Marshall is one of the most famous and revered names in the world of speakers and amplifiers. Marshall produces some of the best amplifiers and speakers available on the market today. Apart from the incredible sound and gorgeous looks, Marshall speakers also carry a hefty price tag. A lot of prospective buyers usually wonder why the speakers cost so much. They might think whether spending such a large chunk of money on speakers is a good investment. However, what every prospective buyer must keep in mind, is that when you buy Marshall speakers and amplifiers, you aren’t just buying a high quality audio instrument, you are also buying a piece of history. The story of rock n roll and popular music of the last 60 years can’t be written without Marshall speakers and amplifiers. Before we discuss about the best Marshall speakers that you can buy, let’s take a brief look at the history of the brand and how it became synonymous with rock n roll.
During the nascent stages of rock n roll music, it was very tough for musicians to find the tools that could give them the sound that they yearned for. The high power amplifiers that are ubiquitous in today’s world, weren’t available in the 1950s. Ironically, one of the most remarkable features of rock music, distortion was considered a bad thing. An amplifier was expected to reproduce the sound without changes in anything except volume.
Jim Marshall was a music store owner who started off by selling drums. Eventually, Marshall expanded his inventory to include guitars as well. A majority of the customers of Marshall were musicians who lamented about the fact that they couldn’t find amplifiers which were suitable for their live shows. They just weren’t loud enough. In the US, Leo Fender had launched some high powered amplifiers but they were off limits for UK musicians because of the post World War import-export restrictions. Driven to provide good amplification for UK musicians, Jim Marshall enlisted some of his friends who were well versed with electronics. He used their help and feedback from some of his most high profile clients to create the first ever Marshall amplifier. The initial prototypes had a heavy ‘Tweed’ Fender Bassman amplifier influence. However, the internal components were customised in order to source all the parts from the UK.
The invention of the Marshall amplifier also coincided with the ‘British Invasion’ of the US music scene where bands from the United Kingdom started dominating the US charts. As a result of their chart success, the UK bands embarked on massive tours across the US. Some of the bands brought their Marshall amplifiers along with them on the tour, to replicate their studio sound in front of a live audience. Bands like The Who, Led Zeppelin and Deep Purple used Marshall amplifiers. Since these bands were so influential to the birth and development of the sound which is now known as ‘Classic Rock’, the equipment that they used, was what every budding musician yearned for. As those bands became more successful, so did Marshall amplifiers.
The now famous ‘Wall of Marshalls’ stage look was actually a result of the limitations that 60s and 70s live sound reinforcement had. During their initial stadium shows in the mid-60s, The Beatles had to use the Public Address system for their vocals and their regular amplifiers for the other instruments. Even though the PA systems grew more sophisticated as time passed, guitarists and bass players still had to solely rely on their amplifiers to achieve their sound. Filling a large arena/stadium with sound required really powerful amplification. To handle all that amplification, a lot of speakers were required. A combination of one amplifier head and two cabinets with four twelve inch speakers was known as a ‘Marshall Stack’. Most big rock bands of the 60s and the 70s used two to three stacks on stage. The third one was usually a back up stack which was only used if one of the other two stacks stopped working.
The closed-back cabinets that were usually paired with Marshall amplifiers are very directional. Being directional means that they sound the way they are supposed to only if you stand directly in front of them. The reason behind that is the fact that high frequency sounds from speaker cones travel directly forward whereas low frequency sounds travel in a wider arc. As a result, the sound is great in front of the amp, but gets muffled when a listener moves outside the narrow beam of high frequency sound. Lining the back of the stage with multiple cabinets is a good way to prevent this problem.
In the modern world with all its technological advancements, the ‘Wall of Marshalls’ arrangement is more about reliving a glorious rock image, rather than practical usage. The ‘wall’ that you see on stage might just be a series of empty wooden cabinets with only a few of them actually being speakers. These days, it’s more common to place microphones in front of the Marshall speakers and transmit the signal to a PA system which can generate thousands of Watts of power. This is a massive increase over amplifiers which ‘only’ generate around 100 Watts. The musicians themselves, rely on ‘foldback’ speakers and in-ear monitors to listen to what they are playing. However, having a wall of Marshall speakers in the back is a really cool site to behold and a lot of bands get dummy cabinets made for that purpose.
