Stunning looks, a good amount of power and a tempting price, however the Marshall Kilburn isn’t the most feature-packed speaker

In the search for the wow factor, speaker manufacturers tend to let their imaginations run riot. I’ve seen Bluetooth speakers undertake the condition of skulls, Stormtroopers, and dogs with sunglasses, to mention some of the more wacky designs. From this backdrop, the Marshall Kilburn comes as a complex and subtle breath of oxygen.

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Marshall Kilburn review: What you ought to know
Not that it’s understated. Made to mimic the appearance and feel of a classic Marshall guitar amp, the Marshall Kilburn is a killer of a retro speaker that pushes all of the right buttons. Every detail, from the “vintage style fret” detailing of leading grille and surrounding gold piping to the knurled and heavily damped volume, bass and treble knobs at the top, exudes the type of focus on detail guitar junkies have drooled pathetically over for many years.

And it if looks brilliant, it feels better still. The soft leather-effect vinyl cladding contrasts beautifully with the gold highlights and the classic Marshall logo mounted on leading. Even the handle at the very top is styled such as a guitar strap: it’s wide, topped with black fake leather and has red velour within the underside to create lugging the speaker around more comfy.

Besides that styling, beautiful though it really is, the Kilburn is really as straightforward as Bluetooth speakers get. There’s no support here for fancy features such as for example Alexa or Google Assistant.

There’s no Wi-Fi capability, either, or advanced Bluetooth features such as for example AptX or stereo pairing. Just pair your phone over Bluetooth (or plug in via the equally beautifully detailed 3.5mm jack) and you’re prepared to rock.

Regardless of the bling and the essential feature set, though, the Kilburn is satisfyingly effective. The controls, to begin with, all beg to be prodded and tweaked.

The heavy-duty power toggle switch, that includes a lovely clacky on/off action and the knobs for adjusting bass, treble and volume feel just as tactile – they’re silky smooth and so are damped to the ideal degree.

Other nice features include a built-in power – it plugs in to the wall with a straightforward figure of eight mains cable – and a 2,200mAh battery that lasts up to 20 hours. What’s not nice is that it weighs a reasonably hefty 3kg and it isn’t waterproof, so that it isn’t the perfect lightweight speaker.

Sound quality is a mixed bag, too. First, the positives. A complete of 40W of power output means there’s a lot of volume and oodles of juicy bass and, in the event that you arrive the treble enough, enough crisp detail to keep you toe-tapping to your favourite tunes.

The bass out of this rear-ported bass reflex cabinet is pretty taut, too, and the mid-range is warm and forthright. The Marshall Kilburn is an excellent speaker for hearing simple pop tunes and jazz numbers.

As is typical of all small speakers, the bass rolls off quite steeply from around 80Hz, so that it isn’t capable of creating those suprisingly low tones.

Where it starts to essentially struggle is when the instrument count starts to mount. Big, complex orchestral works and – weirdly, given Marshall’s heritage – heavy rock and metal confound the Kilburn with everything sounding congested and an impression flat. There’s little in the form of instrument separation and its own soundstage is pretty narrow, too, which doesn’t help.

Marshall Kilburn review: Price and competition
At the Marshall’s original price of £239 is somewhat steep, but it’s now only £199 (and even cheaper on Marshall’s own website) and at that price, it’s a more tempting buy.

Actually its competitive with this favourites at for this price. The Dockin D Fine is slightly better, includes a bigger 6,600mAh battery and a cheaper £120 price. THE BEST Ears Blast adds waterproofing, Wi-Fi connectivity and Alexa voice control and costs £100 but isn’t as beefy.

Then there’s the JBL Link 20, which can be waterproof and includes Google Assistant built-in, but again can’t quite match the energy of the Marshall Kilburn.

Of course, if it’s the appearance and feel of finished . drawing you in, none of the rivals can take a candle to the Kilburn. It’s simply stunning and it’s almost worth stumping up the purchase price for all those looks alone.

Marshall Kilburn review: Verdict
The Marshall Kilburn isn’t the most brilliant sounding speaker or the most feature-packed as of this price. But it’s sufficient to justify the brand new £159 price, packing with a good amount of power and volume and, because of its size, {pl