Sounds great: Marshall’s Stanmore Bluetooth speaker reviewed

100% human

Classic rock and blues are just as solid too, with Stevie Ray Vaughn’s “Voodoo Child” and “Gimme Shelter” from The Rolling Stones edgy, balanced across all the sections, and ringing out across the entirety of the song. The sound here is warm, friendly, and enough to put you in the mood to dance and rock out.

The bass is deep and noticeable, thick with personality, and makes you believe the speaker is bigger than what is sitting on your desk.

Pop and R&B are equally solid — by this point, we’re not surprised — and in Michael Jackson’s classic “Billie Jean” the bass is strong, but the highs of Jackson’s voice equally strong, balanced across the board. We can achieve similar balance in Jessie J’s “Bang Bang” and Peter Gabriel’s “Steam.”

Jazz is just as strong, too with Dave Brubeck’s “Maria” warm, balanced, detailed across all the main sections, with a lovely rounded double bass in this track, as well as John Coltrane’s “Blue Train.”

Classical shines just as beautifully, with detail across the mids and highs, and a whopping of the bass, something which rang out across the lower instruments in Thomas Newman’s “Define Dancing” from the Wall-E soundtrack, as well as Claude Bolling and Yo-Yo Ma’s “Suite for Cello and Jazz Piano” with its rich cello, strong double bass, soft drums, and delicate piano.

Even on the single instrument classical, there’s a warm sound offered, found in Freddy Kampf’s playing of Chopin’s “Fantaisie Impromptu.”

One obvious positive for Marshall’s Stanmore that helped in our music test is something so few Bluetooth or wired speakers have: knobs.

That’s not to say the speaker is a knob in any derogatory way, but rather that it has control knobs, and useful control knobs at that, with one for bass and one for treble. That’s the sort of control you might see on a guitar amp or speaker box, but it’s not the sort of thing we’re used to seeing on a Bluetooth speaker. Normally, that sound profile is baked into its design, and is one of the things we judge a sound device on.

But here on the Stanmore, Marshall has continued the tradition of letting the speaker’s owner decide on the balance of the sound and put the bass and treble in the hands of the person listening.

And it works a treat, too.

Different treble and bass settings for different artists in the GadgetGuy sound test playlist.

While there could always be more bass, the fact that you have zero through to ten for bass and treble controls helps you get the best balance you could possibly want on a song by song basis.

It’s not an automatic thing, mind you, not like the active equalisers on highly electronic speakers, but rather one that is so perfectly analogue, a process that harks back to a time from when computer controlled systems didn’t take all of the intricate fiddling from us, and lets you get your ears dirty be defining that sound yourself.

We can’t imagine Samsung or LG doing this, mind you, but with Marshall’s music heritage, it totally makes sense here, and wonder how long it is before Fender, Gibson, Orange, or Gretsch get in with their own style or play on the idea.

One obvious negative for this speaker is that it can’t be used like an amp, or even a practice amp, even if it looks like one.

Sorry musos, but the Marshall Stanmore Bluetooth speaker will not double up as your portable guitar screaming protege, as it just doesn’t have that level of power.

It has been designed for music, plain and simple, whether it’s send through Bluetooth, wired 3.5mm cable, auxiliary, or optical; the larger 6.5mm jacks need not apply.

Another serious negative is the price, and this kicks in at $599, making it one of the more expensive of the Bluetooth speakers, especially without a docking mechanism.

This won’t charge your iPhone and it won’t charge your Android; it’s not a dock. It won’t even letting you plug a USB cable out the back to make any of that happen.

What it will do is playback your audio, and do so brilliantly with a style no other speaker that we’ve come across has.

For many, the $599 price tag will simply be too much, but if you love this type of style, or alternatively you love rock and roll and don’t have another dime for the jukebox (baby), that price tag won’t be a haggle at all.

The volume knob goes up to 10. Not 11, Spinal Tap fans.

Conclusion

Make no mistake: while it’s not a particularly cheap product, Marshall’s Stanmore is a fantastic speaker, with looks to kill and brilliant sound to match.

This is a speaker the way a music company would design one: for people who love music and want to relive the thrill of listening for the first time every time they switch the speaker on.

Our only complaint is that it doesn’t go up to 11, but like Spinal Tap’s Nigel Tufnel, you could probably paint that on yourself if you really needed to, because the Marshall Stanmore gets damn close.

Highly recommended.

Overall
Features
Value for money
Performance
Ease of Use
Design
Reader Rating0 Votes
Very pretty, with a look like something out of a rock concert; Fantastic sound with loads of oomph; Customisable treble and bass;
Expensive; Doesn't work as a guitar amp; It doesn't go up to 11 (not really a negative);
4.7