Combining modern Alexa capabilities with classic guitar amp styling, the Marshall Stanmore II is a beauty to behold. However, we feel its sound quality doesn't quite live up to its high price tag. For the same price the Bose Home Speaker 500's sound quality is a clear step up, and it also offers Alexa capabilities built-in. So unless you're enamored with the Stanmore II's aesthetics, we think there are better ways to spend your home speaker budget.
Marshall Stanmore II Review
Pros: Makes guitars sound great, Alexa built-in, loud
Cons: Expensive, not the best in its price range
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Our Analysis and Test Results
The Marshall Stanmore II looks great and sounds good, but it can't quite live up to the quality of the other speakers in its price range.
The Marshall Stanmore II earned a fairly high overall score in our testing, thanks to impressive volume and decent sound quality. However, there are a number of models that sound better, which kept it from winning an award.
The Marshall Stanmore II sounds good, but didn't really set itself apart from the rest of the field in our sound quality testing.
Like its sibling, the original Marshall Stanmore, the Stanmore II excels at making electric guitars sound good. In general we found that guitars riffs sounded a bit more lively on this speaker than others. However, that's where this speaker's exceptionalism ends. Its bass quality and power is about average. It offers a solid foundation on which the rest of the music can sit, but it lacks the thump of the likes of the Bose models. The clarity is also comparably average. Nothing sounds particularly muddled, but it lacks the impressive crispness that makes the Bose and Sonos models sound so good. That being said, we still really enjoyed listening to music on the Stanmore II, it just wasn't our favorite.
The Stanmore II has pretty much all of the accouterments one could want from a user experience, but still lacks some of the streamlined feel of its competitors.
If you're used to using Alexa devices, then controlling the Stanmore II with your voice will be second nature. We found its Alexa integration to be seamless. Marshall also added an app with this new iteration of its flagship speaker, which you can use to stream music directly to the speaker via your WiFi network (which is a bit more efficient than streaming it to your phone, and then linking the phone to the speaker via Bluetooth). However, we found this app to be a bit clunkier than those from Bose and Sonos.
This is one area where the Marshall Stanmore II is really impressive. It is one of the loudest speakers we've tested.
In our testing the Stanmore II more than lived up to its loud and proud guitar amp heritage. We were able to listen to the Stanmore II in a large apartment with 10 people inside it, and still feel like the maximum volume was way too loud. The Stanmore II will likely be up to powering whatever party you'd like to throw.
The Stanmore II was one of the leaders in our connectivity testing. It offers Bluetooth, WiFi, and 3.5mm auxiliary inputs. Plus, it has Alexa built-in, so you can control its WiFi streaming with your voice.
Unfortunately, we feel the Marshall Stanmore II's list price of $400 is a bit too steep. For the same price you can get the Bose Home Speaker 500, which sounds substantially better and is just as loud.
The Marshall Stanmore II is an attractive looking speaker that will fit right into a guitar lover's home, but its sound quality doesn't live up to its $400 price tag.
— Max Mutter and Steven Tata