The Marshall Acton III marries iconic design with great sound in a relatively compact package that will draw the eyes and ears. While it lacks some modern features that we've come to expect from Bluetooth speakers, its unique retro good looks and excellent sound should be persuasive enough, despite the premium price.
- 30W Class D amplifier (woofer), 2x 15W Class D amplifiers (tweeters)
- Bluetooth 5.2
- Frequency range: 45Hz to 20KHz
- 3.5mm input
The smallest of Marshall's updated Homeline series of Bluetooth speakers, the Acton III looks identical to its larger siblings (Stanmore III and Woburn III). But its guitar amp inspired design is now in a smaller enclosure that's finished in faux leather. It weighs slightly under 3kg compared to 4kg for the Stanmore III. But despite the size reduction, the Acton III is still not a portable speaker. There's no built-in battery. The speaker comes in three colours (brown, cream, and black), so you should easily find the right colour that suits your home decor.
Complementing the faux leather finish are the brass analog controls on the top. You can control every aspect of the speaker through these controls. It's convenient, if you had left your smartphone to charge in another room, for example. Unlike the Stanmore III, the Acton III only has a 3.5mm aux input. There's no RCA input. The only wireless connectivity is Bluetooth 5.2 (SBC codec only) — there's no Wi-Fi. Neither does it have any smart speaker features like a voice assistant. Marshall does have a mobile app, though my only use for it is the placement compensation feature. This feature adjusts the sound according to where the speaker is placed, for example next to a wall, or near an edge. However, I feel the difference is slight enough that you can skip it, unlike the Trueplay feature found in Sonos speakers.
Like the other Homeline III speakers, Marshall has angled the Acton III tweeters outwards to enable a wider soundstage. Given its compact size, this effect isn't that significant. But I could discern the instruments and vocals in a rock band clearly and separately in a performance. The Acton III also has a less powerful 30W Class D amplifier for the subwoofer than the Stanmore III. Having previously tried the Stanmore III, the difference is stark. But the Acton III's bass still has plenty of presence. In fact, I wouldn't recommend listening at maximum volume as the bass becomes muddy, overwhelming the music. At around 60 to 70 percent volume though, the Acton III sounds great — bright, punchy, and room-filling.
At S$459, the Marshall Acton III seems pricey for a Bluetooth speaker that lacks some modern features, like Wi-Fi, and multi-room audio. But there are few speakers that can grab your attention like the Acton III in terms of its sound, and its unique retro looks. Its value is amplified in the right home with the right decor. Get it now from Lazada, Shopee, and Amazon SG.
Note: Review unit provided by Marshall.
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