The Marshall Stanmore II Voice could be the best looking smart speaker there is and it's got big, bassy sound to back up those good looks. Fully Alexa enabled, this is a smart speaker in a class of its own.
Marshall Stanmore II Voice: What you need to know
- $400 price
- Alexa assistant
- Superb looks and sounds
The Marshall Stanmore II Voice has a lot of smart speaker competition in the powerful sounds sector from the likes of Google Home Max, Apple HomePod and Sonos Move. But while they all sound good and have plenty of power, none have the iconic looks of this gorgeous speaker that doubles as an eye-catching home decor piece.
Going for a design statement doesn't mean compromising though. The Marshall Stanmore II Voice packs in the Amazon Alexa smart assistant, WiFi and Bluetooth connectivity, 3.5mm and RCA inputs plus a hefty 50W amp backed by more power. In short, this does it all and now even has multi-room support - which it didn't at launch.
So is the Marshall Stanmore II Voice worth that steep $400 price tag?
Marshall Stanmore II Voice: Design and build
- 50W + 2x15W Class-D amps
- 10.5lbs weight
- Analogue knobs
The Marshall Stanmore II Voice is designed to look like the cab of a classic Marshall amp. But even cab sized this 10.5lbs beauty is still bigger than most other smart speakers out there, around the size of a large toaster. You've got that large grille in the front with class Marshall branding bang in the middle. So while this could go in your kitchen, as smart speakers often do, you're not going to want to get it dirty and will need plenty of space to house it.
The edging is surrounded by a black textured vinyl wrap which opens to a metallic top where the analogue dials live. These look great, feel awesome and uses lights around the edges to denote, in a digital kind of way, the levels for each knob. The controls let you play and pause, skip tracks, mute Alexa, adjust input, volume, bass and treble for quick and easy EQ adjustments without even needing to open the app.
On the back is a 3.5mm aux in as well as RCA input, something you won't find on other smart speakers. Inside you get a 50W Class-D amp for the 5.2-inch woofer backed by two more 15W Class-D amps for the 0.75-inch tweeters, equating a whole lot of power for your ear drums to ripple to. Despite going really loud this is also built to hear you whatever the volume thanks to a far-field microphone array.
Marshall Stanmore II Voice: Features
- Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and Alexa
- Multi-room support
- Preset EQ options
The Marshall Stanmore II Voice is all about high quality audio that you can adjust to suit your songs. Not only can you do that manually with the knobs but also with the app. This has pre-set options that let you tap to change the calibration instantly with flat, rock, metal, pop, hip-hop, electronic and jazz all there.
For playback there are analogue controls but it's the Alexa voice assistant that makes this easy to use. Of course you can fling music directly from your streaming app, like Spotify, but it's usually easier just to ask Alexa to sort it. The same goes for smart home controls which Alexa can do from this speaker. Yup, that also means answering questions, checking the weather, your commute and so on. Even connecting a phone via Bluetooth is made easier by just asking Alexa to do it.
The dual microphone array uses acoustic noise cancellation so the speaker can pick up your voice even when the music is pumping out powerfully.
Alexa is now compatible with other speakers. That means that you can use the Stanmore II Voice as part of a multi-room system, something that was only available after an update to the system.
Marshall Stanmore II Voice: Performance
- Booming bass
- No distortion when loud
- Brilliantly wide soundstage
This large speaker produces big sound to match that form, but it's high quality too. Even at the top end with the volume cranked you won't get distortion, making this ideal for parties. That said it's also subtle enough to produce fantastic clarity at lower, more intimate volumes. The bass is rich, the mids quite clear and the top end defined - with everything balanced on a soundstage that is wide enough to give real gravitas to any performance.
As you can imagine, from a guitar amp specialist like Marshall, any guitars in music are superb sounding. That's not to say this is for rock fans alone as that thumping bass does all types of music justice. The sub-bass really does dance tracks a great service.
The only fault to be found is that perhaps the mids could be a little clearer for super accurate voice reproduction - but we're being picky here.
While there is a dual microphone array, that's not a lot compared to Amazon Echo's seven. As such you may need to speak clearly to be heard when the volume is loud.
Should I buy the Marshall Stanmore II Voice?
If you want big sound, high quality audio and really decent bass then the Marshall Stanmore II Voice is for you. This is especially so if you're a rock fan as this is the best way to listen to guitars. Get the iconic looks without sacrificing modern smart speaker controls and multi-room enjoyment.
This is far cheaper than the next closest competition in the Apple HomePod or Sonos One, yet produces sound quality as good or, in some scenarios, better.
Marshall Stanmore II Voice: Verdict
The Marshall Stanmore II Voice is a truly capable smart speaker with full Alexa backing. But it's also a brilliantly powerful, well-balanced and refined speaker that not only makes great audio but looks fantastic even when sat silently.
This is worth spending a little more than the average smart speaker price for those looks, that sound and the smart assistant with multi-room support.