Best answer: The Marshall Woburn II is a quality speaker but can be considered overkill for most people. If you just want sound in your home, the company's Stanmore II Voice is the better buy.
- Amazon: Marshall Stanmore II w/ Alexa (opens in new tab) ($350)
- Amazon: Marshall Woburn II (opens in new tab) ($500)
The Woburn is just too much
If a quality speaker that can receive audio over Bluetooth is what you're after, the Marshall Woburn II does that fantastically. Packed into its massive 15.75 x 12.20 x 7.87 inch, 18-pound frame are two 50-watt amps for the woofer and two different 15-watt amps for the Tweeter. With that much power, the Woburn II can easily fill a moderately-sized concert hall, much less your home.
The problem is that the cheaper Stanmore II can also fill a single room in most homes and can even be heard throughout multiple. Its particular drivers can't quite match the Woburn II pound for pound, but the quality difference isn't extreme enough to warrant paying an extra $150.
Then there's the issue of finding space for it in your home. The Woburn II is something that is more appropriate sitting on a floor than it is a desk or entertainment center.
It's not so tall that it can't squeeze its butt in between other affections on a big dresser or even on its own stand, but the Woburn II will require more space than you may like. That's in contrast to the Stanmore II, which could sit alongside a monitor on a computer desk, or perhaps next to the toaster on your kitchen counter.
Plus, the Woburn II doesn't have any voice control built in, a feature that has become almost mandatory for this market segment. You could buy an Amazon Echo and plug it into the Woburn II thanks to the device's inclusion of RCA and 3.5mm headphone inputs, but that's yet another device to place alongside something that's already massive.
Stanmore II is stronger than you think
While the Stanmore II can't exactly match the audio prowess of the Woburn II beat for beat, it stands firmly on its own merit. The device has a lone 50-watt amp for the woofer and dual 15-watt tweeters. If you're only concerned with filling a couple of key rooms in your house with sound, this will do that at a pretty high level.
For more elaborate home needs, you can use the Stanmore II's Alexa capabilities to enable multi-room audio setups with any other Alexa speaker. This allows you to make the Stanmore II the center of your home's audio capabilities while being able to opt for cheaper devices for less-frequented areas of the home.
That also makes it a great hub speaker for a smart home, allowing you to use many of Alexa's thousands of skills with your favorite connected home gadgets, apps, and services to change the way you live. And just like the Woburn II, the Stanmore II accepts multiple forms of input, whether it be over WiFi, Bluetooth, RCA, or 3.5mm auxiliary, giving you a device that can be used any number of ways with your home theater and entertainment setup.
Its wit finally matches 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.
Fill any room with sound
The Woburn II is a fantastic speaker that can fill even small concert halls with sound. It may not be the ideal option for most people, but if you have a bigger home or you're putting on an event, the Woburn II offers the kind of power you're looking for.
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