Best answer: The Marshall Stanmore II is an excellent Bluetooth speaker for your home and we totally recommend checking it out. It's not portable, but it delivers impressive sound, customizable audio functions, and the iconic look Marshall is known for. We'd personally opt for the upgraded model with Alexa voice control.
Amazon: Marshall Stanmore II w/ Alexa ($400)
Being a longstanding pioneer of the music industry, Marshall is the exact type of company that should be making connected speakers. The company's original line of wireless products was a fine inaugural product for the new market segment, although the original devices were a bit too underwhelming for the price tags Marshall slapped on.
Fast forward to the Stanmore II, and everything's changed. Of course, the sound is the most important thing to consider when buying a new speaker, and the Stanmore II has what it takes to wow you. A 50-watt woofer with a Class D amp combines with two 15-watt tweeters for a punchy sound that would send you out of this world.
It gets up to 101 dB, so finding a volume that satisfies you won't be an issue. Also, since it has an upgraded DSP, you won't hear much distortion at low and high volumes, perhaps except for the most extreme cases.
Behind the sound is a box that keeps up with the times. The Marshall Stanmore II now comes with Alexa inside, allowing you to control your music, control your smart home, check the weather, check your messages, or any of the other thousands of Alexa skills that don't require a display.
Alexa also enables multi-room speaker support with any other supported Alexa device, so throwing a party where you want to use multiple speakers to fill the whole house with sound is a possibility that puts it in direct competition with Sonos, Echo, and Google Home products. Out of that group, we'd give Sonos the nod for audio quality, and Marshall's signature sound bests even that.
If that signature sound isn't to your liking, Marshall makes it easy to tune. Like all its Bluetooth speakers, there are physical controls on top for treble, bass, and volume, as well as buttons to play, pause, and mute the set outright. Another button lets you switch between Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, auxiliary, or RCA connections.
With that much flexibility, the Stanmore II can fit a variety of needs really well. You can take things further with the smartphone app, which allows you to finetune your equalizer settings and calibrate your speaker for wherever it is you prefer to place it in your home.
Of course, one of the main reasons you'll be paying more is for the Marshall experience. It's the name, the cursive logo, and the iconic amp design that makes you feel like you're enjoying a local band in a coffee shop. All these things are designed to appeal to a certain crowd, but it just so happens that the look is simply perfect for a device like this no matter what kind of headbanger you are.
As far as size is concerned, you'll need a little bit of counter room for the Stanmore II. It's about 10 inches wide and 7.5 inches high. Its height should clear any wide open shelf or stand, while the 7-inch depth shouldn't offer many issues either. It is a bit heavy at over 10 pounds, but then this was never meant to be a portable device anyway.
Its wits finally match its look
Marshall's Stanmore II is a fine speaker from a trusted brand. While Bluetooth connectivity would be enough for most audiophiles, the included Alexa voice control puts it over the top.
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