I have previously reviewed the excellent Marshall Emberton II. It is a beautiful speaker (as far as these things can be), durable, waterproof and has an impressive sound for its diminutive size.
The new Marshall Middleton builds up that and takes things to the next level with a larger body that allows Marshal to have two 20w woofer amps and two 10w tweeter amps in comparison to the two 10W full-range amps of the Emberton.
Yes, it’s bigger and more expensive, but it is so much better than its smaller brother and probably the best portable speaker I have reviewed.
|Marshall Middleton Bluetooth Wireless Portable Speaker, 20+...||£269.62||Buy on Amazon|
Specification / Features
- Driver: Dynamic
- Design: Sealed with passive radiator
- Frequency Range: 50 Hz-20,000 Hz
- Two 3″ 15W woofers
- Two 3/5” 10W tweeters
- Two passive radiators
- Two 20 Watt Class D amplifiers for the woofers
- Two 10 Watt Class D amplifiers for the tweeters
- Controls: Fine-tune your music using the analogue controls on your speaker
- Sound Pressure Level: 87 dB SPL @ 1 m
- Battery: 20+ hours
- USB- C, 4.5 hours
- 20 minutes charge gives 2 hours of playtime
- Wired Connectivity: 3.5 mm Input
- Microphone: No
- Bluetooth: 5.1
- Codecs: SBC
- IP Rating: IP67
- Dimensions: 109 x 230 x 95 mm
- Weight: 1.8 kg
Marshall Middleton Review: Design
The Marshall Middleton is basically just the Emberton but bigger. It is designed to be reminiscent of Marshall’s guitar amplifier heads. Technically, it’s just a black rectangular cuboid like most other speakers, but it somehow looks significantly better than most other speakers on the market.
While this is considerably larger than the Emberton, I find it is a good size that is easily portable, and the size it produces defies its sound. I looked at some other well-reviewed mid to large speakers for comparison. The more powerful Motion Boom Plus is massive, the less powerful Motion Boom is also larger and heavier. The Soundcore Motion X600 I just reviewed is also bigger and heavier, yet less powerful.
The rugged rubberized casing and IP67 rating means I can use it anywhere with little concern. It should easily handle being dropped or thrown around a little, and it is not going to scratch easily. You can drop it in water worry, but I’d recommend drying out the power port before charging as it is not protected by a rubber cap.
On the top of the speaker are the controls with a brass-coloured multi-directional button in the centre that works for volume, skipping tracks, and the button part is power and play/pause.
You then have buttons for EQ control on the speaker itself, which is handy so you don’t have to go into the Marshal app to adjust the settings.
You then have the Bluetooth pairing button, which is used if you want to pair speakers together or stacking as Marshall calls it.
One minor gripe is that the labels on the buttons are not particularly easy to read.
On the back of the speaker are the USB-C and 3.5mm ports.
This is just about big enough for me to grip in my hand, but the design is less comfortable to hold than speakers with a built-in handle. Marshal came up with a simple solution; they included a sturdy rubber carry strap that attaches to the speaker. It is a cheap and simple solution that doesn’t increase the footprint of the speaker vs a proper handle.
Marshall Middleton Review: Set Up / App
This works just the same as the Emberton. For Android, as soon as you power it up, you will be greeted with a pop-up and pair dialogue. As I already had the Marshal app installed, there was not much else I had to do.
The app has three pre-set EQ options, but I found that the default Marshall EQ was the best.
Marshall Middleton Review: Sound Quality
I reviewed this at the same time as the new Anker Soundcore Motion X600. I used the Motion X600 first, and I was really impressed with its performance, but when I tried the Marshall Middleton, I was blown away by how much more capable it was.
In particular, this speaker produces significantly better bass than the Motion X600, and the speaker was easily able to produce an enjoyable room-filling sound in my large kitchen diner.
With genres like hip hop and electronica, this is capable of producing bass that will easily outclass larger speakers and is able to do this at quite high volumes without the distortion you’d get from a lot of portable speakers.
It is not all bass, though, the sound is well-balanced, and the bass doesn’t muddy the other frequencies.
While the Soundcore added an upwards-facing driver to create spatial sound, Marshal has stuck with the basics and developed what they call True Stereophonic, which is apparently a unique form of multi-directional stereo sound from Marshall to deliver the ultimate immersive experience wherever you roam.
I wouldn’t go as far as calling it the ultimate immersive experience, but the soundstage is certainly better than most portable speakers you will be used to. With the speaker facing directly at me, I can definitely make out the differences between the left and right.
Just to nit-pick at something, this is limited to the SBC codec, but I don’t feel like you miss out on much hear, it still sounds better than the Soundcore Motion X600 with its LDAC codec.
