Marshall Emberton II portable speaker test: a risk-free second version

Marshall Emberton II portable speaker test: a risk-free second version

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Marshall is synchronizing with the arrival of the sunny days to design two new Bluetooth speakers, including the Emberton II that we welcome as part of this test. Released at € 169 on May 3, 2022 (€ 20 more than the starting price of the first version), this second edition largely covers the features of the Emberton with a few additions mainly related to the speaker user experience: support for Marshall Bluetooth application, pairing of many similar speakers, over 30 hours of autonomy and switching to IP67 certification are the main new features on paper.

At first glance, the difference between the two versions of Emberton is not obvious: if we note very discreet aesthetic shades, overall, the two portable speakers are made of the same mold. The non-slip rubber surface, which makes it easier to grip the speaker and provides greater resistance to vibration and scratches, still exists and it is still possible to disconnect it if necessary. The Emberton II still enjoys a very good build quality and a level of finish that is so flawless, and is as sturdy and waterproof as its big sister. There is nothing to say at this point.

The USB-C port is used exclusively to recharge the speaker: it will obviously require complete drying after immersion if you want to use it.

The USB-C port is used exclusively to recharge the speaker: it will obviously require complete drying after immersion if you want to use it.

On the connection side, no changes have been made. Therefore, it is always necessary to be satisfied with the wireless connection via Bluetooth, the only means of listening to its contents, but one can somehow be comforted by the presence of multi-point function, allowing the connection of two source devices simultaneously with the housing. However, there is more to be said in terms of features… even if we do not have to wait long. Emberton II is actually supported by Marshall Bluetooth, an application that is definitely fluid, simple, but very comprehensive. This gives access to three balancing profiles, without any extensive customization, and makes it easy to operate the “Stack” function, now allowing multiple Emberton IIs to be paired (for power multiplication only in Emberton II). There is also an indication of the current display and battery level, but it stops there.

The interaction with the housing is always done without much complexity, once you have understood the function of the joystick located on the upper surface and “tame” the small delay that follows each interaction with the controls. This delay is also detected to some degree depending on the source selected, but you benefit from adequate compensation if you switch to a mobile video streaming application.

Audio and light indicators, some very clear, are re-integrated for better user support.

Audio and light indicators, some very clear, are re-integrated for better user support.

There is also a new side to autonomy. While its big sister was already generous with 20 hours of use per charge at relatively moderate listening volume, the Emberton II can afford to promise up to 30 hours of listening. In practice, we were not able to reach this value under these conditions, but the loudspeaker still lasted more than about 22 hours, which is still a great result. It is possible to approach the promised 30 hours, while remaining very wise in listening volume, at a level sufficient for close listening, for example indoors.

Obviously we were expecting the Emberton II in the turn to correct the sound defects of the first version, but unfortunately it will not be for this time. The Marshall portable speaker maintains the same sound architecture as its predecessor, namely two pairs of full range + passive cooler speakers located on the front and back of the speaker (where the grilles are located) respectively.

The resulting listening experience is very similar between the two speakers, either in terms of overall sound, directionality, distortion management or even stereo playback (always weird with this “True Stereophonic” design), even if we think the manufacturer has made a slight adjustment to the frequency response.

Frequency response measurements: with listening profile

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

To compose, Emberton II offers a relatively colorful reproduction, highly oriented towards the top of the spectrum, which therefore proves to be lively, sharp and hard… but still lacks subtlety and softness. Therefore, it can sometimes be a little aggressive at moderate volume (depending on the content being heard). The performance gradually hardens and becomes even exhausting when you push the housing to its limits. While the Emberton II offers deep bass and a nice base given its volume (even though it’s a bit annoying at times), it still shows a slight difference in processing between the bass and mid-range.

Harmonic rate deformation measurements: normalized to 79 dB SPL (red) and 83 dB SPL (purple).  The Emberton II has a very good stock of power, unfortunately not very usable due to the increased deformation, the crushing of the dynamics and the aggressive sound of more ...

Harmonic rate deformation measurements: normalized to 79 dB SPL (red) and 83 dB SPL (purple). The Emberton II has a very nice stock of power, unfortunately not very usable due to the increased distortion, the crushing of the dynamics and the increasingly dominant offensive sound (which is accompanied by the gradual reduction of the bass).

The slight concave in this contour further enhances the original “perforated” sound. In terms of power, for the same reasons as those mentioned in the first name (ie the rise of distortion), the Emberton II will show its best face as long as we limit ourselves to 50/60% of the listening volume. , a sufficient stock to listen to your music in a well-sized room or in the nearby countryside. As for the reproduction of the audio stage, it behaves almost identically to its predecessor: therefore we advise you to read the article dedicated to it if you want to learn more.

Measurement of frequency response (signal is sent to the left channel only): measuring microphone on the housing shaft (black), housing mounted at 45 ° (blue), at 90 °.

Measurement of frequency response (signal is sent to the left channel only): measuring microphone on the housing shaft (black), housing mounted at 45 ° (blue), at 90 °.

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