A Marshall speaker crying out to be turned up to 11

The Bluetooth Kilburn II boasts a 20-watt woofer amp and twin eight-watt tweeter amps packed into an artfully retro design

Marshall Kilburn II, £269
Marshall Kilburn II, £269 | Image: Hugh Threlfall

Once again, the rock amplifier king Marshall has made a brilliant sally into the consumer technology market with this outstanding – and artfully retro – Bluetooth speaker, the Kilburn II. Three things stand out for me. The first is the aesthetic. It is superbly built and really looks like a mini Marshall amp, which creates a powerful emotional pull before you’ve even switched it on. It is surprisingly small at 24cm x 16cm x 14cm, but the squat compactness and density – it weighs 2.5kg – is just very cute. The second standout feature is its old-school rotating knobs (volume, bass and treble) – such a welcome riposte to the purist audio maker’s “we decide what it should sound like” convention of not allowing the customer to personalise the sound balance. The third is the sound, which is ludicrously loud for such a small box – but with a 20-watt woofer amp and twin eight-watt tweeter amps, that perhaps shouldn’t be a surprise. It’s a strictly rock ’n’ roll sound, though – you probably won’t be playing Beethoven with the Kilburn II, and just as well, because it wouldn’t be quite right.


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