At the beginning of February, Marshall released its first new product in 2023-the wireless speaker Marshall Middleton.
This is Marshall's first portable speaker with a 4-speaker structure, 3.5mm interface and detachable hand strap design after the launch of the Stack function. It is also a Marshall speaker that supports fast charging and power bank functions.
Middleton's appearance design gives people a familiar feeling. Users who are familiar with Marshall will think of it when they first log in:
This is the large Marshall Emberton II.
The overall size is 109x230x95mm. When placed next to Emberton II, you can feel that Middleton is a bit bigger. The color scheme still has Marshall's most classic black gold, and the oil paint white color that was added when Emberton II and Willen were launched.
Middleton weighs 1.8kg, which is heavier than two Emberton II (about 700g).
In addition to the increase in size, it is still difficult for you to achieve the hand-holding action of official photos with one hand.
However, the Middleton is neat and compact, and it is very convenient to store it in a backpack. If you don't worry about leaving traces of use on the shell grid, you can put it naked without the storage bag.
In terms of details, the surface of Middleton is a standard combination of slanted woven mesh and Marshall handwritten Logo. The appearance is made of waterproof silicone with lychee leather pattern used when Emberton II and Willen were launched. Marshall has added a new design to the outer frame of the fuselage to improve the stability and fit of the waterproof silicone, allowing Middleton to achieve the same level of IP67 waterproof and dustproof as Emberton II.
The same design also means that Middleton's waterproof silicone can also be disassembled, and outdoor users who often camp can also disassemble it for cleaning. It's just that compared to Emberton II, Middleton with the newly designed groove will bite the waterproof silicone tighter, and it is a bit laborious to remove and install.
But the good news is that the new design cutout can easily see the silicone installation. If the waterproof rubber edge is still exposed, it is not installed yet. Users can quickly adjust to prevent external water from seeping into the fuselage, which is a good reminder mechanism.
The design on the top of the fuselage is similar to that of Emberton II. It is also a four-way golden round key with a rocker structure, which integrates the functions of song switching, volume control and playback pause.
On the left are power and volume indicators, Bluetooth pairing buttons, and on the right are the low-frequency and high-frequency control buttons that first appeared in Marshall speakers that support Stack mode.
It's a pity that Marshall's iconic knob design is not used, but considering that changing to a knob will increase the trouble of waterproofing, and the design of the knob-style home series, two points may be the reason why Marshall only uses buttons instead of knobs. .
Both sides of the fuselage are covered with waterproof silicone, and a round hole design with a filter is added to the silicone, which can increase the acoustic elements of the speaker in appearance.
There is a large hanging buckle on the top right side, which is used to connect the attached lanyard in the package.
The back of the speaker is also very clean. The 3.5mm interface and the USB-C interface for charging are placed in the lower right corner, and there is a rounded rectangular groove on the outside.
This kind of design is actually very convenient to make a waterproof and dustproof cover with its own connection. It is not as difficult as the Emberton II, which can only be realized by making more holes in the waterproof silicone. At the same time, it can also improve the waterproof and dustproof performance of the interface.
Unfortunately, Marshall didn't do that.
Speaking of the 3.5mm interface and the USB-C interface, it is Middleton's focus on port support.
First of all, Middleton is Marshall's first re-added Marshall speaker with a 3.5mm interface in a portable wireless speaker after the launch of a wireless speaker that supports Stack technology.
With a 3.5mm interface, Middleton can be connected to a playback device that does not support Bluetooth. Even if it is used on a small-screen device such as the R300 CD that supports Bluetooth but is not intuitively configured, the speaker can also be connected directly with a cable to improve connection efficiency.
But be aware that Middleton needs to be turned on first, regardless of whether it is using wired or wireless functions.
Considering that the wireless connection response speed of the Marshall speaker is not bad, it can quickly connect to the previously connected device within about 1 second after booting up. If you use a wireless connection, you can use it directly.
Considering that Stanmore III does not come with a 3.5mm male-to-male audio cable, it is not surprising that Middleton, which is mainly for portable and outdoor use, does not include an audio cable.
The improvement of USB-C is mainly reflected in charging.
Marshall said that Middleton’s USB-C charging interface supports 5V / 9V / 12V / 20V 3A charging modes. Compared with the conventional Emberton II, which only has 5V 3A, Middleton’s charging mode is more flexible. In the face of scenarios that require fast charging, there are also Specifications correspond.