While some readers might be inclined to credit Marshall’s success to just being at the right place at the right time, it will be absolutely unfair to label all of Marshall’s success to that. Ask guitarists who have worked with a decent Marshall amplifier from the 60s and 70s and they will tell you that these incredible amps have the essence of the rock and metal sound. Marshall amplifiers might be very famous for their distorted roar but they are also excellent at re-producing clean tones with ease.
Let’s take a look at some of the most famous rock and metal musicians of all time who have used Marshall amplifiers and speakers in their careers.
Which are the best Marshall speakers to buy?
Now that we have learned a little bit about the history of Marshall, and admired the legendary artists associated with that brand, let’s find out about the best Marshall speakers that you can buy today.
In this review we will feature the very best Marshall speakers that provide superb audio performance to go along with the gorgeous retro designs from Marshall. The speakers are designed with smooth vinyl covers and polished brass knobs at the top panel which encases the wonderful modern technology within a veneer of gorgeous vintage looks. These Marshall speakers also come with built-in tweeters and subwoofers that deliver full-range sound from crisp highs to detailed midranges and low end bass output. These Marshall speakers can produce a mind boggling amount of volume output without any distortion, which ensures that you can blast music through these speakers without any issues. Furthermore, some of these speakers are designed to be portable and water resistant, making them ideal candidates for outdoor use. If you are looking for some of the best speakers from this legendary brand, check out all of our picks below. We have divided all the speakers into different categories, so that it becomes easier for you to choose. Now, let’s rock with the best Marshall speakers that you can buy.
1. Best Sound Quality : Marshall Woburn II Bluetooth Speaker
The Marshall Woburn II is a really solid Bluetooth speaker with an incredible high-definition sound performance. This Marshall speaker is great at handling trebles clearly while providing deep bass response and crystal clear midrange performance. The Woburn II speaker is equipped with Bluetooth 5.0 and aptX technology which provides lossless wireless sound at a range of up to 30 feet. This Marshall speaker’s Bluetooth connection also remains stable during operation. The Marshall Woburn II has a frequency range of 30 to 20 kHz, and a maximum sound pressure level of 110 dB. Apart from the wireless Bluetooth, you can also connect your music devices to this speaker via the RCA or 3.5mm auxiliary input.
The sound quality on the Marshall Woburn II is crisp and lifelike. The Woburn II is designed to handle crisp trebles with two 1” tweeters and dual 5.25” subwoofers which are individually powered by a Class D amplifier for a total of 110 watts of power. The wooden cabinet construction also provides a warm and natural sound for the speaker output. The bass reflex system on this speaker includes an output port to increase low-level frequency response and the bass response. The Woburn II speaker also features classic Marshall details such as a textured vinyl covering and polished brass control knobs at the top of the speaker. The Woburn II speaker uses Bluetooth 5.0 and aptX technology for high quality wireless music streaming at a range of up to 30 feet while maintaining wireless connectivity. You can stream music to this speaker directly from your smartphone, tablet, laptop or other compatible devices.
Finally, the Marshall Woburn II comes with a Bluetooth app which you can use to adjust the sound settings according to your preferences. The analogue controls at the top of the speaker panel are wonderful to touch and easy to adjust for the volume, treble and bass outputs.
• Bluetooth 5.0 with aptX high quality wireless streaming.
• Frequency range of 30 to 20 kHz.
• Multiple connectivity options.
• Uses Marshall app.
2. Best Design: Marshall Acton Wireless Bluetooth Speaker
The Marshall Acton is one of the best Marshall speakers built for high quality stereo sound. Despite its compact size, the Marshall Acton can pump out crisp and high-definition audio with very little distortion. You can connect the Acton speaker wirelessly via Bluetooth to your smartphone devices. The Bluetooth connection is very stable and we did not experience any dips in sound quality while streaming music. It also comes with a 3.5mm auxiliary input which can be used to attach to your speaker system. The Acton speaker comes with the gorgeous brushed-brass finish, classic controls for bass, treble and volume located at the top of the speaker, allowing you to fine-tune your music accordingly.
