By Paisal Chuenprasaeng
BRING THE old-fashioned style of Marshall guitar amps into your home with the firm’s new and upgraded wireless speakers and travel back in time to the heady days of music festivals and their powerful sound.
Now with Wi-Fi capability, the speakers have multi-room function and are defined as such to differentiate them from the earlier Bluetooth version.
The three Wi-Fi models of Marshall are Acton Multi-Room, Stanmore Multi-Room and Woburn Multi-Room.
With the Multi-Room capacity, you can group all the Wi-Fi speakers together with the Marshall app then choose between sending the same playlist of songs to different speakers in different rooms or assigning a different playlist to each speaker.
Best of all, as part of the Wi-Fi capacity, the Marshall speakers come with Chromecast built-in and Spotify Connect function. That means you can use your smartphone as a remote control to direct songs from the Chromecast compatible app for the speaker to handle on its own without the need to use your phone to control the play all the time.
There are, of course, a few steps to get started. First, you need to use the Google Home app to add the Acton to your Wi-Fi router and then the Marshall Multi-Room app to control the speaker to control the music apps that can cast to the speaker.
And if you have a Spotify account, you can use your smartphone to control the Spotify Connect on the speaker to play your Spotify playlist. That’s handy because it means you can still use the phone to make or receive phone calls without disrupting the music as the speaker will directly connect to Spotify’s server to play the music on its own. This also saves the battery life of your smartphone.
And the Wi-Fi Marshall speakers also support Apple AirPlay, allowing you to stream music from your Macbook directly using the Wi-Fi connection.
I got to test the Acton Multi-Room. Although it is tiny at 265 x 160 x 150 mm, it makes up for its size with a powerful sound. It uses a 30-watt Class D amplifier for the woofer and two 10-watt Class D amplifiers for two tweeters that are placed on the left and right side of the woofer.
The speaker uses a bass-reflex cabinet design the enhance bass sounds.
The speaker has good sensitivity of 103 dB and a frequency response of 52 to 20,000 MHz.
Like other Marshall speakers, the Acton Multi-Room has analogue control knobs like a classic Marshall guitar amp. Here too you will find the volume control, with a highest volume of ten.
There are also Bass and Treble control knobs with LED indicators. These allow you to easily fine-tune the music to suite your taste. Forward and backward skip buttons are also provided.
The Acton Multi-Room’s source button is different from the source button of previous Marshall Bluetooth speakers because it comes with preset options and is now called the Source/Preset control knob.
You can use the knob to store up to 7 presets for playing Spotify playlists or Internet radio stations. You can assign your favourite Spotify playlists or Internet radio stations via a Marshall app with the knob directly. And when you are playing an Internet radio station or a Spotify playlist, you can turn the Source knob to one of seven preset positions then press the Source knob for more than three seconds to store the preset. The previous stored preset will be overwritten.
The Acton Multi-Room supports Wi-Fi 802.11 n and ac at 2.4GHz and 5GHz. During the test in my bedroom on the second floor, the Acton Multi-Room had no problem connecting to my Linksys EA-8500 router on the ground floor.
To use the speaker, you need to download and install Marshall Multi-Room app. Among other things, the app is used to control the speaker as a single unit or group them together as a multi-room network of speakers. You can also use the app to adjust the intensity of LEDs and tweak the equaliser.
During the test, I had no problem playing my Spotify playlist on the Acton Multi-Room. I also tried using Sony Music app on Sony XZ Premium, which is compatible with Chromecast, to play music from a network drive, Synology DiskStation DS418. The playback was smooth.
The music quality of Acton Multi-Room is good with clear mid-range and highs and the bass is solid and powerful making the Acton Multi-Room excellent for listening to rock music.
Apart from Wi-Fi connection, Acton Multi-Room also supports Bluetooth 4.2 and it has a 3.5mm input for connecting to a portable music player with an analogue audio cable.
The Marshall Acton-Multi-Room has a suggested retail price of Bt12,990 and is available at www.ashop.asia.
Power amplifiers: 1x 30 Watt Class D amplifier for the woofer, 2x 10 Watt Class D amplifiers for the tweeters
Cabinet type: Bass reflex
Sound sensitivity: 103dB
Frequency range: 52-20,000 Hz
Wireless connectivity: AirPlay, Bluetooth 4.2, Chromecast built-in
Wired connectivity: 3.5mm input
Wi-Fi: 802.11 b/g/n/ac 2.4/5 GHz
Dimensions: 265 x 160 x 150 mm