cabinet always takes place without the great complexity, once one has understood the operation of the joystick located on the top and “tamed” the small latency that accompanies each interaction with the controls. This latency also exists to some extent depending on the source selected, but benefits from adequate compensation if you go through a mobile video streaming application.

Sound and light indications, some particularly explicit, are again integrated to best support the user.

Sound and light indications, some particularly explicit, are again integrated to best support the user.

There is also a new side of autonomy. While its big sister was already generous with its 20 hours of use per. charging at a relatively moderate volume, the Emberton II has the luxury of promising up to 30 hours of listening. In practice, it failed to reach this value under these conditions, but the speaker still lasted more than about 22 hours, which is still an excellent result. It is possible to approach the promised 30 hours by remaining very wise on the volume, at a sufficient level for e.g. close listening indoors.

Of course, we expected the Emberton II to correct the sound errors in the first version at the turn, but unfortunately it will not be this time. Marshall’s portable speaker retains the same sound architecture as its predecessor, namely two full-range speakers + passive radiator pairs located on the front and back of the speaker respectively (where the grilles are located).

The resulting listening experience is very similar between the two speakers, whether it’s general sound, direction, distortion handling or even stereophonic reproduction (always quite curious with this “True Stereophonic” design), although we feel the manufacturer has made a light adjustment with respect to frequency response.

Frequency response measurements: with listening profile

Frequency response measurements: with “Marshall” listening profile (normal), push profile (red), voice (gray)

To synthesize, the Emberton II offers a relatively colorful rendering, especially oriented towards the upper end of the spectrum, and which therefore turns out to be lively, sharp and hard-hitting … but still lacks subtlety and softness. Therefore, it can sometimes be a little aggressive at moderate volume (depending on the content being listened to). The reproduction gradually hardens and even becomes abrasive when you push the cabinet to its limits. However, if the Emberton II offers deep bass and a good bass given its volume (although sometimes a little intrusive), it shows a slight difference in the processing between bass and midrange.

Harmonic Distortion Rate measurements: normalization to 79 dB SPL (red) and 83 dB SPL (purple).  Emberton II has a very good power reserve, unfortunately not very useful due to the increase in distortion, the crushing of the dynamics and the aggressive sound of more ...

Harmonic Distortion Rate measurements: normalization to 79 dB SPL (red) and 83 dB SPL (purple). Emberton II has a very nice reserve of power, unfortunately not very useful due to the increase in distortion, the crushing of the dynamics and the increasingly dominant aggressive sound (which, incidentally, is accompanied by a gradual bass decay).

The small hole at this edge further enhances the original “punchy” sound. On the power side, for the same reasons as those mentioned at the first of the name (namely the increase in distortion), the Emberton II will show its best face as long as we limit ourselves to 50/60% of the listening volume. , a sufficient reserve to listen to your music in a good-sized room or nearby outdoors. As for the rendering of the sound scene, it behaves almost identically to its predecessor: we therefore recommend you read the article dedicated to it if you want to know more.

Measurement of frequency response (signal is sent only on the left channel): measuring microphone in the axis of the cabinet (black), cabinet located at 45 ° (blue), at 90 °.

Measurement of frequency response (signal is sent only on the left channel): measuring microphone in the axis of the cabinet (black), cabinet located at 45 ° (blue), at 90 °.

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