If you are looking for a portable Bluetooth speaker, both the Marshall Willen and Emberton 2 are great choices. The Marshall Willen is the most portable speaker in the Marshall line of speakers and is designed for you to take it anywhere with you with a mounting strap. The Marshall Emberton 2 is also a very portable speaker and slightly larger than the Marshall Willen – it is designed to deliver crisp stereo sound performance with dual 10W full-range drivers (with a peak power of 20 watts).
Despite being the smallest Marshall speaker available, the Marshall Willen is designed to be durable and rugged, and is fully IP67 waterproof for outdoor use. The Marshall Willen comes with a single full-range 2-inch driver and a Class D amplifier for loud sound performance. Despite its small and compact size, the Willen also has 2 passive radiators and a wide frequency range of 100 Hz to 20 kHz and has the added advantage of a mic-in microphone for hands free calls. Both the Marshall Willen and Emberton 2 uses Bluetooth 5.1 for wireless music streaming and it has a wireless range of 30 feet. The Marshall Willen only supports SBC Bluetooth codec, but this is not a big deal as it only provides mono sound output while the Emberton 2 provides stereo sound with its dual 2” full-range drivers.
When we compared the Marshall Emberton 2 with the Marshall Willen, we felt that the sound performance of the Emberton 2 speaker was much better with wider soundstage and clear stereo separation. The Emberton 2 speaker delivers deeper bass with more depth and presence; it also comes with 2 passive bass radiators which provide a much deeper low-end bass sound performance. The Emberton 2 speaker also has a wider frequency range and can go down to 60 Hz (as compared to the Willen’s 100 Hz), and you can hear the difference in the low-end frequency range while playing EDM and rock music. We also liked the stereo sound performance of the Emberton 2 – the sound feels smooth and crystal clear and you can hear decent separation between the instruments and vocals with stereo sound output.
Vocal performances sounded much more refined with good stereo separation on the Emberton 2 – this is particularly true for jazz music where you get good sonic presence and realism – the vocals sound forward-leaning and much more realistic as compared to the Marshall Willen. The Willen speaker also only has one 2” full-range driver and delivers sound only in mono mode, which is a comparative disadvantage to the Emberton 2’s full-range stereo sound with clearer details and soundstage.
In terms of loudness, both the Emberton 2 and Willen speaker can get very loud but we found that the Emberton 2 delivers much bigger sound due to its dual Class D amplifiers (as compared to the Willen which only has a single amplifier). That said, the Marshall Willen has slightly less sound compression at higher volume levels, allowing it to deliver cleaner sound compared to the Emberton 2 especially if you are playing complex soundtracks with a lot of detail at high volume levels.
In terms of sound quality, the Marshall Emberton 2 is the clear winner here with much more rounded bass response, midrange clarity and overall loudness. The Willen also delivers very clear sound with crisp treble ranges, but lacks the bass response that the Emberton 2 has to offer due to its small size.
The Marshall Emberton 2 and Marshall Willen are both IPX7 waterproof and dust resistant – they are designed to be highly portable speakers where you can take them around with you in a backpack or just by hand carrying them. The Emberton 2 delivers 30 hours of playtime on a single charge, while the Marshall Willen provides 15 hours which is pretty decent. Both speakers use Bluetooth 5.1 with SBC audio codec for music streaming and have a wireless range of 30 feet.
When it comes to power output, the Emberton 2 delivers more power due to its dual Class D amplifiers while the Marshall Willen only has one Class D amplifier. The bass on the Emberton is also punchier and has more depth due to its dual bass radiators.
One thing we liked about the Marshall Willen is its integrated mounting strap which allows you to attach the speaker to your backpack easily. It also comes with a built-in microphone for hands free calls which is convenient if you need take calls while outdoors.
Both the Emberton 2 and Willen speakers are very well designed with the signature Marshall logo on the speaker. They are both very portable and compact, with the Marshall Willen having a dimension of 4” x 4” x 1.6”, while the Emberton 2 speaker has a dimension of 6.3” x 2.7” x 3”. Both speakers also come with a gold-colored control knob which allows you to adjust the volume and skip soundtracks. While the Emberton 2 is obviously the larger speaker, both speakers are durable and waterproof and designed to last for a long time.
We liked the Marshall Emberton 2 speaker more than the Marshall Willen – it delivers better sound performance and much louder sound with a peak 20W power output and has much better stereo sound and bass output. The Marshall Willen is only supported by one Class D amplifier and delivers mono sound output, which makes the Emberton 2 a much more attractive option. Both speakers are IP67 waterproof and dustrproof, and the Emberton 2 offers 30 hours of battery life compared to the Willen’s 15 hours. Although the Marshall Willen comes with a mounting strap which makes it easy to attach and carry around, the Emberton 2 is also equally portable and looks much better as a Bluetooth speaker – and while the Marshall Willen is small and compact, the Emberton 2 is only incrementally larger but offers substantially better sound performance. Overall, we felt that the Marshall Emberton 2 is a better Bluetooth speaker for its sound quality and bass performance, and we would recommend them over the Marshall Willen.