We finally get our hands on the Marshall Stockwell
Three months ago Marshall announced their most portable and affordable speaker offering to-date, the Marshall Stockwell. While it’s not as small as the Bose Soundlink Mini II, Beats Pill, or the myriad of bar-type wireless speakers in the market (it measures 5.7 by 10.1 by 2 inches HWD and weighs 2.7 lbs), it’s definitely still a major draw for musicians, guitarists, and music fans because of the Marshall brand heritage.
We initially saw this bad boy on display in Hong Kong last week but we decided not to bite because it was overpriced at around Php16,500. It was a good thing we skipped it though because upon returning to the Philippines we saw that Beyond the Box and Digital Walker were already offering it at around Php13,500. We immediately picked one up and brought it back to the Unbox HQ for this unboxing and initial review.
Unboxing the Marshall Stockwell
The Stockwell came in the same gradient grey box (albeit smaller) that other Marshall audio products came in. We popped the lid open, took off the carton lid, and were immediately greeted by a black cloth wrapped speaker. We set it aside and dug deeper. We found the usual AC/DC charger and the manuals. We were a bit stumped when we realized there was no audio input cable that came in the box. We’re still confirming if it really ships without one or the box we got was incomplete.
Design and Sound Quality
As with the previous speakers, the Stockwell has the iconic Marshall guitar amp look and feel. We have the cloth speaker grille with the Marshall logo proudly front and center. The controls, complete with the analog knobs for Volume, Bass, and Treble, are located at the top. There are also controls for source (AUX IN or Bluetooth), pairing, or phone mode (for speaker phone). Behind it there’s the power port and a USB port if you want to charge your mobile devices using the Stockwell.
Size wise, it’s easy to carry with one hand and put it a medium-large sized messenger bag. However at 2.7 pounds it can add additional heft especially if you already have a laptop and other stuff in your bag.
So you get a better appreciation for the size, here’s the Stockwell together with an iPhone 6S.
In terms of performance, the Marshall Stockwell has high and low points. Let’s start with the positives.
The dual 2.3-inch tweeters, 2.3-inch woofers, and the two-channel class D amplifier loaded in this thing does the job of delivering LOUD sound. This is truly one of the most powerful and loudest portable speakers we’ve ever come across in our testing and reviewing. You get outstanding highs and lows with this one, especially if you play around with the Treble and Bass knobs. In our tests we saw that it shone the most when we played tracks that had focus on lyrics and instruments (Jason Mraz, Ed Sheeran, Snow Patrol, Adele, etc).
HOWEVER, we did notice one drawback.
At very high volumes the bass of the Stockwell noticeably distorts. For example, Redfoo’s New Thang has a very deep sub-bass beat. If you don’t dial down the bass on the analog controls, the distortion at high volumes (for reference it comes out for us at 100% phone volume and 80% speaker volume) is apparent and can be a distraction for serious music lovers and audiophiles. That said adjusting the analog dial for bass should make the distortion minimal. While the fix is there, we were hoping that we wouldn’t need to do stuff like that given the price of the Stockwell.
Verdict: Great Buy for Fans of Marshall
If you’re a fan of the Marshall brand, then the Stockwell makes sense for you if you’re in the market for a portable wireless speaker. The design alone combined with the loud nature of the speakers should be more than enough to win you over. Just make sure you dial the bass down if you’re going to listen to bass heavy tracks so you can really enjoy your music.
If you’re a more discerning audiophile though we would be remiss to not say that you have better bang-for-your-buck alternatives. The BOSE Soundlink Mini 2 is slightly cheaper (local SRP is PHp13,000) than the Stockwell and while it doesn’t have an classic amp inspired design, it does deliver natural, balanced, and outstanding sound quality without the bass distortion at high volume levels. If you don’t want to spend too much, you can also check out the various BRAVEN speaker offerings as they come in multiple price points.