Get Them Here
Im a really big fan of JBL’s portable speaker line up… they sound great and you can take them anywhere cause they’re pretty durable and they have long lasting batteries. But a portable speaker means you’re paying extra for that added durability and built in battery. And if you just want a speaker for at home use all you’re really concerned about is sound. So thats where something like the Marshall Stanmore 2 comes in. its a little bigger than the Xtreme 2 but gives the boombox a run its money when it comes to sound quality and bass.
Just so we’re clear, were going to be focusing on the Non Voice assistant enabled Marshall Stanmore 2 that retails for $350. If you want to have Alexa or Google Assistant built into your new Marshall Speaker its going to cost you a $50 premium. And for comparison sake, the JBL Xtreme 2 typically retails for $300 and the JBL Boombox retails for $450. If you want to pick either of these speakers up I’ll have links in the description below. I highly suggest you check them out cause you never when these speakers might go on sale.
Like I mentioned earlier, the Stanmore 2 is strictly a at home speaker… theres no built in battery and no IP water or dust durability certifications like you would find on portable bluetooth speakers. The Stanmore 2 however does have that classic Marshall design that I personally really like. We’ve got a highly tumbled leather looking body with a woven fabric grill on the front and brushed metal accents adorning the speaker. The control panel is perhaps my favorite part of this speaker… it just screams build quality. The power switch has very deep gnarling, you’ve got 3 control knobs up top, and the source and multipurpose buttons have a lot of tactile feedback. Now we’ll dive deeper into these control knobs in a minute… but over all I’m a really big fan of Marshall’s more sophisticated and timeless design thats going to look good in almost any living room you place it.
Regarding ports, the Stanmore 2 still has a 3.5 millimeter audio jack up top for wired listening. And I like that marshall still has an audio jack on their newer speakers cause some manufacturers are starting to remove the audio jack on some other their newer speakers. Marshall even still includes an RCA input on this speaker. And on the back you’ll also find an AC in port for power. But personally I would have also liked if marshall had built in a USB-A and or a USB C port so that you can charge your own devices. Having a USB out port on your speaker to charge your phone just gives it that little bit of extra functionality that you miss when you don’t have it anymore. Cause even when you’re not listening to music you can still use your speaker as a charging hub.
But when it comes to speaker set ups, the Stanmore 2 has a single woofer in the center, dual tweeters off to the side and a bass deflector that shoots out the back. Where as JBL’s larger portable speakers both have dual frontward firing transducers, dual tweeters and dual passive radiators shooting out the sides. Now we’re about to jump into a sound test… the boombox is in indoors mode and the Stanmore 2 is playing with the bass knob set to 7 and the treble set to 6.
Even though the Stanmore 2 has less hardware going for it compared to JBL’s speakers… it performs just as well. But I cant help but feel the soundstage on the Boombox is little wider than the Stanmore 2’s. But it definitely doesn’t take away from the listening experience. Now all of Marshalls speakers feature control knobs up top that give you direct control over the speaker’s Bass and treble. And if you raise the bass all the way up on this speaker its going to have more wall shaking bass than the JBL boombox. Which i know thats what some people are looking for. But through Marshall’s app you have even more control over your speaker’s sound signature. You can also go in and adjust the mids on this speaker to bring vocalists forward. And having this level of control over your speaker’s sound signature is just unheard off compared to the JBL’s speakers. Their app just doesn’t allow you to mess with their speaker’s EQ settings… you have to use a third party app. But the boombox does have an out doors mode which lowers the bass and raises the treble so the sound can travel farther outdoors.
And when it comes to max volume… again the Stanmore 2 easily gets louder than both the Xtreme 2 and Boombox. It actually gets uncomfortably loud… but that loudness could be useful for people who would like to use this speaker outdoors on a patio or something. But something to always take into consideration with JBL’s larger portable speakers is that if you use them while they’re plugged in they’re going to get louder and they are going to sound fuller. But they still don’t get as loud or have as much bass as the Stanmore 2.
Now if you watched my Marshall Kilburn 2 review, you’ll know that one of the things that I really disliked about that speaker is the lack of a multipurpose button… but thankfully that isn’t an issue here. The Stanmore 2 has that multipurpose button where you can play, pause, and skip through your music directly from your speaker. This might not seem like a big deal to some people but there are some speakers out there just don’t have this button. And again, its one of those things you miss when you don’t have it anymore.
Regarding bluetooth connectivity… the Stanmore 2 is rocking bluetooth 5.0, it can be connected to two devices at the same time and if you’re an iPhone user its also good for watching videos cause it has very little latency. And if you’re an Android user the Stanmore 2 also supports APTX HD which is good.
Now I just want point out that Aptx support really only matters to android users cause apple insists on using the older AAC codec on their iPhones. To keep it simple, the benefits of using an android device with your APTX supported speaker is that theres going to be almost zero latency when watching videos, your music is just going to sound better, and youre not going to hear as much distortion at higher volumes compared to using an iPhone. And again for comparisons sake, JBL’s speakers don’t have APTX support.
But something JBL still does better than any other speaker brand out other is their multi speaker pairing. JBL Connect plus just let you pair up multiple JBL speaker together with just the tap of a single button. And more importantly… you dont have to open up any other apps and it just works every single time. Now Marshall does have a coupling feature… but you can only pair up to 2 speakers together and it only works with the Acton 2, Stanmore 2, or Woburn 2. So even though its nice Marshall has a coupling feature now… its a little behind compared to JBL’s, Ultimate Ears, and Sony’s pairing feature. Even though sony still needs to work on theirs.
But over all I think the Marshall Stanmore 2 is a good option to consider if you just want one at home speaker. Like I’ve said in the past, even though I really do like the JBL Boombox, I use it mostly as an at home speaker cause I feel its too much of a hassle to carry around. Cause if you’re looking for a speaker to take on the go with you on a regular basis then I highly recommend the Xtreme 2 instead. But one of the biggest reasons the Boombox is so popular is because of its sheer amount of bass and how loud it gets. If you’re someone looking for that then you can find it and more in the Stnamore 2 in a slightly smaller package. And not to mention, that classic marshall design might be more appealing to some people.