The Tufton is the most recent Marshall Bluetooth speaker to cross TechHive’s portal. It’s a big, loud, bass-pumping, however bare-bones unit designed for out of doors and social gathering use. It sounds respectable and its construct high quality is top-notch, however its $400 MSRP is a good quantity of coin for an oddball stereo implementation, no buttons to regulate playback or dealing with telephone calls, and no capability to cost different units.
It’s value noting that Amazon was selling the Tufton for $330 as I used to be scripting this evaluation, and the producer was throwing in a free pair of its Major III Bluetooth headphones if you buy it direct.
This evaluation is a part of TechHive’s protection of the best Bluetooth speakers, the place you’ll discover evaluations of competing merchandise, plus a purchaser’s information to the options it is best to think about when purchasing.
Design and options
The styling of the Marshall Tufton is a nod to…. Well, to be sincere, I’m undecided. It has the Marshall brand, tweed grill, and Tolex overlaying, nevertheless it’s too skinny to be a combo amp, and it doesn’t mimic the long-lasting Marshall stack, both. That stated, it completely does shout Marshall if that’s what you’re after.
I discussed that the Tufton is on the massive aspect, measuring roughly 14 x 9 x 6.5 inches (HxWxD) and weighing barely lower than 11 kilos. That heft displays very sturdy MDF development and heavy-duty parts. The again, held in place by high-quality screws, comes off, and for a number of causes, I took a peek inside. A bit extra on that later. The vast and sturdy carrying strap makes it really really feel a bit of lighter than the marketed weight, nevertheless it’s actually not for mountain climbing.
Audio is facilitated by a four-way Class D amplifier: A 40-watt part to drive a single 5.25-inch woofer, two 15-watt sections to drive a pair of two.0-inch mid-range drivers, a 10-watt part to energy the Tufton’s single 0.63-inch dome tweeter. Don’t let the twin mid-range audio system idiot you, the Tufton just isn’t stereo as you would possibly anticipate it. One of the mid-range drivers faces backward, and whereas the mids in a stereo sign are break up between them, the excessive frequencies and low-end are usually not. More on the way it sounds in a bit. Speaking of low-end, the unit is ported for bass response and it’s fairly efficient.
The Tufton has simply 4 controls: Volume/On/Off, treble, and bass knobs, and the Bluetooth pairing button, however they’re silky clean and strong feeling—Marshall didn’t low-cost out when it comes to high quality on any stage. Even with the Bluetooth, which is model 5.0 for higher vary.
The absence of play/pause and skip ahead/again controls means you’ll be able to’t use the Tufton to regulate playback from a Bluetooth supply. And since there’s no mic onboard, you’ll be able to’t use it as a speakerphone, both. Admittedly, these are minor issues given the speaker’s supposed position; however given the worth, it appears a bit penny-pinching.
The Tufton is rated IPX2, which means a number of drops of liquid shouldn’t do it a lot hurt, however don’t take it within the pool or depart it out within the rain (you’ll be able to read more about IP codes here). A captive rubber plug covers the two-prong connector for the ability twine and its 3.5mm aux enter, however once more, it’s a guard a in opposition to showers, not immersion.
The precise score of the battery wasn’t offered, nevertheless it’s giant sufficient to run the unit for a very good 20 hours. It will cost totally in 2.5 hours, and it may be quick-charged for 20 minutes and nonetheless final 4 hours. That’s about what I skilled, or I ought to say the producer’s battery-life declare is shut sufficient for rock ‘n’ roll. Alas, there isn’t any USB port for charging different units.
When I noticed the Tufton’s price ticket, I used to be anticipating a terrific sonic expertise. It does get loud with minimal distortion, and the bass and excessive frequencies are properly tuned at default settings (i.e., zero). But there’s a deficit within the mid-range that deprives the general sound of a lot in the best way of chunk. The Tufton is hardly disagreeable to take heed to, however I discovered myself crinkling my countenance and craning my neck ahead barely, as if that may assist me distinguish the small print I felt had been lacking.
This could possibly be as a result of half the mid-range sign is routed to the again of the speaker, although it is also a attribute of the two.0-inch full-range drivers that Marshall employs. Marshall is asking this Blumlein stereo, after a two-microphone recording approach used for capturing spatial audio info.
As to that Blumlein stereo: Listening from instantly in entrance, it’s not notably pronounced even for those who again the Tufton as much as an acoustically reflective floor so the rear audio system emanations bounce ahead. That’s really a gross understatement.
You can hear the stereo impact a lot better for those who face one aspect of the Tufton, nevertheless it’s minimal and odd as a result of all of the excessive frequencies are directed ahead in the direction of one ear. Though I may acknowledge music as stereo, I needed to create a particular file with onerous pans to essentially confirm it. Bass is usually perceptually directionless, in order that’s not as large a deal.
To be sincere, I’m undecided I see the purpose except Marshall was merely having a tough time becoming each audio system on the entrance. Both mid-range audio system are in their very own isolating sub enclosures. Bottom line, the stereo picture is weak at finest and I’ve to query Marshall referring to this as a stereo speaker. It’s actually not stereo in the best way most listeners would anticipate.
By the best way, once I stated properly tuned default bass, that’s in keeping with my preferences. You can pull extraordinarily giant quantities of thump out of the Tufton by cranking the bass knob, if that’s your factor.
Stereo or not, the general sound of the Tufton is completely advantageous for the outside or dance flooring, the place stereo means little and mid-range will get squashed by ambient noise more often than not anyway. Try to bounce the rear sign off one thing for those who can. For advantageous listening from instantly in entrance, the shortage of stereo separation and personality-revealing mid-range would possibly rankle.
Good, however maybe overpriced
My drawback with the Marshall Tufton just isn’t its sort-of-stereo sound, lack of telephone name and playback management, or its incapacity to cost different units—it’s the $400 price ticket. I loved my hands-on, and I actually recognize the constructed high quality, however $250 can be a fairer worth given its foibles. Then once more, as a few of my cousins are keen on stating, I’m “value-oriented.”
If loud, thumpy, and the Marshall brand and design aesthetic are what you’re searching for—and cash isn’t a barrier—the Tufton delivers. But bounce these rear waves for finest outcomes.