Gadget Review: A retro touch to quality sound

Marshal’s latest Woburn III speaker is a visual throwback to the era of great music artistes and an aural leap into the present of single-speaker hi-fi

By Anirban Bagchi

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Published: Sun 21 Jan 2024, 7:18 PM

Last updated: Mon 22 Jan 2024, 9:13 AM

It’s been a while now since the world of home audio moved on to single-speaker set-ups, but the quest for stereo sound continues. Desiring true stereophonic or multi-channel sound reproduction from a single box is wishful thinking when you consider the physics of sonics, but that has not stopped almost all manufacturers out there to try and wring out channel separation from their single-box speakers using electronic and programming wizardry of all sorts.

In this endeavour of seemingly chasing a mirage, the pedigree of the brand counts for a lot. Not unsurprisingly, brands that have an illustrious history behind them of audio excellence are at the forefront of the field, with their speakers closest to achieving that holy grail of high-fidelity stereo sound. Brands such as Marshall.

In business for eons as a manufacturer of guitar amplifiers and speakers, Marshall has achieved iconic status as the brand of choice for legends of global music such as Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton and Slash – and more recently Justin Timberlake and Lana Del Rey, among many other luminaries. So, when the same brand makes a speaker for your home, this storeyed history is on full display in its performance and capabilities.

True to Marshall’s legacy, the Woburn III offers superior audio performance. With powerful Class D amplifiers, this speaker pumps out a whopping 120 watts of RMS power, 90W for the woofer and 15W each for the twin tweeters that are angled outwards to successfully provide a stereophonic surround effect.

With a rich and dynamic soundstage, the Woburn III handles a wide range of genres with impressive clarity and depth, whether rock, jazz, hip-hop or classical music. The three-way speaker design ensures a balanced frequency response. Highs are crisp, mids are articulate, and the bass is deep and punchy without overwhelming the rest of the audio spectrum. Audiophiles and casual listeners alike will appreciate the Woburn III’s ability to reproduce music with fidelity.

The speaker also shines visually, not just aurally. The iconic design pays homage to Marshall’s famous guitar amplifiers. The vinyl covering, gold piping and brushed top plate, and the classic Marshall logo on the front grill, exude a vintage aesthetic that will resonate with music enthusiasts and fans of the brand. The sturdy wooden cabinet not only provides a robust build but also enhances the overall audio quality by reducing resonance.

The brushed brass-gold control panel on the top of the speaker is user-friendly, with knobs to adjust volume, bass and treble, a toggle to switch between different audio sources and another to forward and rewind tracks effortlessly. Overall, the brass accents and textured vinyl finish add a touch of luxury, making the Woburn III a statement piece with its retro-inspired looks.

Ease of use is another plus point of the Woburn III. You can seamlessly connect to various audio sources, providing a versatile listening experience. Bluetooth compatibility enables wireless connectivity with smartphones and other Bluetooth-enabled devices. For those who prefer a wired connection, the speaker offers multiple options. With RCA, 3.5mm auxiliary and optical inputs, you can easily connect the Woburn III to a wide range of audio devices, including turntables, CD players and televisions.

The flexibility in connectivity options makes this speaker suitable for different set-ups and ensures that you're not limited to a single source.

You will be limited by its weight, though, as far portability is concerned. While the vintage design and robust build contribute to the speaker's aesthetic appeal and audio quality, they also make it less portable. Weighing in at around 10kg and with no grab-handles of any sort, moving the speaker around can be cumbersome, especially given its 15.75-inch width, 12.48-inch height and 7.99. This also makes for a large footprint that’s a challenge for small spaces. In Marshal’s defence, it does not bill the Woburn III as a portable speaker and provides no battery, water- or dust-proofing either.

Also, for the Woburn III’s official price of Dh2,567, you can buy a stereo amplifier and a pair of quality bookshelf speakers for your starter hi-fi system. But if space is at a premium in your premises, or is its style and looks you’re after, then we’d advise you to marshal your resources to get this Marshall.

Marshall Woburn III speaker

Hits:

- Quality sound

- Design and build quality

- Connectivity options

Misses:

- Dimensions and weight

- High price

Price: Dh2,567

Rating: 4 stars


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