The Marshall brand is expanding much further than what it once was. We wonder what Jim would have made of the Marshall Stanmore II Wireless Bluetooth speaker. He’d probably just ask, “Is it loud?…That’s okay then”.
It is something to consider, though. Did he ever realize that there would be such a brand as there is today? Not just amps and cabinets for rock bands anymore. The hallowed name is now on headphones, key storage, and tiny little practice amps. And just about anything they can put it on, including portable speakers.
Fortunately, though, unlike other rock music heavyweights such as Fender and Gibson, they have kept their eyes firmly on what they do best. And we all know what that is.
Speakers like the Marshall Stanmore II Wireless Bluetooth serve a great purpose. They are super consumer products that fill an important role and keep the Marshall name out there.
But is it a good speaker?
We shall find out in our in-depth Marshall Stanmore II Wireless Bluetooth Review…
Bluetooth was invented by a Dutchman, working for Ericsson, a Danish company, and named after a Viking king. It has become possibly the most important creation since… well, the Marshall 100 watt stack maybe?
Having a portable speaker that you can carry around with online capability is an asset. Of course, you are relying on a good Bluetooth connection. But these days that usually isn’t a problem.
Playing a role in the modern world…
It will be great for small gatherings, your office, or just at home. Modern technology has given us advanced codecs. This means that a hi-fi signal can be transmitted at the lowest bit rate. The stability of the signal has improved.
Bluetooth is all around us. It is on our phones, tablets, and now on speakers. The Marshall Stanmore II Wireless Bluetooth is just one example. Let’s take a look at what it is all about.
Essentially this speaker has two roles to fulfill. First, it needs to be a good speaker with a great sound and good connections. And it needs to be loud. If it wasn’t, Jim might have something to say.
Secondly, the styling has just got to evoke the feeling of a Marshall amp. It needs to look like a descendant of a Marshall amp. Furthermore, it needs to have the Marshall genes buried in its make-up.
It manages to achieve both. The sound is punchy and hard-hitting, exactly as you would expect it to be. And it has that iconic design shape with the logo dead center, of course. This is a product you will leave on permanent view at home.
Works in any room…
This is a versatile speaker and will fit in any room in the house. It has been designed and built using up to date components and techniques to produce a clean, powerful sound.
It carries the Marshall logo, which in itself puts a load of pressure on it to perform. Will the Marshall Stanmore II Wireless Bluetooth justify its lineage? Let’s take a look and see…
Yes, it has been built to look like an amp. Not so much like the iconic sloping front 4 x 12 cabinet or a 100-watt head, but more like a Bluesbreaker amplifier in many ways. That will suit a lot of people.
All the Marshall trimmings…
If you like retro designs, you are going to love this. It has a leather-like vinyl finish and a cloth grille with tweed look-a-like material and pattern. At the bottom, there is a brushed aluminum, gold-finished plate, the full width of the speaker. It bears the legend, “Established 1962”.
To maintain the branding image, the Marshall logo sits proudly dead center on the cabinet. It is almost saying to Pete Townshend, ‘come on then – give it your best shot.’ It looks familiar. But we suppose that is the idea.
Portable and powerful…
Behind the tweedy looking grille are a 50-watt bass driver and two tweeters able to handle 15 watts each. They provide a credible frequency range of 50Hz-20kHz. Not bad at all for what is designed to be a portable speaker.
Controls are located on the top and are impressive with their gold plate backing strip and substantial dials. We will deal with the controls in their own section.
Finally, is it loud? You’d better believe it. Do you think they would let it out to play if it wasn’t? It is a Marshall. This little thing packs a wallop. Maybe though, it is not so little. It measures 13.78 by 7.68 by 7.28 inches and weighs 5 lbs.
Is there a catch?
That leads us on to another subject. We have given it nothing but praise so far. But there are a couple of downsides.
If Marshall designed this to be portable, and we say ‘if,’ then there may be a couple of problems. Firstly, it doesn’t run on batteries. You have to plug it in. Not much good for the beach then. Secondly, there is no carrying handle. It is not going to be easy to carry around, given its size and weight, without a handle.
These issues will not matter to some, of course. It will depend on what uses you have planned for it. But it is still a well-made speaker with all you need and a big loud sound.
So let’s move on to the controls. The controls knobs are a good size and feel rugged. Around the volume and the time controls are some LED lights. The volume and tone of the speaker can also be controlled from your phone. These lights indicate the level you have set from your device.
Also on top are the power switch and source control. This allows you to switch between Bluetooth and RCA or aux modes. The 3.5mm input is located on top while the RCA input is on the back of the speaker. The final control is a play and pause switch.
Control in the palm of your hand…
There is the inevitable app that comes with a speaker these days. The functions and controls are quite good. As we have already said, you can use your device to control volume and tone.
The app will allow you to use parametric EQ presets. You can create your own sound combining them with the controls on the panel. Or you can use them as they are.
