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A Marshall Willem speaker atop a mossy rock in the forest.
Dave Carr / SoundGuys

Marshall Willen review

Keeping the spirit of Rock n' Roll alive, 10 watts and one 2" driver at a time.
By

Published onMay 9, 2024

The bottom line
The Marshall Willen is a fun, durable, compact speaker perfect for those on the go, though it's a little pricey relative to the competition.

The Marshall Willen is a fun, durable, compact speaker perfect for those on the go, though it's a little pricey relative to the competition.
Product release date
May 3rd 2022
Price
$119.99
Dimensions
101 x 39 x 101 mm
Weight
319g
Model Number
1006059
Waterproof
IP67
What we like
Decent sound for its size
IP67
Lightweight and durable
Strap attachment
What we don't like
No graphic EQ
Less than advertised battery life
Price

The most compact of Marshall’s current lineup of Bluetooth speakers, the Marshall Willen is an ultra-portable, on-the-go speaker. Inside the Willen, 10 watts of power push a single 2″ full-range driver assisted by two passive radiators. While you won’t exactly be turning things up to 11 with a speaker of this size (sorry, I had to), it’s hard to resist its rock n’ roll charm. Read on to find out if the Marshall Willen is destined for the Hall of Fame or is just another one-hit wonder.

Editor’s note: this is the first version of the article. Updates will follow as the market changes.

About this Marshall Willen review: We tested the Marshall Willen over seven days. It ran firmware version 20.0.0, and the Marshall Bluetooth app ran version 3.2.4. The company provided the unit for this review.

The Marshall Willen is for tattooed metalheads and rock n’ rollers only. Just kidding. The Willen is for anyone after a highly portable speaker that can handle the elements. Considering its small size and IP67 protection rating, it also makes a great shower speaker if you need more than a cup o’ joe to kickstart your morning routine.

What’s it like to use the Marshall Willen?

A photo showing the backside of the Marshall Willen speaker, including strap attachment.
Dave Carr / SoundGuys
A handy built-in strap helps provide a variety of placement options.

As if it fell straight out of Slash’s top hat and tumbled onto the stage, the Willen arrives in a classic Marshall amplifier-inspired design with some added protection. The unit is wrapped in a black tolex-like rubberized outdoor-ready finish, sports a metal speaker grill complete with a gold Marshall logo, and includes a flexible silicone strap on the back for multiple placement options.

This palm-sized speaker is dead simple to use; even a drummer should be fine operating the Willen! The multidirectional control button is nicely recessed into the front of the speaker grill, and you also get a red LED showing battery life along the top. With an IP67 protection rating, it can handle a day at the beach without a problem, and thanks to the handy strap, you can loop it onto a backpack or hang it up at camp.

It’s fun, durable, and barely takes up any room in a backpack or gear bin. While you won’t be shaking any windows with the Willen, sometimes, the best speaker is the one you have with you.

How do you control the Marshall Willen?

A hand holding a Marshall Willen speaker focusing on the multi-control button.
Dave Carr / SoundGuys
The Willen is ready to rock, rain, or shine, with an IP67 protection rating.

You control the Willen via two buttons. A Bluetooth pairing button is located on the top of the speaker enclosure, and a multi-directional, joystick-like control button to adjust playback is found in the top right corner of the speaker grill. While there are no labels around the multi-directional button, it’s pretty intuitive. Below is a breakdown of how these buttons operate:

Action Multi-control buttonBluetooth button
Action
Press x1
Multi-control button
Play / Pause / Answer / End call
Bluetooth button

Action
Press x2
Multi-control button
Reject call
Bluetooth button

Action
Press and hold
Multi-control button
Power on / Power off
Bluetooth button
Enter pairing mode
Action
Push right
Multi-control button
Next track
Bluetooth button

Action
Push left
Multi-control button
Previous track
Bluetooth button

Action
Push up
Multi-control button
Volume +
Bluetooth button

Action
Push down
Multi-control button
Volume -
Bluetooth button

Action
Hold right
Multi-control button
Fast forward playback
Bluetooth button

Action
Hold left
Multi-control button
Rewind playback
Bluetooth button

Should you use the Marshall Bluetooth app for the Marshall Willen?

A screen shot of the Marshall Bluetooth app while connected to the Willen speaker. Showing EQ and controls options.
Boosted bass and treble for an “even heavier” sound? You don’t have to ask me twice.

Downloading and installing the Marshall Bluetooth app will at least give you access to a few EQ modes, firmware updates, and the ability to connect to other Willen speakers via STACK MODE.

Unfortunately, stacking two Willen speakers does not produce stereo sound, which, ultimately, does not rock.

How does the Marshall Willen connect?