The sound quality from the Marshall Acton is very good considering how compact the speaker actually is. The highs and midranges are crystal clear, while the bass is quite punchy with several deep notes that you can surprisingly feel. We tested this speaker with a variety of music genres including heavy metal, rock, hip-hop and country and they all sound crystal clear. Whether it’s the heavily distorted power chords of heavy metal or the clean strumming of country, the Acton always delivers. You can also crank up the volume on this speaker and it has enough volume to fill up a large room with filling sound. Overall, the Marshall Acton is one of the best Marshall speakers for home use and we highly recommend them.
• Wireless Bluetooth streaming.
• Comes with double-ended coil cord with 3.5mm jacks.
• Bass, treble and volume knobs.
• Compact home speaker.
3. Best Classic: Marshall Kilburn Bluetooth Speaker
The Marshall Kilburn is the original classic from the Marshall line of speakers, and still remains one of the best Marshall speakers available on the market. This speaker provides really crisp and crystal clear active stereo sound performance with wireless Bluetooth streaming. It is one of the loudest speakers in its class, and provides well-balanced audio with crystal clear midranges and extended highs that are articulate and pronounced. The oomph that is packed in such a diminutive package is staggering. The speaker has a wide frequency response from 62 Hz to 20 kHz and a maximum sound pressure level of 100 dB with plenty of volume. The speaker also comes with a cabinet bass reflex that enhances the lower-frequency range for depth and bass response. The Kilburn speaker comes with 3/4” dome tweeters for sweet highs and 2 X 4” woofers for deeper bass response.
The sound quality on the Marshall Kilburn speaker is crisp and detailed, with very nice highs and treble ranges. Classical and vocal performances have a wide degree of soundstage and nice stereo separation, and you can practically pick up details in the music which you might not have noticed before. From Mozart to Meshuggah, the Kilburn aces them all. The Kilburn speaker provides up to 20 hours of continuous music playtime on a single charge which is impressive. The gorgeous brushed-brass finish analogue knobs at the top panel of the speaker allow you to fine tune the controls to your personal preferences. The speaker also features a guitar-style leather strap which allows for easy and stylish travel. So when you are heading out to the park for a spot of lunch, just carry your Kilburn to ensure that your picnic rocks. You can connect the Marshall Kilburn speaker to your smartphone using Bluetooth connectivity or via 3.5mm stereo plugs.
• 20 hours of continuous playtime.
• Double-ended coil cord with 3.5mm stereo plugs.
• 3/4” dome tweeters and 4” woofers.
• Vintage cabinet with bass reflex design.
4. Most Versatile: Marshall Stockwell II Bluetooth Speaker
The Marshall Stockwell II is a versatile speaker with great sound performance and a portable design. The Stockwell II, as the name suggests is essentially an upgrade over its predecessor, the Marshall Stockwell, and comes with various enhanced features. The Stockwell II speaker uses Blumlein stereo sound construction for a multi-directional sonic experience. The speaker comes equipped with three class D amplifiers that power the subwoofer, front and rear facing tweeters for a crystal clear sound experience. The cabinet of this speaker is constructed with a bass reflex system that improves bass efficiency and extends the frequency response without any distortion. Whether you play jazz fusion, EDM, house, rock n roll, pop, classical or death metal, the Marshall Stockwell II speaker has very clean music reproduction with a wonderful bass response depth. The level of separation and detail that you get from this speaker is pretty good considering its small and compact design, and the volume levels are decent enough to fill up a large room with rich and smooth sound.
The Stockwell II speaker comes equipped with Bluetooth 5.0 technology for wireless music performance; allowing you to play music at a range of up to 30 feet away from the speaker. The Stockwell II features an IPX4 water-resistant rating design which makes it durable and portable for outdoor use as well. The speaker is also encased in a silicone exterior and features a solid metal grille for an aesthetically appealing appearance. The battery life on the Stockwell II speaker is very good, offering up to 20 hours of continuous music playtime on a single charge. Finally, the Stockwell II also has quick charging capabilities which allows you to get up to 6 hours of playtime on a 20 minute charge. If you are looking for one of the best Marshall speakers for outdoor use, the Marshall Stockwell II speaker is strongly recommended.