Convenient and dynamic…
The app will also make adjustments to the brightness of the LED lights around the controls on top. You can also pair the speaker with another Marshall speaker. This will give you a powerful stereo sound. The app will also deliver updates as they become available.
The controls then are efficient, well-located, and easy to use. They allow you a range of sound options. This allows you to create the sound to your liking in whatever room you are in. And talking about sound.
We’ve come to the main concern of our Marshall Stanmore II Wireless Bluetooth Review. To answer Jim’s hypothetical question, we say again, yes, it is loud. This particular Bluetooth speaker can belt it out.
And following true Marshall traditions, it sounds good. Additionally, when you crank it up, it sounds very good. That is when you get the real sound of this speaker. Welcome to Marshall.
We have some further comments about what happens when you really wind it up and give it some welly. But more on that later.
Create your sound…
We have already mentioned in the previous section about controlling the sound. But what does it give you? The EQ has five bands, and when working with the controls on the top of the speaker, the sound has a lot of variables.
The great thing about this speaker is that you can set the sound to the mood of the music. It can be moody and laid back, using the controls and app to create your atmosphere. Or you can let rip and crank it right up with The Who.
Creating the sound, as we have already described, is a subwoofer capable of handling 50 watts. Supported by two tweeters for the high frequencies. The tweeters sit on either side of the bass-handling subwoofer.
Excellent sound reproduction…
It is noticeable that most of the lower mids are handled by the sub. That does mean that they are not as bright as they might be. Because of this, the top-end mids and high frequencies can sound a little harsh. But you can haul it back a bit using the tone controls if you wish.
The depth of the bass is impressive. It seems to be able to cope with the lower depths that other speakers cannot handle. But let us return to what happens when you really wind it up.
More suited for rock and roll…
The sound you get will be dictated a little by the genre of music you are listening to. We have already discussed the range of tones and sounds available. These are excellent and offer a wide range of choices, as we have said.
However, that does not necessarily apply to music with a very deep bass that is put at the front of the mix. When you push the volume up in those areas, it starts to struggle, and there is some distortion.
Hip-hop and associated genres have a bass that is often created by synthesizers. This can take the frequency level way down beyond a standard bass guitar, deep into sub-bass territory. When turned up loud, the sound is more than standard equipment can handle.
After all, it is a Marshall…
We are not sure that is too much of a negative. This speaker can handle everything else, so it is not a deal-breaker. But if you are looking for a heavy sub-bass mix, you will be better off elsewhere.
Generally, the sound is sweeping with good depth and crisp highs. This is especially demonstrated with music that has orchestral parts. It has an ideal balance. With all frequency levels catered for and quite audible.
They are basic and simple to operate, but they give you a nice range of options of use. Bluetooth 5.0 that has Qualcomm® aptX, is the star of the show giving you secure wireless connections. This within the confines of the usual range limitations of about thirty feet.
This will allow you to connect up to your favorite streaming service. Or, if you prefer, direct from your tablet, computer, or smartphone.
Choose your preferred source…
Access to playlists on your devices is also possible via the 3.5mm input on the top. Or the RCAs on the back Tne RCA will also let you plug in a record player.
There is also a multi-host option. This will allow you to connect to more than one Bluetooth compatible device. And then move between them.
All basic connections and what you might expect. But they all offer a wide variety of music options that can be utilized easily.
Marshall Stanmore II Wireless Bluetooth Review Pros and Cons
If what they wanted to do was create a speaker with a great sound, they did it. If they also wanted to create one that evoked the image and spirit of Marshall, they did that also. Of course, that was the aim.
So, let’s summarize with the…
- Powerful at high volume and handles it well.
- It has a nice design that certainly has the feel of a Marshall combo.
- Good connections give you a range of sound options.
- Plenty of options for control over the tones and sound.
- A useful app that brings something to the party for a change.
- No battery option.
- Cables for the 3.5 aux or RCA inputs are not included.
- No carrying handle.
Also see: Marshall Kilburn II Review
Looking for a few more speaker options?
Then check out our extensive in-depth reviews of the Loudest Portable Bluetooth Speakers, the Best Solar Powered Bluetooth Speakers, the Best Wireless TV Speakers, and the Best Computer Speakers Under $100 currently on the market.
Marshall Stanmore II Wireless Bluetooth Review Final Thoughts
If you consider our summary of Pros and Cons, something is quite apparent. The Pros are all important contributions, while the Cons are simply minor inconveniences.
This is a great little speaker and covers most of the genres of music. As we said, it struggles with music that has some serious bottom end. But many others struggle with that as well. But even then, it isn’t a problem unless you want to ‘melt your brain’ with volume.
What it does give you is a sound with plenty of ‘go’ in it. It also gives you a look that no other speaker on the face of the earth can present.
There is just one last thing…
This is not cheap. So if you are looking for a cheap option, this is not going to be the one. The price point is quite high, even though it is a good speaker. But that is the price you pay for something that has a bit more.
Marshall has a bit more. It has always had a bit more. It always will. That alone makes the Marshall Stanmore II Wireless Bluetooth a very good option.