Hands-on Gear Review

Marshall Stanmore Review

Price:   $350 List | $314.00 at Amazon
Pros:  Guitar amp design, loud
Cons:  Expensive considering its sound quality
Bottom line:  Makes a statement, both in terms of volume and aesthetics, but not the best sounding model in its price range
Editors' Rating:   
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Smart Home Compatability:  None
Bluetooth:  Yes
Inputs:  3.5mm Aux, RCA
Manufacturer:   Marshall

Our Verdict

The Marshall Stanmore provides vintage, guitar amp styling that is certain to jazz up your living room, and (not surprisingly) excels at making guitars sound great. However, it also fairly expensive, so much so that you could get something like the Bose SoundTouch 20 or the Sonos PLAY:3 for a similar price. Both of these speakers have more versatile sound profiles that make a wider range of music sound better. If you love the styling and mostly listen to guitar-heavy music, the Stanmore is a worthy purchase, but for most people there are better options available.


RELATED REVIEW: Best Home Wireless Speakers of 2018


Our Analysis and Test Results

Review by:
Max Mutter and Steven Tata

Last Updated:
Tuesday
February 20, 2018

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The Marshall Stanmore fills a specific niche, both in terms of its aesthetics and the fact that it specifically makes guitars sound good. However, there are more versatile and better sounding speakers available in the same price range.


Performance Comparison


The Marshall Stanmore did quite well in our testing, but other speakers in the same price range were able to outperform it. Below you can read about all the individual tests we conducted to determine the best home wireless speakers, and how well the Stanmore fared in each.

Sound quality


The Stanmore earned a 6 out of 10 in our sound quality testing, putting it right in the middle of the pack. It really excels in that mid to treble range where most guitars fall (not surprising, given its pedigree). In fact, if you want to listen to jimi Hendrix wail, this is probably one of the better speakers you could get. However, it is a couple notches behind in terms of bass quality and overall clarity when compared to most of our other speakers. For example, the Bose SoundTouch 20 has much better bass and significantly better clarity, and the Sonos PLAY:3 has much better clarity and significantly better bass. Both of these speakers cost about the same as the Stanmore, but even smaller and less expensive speakers tend to sound just about as good. The Bose Soundtouch 10 and Sonos PLAY:1 are both on par with the Stanmores sound quality, and both list for $150 less.

User Friendliness


The Marshall Stanmore earned a 5 out of 10 in our user friendliness testing. This is both an average overall score, and also the lowest score of the speakers we tested. This is because the Stanmore gives you all of the functionality you'd expect from a wireless home speaker, and nothing else. The simple Bluetooth connection makes it easy to turn the Stanmore into the main audio input for any Bluetooth enabled device. It also has on speaker volume, treble, and bass controls, which are a nice touch and add to its guitar amp aesthetic. It doesn't offer any avenues for linking multiple speakers together or streaming music directly via WiFi, something that both Sonos and Bose allow you to do.

The Stanmore uses guitar amp style controls.
The Stanmore uses guitar amp style controls.

Smart Home Compatibility


The Stanmore does not have any software compatibility with any smart home devices. However, it does have a 3.5mm audio jack, and most devices can be plugged directly into that jack. You'll just have to make sure the speaker is turned on if you expect Alexa to respond to you.

Volume


True to its electric guitar heritage, the Stanmore is loud. It was one of the loudest speakers we tested, matched only by the Bose Soundtouch 20. It was easily able to make our 600 square foot testing room sound very loud, and was easily able to handle putting a bunch of sound absorbing bodies into that room without losing much volume. It can definitely provide the soundtrack for your next house party.

Connectivity


Going with a no frills approach, the Stanmore offers a Bluetooth connection, an RCA input, and a 3.5mm audio jack. This is plenty for most users, but companies like Sonos and Bose let you link multiple speakers together into a single system. Marshall is beginning to offer speakers that can be linked into a multiple speaker system, but they cost significantly more.

Value


The Marshall Stanmore's list price of $350 feels a bit steep given its performance. That price is equal to that of the Bose SoundTouch 20 and slightly more than the Sonos PLAY:3, both of which sound better. The Bose SoundTouch 10 and the Sonos PLAY:1 both sound just as good but cost significantly less.

The Stanmore has a second RCA input as well.
The Stanmore has a second RCA input as well.

Conclusion


The Marshall Stanmore offers great aesthetics and decent sound, but there are better sounding speakers available for the same price, and other speakers that sound just as good and cost less.
Max Mutter and Steven Tata

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