Get Them Here
Since summer’s here, a lot of people might be looking into getting a speaker. But if you’re looking into getting a speaker to mainly use at your next cook out or entertain guests with… then you’ll probably be better off with a 360 degree speaker cause you’ll be able to blanket to a large area with music with out having to blast the volume. So today we’re going to look at 3 of my favorite multi-directional speakers. Theres the brand new Marshall Stockwell 2, the UE Megaboom 3, and the JBL Pulse 3.
Now both the JBL Pulse 3 and UE Megaboom 3 have a retail price of $200 but they’re typically on sale these days for around $150 to $170. Where as the Marshall Stockwell 2 is the newest speaker here and has a retail price of $250… but the Stockwell 2 is already going on sale for $200. So overall, all of these speakers are in the same price range… but are very different from one another. But if you want to pick any of these speakers up, they’ll be linked down below. And if you want to learn more about either of these speakers, please watch their full reviews.
So like I mentioned earlier, if you’re looking for a speaker to use with friends or to take on the go with you all three of these speakers are good options cause they’re all fairly durable. But I do have to admit that the JBL Pulse 3 is perhaps the most fragile speaker here. Even though this speaker has an IPX7 rating, meaning its water proof… due to its acrylic top if you drop it you do risk cracking it. Where as since the UE Megaboom 3 has a fabric covered body it doesn’t show any wear and tare, and the Stockwell 2 is also a very rugged speaker but also consists of much finer materials like a hard rubberized body, a metal grill on both the front and back, and a great feeling built in leatherette carrying handle with red velvet underneath. But technically speaking, the Megaboom 3 is the most durable speaker here cause it has an IP67 rating, meaning that’s its both Dust and waterproof. Where as the Stockwell 2 is only water resistant so it can’t get as wet.
But the JBL Pulse 3 is perhaps the best looking speaker here cause of its super impressive light feature. There are a whole bunch of different lighting modes to choose from and through JBL’s app you can customize the light feature. And this light feature is going to look awesome in doors or by the pool at night. But unfortunately, having this super awesome looking light feature on this speaker does severely affect its battery life. Even though the pulse 3 has an advertised battery life of 12 hours, depending on what light mode you’re using you’ll might only be able to get 5 hours of playback time out of it. So definitely the Pulse 3 is a speaker that you’re constantly going to have to keep on the charger. And also keep in mind, the light feature doesn’t look all that great in direct sunlight.
But when it comes to the battery life on both the Stockwell 2 and Megaboom 3, they both have an advertised battery life 20 hours. And when they’re both playing with the volume set at 80% they’re both good for about 8 to 9 hours of playback time. So both of these speakers aren’t going to have a hard time lasting a full day’s cook out or get together. But when it comes to ports that’s when things get very different. The Stockwell 2 charges via a USBC port and you can also use this USBC port to charge your own devices. Where as the JBL Pulse 3 charges via a micro USB port. Now the Megaboom 3 also charges via a micro USB port, but I do think its important to point out that this speaker doesn’t have an audio jack… you can only use it wirelessly. Personally I don’t mind but I do think its very important to point out.
But when it comes to bluetooth connectivity, all of these speakers have stable connections just as you’d expect. And all of these speakers can be connected to 2 devices at a same time so you and a friend can both be DJ. But I do want to point out that the Pulse 3 is the only speaker here that does have a slight latency whenever you try to watch videos on your phone whether its an android or apple device. Its a very slight latency but if youre as particular as me, you will notice it. But also, the Stockwell 2 is the only speaker here that has APTX support.
But more importantly when it comes to speaker set ups, that’s when things start to get very interesting. Again, all three of these speakers are 360 degrees speakers, but the way they go about it is very different. The Pulse has 3 transducers all housed within the fabric portion of the speaker, and as a result it does in fact evenly blanket an area with music whether in doors or outdoors. And there are dual passive radiators that shoot out the top and bottom of this speaker. Then there’s the Stockwell 2 which has a single woofer and dual tweeters that shoot music out the front and back of this speaker. And the Megaboom 3 has dual transducers and dual passive radiators that shoot out the sides of this speaker. But now we’re going to jump into a sound test. All of these speakers are playing at the same loudness, the mega boom 3 is playing with its “the Standard” EQ setting and the Stockwell 2 is playing with the bass knob set to 8 and the treble knob set to 7.
So right off the bat, all of these speakers sound good. But if I had to single one out as the worst sounding speaker here, it would have to be the JBL Pulse 3. Personally I think the vocals and mids are very shallow compared to these other speakers and the sound stage and instrument separation isn’t as good. Where as the Stockwell 2 has a much wider soundstage and the mids and highs are much crisper thanks to those dual tweeters. And then there’s that the Megaboom 3 which also has a decently wide sound stage and well defined mids and highs, but I will admit the highs aren’t as crips cause of the lack of tweeters. But keep in mind, both the Megaboom 3 and Stockwell 2 let you directly adjust their EQ. The Megaboom 3 has its app and the Stockwell 2 has its bass and treble knobs. Where as with the JBL pulse 3, you can’t change its EQ as easily.
But over all, I do think the megaboom 3 is the best sounding speaker here cause it doesn’t just sound good, it also gets very loud. Where as the Stockwell 2 doesn’t get nearly as loud as the Megaboom 3 or Pulse 3. And if you’re looking for a speaker to use mainly out doors then max loudness is definitely something you’ll want to take into consideration.
But finally, the last thing you want to take into consideration when choosing between these speakers is their speaker pairing protocol just incase you decide to pick up more speakers in the future. Personally I think JBL’s JBL connect plus is the best not out there cause its the easiest one to use. You just press one button on each speaker and the speakers will figure out the rest by themselves. You don’t have to open up any other apps and they establish a reliable connection very quickly. And also JBL has a very wide range of JBL connect plus enabled speakers to choose from. Now pairing multiple UE speakers is also very easy cause you just do so through their app but it just isn’t as quick as JBL’s. And also UE’s line up of speakers that support PartyUP isn’t as wide as JBL’s. But finally, there’s the Stockwell 2 which simply just can’t be paired up to any other Marshall speakers. And personally I do think that Marshall not having a speaker pairing protocol for their portable speakers is a huge draw back, cause being able to pair multiple speakers together is a very standard feature these days.
But over all, I think that if you’re looking for a multi directional speaker to use this summer… I think you can’t go wrong with the Megaboom 3. Its a very good sounding speaker that gets very loud but its also super rugged so you don’t have to worry about it and its battery life is going to have no problem keeping up with you. The JBL Pulse 3 is also a good option especially if you plan to use it at night cause its going to look awesome. But keep in mind its battery life is really going to vary so you’re going to have to keep a charger close by. And finally there’s the Stockwell 2 which is a good speaker in its own right, but I don’t think its for everyone cause it doesn’t get as loud as these other speakers and you can’t pair it up any other speakers. But if you’re still not sold on a Muti directional speaker and if you just want something to really blast your music you can also go for the JBL Xtreme 2 which is now typically on sale for $200.