Marshall Headphones knows style. The company uses the iconic Marshall logo and a font of nostalgic embellishments across its wares to brilliant effect in an expanding line of cool headphones and gorgeous Bluetooth speakers that capture the aesthetic of Marshall’s famous guitar and bass cabinets. For its latest effort, the company has gone smaller, and, for the first time, portable with the new Kilburn, a speaker which cuts the cord for up to 20 hours of wireless playback so you can take your music with you wherever you go — in style.
From top to bottom, the Kilburn simply exudes cool. It’s face is covered in thick grill cloth which bears the gleaming Marshall logo in gold, bordered by brash gold threading around the edges. Available in black or cream colors, the exterior of the speaker is wrapped with the same road-worthy vinyl you’ll find on stage at nightclubs and rock venues across the globe — and it doesn’t just look the part either. You can feel the rock vibe as you run your fingers along the edges, making the guitarist in you yearn for a pick.
At the top of the miniature cabinet is a control panel featuring a brushed metal backplate, gold embossed knobs, and a tactile power switch — the same setup you’ll find across Marshall’s entire Bluetooth speaker family, including the Hanwell, Stanmore, and others. There’s no doubt Marshall Headphones is playing on our weakness for analog gear and old-school rock hardware here. And you know what? We’re fine with that. The control panel marks our favorite part of the design.
But the Kilburn isn’t done there. The speaker also tacks on a handle that mimic’s a guitar strap, replete with leatherette lined with velvety underside. And for times when you want to forego wireless streaming for a hard connection, the speaker offers a coiled 3.5mm cable.
Under the grill, the Kilburn sports dual .75-inch drivers paired with a 4-inch woofer to pump out some low end. The drivers are individually powered with a trio of Class D amplifiers, including dual 5-watt amps for the tweeters, and a 15-watt job for the woofer, offering a claimed frequency response of 62-Hz-20kHz. The speaker feels quite solid, and that comes through in the weight, which is just over 6.5 pounds. That’s pretty hefty for a Bluetooth speaker, though it feels light enough to tote around by the strap on short trips without difficulty.
While we’re suckers for the Kilburn’s rock nostalgia, the speaker’s no slouch when it comes to sound performance, either. It’s loud enough to fill a room at half to three-quarters volume, and offers a lot more punch in the lower register than we were expecting, yet does so without sounding too heavy or sluggish. There’s a bit of a shouty quality in the treble, but that brighter topside is evened out by a sweet midrange that offers some pleasant fluidity to the sound.
There’s no doubt the speaker’s $300 price point is a serious investment for a Bluetooth speaker. Still, with solid performance, quality construction, and rock nostalgia for days, once you pick the Kilburn up, it’s hard to put down.