Exploring the expansive landscape of portable Bluetooth speakers can be overwhelming, yet two models are frequently headlining the 2023 conversation: the Marshall Middleton and the JBL Xtreme 3.
The Middleton, with its impressive 20 hours of battery life, beautiful vintage design, and in-built equalizer controls, stands as a testament to Marshall’s legendary audio legacy. In contrast, the JBL Xtreme 3, touting a still-impressive 15 hours of playtime, the resilience of IP67 waterproofing and JBL’s excellent build quality, and providing slightly more volume and bass than its competitor, encapsulates JBL’s commitment to innovation and durability.
This detailed analysis will offer a deeper look into these two formidable devices, dissecting key elements like their contrasting sound signatures, differing battery longevity, design philosophy, and durability, as well as the benefits of their unique additional features.
As we peel back the layers of the Marshall Middleton and JBL Xtreme 3, we will provide a clear, fact-driven comparison, empowering you to discern the strengths and weaknesses of each model and make an informed decision about your next audio investment.
Quick Answer: Marshall Middleton vs. JBL Xtreme 3
If you’re deciding between the Marshall Middleton and the JBL Xtreme 3, consider what matters most to you.
If you’re an audiophile who loves customization and vintage aesthetic, the Middleton, with its exceptional sound quality and built-in equalizer, would be your go-to. It also offers a longer battery life of 20 hours compared to Xtreme 3’s 15 hours.
However, if durability, portability and additional features are paramount, the Xtreme 3 shines. It’s waterproof, dustproof, and well-designed, has a robust carrying strap, and its JBL Connect app provides a more intuitive control experience.
When it comes to overall sound quality, the Marshall Middleton takes the slight lead over the JBL Xtreme 3. Both speakers feature a system combining woofers and tweeters for a broad range of frequencies. However, the Middleton shines with its superior soundstage and 360-degree sound, providing a more immersive listening experience than the Xtreme 3.
While the Xtreme 3 can pump out a tad more volume than the Middleton, the difference isn’t significant. The Xtreme 3’s sound profile is warm and neutral, with impressive clarity in the mid-range frequencies. Still, compared to the Middleton, the Xtreme 3’s soundstage seems narrower, lacking the captivating expansiveness that the Middleton offers.
Battery Life and Powerbank Functionality
Both the Middleton and the Xtreme 3 distinguish themselves with USB-C “out” charging, also known as the power bank feature, allowing you to charge your devices like phones and tablets on the go. This is a huge plus for anyone needing an extra power source during travels or outdoor activities.
The Middleton also excels with its battery life, providing up to 20 hours of playtime.
The JBL Xtreme 3 touts a decent battery life, with the ability to play a little over 12 hours on a single charge (rated at 15 hours per the manufacturer).
Durability and Design
Both speakers prioritize durability, ideal for those seeking an outdoor-friendly sound system. The JBL Xtreme 3 takes this a notch further with a more rugged and useful carrying strap.
In terms of aesthetics, opinions lean towards the Xtreme 3, with its larger, more rounded design, compared to the Middleton’s retro-inspired look. However, the Middleton isn’t without its unique touches – it features a removable carrying strap, also, and physical EQ buttons for on-the-spot audio tweaks.
Software and Equalizer
The Marshall Middleton and the JBL Xtreme 3 both offer companion apps for remote operation and customization, available on both iOS and Android. The Middleton’s app is praised for its simplicity and functionality, giving you more control over your listening experience.
Meanwhile, the Xtreme 3’s app can be slightly less user-friendly, with users often complaining about the app not detecting the speaker, among other issues. Despite these software hiccups, both speakers provide a graphic equalizer on their apps, which is a much sought-after feature for customizing the sound to suit personal preferences.
Bluetooth Connectivity and Other Features
Both speakers use Bluetooth technology for wireless connectivity, with both speakers operating on Bluetooth 5.1. Despite the Middleton being a more recent release, both speakers provide smooth and reliable connectivity.
The Xtreme 3 and Middleton also include an aux input for wired connections and offer party features to connect with multiple devices or speakers simultaneously. The JBL Xtreme 3 features “PartyBoost,” which allows the pairing of two or more JBL PartyBoost-compatible speakers together for stereo sound, enhancing the overall sound experience.
Similarly, the Middleton includes a feature named ‘Multi-Host Functionality,’ enabling the device to switch between two Bluetooth devices seamlessly. This adds a layer of versatility to your audio experience, especially when hosting events or parties.
When it comes to choosing between the Marshall Middleton and the JBL Xtreme 3, it boils down to your personal preferences and requirements. The Middleton’s superior sound quality, practical power bank feature, and vintage aesthetic could be the right fit for audiophiles looking for an immersive and versatile audio experience. Its unique hardware EQ buttons and multi-host functionality also provide an added advantage.
On the other hand, the JBL Xtreme 3 shines with its robust and portable design, louder volume, and PartyBoost feature.
Although the Xtreme 3 has a higher MSRP, it is easier to find at a discount. On the other hand, the recently-released Middleton isn’t likely to go on sale anytime soon.
Therefore, while both speakers stand out in their own right, your individual needs will ultimately guide you to the perfect portable speaker. Whether it’s the immersive sound and charming retro design of the Marshall Middleton or the outdoor-friendly design of the JBL Xtreme 3, the decision rests in your hands.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Which speaker has better audio quality, the Marshall Middleton or the JBL Xtreme 3
While both speakers provide excellent sound, the Marshall Middleton offers superior audio quality with a better soundstage and 360-degree sound. However, the JBL Xtreme 3 can provide a higher maximum volume, with its 100 watts (rather than 60 watts on the Middleton) output.
Can the Marshall Middleton charge cell phones?
Yes, both the Marshall Middleton and the JBL Xtreme 3 offer power bank functionality. This means you can use them to charge your phone, tablet, or other USB devices.
Which has a better design, Marshall Middleton or JBL Xtreme 3?
Design is subjective and depends on individual preference. The Marshall Middleton has a distinct vintage design, while the JBL Xtreme 3 has a more modern, rounded design that many users find appealing.
Does Marshall Middleton have adjustable EQ?
Yes, the Marshall Middleton allows you to adjust the EQ settings via physical buttons on the device. It also offers EQ adjustment through its companion app.
Which has better battery life, Marshall Middleton or JBL Xtreme 3?
The Marshall Middleton has an impressive battery life of up to 20 hours. The JBL Xtreme 3 has a slightly shorter battery life at 15 hours, but can be fully charged in less time.