• 20 hours of playtime on a single charge.
• Immersive music quality.
• Features 3 Class D amplifiers.
• Bluetooth 5.0 with aptX codec.
5. Best Value for Money: Marshall Kilburn II Bluetooth Speaker
The Marshall Kilburn II is a highly versatile Bluetooth speaker that provides a great combination of sound performance, battery life and wireless design. As the name suggests, the Kilburn II is an upgrade from its predecessor, the Marshall Kilburn. It comes with a built-in battery that provides up to 20 hours of continuous music playtime on a single charge. The speaker can also produce multi-directional sound via Bluefin stereo sound technology, and is one of the loudest speakers in its class. The Kilburn II uses Bluetooth 5.0 aptX technology for wireless music controls, and allows you to play music with any Bluetooth device at a range of up to 30 feet away from the speaker. Apart from these improvements, the Kilburn II also features a new durable design with grills and corner caps, and has multi-host functionality so that you can easily connect and switch between multiple devices (a feature absent from the original Kilburn).
The sound quality of the Marshall Kilburn II speaker is clear and accurate, and it can get really loud without even a hint of cracking up. The speaker produces clear midranges and deep bass performance with plenty of depth and control. The highs on the speaker are clean and well-articulated without any harshness; vocal performances sound clean and lifelike on the Kilburn II speaker. The speaker weighs only 3kg and comes with a guitar inspired carrying strap for easy portability. We also liked the fact that you can track the speaker’s battery life with the visual battery indicator located at the top panel of the speaker.
Finally, the Marshall Kilburn II features flushed mounted corner caps and a water-resistant design that makes it rugged and durable. It is encased in vinyl and features a solid metal grille at the front of the speaker. The Kilburn II also features multi-point connectivity so that you can connect and switch between two Bluetooth devices at a touch of a button. If you are looking for one of the best Marshall speakers that delivers great value for money, the Kilburn II is about as good as it gets.
• 20 hours of playtime on a single charge.
• Multi-directional sound performance.
• Bluetooth 5.0 with aptX wireless.
• IPX2 water resistant rating.
6. Most Portable: Marshall Stockwell Bluetooth Speaker
The Marshall Stockwell is one of the best Marshall speakers in terms of portability and compact design. It is a portable speaker that comes with built-in rechargeable batteries that provide up to 25 hours of continuous music playtime on a single charge. There is also the option of getting a Stockwell case which is a multi-functional flip cover that works both as a protective cover for your speaker and as a supportive stand while listening to music. The Stockwell speaker uses Bluetooth 4.0 technology for high quality music streaming, and you can also answer/decline calls with the touch of a button on the speaker. In addition, the Marshall Stockwell features a handy USB port to charge your listening devices on the go. The powerful speaker works as a power bank as well.
The sound quality of the Marshall Stockwell is surprisingly good for its size. The speaker delivers crisp highs, nice midranges and decent bass output with plenty of volume and virtually no distortion. It comes with two 2.25” woofers and two Class D amplifiers which allows you to amplify the speaker volume. We also liked the fact that the volume, bass and treble can be adjusted quickly and easily with the gorgeous analog control knobs at the top panel of the speaker. You can also use the Stockwell speaker to receive and answer calls by tapping the phone button on the control panel. You can connect your smartphone device to the Stockwell speaker either using Bluetooth 4.0 or via a 3.5mm input. Overall, the Marshall Stockwell is one of the best Marshall speakers in terms of portability and design, so if portability is your most important criteria for choosing a Bluetooth speaker, go for the Marshall Stockwell.
• 25 hours of continuous playtime.
• Bluetooth 4.0 with smartphone support.
• USB port to charge your listening device.
• Compact and portable speaker.