A photo showing the top of a Marshall Willen speaker, showing the Bluetooth connection button and battery life.
The Willen is the only Marshall Bluetooth speaker with a built-in mic.

The Willen connects to your device via Bluetooth 5.1 and is SBC only. No codec support exists for higher bit rate options, but this shouldn’t be an issue considering you’re rocking out to a mono speaker with a 2″ driver.

The Marshall Willen connects to your device via the usual steps:

  1. Hold the Bluetooth pairing button on the Willen to enter pairing mode
  2. Open Bluetooth settings on your device
  3. Select “Willen”
  4. Download and install the Marshall Bluetooth app for further control of the Willen.

How long does the Marshall Willen’s battery last?

Marshall advertises 15 hours of playback with the Willen. Still, in our standardized testing, designed to emulate real-world use, the Willen lasted only 11 hours and 4 minutes. This is disappointing, but it is enough to enjoy Black Sabbath’s Master of Reality roughly 19 and a half times on repeat or at least a few afternoons of hanging out at the park with your friends listening to some music.

Yes, according to Marshall, a 20-minute charge will net you 3 hours of playback.

Marshall states a 3-hour charge time to recharge the speaker fully.

How does the Marshall Willen sound?

A close up shot of the Marshall Willen speaker on a mossy rock.
Dave Carr / SoundGuys
Our test model arrives in black and gold, but the Willen is also available in a cream finish.

Listening to You Could Be Mine by Guns N’ Roses, it’s apparent that Willen’s stock Marshall EQ preset has a prominent mid presence. While this always helps distorted guitars cut through the mix, it also changes the sound of Steven Adler’s reverberated snare drum tone I’m used to hearing on this track. Unsurprisingly, Slash’s guitar solos also come through front and center with the help of this prominent mid-range.

Selecting the Push preset, the Willen adopts a “U-shaped” frequency response mode, enhancing the bass, scooping the mid-frequencies, and adding some treble for a more exciting sound. While the guitars are pushed back, the additional low end is a welcome addition to the rhythm section, not to mention adding some extra depth and character to the chorus modulation on Duff’s bass guitar during the intro.

Switching back to the default Marshall EQ preset and changing up genres, Los Chichos Tristes is a moody, slower-paced, western landscape-inspired tune by Hermanos Gutierrez. While there is no percussion on this track, the reverb-drenched clean guitars are again affected by the boosted mids of this preset, making them sound different and masking some of the details from their reverb’s long decay. Switching back to the Pushed preset brought back those high-end details and offered a more enjoyable listening experience using the Willen.

Can you use the Marshall Willen for phone calls?

The Marshall Willen is the only Marshall Bluetooth speaker in their current lineup with a built-in microphone, so you can take phone calls while connected to the Willen.

Should you buy the Marshall Willen?

A hand holding the Marshall Willen speaker in the forest.
Dave Carr / SoundGuys
The Willen charges via USB-C.

I’d prefer a sub-$100 price point, but the Marshall Willen is a solid buy for an ultra-portable speaker, even if you don’t have any tattoos. It’s a durable, lightweight, and fun little rock n’ roll-inspired little speaker; remember the “little” part when it comes to sound expectations.

Marshall Willen‎Marshall Willen‎
Marshall Willen‎
Sleek design • Long battery life • Rich sound
MSRP: $119.99

What should you get instead of the Marshall Willen?

A hand pushes the JBL Clip 4 carabiner down while attaching the speaker to a bag.
The JBL clip series includes a built-in carabiner.

For roughly half the price, you can check out the famous JBL Clip 4. ($59 at Amazon). It’s a simple, adventure-ready speaker that’s easy to operate. It features a weather-resistant IP67 protection rating and a carabiner for placement options.

A Soundcore Motion 300 laying on a mossy rock.
Dave Carr / SoundGuys
The Soundcore Motion 300 offers an IPX7 water resistance rating.

If you’re after stereo playback, the Anker Soundcore Motion 300 ($79.99 at Amazon) is also available for under $100. The Motion 300 offers 30 watts of stereo sound and is designed to perform in three positions: standing, lying, and hanging via a strap attachment. You can assign a different EQ to each of these positions, and simply changing the speaker’s orientation will trigger a change to the assigned frequency response. It’s also ready for the road and travel with rubberized protective housing and an IPX7 water resistance rating.

Frequently asked questions

Yes, with an IP67 protection rating, the Marshall Willen is considered waterproof.

No, the Willen does not have an aux input.

Yes you can connect multiple Willen speakers via the Marshall Bluetooth app.

Yes, you can take phone calls with the Marshall Willen.

Yes, you can download the Marshall Bluetooth app to use with the Willen.

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