When you hear the name “Marshall,” you automatically think “awesome guitar amps.” Indeed, Marshall makes some of the best guitar amplifiers the world has ever known. But, the amp is only half of the equation.
The speakers that Marshall uses for their amps also play a significant role. So, it is not that surprising that Marshall would enter into the world of home audio solutions. After all, they know what sounds good and how to deliver it.
The latest offering from Marshall in the arena of personal audio is the Kilburn II Portable Bluetooth Speaker. It is the second iteration of a similar design, the Kilburn I.
So, is this speaker an improvement on the original Kilburn? And more importantly, is this speaker worthy of the Marshall name?
Well, you are about to find out all about it in our in-depth Marshall Kilburn II Review…
Right from the start, you can see this speaker delivers a high-quality construction. It does not look or feel flimsy in any way. Furthermore, it isn’t heavy, which is important for portability. In fact, it weighs just five-and-a-half pounds.
The appearance is similar to the look of a smaller Marshall combo amp. It features a sleek black vinyl casing and is toughened up with flush-mounted corner caps. These add an extra layer of protection and durability.
To round out the look, this speaker has an all-metal grille. And of course, it is emblazoned with the iconic Marshall logo.
A little extra…
There is an additional feature that helps enhance both portability and durability. This speaker is water-resistant with an IPX2 rating. Keep in mind this is not the same as water-proof.
However, this little speaker won’t be fussed with drops of water or even a little rain. This does help in the portability department since accidental spills won’t wreck it. Just don’t drop t in the pool.
Stepping in style…
One feature we really enjoyed is the carrying strap. It’s not your average handle, either. We are talking about a Marshall product, so we should expect there will be some style.
Rather than some bulky plastic handle, this is an actual soft black leather strap. Almost like… a guitar strap.
Plus, the underside is a lovely red velvet. And it is fastened to sides with gold-finished guitar strap pins. Sweet!
While this speaker is stylish and durable, it is certainly not versatile. At least in terms of connectivity.
This is our biggest disappointment with the Marshall Kilburn II. Unfortunately, the only way to connect to this speaker is via Bluetooth.
Don’t get us wrong; this is a great Bluetooth 5.0 apt connection. It works with a range of up to 30 feet and maintains a solid signal.
But, only Bluetooth? We expected at least a 3.5mm AUX input or a headphones jack. But there are some who won’t be bothered by this. It’s true many people now have their entire music catalog on their phones.
Bluetooth with a twist?
As we said, the only connection this speaker offers is Bluetooth. However, Marshall did decide to throw in a feature that makes up for the limited connectivity options.
Included with this speaker is the Multi-Host function. This lets you connect to two different Bluetooth devices at the same time.
That’s pretty cool, in our opinion. Perhaps not enough to compensate for the lack of connections, but still cool.
Since this is billed as a great portable speaker, it uses a rechargeable lithium-ion battery. It does require an adapter cord to charge from an electrical socket. Thankfully, this is included with the speaker. Thank you, Marshall!
What makes this battery so special is its longevity. On only a single charge, you will get more than 20 hours of your favorite jams.
Likewise, to fully charge this speaker takes only two and a half hours. Additionally, with just fifteen minutes of charging, you get three hours of playtime. And there is a battery level indicator light on the top panel.
For this speaker, the controls are simple and easy to use. We do really enjoy the spare controls. And we found they’re quite intuitive when it comes to finding your sound.
There are only three control knobs. Again they resemble the knobs on a Marshall guitar amp and are quite sturdy and fluid. Fluid meaning, they don’t click between levels.
You will find a Volume control knob, along with a Bass and Treble control knobs. They each do exactly what they say. See what we mean by intuitive?
Finally, we come to what everyone wants to know. How does it sound?
It’s a Marshall. How do you think it sounds?
It sounds fantastic. It is rich and detailed with excellent mids, crystal highs, and a solid bottom-end. Of course, it sounds best playing rock and roll. And we would want nothing else from a Marshall.
Stout and full of soul…
This little speaker boasts 36 watts of power. That is something most other portable speakers cannot compete with. Again, thank you, Marshall.
The wattage is divided among the subwoofer and the tweeters. Both use a Class D amplifier with 20 watts for the sub and 8 for each tweeter. The resulting sound is one that can only best be described as “Marshall.”
A sophisticated sound enhancement that allows for a better listening experience. While Marshall says it is a 360-degree sound, it’s really not. It is immersive, but certainly not surround sound.
On the other hand, the BlueFin Stereo soundstage does open things up. It is nice to have a portable speaker that offers stereo sound.
With a frequency range of 52Hz – 20,000Hz and a sound pressure limit of 100.4dB, this little speaker delivers articulate and dynamic sound. We can’t say we were surprised by the power and quality of the sound.
Marshall Kilburn II Review Pros and Cons
- Over 20 hours of playing time on a single charge.
- Portable, compact, and durable.
- Water-resistant with an IPX2 rating.
- Bluetooth 5.0 apt connectivity.
- Multi-Host technology.
- Detailed and balanced sound reproduction.
- Easy to use and to dial-in a preferred sound.
- Bluefin Stereo soundstage.
- It’s a Marshall!
- No headphones or 3.5mm AUX inputs.
Looking for Something Else?
Not quite the speaker you were after? No problem, we have you covered; simply check out all of our comprehensive reviews of the Best Wireless TV Speakers, the Best Solar Powered Bluetooth Speakers, the Loudest Portable Bluetooth Speakers, or the Best Powered Speakers, the Best Sonos Speaker, and the Best Bookshelf Speakers Under $500 you can currently buy in 2021.
Marshall Kilburn II Review Final Thoughts
So, there we have it. The Marshall Kilburn II Portable Bluetooth speaker may not be one of a kind, but it certainly one of the best portable speakers out there.
Sure, it lacks connection options. But these days, other than Bluetooth, what other connection would you really need with a portable speaker?
The build is solid, and the style is sublime. Both things you know Marshall can deliver. And there are not many portable speakers of the same size that can produce the same kind of power.
For a portable speaker, you would be hard-pressed to find a portable speaker more rugged and with better sound quality.
Like we said before. It is a Marshall.
Until next time, may your music always be LOUD and merry.