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Marshall Stockwell II Review: Your outdoor sound bag

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Marshall Stockwell II Review: Your outdoor sound bag


Verdict

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It may be lacking for features compared to some other portable speakers, but the Marshall ladles on the style and delivers on the audio front with an entertaining and charming performance.

Pros

  • Strong build quality
  • Weighty bass, detailed treble performance
  • Great looks
  • Good usability

Cons

  • Lacking features
  • Mid-range expression could be better

Availability

  • UKRRP: £169.99
  • USARRP: $199.99
  • EuropeRRP: €199.99
  • CanadaRRP: CA$299.99
  • AustraliaRRP: AU$399.99

Key Features


  • Multi-point BluetoothCan connect to two different devices at the same time

  • Water-resistantIPX4 rating guards against splashes of water

  • Carry handleFeatures a handle for carrying the speaker around

Introduction

Announced and released in 2019, the Marshall Stockwell II is by no means new. However, given the recent surge in interest for portable audio, there’s no better time than the present to take a look at the speaker.

With the Emberton taking the title of the smallest portable speaker in Marshall’s range, the Stockwell II offers a bigger and weightier sound. It has also had a price cut in the intervening years – from £219 to £169. So given the increase in competition, especially in the form of the Sonos Roam, where does the Stockwell II stand?

Design

  • Handle for easy carrying
  • Water- and dust-resistant design
  • Nice, tactile operation

This version of the Stockwell II comes decked out in a black and brass colourway, with the brass colour referring to the appearance of the handle’s underside (black and burgundy are also available). The rest of the speaker remains the same, from the gold detailing of the Marshall logo to its handle for easy carrying that gives it the look of a handbag.

Marshall Stockwell II handle detail

At 1.4kg, it’s a kilo heavier than the Roam and twice as heavy as the Emberton. Pick it up and you’ll feel its weight, but that solidity enhances rather than detracts from its build quality.

Marshall Stockwell II connections

The quality of the materials used in its construction mirror those of the Emberton, with a silicone outer casing giving the unit an IPX4 rating. This means it isn’t water- or dust-proof (the USB-C and Aux connections aren’t covered), but it can deal with splashes of water (or beer).

Marshall Stockwell II control dials

On the top plate sit three dials for volume (which also acts as power on/off), bass and treble. Either side is a Bluetooth pairing button and volume LED that lights up red. The dials offer a great tactile experience, and like many of Marshall’s audio products, the operation of the Stockwell II brings simple pleasures.

Features

  • Light on features
  • Fast-charging support

Features are light – not unlike the rest of Marshall’s portable speakers. Some may find the lack of features somewhat galling considering the price, but there’s the counterargument that it keeps the experience simple and straightforward – more about the sound and usability. If we’re looking at this in terms of sheer quantity, there are speakers that boast more options, though.

Marshall Stockwell II laid flat

Marshall claims a 20+ hours’ battery life before it requires a charge. A 20-minute charge provides six hours of playback, while five hours is needed to get back up to full strength once depleted.

There’s no Wi-Fi integration, so smarts are off the table. Bluetooth is 5.0 and there’s multi-function support for swapping between two speakers at once. The Stockwell II also features Marshall’s True Stereophonic sound to ensure the speaker’s sound can reach the listener from any angle.

Performance

  • Not the most detailed mid-range performance
  • Strong bass performance
  • Good, detailed treble performance

Like the Emberton, the promise of the ‘True Stereophonic’ isn’t quite delivered in the way the marketing blurb would have you think. Yes, you can hear the speaker’s output from any angle, but facing towards the speaker’s front or rear offers the most focused…



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