Only one speaker model was missing from Marshall: the ultraportable. With Willen coming out in the coming days and which “20 Minutes” could preview, the manufacturer of stage amps closes the loop between the impressive Woburn II Bluetooth speaker for the living room and Tufton’s portable patio.
Manufacturing quality, nice finish
Or a small almost square speaker in the format 101.6 x 100.5 x 40.4 mm, and weighs 310 grams. What is pleasant about unpacking, of course, is the respect for the brand’s aesthetic codes guitar heroes. Here, the textured imitation leather upholstery found on the manufacturer’s more massive units makes room for a thick plastic that enables Willen to withstand small bumps. The material is also very comfortable in the hand.
The usual metal grille that surpasses the individual speaker in the cabinet (a 2-inch transducer, supported by passive radiators), provides space for a plastic imitation, but the illusion is almost perfect. Even the Marshall logo, traditionally in brass and also in plastic, is misleading.
Still, the product gives an impression of quality, with nice finishes and never reveals the good image we have of the manufacturer. And importantly: Marshall says it is made without PCV and made from 60% recycled plastic. These would be from old electronic devices. There may be particles of smartphone, internet box or computer in the small brand new cabinet …
Great sound for this size
Willen works in Bluetooth 5.1 and is multipoint. This assumes that it can be connected to two separate audio sources (such as a smartphone and a laptop), without having to perform a new pairing by switching source. Optional: Use the speaker with the Marshall Bluetooth app to take advantage of three different compensation suggestions. Relevant for more massive equipment, with a sound that provides more power than Willens (10 watts), this equalizer has only a very limited power here.
Still, if it’s mono, the little speaker scatters a rather surprising sound considering its small size. The Marshall sound signature is definitely there, with a rich, balanced, tonic rendering that gives enough roundness not to give the impression of lacking bass.
We utilized Willen for a long time, with various musical registers, old and new, to appreciate its quality. Pieces like Pass Pass from The JB’s (jazz funk); Ani Kuni from Polo & Pan (electro) or the brand new one Age of anxiety of Arcade Fire (pop) … gives a good idea of Willen’s possibilities with a sound that can slam, assert some bass, highlight the vocals. In short, to seduce the eardrums.
Powerful hands-free set
We also really appreciated its little joystick on the front. This allows you to pause a song, to increase or decrease the volume, but also to go to the next or previous song. Or even answer a call. By integrating a microphone, the Willen works as a hands-free set with very clear sound reproduction. Asked during telephone conversations, our various interlocutors confirmed that they heard us perfectly.
With its back strap (in the form of a large rubber band), the new speaker can be attached almost anywhere. The test commits, it perfectly held the shock that was riveted to the handlebars of our bike during a city trip of a few kilometers. Waterproof (IP67 standard), it can withstand dust and even immersion up to one meter. As for its autonomy, Marshall advertises about fifteen hours, but we managed to surpass them by listening at moderate volume.
It is therefore difficult to mistake Willen. Sold for 99 euros, it can be compared to Soundlink Micro from Bose (129 euros), Clip 4 from JBL (59 euros), or even Boomster Go from Teufel (79 euros). But we are waiting for the next JBL Clip 5 to find out which one will be the best!