An exceptionally awesome speaker for all occasions.
These days, Bluetooth speakers come in all shapes and sizes. I dare say that I’ve tested most of the ‘types’ out there. My favorite type tends to be the kind that pairs easily, has a long battery life, sounds incredible, and can be used for many different occasions. I recently had the chance to try out the Marshall Kilburn II Portable Stereo Loudspeaker, which is an exceptional option for music as well as other audio.
The Kilburn II has the look and feel of a small amplifier and in a sense, that’s what it is. Marshall describes the speaker as a “stout-hearted hero” and after using it, I would have to agree with that assumption. First of all, it has a 20+ hour playtime and features ‘quick charge’. If you drain the speaker to 0%, you can get a full charge within 2.5 hours. Twenty minutes of charge time will yield you a solid 3 hours if you don’t have time for it to sit for the full charging time. As I mentioned the look and feel is that of a classic amplifier — this includes the battery meter. There is a red LED meter on the far right side of the control panel. This meter has 10 bars to it — 1 for 10% of the battery. You can easily see it drain the longer you use it. It’s very visible and if you have it connected to an iPhone, you can always check the Control Center for its battery level.
The speaker features multi-directional sound and is designed to be rugged with an IPX2 rating for water resistance. It’s not a small speaker by any means. It weighs 5.5 pounds and measures 9.57 x 6.42 x 5.51 in but it’s not difficult to carry thanks to its leather hand strap. The Kilburn II is constructed with Blumlein Stereo Sound and is powered by 36 watts. It features Bluetooth 5.0 AptX technology and has a range of up to 30 feet. One of the more impressive features of the Kilburn II is that it has multi-host functionality so that you can easily switch between two connected sources. The analog knobs control for volume, treble, and bass make it easy for you to fine-tune the audio sound to be just the way you want it.
- Power Amplifiers: One 20 Watt Class D amplifier for the woofer; Two 8 Watt Class D amplifiers for the tweeters
- Cabinet Principle: Bass-reflex
- Maximum Sound Pressure Level: 52-20,000 Hz
- Wired Connectivity: 3.5mm Input
- Top Panel Controls: bass knob, battery indicator, Bluetooth button, power/volume knob, treble knob
- Main Input Voltage: 100-240V, 50-60 Hz
The Kilburn II comes in a heavily decorated box. It has a bright, colorful photograph of the product on the outside. Inside the box, you will find the speaker, legal and safety information, mains lead (power cable), and a quick start guide. The speaker is really pretty self-explanatory. You turn the volume/power knob until you feel a click and see the battery indicator light up. Out of the box, the Kilburn II will have some charge (mine was at 75% battery capacity) and will be ready to use. Unlike some other Bluetooth speakers, the Kilburn II has to be paired manually. The speaker does not automatically go into Bluetooth pairing mode when it’s turned on. You have to press the Bluetooth button and then you can connect to it. I was able to connect within a few seconds using an iPhone 7.
In addition to the volume/power knob, there are also knobs for treble and bass control. I really love how easy it is to custom your listening experience using these knobs. I tested the quality and volume of this speaker out with many different types of music. I chose tracks for the specific purpose of testing different types of sounds. One of the tracks that was most surprising was “Believe” by Yellowcard. The beginning of the song starts with a violin solo. Depending on how I listen to the track, that part can sound muddled. The Marshall Kilburn II has such gorgeous sound quality that it made the violin solo sound crisp and clean. Bass depth was also very impressive.
It takes a lot to impress me when it comes to Bluetooth speakers. I’ve used so many of them at this point, that sometimes they just blend together. The Kilburn II is definitely a stand out to me. While it may not be quite a portable as some other speakers, it is easy to carry around because of its leather handle. The speaker is incredibly loud and I was very happy to find that it’s a ‘true’ amplifier speaker for connected devices. What I mean by this is you can turn the volume up on the connected device and then the volume from the speaker adds to it. I also love that you have the ability to adjust bass and treble from the speaker as well. One of the only drawbacks to the Kilburn II is that there are no local playback controls. This would be a major con for some people, but it doesn’t bother me too much.
Given the superior sound quality, impressive max volume, long battery life, and portability, this speaker is ideal for outdoor gatherings. It is a little expensive at $299 (at the time of publishing this article), but it’s well worth the investment. I can recommend this for any type of user.