Marshall Tufton Review

Marshall Tufton Review

Marshall expanded its range of portable speakers last summer. The Marshall Tufton is the largest of the three new models and one of the largest portable speakers on the market. It is also equipped with a powerful battery and IPX2 water protection. We have taken a closer look at the “King of the Road,” as the manufacturer himself calls the Tufton.

PROS:

  • Classic Marshall look
  • The battery power has a 20-hour run time
  • Stable controls
  • Moistness resistant

CONS:

  • Oddball Blumlein stereo depends on where you put the speaker
  • There are no playback controls

Engineering and construction of the Marshall Tufton

The Tufton is designed as a portable stereo speaker with a bass reflex system, a three-way system with an additional rear-facing driver, and a brass slide that exits at the rear. This design gives the test candidate a multidirectional sound, i.e., radiating in all directions. More on this later.

Typically, Marshall, the Bluetooth speaker tested here, also comes in the brand’s well-known and timeless rock star look. It is a simple, black design with a dark all-over metal grille in classic microphone style, including a white Marshall logo as a highlight on the front – in the style of the popular Marshall guitar amps. And with the Tufton, the whole thing is reflected in the screwed but detachable carrying strap, which is based on classic electric guitar straps (black leather on the top and red fabric fittings on the underside of the strap).

The plastic housing, which has a coarsely grained leather look and rounded corners with flush-mounted corner caps, also makes a high-quality, very robust, hard-wearing impression right away. The plastic backplate mounted with ten screws and the stable, round, firmly screwed rubber feet of the Bluetooth speaker also contribute to this valuable effect.

On its top, the Tufton features a Bluetooth push button with an adjacent LED power and Bluetooth status indicators. Furthermore, there are three analog knobs – also in a classic look – attached; for individual fine adjustment of volume and treble and bass. The volume control also functions as a power on/off switch with the help of a resistor on level 1.

Another smart detail

The nine-level battery display, which automatically dims down when the device is idle – i.e., when no controller is being operated.

Finally, the back of the speaker comes up with the bass mentioned above, the reflex opening, and the perforated cover grille for the rear-facing driver, seamlessly integrated into the backplate at the top right. And finally, the two connections are located here, an AUX input for a 3.5-millimeter jack plug and the main connection for the power cable included in the scope of delivery, which is embedded in the housing at the bottom right behind a waterproof rubber flap. Speaking of which, the Tufton also comes with an IPX2 certification. The wireless speaker is therefore designed to be waterproof in that it can withstand light dripping water when used outdoors.

Battery, connectivity, and special features of the Bluetooth speaker

The Tufton has the latest Bluetooth 5.0 technology onboard works – just like the two Teufel speakers, Rockster Cross (to the test / directly to the Teufel shop) and Rockster Go (to the test / directly to the Teufel shop) – with Qualcomm’s aptX audio codec.

Therefore, it is ideally equipped for wireless music playback. Moreover, we even got a little more than the manufacturer’s specified maximum of 9 meters Bluetooth range in the practical test depending on the environment. This is because the Tufton has the latest Bluetooth 5.0 technology onboard, works with Qualcomm’s aptX audio codec, and is ideally equipped for wireless music playback.

Like the Rålis from Urbanears, for example, the Tufton is also equipped with an integrated multi-host function, making it very easy to switch back and forth between two different paired Bluetooth devices and play music from them. And if it should be cable instead of wireless operation, the Bluetooth speaker is also well positioned for this, namely with the AUX mentioned above input for a 3.5-millimeter jack on the back.

Depending on the volume and sound settings, the integrated rechargeable lithium-ion battery of the Marshall Tufton can play music wirelessly for more than 20 hours. It’s a strong value, and in the end also absolutely sufficient for most outdoor parties, which will hopefully also take place this summer will finally be possible again.

Moreover, as soon as a socket is within range, thanks to the quick charge function, the Bluetooth box can continue playing for a full four hours after just 20 minutes on the socket. And a full charge does not take more than the 2.5 hours estimated by Marshall – we were also able to convince ourselves of that in the test.

The Tufton in practice and functionality check

In practical use of the Marshall Tufton, we were immediately impressed by several things:

Bluetooth pairing with various playback devices was lightning fast -and the stable maintenance of the wireless connection was nothing less than an absolute matter. But, of course, for the test subject in the practical test, the Tufton automatically and without losing much time with the player last connected – very practical.

With the volume level not fully exhausted and the sound settings balanced, the test candidate lasted around 20 hours without giving up – quite an impressive achievement.

