Marshall Kilburn II (2024) Review (Tried and Tested)

BAFH
9 Min Read

This is a Kilburn 2, the best portable Bluetooth speaker from Marshall.

The physical features first. This thing is quite portable. The Kilburn 2 features a guitar care and inspired strap made of what feels to be leather and lining with this red felt, the lower feeling material on the inside. It’s a nice touch. The front features a pretty strong grill that resembles a classic microphone, of course, with that iconic Marshall branding.

The entire enclosure is wrapped in vinyl with a leather-like texture. If you run your nail against it, you’ll notice it’s not solid plastic. Pretty cool. The top features a Bluetooth pairing button. The knobs are practically identical to the amps they offer. They have a lot of resistance with a lot of good feedback when turning the dials: volume, bass, and treble.

The only thing I don’t want to say necessarily is a negative since Marshall sticks with more of a classic design, but I do miss the ability to skip and go back on songs. That’s common on many other Bluetooth speakers today. But to be fair, who offers these awesome knobs here for you to adjust on the fly? Now, on the far right, I’ve always given good praise for any brand that offers this.

It’s their battery level indicator glowing in red. That lasted Kilburn 2 is meant to be the most durable portable Bluetooth speaker in their lineup. From my testing, the speaker is usable for up to moderate outdoor use. They have endcaps, of course, on either end here on all four ends, that is, and the speaker itself is water-resistant with an IP x2 rating. The speaker is not meant for the pool, though. But with the IP x2 rating, it means that it’s fine against dripping water. With my testing, especially around the knobs in this recessed area right here, this speaker still works fine today. Although I do wish for a stronger water-resistant rating, I can see this being enough to withstand entertaining your friend at the backyard barbecue, camping, and those kinds of outdoor activities.

Now, speaking of entertaining, rotating this to the back, the Kilburn 2 does offer multi-directional audio as there’s a Twitter and a bass port in the back here. Placing this in the middle of the table doesn’t matter where you are; you’re going to hear some form of music. But more on my audio test a little bit later on. The bottom left is an auxiliary port for your 3.5-millimeter connections, and on the bottom right under this water-resistant flap are your power plug ports.

With the Kilburn 2, it just comes with a simple cord for connection, something small, but it is convenient for transport. As for battery life, this has quick charging. 20 minutes gives you 3 hours of playback. Recharging this from a dead battery to full, took me 2 hours and 34 minutes. And doing my battery test of playing this at 50% volume and having the bass and the treble up top here at 50% as well, for the middle-of-the-road result, I got 14 hours and 19 minutes. The marshal claimed the Kilburn 2 can achieve 20 hours of playback. Well, this is average among the industry and average footing category of large Bluetooth speakers. Now, the last test I did was the Bluetooth connection. The Kilburn 2 features Bluetooth 5.0, which is awesome.

This speaker is loud enough for small to medium-sized rooms. For large areas, this figure tends to struggle a bit with providing room-filling music. I can put this up to maximum volume, both on my phone and the speaker, and it’s still comfortable. But I’m not jamming out or feeling like it’s hitting as hard as I would have hoped in those large open areas.

Now, with that being said, if you remember this has multi-directional audio, so there’s again that little speaker on the rear with its base port. It does output audio, and it does help if anyone is walking back here. But the front-firing speakers are stronger, of course, and in contrast, the rears don’t provide that same experience, unfortunately. You do get some audio, but it’s not the same immersion as, of course, standing in front of it. At the end of the day, it’s better than nothing. But what is to follow my backup for it? The audio, in general, testing this over and over again, hands down, the Kilburn 2 has some of the best quality out there for a Bluetooth speaker. There’s clarity and Italian frequency separation.

But first, let’s talk about bass. This sounds obvious, I know, but I want to emphasize the foundation, the stack settings, and the heart of the speaker before any adjustments. There’s a lot of quality in its signature with nothing too extreme on one end or the other. And tweaking it with the tune abs up top, you have a much better chance of having it sound the way that you want it to without affecting other parts of the audio spectrum.

Now, adjusting bass with the knob hits practically every nail in the head. If you feel it’s too busy, turn it down, and you have a flatter sound signature. Turning this up to 3/4 of the way, which is what I liked, gave me a bass-boosted audio signature without muffling the vocals. Turning it to the maximum will do that, though. But then some people prefer the bass over a strong mid-range. Either or, I left mine being punchy. It’s non-distorting. It’s not deep sub-bass either, but there’s enough for a good experience across all genres of music.

Now, for the mid-range, it’s very clear, quite surprising as not many Bluetooth speakers hit this. You could hear little details, nuances, and breaths from the vocalist quite clearly. I placed the mid-range around 50%, and to be a little forward and a little bright for me, this makes the majority of the audio heard by the human ear pretty distinct. Now, for a Bluetooth speaker, there’s a bit of depth heard from front to back, separating instruments from others, and the audio never sounded boxy or enclosed. Again, you can control the amount that you want, neutral to very for dim, bright is an option as well. So, you have a variety. It’s also no adjustments, but the adjustments go a long way. Now, the high-need experience was mutual to me. It wasn’t underwhelming, but it was never sharp or even ear-piercing. I wish I had a little bit more sparkle up top. There if anything, it’s pretty mellow with some roll-off. Then, with everything discussed, this is a well-balanced speaker with the ability to tune it to make it fit your listening preference with quality from the get-go. That’s where this speaker shines. The audio performance is well, the best out there, hands-down, no question about it. The only thing though, I just wish it was just a little bit louder.

So overall, do I recommend this? No question, yes. I think being aware of the heritage from Marshall over two decades remaining time fists here to the quality of craftsmanship to the quality of audio output. This is surely a speaker worth looking into. No gimmicks, just some damn good audio.

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