Marshall Middleton Review: Battery
I noted that on the specification sheet, the 5V/1A charge speeds of this are slower than the Emberton, which has an input of 5V/3A. I can’t say this has had any impact on my usage, but it means that 20 minutes charge gives 2 hours of playtime vs 4 hours on the Emberton.
This also has a shorter playtime than the Emberton, which is understandable due to the higher power amplification, but it is still a respectable 20+ hours.
I found myself listening to this speaker quite a lot, and I have depleted the battery, but I didn’t time it as I tend to listen in small bursts. With my using it in a larger room, most of the time, it was probably under the 20 hours claim, but that’s typical if you listen to over 50% volume. I’d say at a moderate volume you’d get close to 20 hours, and this seems to be the most common battery life for decent speakers.
Marshall Middleton Price and Alternative Options
|Marshall Middleton Bluetooth Wireless Portable Speaker, 20+...||£269.62||Buy on Amazon|
The Marshall Middleton is priced at around £270 and is available from Marshal and Amazon.
Marshall also has several other portable speakers worth considering, but this sits at the top of the pack for their waterproof, rugged portable speakers:
- Emberton II is £150 but much smaller and has less power. Handy for portability, but the Middleton is well worth the extra.
- Sockwell for £190 less power and not as durable
- Kilburn II for £280 – Heavier and less durable but louder, even though the amps are less powerful. This also has aptX for higher-quality audio.
- Tufton for £390 – Much more power with 80W from the amps and a much higher sound pressure level. Less durable and weighs more than double the Middleton.
I have not used most of the above, but I think the Marshall Middleton is the stand-out option for most people. You have a good balance of performance, price, portability and durability.
As for alternative options, there is nothing quite like this, in my opinion. I think if you are buying Marshall, you are also interested in the aesthetics they offer.
For mid to large speakers, there are not many good-looking options.
The Anker Soundcore Motion X600 is worth considering, I don’t think it sounds as good, but it is quite a bit cheaper and is attractive.
The Soundcore Motion Boom Plus is considerably cheaper and more powerful but is ugly in comparison. This is also massive and weighs about 500g more than the Marshal.
The Tribit StormBox Blast is cheaper, louder and a popular recommendation on Reddit, but it has a similar function over form boom box design the Soundcore speaker has. This is double the weight of the Motion Boom Plus, making it nearly 3kg bigger than the Marshal, so it is not really a comparable speaker.
I love the Marshall Middleton, and it is easily the best Bluetooth speaker I have reviewed in a long time. I am probably a bit biased as it fits my personal needs, I prefer these slightly larger Bluetooth speakers as I want room, or garden, filling sound, and I don’t need something to be ultraportable.
For me, this has a perfect balance of size and performance. It is smaller and lighter than many other mid-sized portable speakers, yet it produces louder volume and superior sound quality to many of them.
For people that want the best value for money, this might not be quite it. I think it is a bit overpriced. There is generally a premium you pay for the Marshall name, but in return, you get a portable speaker in an attractive and iconic design which I am sure many people will be happy to pay for.
Marshall Middleton Bluetooth Speaker Review Rating
I love the Marshall Middleton, and it is easily the best Bluetooth speaker I have reviewed in a long time. For me, this has a perfect balance of size and performance. It is smaller and lighter than many other mid-sized portable speakers, yet it produces louder volume and superior sound quality to many of them. It is a bit overpriced, you are paying a premium not just for the sound quality for the design, build quality and then, of course, the Marshall name.
Overall - 95%
- Outstanding sound quality for its relatively small size
- Attractive rugged design with IP67
- Expensive vs the competition
I am James, a UK-based tech enthusiast and the creative mind behind Mighty Gadget, which I’ve proudly run since 2007. Passionate about all things technology, my expertise spans from computers and networking, to mobile, wearables, and smart home devices.
As a fitness fanatic who loves running and cycling, I also have a keen interest in fitness-related technology, and I take every opportunity to cover this niche on my blog. My diverse interests allow me to bring a unique perspective to tech blogging, merging lifestyle, fitness, and the latest tech trends.
In my academic pursuits, I earned a BSc in Information Systems Design from UCLAN, before advancing my learning with a Master’s Degree in Computing. This advanced study also included Cisco CCNA accreditation, further demonstrating my commitment to understanding and staying ahead of the technology curve.
I’m proud to share that Vuelio has consistently ranked Mighty Gadget as one of the top technology blogs in the UK. With my dedication to technology and drive to share my insights, I aim to continue providing my readers with engaging and informative content.
Last update on 2023-12-04 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API