With the Middelton, Marshall has launched a new Bluetooth speaker that I’ve been wanting for a long time. The Middleton is like a larger version of the Marshall Emberton that wowed us in testing. The Middelton offers 60 watts of music power and is waterproof. We found out for you how the speaker performs.
It’s the first time Marshall has launched a speaker of this type, although there are larger Bluetooth speakers from the brand, such as the Kilbrun II , but these are not waterproof and not as versatile.
Compared to the performance, the Middleton is quite compact, with a length of 23 cm and an almost square shape with +- 10 cm long sides, the speaker is only slightly larger compared to the JBL Charge 5, but offers 20 watts with a total of 60 watts more music performance than the competitor.
This is then reflected in the weight, the Marshall weighs 1.8 kg, so it is not a flyweight. In order to be able to transport it better, there is a rubber loop included in the scope of delivery, which can be attached as desired.
The built-in battery provides a playing time of up to 20 hours, and the speaker is charged in 4.5 hours with USB-C. But after just 20 minutes you can enjoy another 2 hours of wireless music. You can also use the speaker as a power bank via the USB-C input, with a suitable cable you can charge your smartphone on the go.
The housing is the same construction made of rubber with a leather look and metal grille that is already familiar from Marshall loudspeakers. This also makes a very indestructible impression here. So far there is only the color “black and brass”, which looks very classy like the little siblings Emberton and Willen . Marshall lives up to its own name and builds a speaker that is reminiscent of the iconic designs of guitar amps, even in this size. The speaker is additionally rubberized on the underside so that it does not move even at full volume.
As already mentioned, the Middleton is waterproof, according to IP67 it is protected against dust and water and is therefore now significantly more forgiving than the previously “big” loudspeakers from Marshall.
In addition to the USB-C connection, there is also a jack input.
A microphone is not installed.
We’ve mentioned it several times now, the Marshall Middleton has a total music output of 60 watts, but how does that work?
Two active 3-inch bass membranes are installed, each rated at 20 watts, and two 3/5-inch speakers, each rated at 10 watts, take care of the treble. Altogether 60 watts. The four speakers are supported by two passive membranes on the sides. As with almost all Marshall loudspeakers, the Middleton is also built as a 360 degree loudspeaker. One each of the treble and bass membranes point to the front and to the back. More on how that sounds later.
What can the Middleton do?
The Middleton doesn’t offer many functions apart from playing music on the go – but it doesn’t need that either. But there are a few features:
First we have the stack mode, with which you can connect any number of Middletons together. This turns a small party into a big party in no time.
Then there is an equalizer, which can even be adjusted on the device itself using buttons. Once you can control the bass and then the treble. The LED light strip shows you the current status. This design element is found on many of the Marshall loudspeakers, but here it has received an update. In addition to the battery status, it can now also visualize the volume and the status of the EQ controls.
Alternatively, the EQ can also be controlled via the Marshall app, with which the Middleton is also compatible.
Here you can configure the stack mode, install software updates and the two channel EQ rules.
The Marshall Middleton can maintain the Bluetooth connection with two smartphones at the same time, so you can switch devices without long waiting times.
Here, too, it is controlled centrally via the golden button on the top. This can not only be pressed down, but also to the sides, with which you can then select the volume or skip through music titles. There is a dedicated button for Bluetooth. Anyone who knows products from Marshall also knows this control, it is now used in quite a lot of the manufacturer’s products, and it has also proven itself in our test as a simple but functional solution.
The sound: This is what the Marshall Middleton sounds like
In addition to the iconic design, the focus is clearly on the sound, but how does the Marshall Middleton sound? Whether you like a sound or not is, as always, a matter of taste.
First of all, for me the sound of the Marshall Middleton is one of the best that I know of Bluetooth speakers. But first things first, because as always, it’s not all that simple.
As you can already see from the power distribution (10/20), one focus is the volume in the bass range. At volume levels of up to around 80 percent of the total volume, the speaker offers a fantastic sound that is as powerful as it is detailed. The further you go from 80 percent towards 100 percent volume, the more the sound is then pushed. Of course, the bass suffers in volume, the speaker is simply not big enough for that.
However, the speaker is also damn loud at 100 percent, especially for the size. However, how loud depends on one thing in particular, is the speaker in the middle of a meadow or in front of a wall? Due to the 360-degree design, you only get sound from half of the speakers, the other half goes out the wrong way. If nobody is standing here, in many situations this is of course either a waste of energy or a nuisance from the neighbors. However, if you place the speaker in front of a wall, the sound of the speakers on the back is reflected and you can then enjoy the full performance. That sounds more negative than it is meant to be, after all it is precisely this design that makes so much performance for the size possible in the first place – but be aware of this logic.
Thanks to the equalizer, you can refine the sound even further, although there are only two controls for bass and treble, but anyone who has even the slightest idea of how music and audio works will understand that.
As before: sound is a matter of taste, and how a speaker sounds also depends on the music being listened to. Of course, the Marshall brand is a bit biased here, in the minds of many Marshall = rock – but being able to play rock music really well is more difficult than most people think. If you don’t want to get muddy noise here, you need really good speakers. That’s another reason why the Marshall loudspeakers are really good, but that’s not only good for rock music. EDM benefits massively from the supporting bass, but thanks to the very detailed sound, classical music is also really fun on the Middleton – and you really can’t say that about many Bluetooth speakers. So the Middleton is fun in many, whether pop, jazz, classical or EDM and not just in rock.
Emberton in large: love it!
For me, the Marshall Middleton is pretty much what I wanted: a large Marshall Emberton. If you just pay attention to the volume, you will of course also get a JBL Xtreme 3 for the price , it is louder, especially because it has 100 watts of power and no 360 degree sound. But if you are looking for a special sound, you are better off with the Middleton and get a speaker with an iconic design that we really enjoy.