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Which speaker should you get?

Which speaker should you get?


Marshall began life as a company that produced guitar amps for musicians, with the likes of Jimi Hendrix using the brand for his live performances. Now they span live music and products such as wireless headphones and speakers, allowing customers to enjoy the sound of Marshall in their home.

The Middleton and Emberton II are portable wireless speakers that take Marshall’s distinct aesthetic and sound out of the home and into the outside world.

The range of wireless speakers that Marshall offers is massive, so we’ve compared the Middleton and Emberton II against each other from design, features, price, and a performance aspect. Which of the two portable speakers is best for you?


The Emberton II is priced at £149 / $149 / €169 / AU$259 / CA$249 and went on sale 2022.

The Middleton launched in early 2023 but commands a significantly higher price at £269 / $299 / €299 / AU$499 / CA$399.

That makes the Middleton the more expensive purchase of the two, but does it justify the gulf in RRP with its performance?


While both the Middleton and Emberton II are portable speakers, the Middleton is by far the larger of the two. With HWD dimensions of 109 x 230 x 95mm and tipping the scales at 1.8kg, it’s comfortably bigger than the Emberton II’s dimensions of 68 x 160 x 76mm and double its 700g weight.

It makes the Emberton II a more suitable option if you wanted to take a portable speaker abroad on a holiday as it’d take up less space in a travel bag. Otherwise, it shouldn’t be an issue transporting either speaker to more ‘local’ destinations like a garden or park. The Middleton comes with an attachable carry strap that makes it feel lighter to carry around.

Marshall Middleton carry strap
Image Credit (Trusted Reviews)

Both speakers sport the distinctive Marshall aesthetic – in fact the Middleton could be described as the Emberton II’s bigger sibling such is their similarities. Available in black/brass and cream colours, the gold styling of the Marshall logo makes these speakers stand out from others.

The enclosure is rated to IP67 for both speakers, which means they’re waterproof and dustproof and can be submerged into a body of water 1m deep for thirty minutes. Both have exposed ports that would give us pause for thought dunking them into water, however. Nevertheless, both speakers feel solid and sturdy, unlikely to suffer from breakages (at least not easily).

A USB-C port for charging is on both units, and there’s a 3.5mm jack on the Middleton for plugging in another source. The USB-C port on the Middleton can be used to charge another device, turning the speaker into a power bank.

Marshall Emberton II in a tree
Image Credit (Trusted Reviews)

Both speakers have a multi-directional knob for operation, Bluetooth pairing button and battery/volume indicator on the top surface. The Middleton gets a few extra touches with the inclusion of treble and bass controls. The enclosure for both speakers is constructed from post-recycled plastics and is 100% free from PVC plastics for those who want to leave a more sustainable footprint in the devices they buy.

Though there’s a difference in size between these speakers, the design language and purpose are on familiar ground in terms of the aesthetics and waterproofing. If you want a bigger, party speaker the Middleton is the desirable choice; whereas the Emberton II is a smaller effort that’s easier to transport.


We mentioned that the Middleton can serve as a power bank for another device (say, a smartphone), and that gives it an edge over the Emberton II when used outside (though you would need a USB-C cable for the connection).

Battery life is longer on the Emberton II (30+ hours) than the Middleton (20+) but that arguably makes little difference as both should be able to last a day of use at normal volumes. Fast charging applies to both with a twenty-minute top-up providing an extra four hours for the Emberton and two hours for the Middleton respectively. Charging from an empty tank to a full one is quicker on the Emberton too (three hours to 4.5).

Marshall Middleton main
Image Credit (Trusted Reviews)

Both speakers come with Bluetooth 5.1 and SBC streaming. That is the lowest quality streaming Bluetooth codec available, but the drive units (and source) will have a greater effect on the audio presentation.

The Bluetooth signal is an area we found was stronger on the Middleton, as it’s less susceptible to breaking up over longer distances. So if you absent mindedly walked away from the speaker with mobile device in hand, you could get further away before the music started to break up.

Marshall Emberton II on rocks
Image Credit (Trusted Reviews)

Both speakers are in tune with the Marshall app and there are playback controls as well as EQ settings for the audio provided. The Emberton II has different EQ modes in ‘Marshall’, ‘Push’ (boosted treble and bass) and ‘Voice’ (enhanced midrange). The Middleton has just bass and treble controls.

Marshall Middleton Bluetooth app

Stack mode is supported on both, allowing for multiple versions of each speaker to be connected to produce a bigger sound. You can’t, however, stack an Emberton II with a Middleton.

Both also include the True Stereophonic sound feature that claims to deliver from every angle for a 360-degree performance.

Marshall Emberton II app

The main difference is the Emberton can go for longer, but the Middleton can operate as a power bank to charge another device. We’d rate the Bluetooth signal strength as better on the Middleton over longer distances. Otherwise, the feature set is similar across both units, though in general terms these are uncomplicated speakers at heart.

Sound Quality

Just from the size alone of these respective speakers, the Middleton is capable of a bigger and louder sound than the Emberton II. The size of the soundstage is bigger on the Middleton, and that jump in scale also provides more room for instruments and sounds that are harder to hear with as much detail and clarity on the Emberton II.

Marshall Middleton in front of carnations
Image Credit (Trusted Reviews)

The Middleton also boasts a richer, livelier sound compared to the Emberton II, with better separation between the midrange and low frequencies that grants more space for the Middleton to project vocals without bass competing for attention. On the Emberton II this aspect of the performance can sound a little squashed and muddled.

Bass comes more depth and power on the Middleton, treble is more detailed, and the midrange is clearer and more spacious. Both take a smooth approach to describing detail in the midrange, though the higher quality of the source, the better this area of the frequency range sounds on both speakers. The True Stereophonic sound feature also sounds more consistent on the Middleton with fewer gaps in the 360-degree soundstage.

Marshall Emberton II gold logo
Image Credit (Trusted Reviews)

Of the two, the Middleton is the more expressive, lively, and dynamic performer; and its treble and bass controls allow for finer control over the sound than the Emberton II’s more prescriptive sound modes. They’re both fun and entertaining speakers but if you want the best audio performance, we’d say the Middleton is the better of the two.


The difference between the Emberton II versus the Middleton can be summed up as the latter being for those who want a big sound for outdoor gatherings, while the former has a more portable design for smaller groups.

The Middleton goes louder, sounds better but isn’t as portable. The Emberton II is a speaker that can be more easily slipped into a bag or taken on a holiday without taking up as much space. The features are few and largely the same, the design is distinctive and stylish on both; the price might be the clincher for some. The Middleton is over £100 / $100 / €100 more expensive.

If you want the best sound the Middleton is the better pick, but if you’re seeking a more conveniently portable speaker the Emberton II makes more sense, though if you don’t mind the jump in size or price, we’d plump for the Middleton.


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Harmony Evans is an award-winning author of Harlequin Kimani Romance, African-American romance, and so on. Harmony Evans is an award-winning author for Harlequin Kimani Romance, the leading publisher of African-American romance. Her 2nd novel, STEALING KISSES, will be released in November 2013. Harmony is a single mom to a beautiful, too-smart-for-her-own-good daughter, who makes her grateful for life daily. Her hobbies include cooking, baking, knitting, reading, and of course, napping and also review some of the best-selling and popular brands and services in the market and also write comprehensive blogs.


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