MARSHALL HANWELL: An ‘iPod’ speaker on steroids

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Steve Guttenberg writes: Let's face it, itsy-bitsy or even large tabletop Bluetooth speakers can't rock out, but the 23-pound Marshall Hanwell speaker delivers the goods.

Regular readers of this blog may have noticed I'm not a big fan of any type of wireless speaker, and more specifically I have no love for Bluetooth or AirPlay speakers. For me the sound compromises that come with compact size and wireless technology are hard to swallow. I have less of a grudge against the smaller, under-$200 models; they produce "good enough" sound, but the more expensive models' sound pales next to a pair of wired Adam Audio , Audioengine , or Emotiva self-powered speakers.

So when I first spotted Marshall's $800 Hanwell speaker I wasn't interested. It looked awesome, a bit like a small practice guitar amp, and I just assumed it was a Bluetooth speaker. When Marshall's people said no, it's not any kind of wireless speaker, I couldn't believe it; why in 2013 would they introduce a speaker that can only be hooked up with a wire? Well, it's true, the Hanwell has just one input -- a 3.5mm jack -- and that was reason enough to check out this speaker. I'm glad I did, it's really pretty amazing.

The Hanwell's control panel Steve Guttenberg/CNET

The Hanwell sounds like a .....

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