Marshall Emberton vs Marshall Emberton II: We put both portable speakers to the test

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Stack of Marshall Emberton speakers

(Image credit: Marshall)

1. Cyber Monday deals
2. At a glance
3. Sound
4. Features
5. Design
6. Battery life
7. Verdict

If you’ve been hunting for a portable Bluetooth speaker, then you’ve probably considered the Marshall Emberton – after all, the British guitar amp company has an outstanding reputation for manufacturing audio equipment.

But there are two versions on the Emberton now available - the original which launched in 2020, and the 2022 Emberton II, so which one should you consider buying?

In this article, I'm going to compare the Emberton with the Emberton II to help you make the right buying choice and tell you the differences between the two speakers.

Looking for more Marshall products? Then take a look at our guide to the best Marshall speakers and our pick of the best Marshall headphones.

At a glance

Marshall Emberton

  • Price: $149.99/£129.99
  • Weight: 1.5lb (0.7kg)
  • Size: 6.3 x 2.68 x 2.99in
  • Battery life: Up to 20 hours
  • Charge time: 3 hours
  • Power: 2 x 10W
  • Weatherproof rating: IPX7
  • Connectivity: Bluetooth 5.0
  • Voice assistance: No
  • Carry handle: No
  • Colours: Cream, Black, Black/Brass, Forest   

Marshall Emberton II

  • Price: $169.99/£149.99
  • Weight: 1.5lb (0.7kg)
  • Size: 6.3 x 2.68 x 2.99in
  • Battery life: Up to 30 hours
  • Charge time: 5 hours
  • Power: 2 x 10W
  • Weatherproof rating: IP67
  • Connectivity: Bluetooth 5.1
  • Voice assistance: No
  • Carry handle: No
  •  Colours: Cream, Black/Brass    

Emberton vs Emberton II: Sound

When it comes to sound quality, you’re unlikely to be disappointed with any Marshall speaker. Remember, this is a company that’s been making amplifiers used by some of the world's biggest bands for decades. I do think the Emberton II offers a better listening experience than the original Emberton, though. The soundstage is more spacious, the mid-range more detailed and the bass response deeper – probably due to the sub-woofer. The overall delivery is also warmer and more mature than the original, although I appreciate that won’t appeal to everyone’s tastes.

How Marshall’s audio technicians have managed to improve the sound - and also make the speaker slightly louder - while keeping most of the internal technology the same is anyone’s guess. But that’s exactly what they’ve done and it’s elevated the Marshall Emberton II to another level.

Emberton vs Emberton II: Features

Marshall Emberton

(Image credit: Marshall)

There really isn’t much to separate the two products here. Both the Emberton and the Emberton II are stereo speakers that pack two full range drivers, two class D amps and two passive bass radiators, with both delivering 2 x 10W of power. The one fairly significant difference under the bonnet is that the Marshall Emberton II contains a sub-woofer while the original Emberton doesn’t. 

There are similarities in other areas, too. Both Emberton Bluetooth speakers will pair to two devices at once, meaning you and a friend can each stream music to them without the other having to disconnect. Both units can also be powered by their rechargeable internal battery or via USB-C, which is also how the speakers are charged.

One advantage the Emberton II does have over its the original portable speaker is that it connects to the Marshall Bluetooth app. This lets you adjust the sound using a variety of presets, and even pair the speaker with two or more other Marshall units via Stack mode. The second-generation Emberton also supports a more up-to-date version of Bluetooth (5.1 as opposed to the Emberton’s 5.0), which results in considerably better range. 

Emberton vs Emberton II: Design

Again, there's very little to distinguish these two Marshall speakers from one another. Their dimensions and weight are identical, with both speakers measuring 6.3 x 2.68 x 2.99in/160 x 68 x 76mm and tipping the scales at 1.5lb/0.7kg.

This means they’re small and light enough to be held in one hand, which is just as well as, surprisingly, neither comes with a carry strap. They both sport Marshall’s iconic solid metal grille and logo. And they have the same physical controls at the top – namely, a multi-directional knob that serves as a power switch, play/pause button, track skipper and volume adjuster, plus a Bluetooth pairing button and a small battery indicator. Neither model supports voice control.

The only real differences come in the choice of colours available. The original is available in Cream, Black, Black/Brass or Forest, while the Emberton II is restricted to just Cream and Black/Brass), and the fact that the later speaker feels slightly more robust. 

The Emberton II actually is more resilient, its IP67 weatherproof rating representing an improvement on the Emberton’s IPX7 score (essentially, they can both be submersed under a metre of water for up to 30 minutes, but the Emberton isn’t dust-proof like its younger sibling.

Emberton vs Emberton II: Battery life

Marshall Emberton II

(Image credit: Marshall)

Battery life in a portable speaker is one of the biggest considerations and while both  Emberton speakers have many similar traits, longevity isn’t one of them. The Marshall Emberton II easily wins in this category, its 30 hours of listening time trouncing the 20 hours offered by the earlier model. 

The original Emberton does mitigate this somewhat with a shorter charging time, though, topping up in three hours as opposed to the Emberton II’s rather sluggish 4.9 hours. 

Emberton vs Emberton II: Verdict

Marshall hasn’t exactly reinvented the wheel with its second-generation Emberton portable Bluetooth speaker, but the improvements are sufficient enough to make it the obvious choice when deciding between them – especially when you consider the Emberton II isn't significantly more expensive than the original.

That said, the Marshall Emberton II comes in just two different colours, so if you’re looking for something to match your furniture/picnic accessories, you might have more luck with the 2020 edition - although it's entirely possible Marshall have a few colour variations up their sleeves to be revealed at a future date.

Whichever Emberton you plump for, it’ll come with Marshall’s seal of quality, and that alone should make it worthy of your cash.

Paul Dimery

Paul has spent the past eight years testing and writing about gadgets and technology for the likes of Louder, T3 and TechRadar. He might not have the wealth or the looks of Tony Stark, but when it comes to knowing about the latest cool kit, Paul would surely give Iron-Man a run for his money. As for his musical leanings, Paul likes everything from Weyes Blood to Nirvana. If it's got a good melody, he's on board with it.