Short review of Marshall Kilburn II

Some time ago I bought a small portable speaker (i.e. one with a battery), which is used to play sound from my laptop or phone, and occasionally a TV set. I was looking for good middle and low frequencies. Before the purchase, I compared in one of the stores several devices of this type: Marshall Kilburn II, JBL Charger 4 and Xtreme 2, Sony XB43 and XB41. The test consisted in playing music from two phones connected via Bluetooth to two different devices at once. The same song was played, more or less in half, and subjectively Marshall did the best job for me. An additional advantage is the fact that it does not shine on the front, and the construction seems to be very good quality.

After a few days of use, I can already say something about the device. But let’s start with the technical data (from the manual):

SOUND SPECIFICATION
– Portable stereo speaker with bass reflex system
– Class D digital amplifier: 2 x 8 W (sopranos) + 1 x 20 W (bass)
– Tweeters: 2 x 20 mm dome
– Subwoofer: 1 x 4″
– Volume, bass and treble controls (potentiometer)
– Response to frequency: 52 – 20 000 Hz ±6 dB
– Maximum sound pressure level: 100.4 dB SPL at 1 m
COMMUNICATIONS
– Bluetooth®: Bluetooth 5.0 with Qualcomm aptX™
– AUX (input): 3.5 mm stereo socket
TECHNICAL INFORMATION
– Power supply voltage: 100–240 V~
– Power frequency: 50-60 Hz
– Dimensions: 243 x 162 x 140 mm
– Weight: 2,5 kg
ACCUMULATOR
– Battery type: Built-in, lithium-ion
– Play time: over 20 hours
– Charging time: 2.5 hours

There is a grille on the front, behind which the speakers are located. On the top there are potentiometers to control, and a button to connect/pair Bluetooth, which also serves as a wake-up call from sleep mode. There is also a battery charge indicator made of red LEDs.

At the back there is a place for the power cord to charge the battery or let the device work on the main source. There is also a line input (AUX) mini-jack 3.5mm.

Interestingly, the speaker has no external power supply (USB or other type), and the pluggable cable has a standard 2-pin connector (so called radio).

Kilburn II is a very good sound quality, much better than other speakers in this price category. It is clean, with good deep bass and no squeaking sopranos. Adjustment by means of potentiometers is a great advantage, because there is no need to control in applications (the manufacturer does not provide any application for a smartphone or computer). Bluetooth version 5 with aptX codec makes the device connect very quickly to e.g. a phone and the sound quality is high although it is transmitted by radio.

Using the device is very simple. Holding the BT button for 3 seconds starts pairing, and afterwards you can play music wirelessly. Pairing mode is activated, and when it is successful is indicated by a sound. Playback through the AUX port does not require any activity other than starting up the speaker and plugging in the cable.

The loudspeaker seems to be very well made, in the details you can see the refinement and use of good materials.

The only drawback that really bothers you is that after 10 minutes when the music is not playing, it goes to sleep. It wouldn’t be so bad if the speaker wakes up on its own when the music is playing again. Unfortunately this is not the case, and every time you have to press a button (one click on the BT pairing button). Apart from this minor drawback, the speaker is perfect.

I use it alternately playing audio from my laptop, phone, and TV (TV has only toslink optical output, so on the way there is an e-mu 0404 USB running in independent mode as DAC).

Plus:
Low bass, volume, high build quality, Blutooth 5, APTX, mini-jack input (aux), splash and dust protection IPX2, long battery life.

Minuses:
Quickly enters sleep mode, requires manual wake up (button), no app, no group connection (no stereo mode with e.g. 2 speakers).

 

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