Good usability is also not necessarily a matter of course with Bluetooth boxes and should therefore be given a special mention at this point in favor of the Tufton. The test candidate does not have to be pressed with difficulty except for the smooth-running push button with a very pleasant pressure point.

Everything – i.e., volume, bass, and treble – can be adjusted very easily and with great precision using the stylish and smooth-running rotary control. And thanks to the possibility of individually fine-tuning the highs and lows using these controls, every test listener was able to quickly and easily adapt the sound of the Bluetooth speaker to their personal sound preferences in the practical test.

Sure, in contrast to the Teufel and Urbanears devices already mentioned, you won’t find any further setting options such as “Play/Pause” or “Forward/Back” on Marshall Tuft. Moreover, except for the party-ready multi-host Function, the Tufton is comparatively poorly equipped with additional features. In our opinion, however, this in no way detracts from the extremely positive overall impression of the handling of the Bluetooth speaker tested here and is ultimately a matter of taste.

What is more important are the almost five kilograms that the Tufton weighs (almost twice as much as the Urbanears Rålis or Teufel Rockster Cross). As a result, users may find them too heavy for use on the go – especially with slightly longer distances to be covered. Nevertheless, the Tufton is easy to carry, thanks to the stably attached and robust carrying strap. Only a shoulder strap like the Teufel Rockster Cross would have been a pleasant relief.

Regardless of this, the Tufton also does quite well regarding outdoor suitability. Although it “only” has IPX2 drip water protection, it withstood drizzle outdoors until we took it out of the line of fire to be careful. Sure, some other Bluetooth speakers, such as the Rockster Cross (IPX5) or Rockster Go (IPX7), are ahead in this regard, but they are also explicitly designed for outdoor use. And thanks to its robust construction, the speaker can also cope with minor impacts. Seen in this way, the test candidate from Marshall does not have to hide in this respect.

This is how the “king of the road” sounds

After the burn-in, the Tufton immediately showed in our listening test that it had a lot under the hood and quickly won us over. The four drivers installed in the bass reflex box powered by class D amplifiers let us immediately feel the test subject’s concentrated power. This is because it knows how to develop volume levels that can easily fill smaller and larger rooms and large, open areas outdoors.

Nevertheless, the test candidate still sounded very good from a distance. In addition, the Tufton did not allow itself any weaknesses, even at the maximum level. Unpleasant sharpening? – None, even in the highest frequency ranges.

When it came to the sound, the powerhouse also presented itself as a real fine spirit, who delivered the bass with the right boost and very cleanly and contours. By the way, when placed on the floor, the low bass is many times more powerful and voluminous than when used on a table, which, for example, made wavering electro bass lines like in Faraday’s “Anger” or “Dangerous” by The XX fill the room in the test and us an inevitable “Wow!” on the lips.

This image was reflected one-to-one in the high-frequency ranges, as the Tufton managed to reproduce the highs effortlessly and with brilliant clarity, be it the voice of Norah Jones or the saxophone solo in Foreigner’s classic “Urgent.” In our opinion, there could only have been a little finer resolution in the middle reproduction.

At this point, however, we complain about a very high level because the overall sound of the Tufton is characterized by impressive clarity, excellent fine resolution, and great balance and naturalness. In addition, it is simply outstanding for its device and price class.

Consequently, the test candidate showed no weaknesses in impulse fidelity and dynamics, which also allowed it to master fast rock songs and classical music, for example. At best, there are minimal point deductions for the audio stage; in the spatial representation of live concerts or orchestral music, the Tufton did not achieve the maximum number of points. But that too is capable of the excellent overall impression of a Bluetooth loudspeaker, which is incredibly fun.

Almost every music genre from jazz and classical to pop and rock to electro and hip-hop sounds great indoors and outdoors. This is all thanks to the multidirectional driver alignment, which works excellently in practice, not only from the front but also all around – not to be detracted from in the slightest.

Conclusion

The Bluetooth speaker Tufton impressed us in the practical and listening test; it not only wowed us with the manufacturer-typical, hip vintage charm and its impressively implemented multidirectional concept, including excellent sound performance both indoors and outdoors. No, the lightning-fast wireless connection, the easy operation, and the extremely powerful battery, as well as the robust carrying strap and the conditionally weatherproof design, convinced us in practice. This wireless speaker is still worth every penny this summer – and a welcome guest at every party, large and small, which we hope will be possible again soon.

Marshall Tufton Review
Marshall Tufton Review

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