You should know that when the official charging data is released, it is calculated based on the lowest standard charging head of 5V 3A.
Under this standard, it takes 4.5 hours to charge Middleton 0-100, and the fast charging mode when using a 5V 3A charging head is to charge for 20 minutes, and the battery life is two hours. If you replace the charging head, I believe the performance should change.
In addition to charging itself, Middleton also comes with a wired reverse charging power bank function.
Through this USB-C interface, Middleton can charge other devices. But in this state, Middleton's charging output is only "five blessings and one safety", which can be used to charge devices that need to turn on the low current mode. If you want to use it for emergency use, it is still a bit stressful.
For other functions, Middleton uses the Bluetooth 5.1 wireless solution. The longest connection distance is 10 meters. After the Bluetooth connection, you can use the Marshall Bluetooth app to control the speaker. You can use the Stack function to connect as many speakers as possible to play together when the connection is stable. .
But when I experienced Emberton II, I mentioned that Stack is not a multi-channel stereo combined wirelessly, but a function that allows the speakers to play the same content together, which is a mode similar to Party mode.
The Stack mode can be completed only by in-device operation, and it can be used when non-smart devices are connected without the operation mode of the app. It is a simple and straightforward volume increase solution in outdoor scenes.
However, although every Marshall speaker that supports Stack mode can use this mode. But because the sound configuration of each Marshall speaker is different, the sound output will vary. So when combining, I recommend using the same speaker for Stack mode connection.
Coming to the most important sound part, Middleton is equipped with two 3-inch 15W woofers, two 3/5-inch 10W tweeters and two passive diaphragm units, and the two woofers are driven by two 20W D Class amplifiers, and the two A tweeter is driven by two 10W D Class amplifiers.
The placement of Middleton units is different from that of Emberton II. Middleton has speakers in every direction. This design is mainly to show that Middleton can achieve stereo effects in a single state.
Based on this consideration, we will see the same opening structure on the four sides of Middleton
In terms of hearing, Middleton's performance is just like the official description:
Sound performance full of Marshall style.
The sound style of Middleton in default mode tends to be similar to Emberton II, but the bass part will be much more prominent than Emberton II. When we listened to the Emberton II, we could feel that Marshall still wanted to adjust the sound to be relatively balanced, so he didn't make the low frequency of Emberton II too prominent.
On the contrary, Middleton's low frequency is much stronger. The overall dive and sense of volume are stronger than Emberton II, and every drumbeat can reflect strength and thickness. It's like stuffing big meat buns into the mouth, users who like Marshall's low-frequency performance will feel full of satiety and satisfaction.
After the low frequency dominates and the thickness of the sound increases, the sound is not as refreshing as the Emberton II.
But fortunately, Middleton's voice is not too dull, and the clarity of vocals and high frequencies can still be maintained. It’s just that when some female voices are played, Middleton is slightly sensitive to the tooth sound in some positions, and when the high-frequency gain is pushed up, it will feel a little dry like sharpening traces. Users need to pay attention when adjusting the EQ.
We have tried both Bluetooth and AUX modes to connect Middleton, and found that the difference is not too big.
It should be noted that Middleton uses a four-sided sound design, and the AUX interface is placed on the rear side. Even if charging and wiring do not need to be considered for daily placement, Middleton should not be placed too close to the wall, so as not to affect the sound performance.
Finally, look at the battery life. The official battery life given by Middleton is 20 hours of playback. After charging for 20 minutes in the 5V 3A charging mode, there will be two hours of playback time. Compared with Emberton II, Emberton II with 30 hours of battery life, 20 minutes of fast charging with the same specification and 4 hours of playback time will have more advantages. Coupled with the fact that Middleton is already larger than Emberton II, this makes Middleton look awkward.
However, considering that Middleton wants to achieve a four-sided stereo mode and plug more speakers, and does not want to further increase the volume and weight, Marshall may have given up the idea of continuing to increase the battery.
After all, the size and weight of the Middleton have reached the limit of portability. If it is bigger and heavier, it will weaken the user's desire to take it out. As a wireless speaker mainly for portable and outdoor use, it is unreasonable to destroy the balance of portability for a single performance. In addition, the battery life of Middleton itself is basically sufficient, and it also has higher charging specifications. Marshall is now The trade-offs are actually understandable.
In terms of price, Marshall Middleton's National Bank is priced at 2,299 yuan, and it will be launched directly on Marshall's official website after release.
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