7. Most Compact: Marshall Tufton Bluetooth Speaker
The Marshall Tufton is designed as a compact and portable Bluetooth speaker that provides up to 20 hours of music playtime on a single charge. It comes with a guitar inspired carrying strap that allows you to carry the speaker around with you; the speaker also has a visual battery indicator located at the top panel of the speaker. The Tufton is designed as a 3-way speaker system, producing sounds from three separate drivers at the front of the speaker. It also comes with an additional mid-range driver located at the rear of the speaker. This configuration allows the speaker to produce full-range sound across all frequencies, and gives the listener a true 360 degree surround sound experience. Which is incredible considering how small this speaker is. We tested a variety of music genres on the Tufton speaker including country, rock, metal, hip-hop and jazz music and they all sounded pretty wonderful. It’s safe to say that the Tufton speaker projects sound really well and gives the impression of lifelikeness while listening to music.
The Marshall Tufton comes equipped with Bluetooth 5.0 for wireless music streaming; you can play music on this speaker with a range of up to 30 feet away from the speaker. Furthermore, the Tufton speaker has an IPX2 water-resistant rating and flush mounted corner caps which make it durable and rugged. The Marshall Tufton speaker features a solid metal grille at the front of the speaker which adds to its already stunning visual appeal. The Tufton speaker also has multi-point functionality so that you can easily control and switch between two wireless devices at the touch of a button.
The Marshall Tufton speaker provides 20 hours of continuous music playtime on a single charge. The speaker’s battery life can be tracked with the help of the visual battery indicator on the top panel. Like a modern cell phone, the speaker also supports quick charge functionality; a 20 minutes charge provides 4 hours of portable playtime. The Tufton’s top panel also features the gorgeous brushed-brass finish analogue control knobs for bass, treble and volume, allowing you to fine tune the sound according to your individual preferences.
• 20 hours of playtime on a single charge.
• Comes with guitar inspired carry strap.
• 3-way speaker system.
• IPX2 water resistant rating.
8. Best All-Rounder: Marshall Stanmore II Bluetooth Speaker
The Marshall Stanmore II is one of the best Marshall speakers that deliver high quality audio, a classic vintage style design and a lot of other useful features. The speaker provides crystal clear sound quality which is customizable through the Marshall app or via the gorgeous brushed-brass finish analog controls. These features allow you to hear music as per your preferences. The speaker is also compatible with Amazon Alexa for easy controls. The Stanmore II speaker produces clean and crisp audio performance, and you can practically crank up the volume on this speaker to maximum volume without hearing any hint of cracking. The Stanmore II comes with two 15 watt class D amplifiers for the tweeter and a 50 watt Class D amplifier for the subwoofer, delivering crystal clear highs and deep bass performance. The sound signature on the Stanmore is best described as V-shaped, and is great for bass-heavy music genres such as heavy metal, EDM, rock and hip-hop. Just play any Black Sabbath song on the Stanmore II and you will know what we are talking about.
We liked the fact that you can control the Marshall Stanmore II speaker with Alexa – you can turn up the volume with voice commands or create a playlist across compatible devices. Setting up the Marshall voice speaker is relatively straightforward – you can use the app to control your music with playback commands or one-touch presets. The speaker also connects to your Wi-Fi network and has LED lights on the front of the speaker for the built-in Alexa service. The volume and bass knobs on the top of the speaker are well-designed with a brushed-brass finish. The Stanmore II also comes with a voice mute button. The speaker also features many versatile connectivity options including Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, RCA or the 3.5mm audio input. All things considered, the Marshall Stanmore II is the best Marshall speaker on sale today. In case you don’t have any particular specifications in mind, just go ahead and choose the Stanmore II.
• Customizable sound with Marshall app.
• Crystal clear sound; excellent volume levels.
• Polished knobs on the front panel.
• Connects to Wi-Fi network.
So this was a little info about the history of Marshall and an in-depth review of the best Marshall speakers that you can buy. In case you have any other questions regarding Marshall speakers, feel free to ask them in the comments below. And remember, these are Marshall speakers, whichever one you choose, you can only win. Let’s get rocked!