Marshall, the legendary amp manufacturer behind the signature sound of bands like The Who, AC/DC, and Muse presents the Emberton II, a stylish portable speaker so loud you won’t hear yourself thinking.
When your out in the battlefield
With Mr. Stack behind you feel invincible
When you hear that sound you’re in seventh heaven
This motherfucker goes right up to eleven
Lyrics from ‘Marshall Stack’, by Sweet.
The sound of rock was never the same after the introduction of the first Marshall amplifier in 1963. That black box devised in a humble instrument shop in West London gave the guitar a new voice, one that was scruffier, grittier, and more powerful than ever before. The Marshall amp not only gave the instrument a new sonic palette but allowed artists to present their music to larger audiences; it pushed rock’n’roll from Merseybeat to hard rock, from club gigs to stadiums.
“We wanted to blow their minds, turn on the amplifiers so that they couldn’t hear themselves think,”— Pete Towsend
That grit and power are traits shared by all Marshall products, from their first amps to their latest Bluetooth speakers.
In 2020 the company launched the Marshall Emberton I speaker to wide acclaim. Designed like a miniature Marshall amplifier, the Emberton went on to become a best seller because of its powerful clear sound and stylish package.
Building up on that product’s success, Marshall has come up with a follow-up packed with new features, conserving what made the first version so successful.
The Marshall Emberton II is sturdy, beautiful, and LOUD. This compact, portable speaker delivers a vigorous, pristine sound with rich bass and bright highs. At 68 x 160 x 76 mm, it looks like a tiny version of their Code or MG Gold amplifiers.
This portable mini beast counts with something Marshall calls “True Stereophonic,” a form of multi-directional sound delivery that promises a 360°, room-filling experience. It’s not typical stereo separation where audio fires through left and right drivers, the Emberton II plays the left channel through the front grille and the right channel out the back, delivering envolving audio.
Compared to its predecessor, one of the most exciting new features of the Emberton II is the ability to stack it, just like bands do on stage with Marshall amplifiers. Each speaker you add multiplies the power of the output. With the ability to add as many speakers as you want, the possibilities are mind-blowing.
Designed as the ultimate outdoor speaker, the Emberton II offers 30+ hours of playtime on a single charge, ten whopping hours more than the already impressive Emberton I could offer. And you only need to plug it in for 3 hours to return to full battery. Lightweight, yet built to last, the speaker is also dust and water-resistant, able to survive being completely submerged for up to half an hour. You can also use it in the rain, or rinse it without problems. A true roadie’s dream.
With the dedicated Marshall app, you have access to a myriad of equaliser presents to find exactly the sound you want. You can also keep your speaker up to date with Over-the-Air (OTA) updates. Furthermore, if you have more than one Marshall speaker around (like you should!) the app allows you to set them up and control each one accordingly.
A nice touch from Marshall is taking a sustainable approach for their whole line of products. Looks like leather, but of course, it isn’t. This speaker is manufactured out of 50% post-consumer recycled plastic from used electronics, water bottles, and automotive light covers. Also, it’s 100% PVC-free.
Available in black & brass, and cream, the Emberton II carries the torch of the rich, boisterous Marshall sound, bringing a piece of rock’n’roll history to the palm of your hand.
The story behind the Marshall sound
United Kingdom, mid ‘50s. West London musician Jim Marshall was making a good living out of teaching how to play the drums. Once a regular in local dance bands, he had discovered by circumstance that teaching was way more profitable than playing gigs. His weeks were packed with up to 64 individual booked lessons, something that allowed him in time to amass some substantial savings.
Pupils constantly asked him where to buy their first instruments, and he used to take them to a shop in Charing Cross road called Lew Davis Products. “One day the manager said to me, ‘well, you’re a damn fool, why don’t you open your own drum store?’” Jim Marshall reminisces in the 2014 documentary Play it Loud. He had the savings, he had the know-how, and that he did; in 1960 he opened his first music shop in Hanwell, West London, a place that his students and other young musicians would turn into their favorite gathering spot.
At the time, imported musical equipment was classified as “luxury goods” and subject to hefty taxes, effectively pricing out British aspiring musicians from all those marvelous Stratocasters and Gibsons their American heroes used. The demand was there, but for Brits, the options were quite limited, the only reliable amplifier brand coming from the islands being Vox.
“You know, that was the sound of the ‘50s, the twang of guitars. Like The Shadows, those were the first records I bought. Wonderful though they were, I always had a feeling that there was a beast that was waiting to be unleashed.” —Steve Hackett.
Musicians of the time either went for Vox or invested a mountain of cash to import the well-loved Fender Bassman amp, regarded for its powerful, harmonically rich tone. In a scenario of high demand and scant supply, Jim Marshall saw an opportunity.
Along with two associates, technicians Ken Bran and Dudley Craven, Marshall took apart a Fender Bassman amp and discovered that it used a standard circuit design that had no patent restrictions. With that template in mind, they set out to replicate it.
With no access to American components, the Marshall team was forced to trawl London’s army surplus shops for parts. They couldn’t find the same valves that Fender had been using and were forced to settle for alternatives. Those first prototypes were put in the store to be tested by the guitarists who hung around at their shop, among them, a young Pete Towsend. “I wanted distortion that was happening in the amplifier, not in the speaker,” the young guitarist demanded.
These young amateurs were rebellious and searched for a new sound, something with a different bite. With their feedback, the Marshall team tweaked and tweaked their fabulous Frankenstein amplifier, and a few iterations later, the big, growling Marshall sound was born.
You can find the Emberton II, and more Marshall products at JB HiFi website.