The Marshall Middleton Bluetooth Wireless Portable Speaker is a really impressive bit of kit, with all the audio quality you'd expect from the legendary manufacturer
Legendary rock amplifier manufacturer Marshall had a renaissance in 2010 and unveiled the first of its lifestyle range – I know because I was soon drawn into buying its headphones. Yes, the branding appeals, but as does the renowned quality of its speakers and construction. Hence I was keen to try out the Marshall Middleton Bluetooth Wireless Portable Speaker speaker when it became available earlier this year.
The Marshall Middleton is a formidable product, and for me, hands down the best looking bluetooth speaker in this price sector – despite its rugged waterproof qualities, it’s taken pride of place in our kitchen. The look is very much a mini version of Marshall’s iconic amps, with the front mesh grill with logo across it.
Obviously it would be an anticlimax if it didn’t then deliver on sound. I have cranked it up and played with the tone in comparison to other bluetooth speakers and to our wired-in Sonos One and the sound is better than any of the former and as good if not better than the Sonos. It’s earthy, powerful and punchy, like it should be. Think favourite music playlists rather than calming podcasts. And it’s true 360º sound as it uses the company’s own multi-directional sound technology to play through quad speakers.
Power it on or off is accompanied by a mini guitar rift as confirmation, which some may tire of but I still enjoy, while a red LED strip light up indicates volume or charge levels. The single central multifunctional gold control button, which has multi functions including powering it on/off, looks good, but is not intuitive enough and is too easy to skip a track while trying to adjust volume.
The Middleton has a decent 20+ hours of playtime on a single charge and a power bank feature which lets you charge other devices. It’s also durable enough to play in the cockpit or take to the beach thanks to IP67 water and dust resistant and shockproof build. The body, which is tactile and nicely finished, is made from 55% recycled plastic.
And like Jim Marshall’s original speakers which he pioneered at rock concerts in the 1960s and 1970s and were made famous by the likes of Jimi Hendrix and The Who, you can stack them with other Middleton speakers (albeit in a much more portable and practical fashion)!