Marshall is known for its high-end speakers and amplifiers especially by those in the music business. You’ve seen them at concerts too, but the brand is planning to go mass market, tapping the high-end speaker business.
Which is why when I got a chance to try out its Acton and Stanmore multi-room speakers, I was intrigued to see if Marshall had given them the right balance of being a modern technology product with a good sound output.
Priced at Rs 31,999 and Rs 40,999 for the Acton and Stanmore respectively, we check out how these compare with speakers from brands like Bose and Sony.
Music at Its Best
From the moment I fired up the speakers, the Marshall speakers’ quality stood out. The ease with which the Acton and Stanmore were able to pick up notes and produce the sound output that Marshall is known for by music aficionados, I was sold.
These are speakers that can give you the best of all music genres, be it rock or blues and even bass-thumping tracks. What helps its case are the modules at the top of the speaker that let you decide what genre suits your mood.
The build quality of the speakers plays a heavy role in how the sound is produced. It has got a mix of retro amplifiers and tweeter units placed inside a smaller form factor. Does that compromise on the quality? For the price, this is one of the best we’ve heard.
That’s not to say Bose and Sony sound any worse, but it’s easy to get impressed with the overall product design. The way the tweeters have been integrated and the use of materials to construct the speaker make all the difference.
Yes, they are expensive, but nobody said that a high-quality audio product will come cheap.
Not Exactly Portable
Acton and Stanmore have a rugged build. Marshall has taken to using leather-like material for their construction. However, these speakers are not very portable.
They looked big in pictures, but when I got hold of the unit, I figured these cannot exactly be deemed as portable speakers.
It also doesn’t help that the Marshall speakers – Acton and Stanmore – weigh around 3Kg and 6Kg respectively. For speakers that are supposed to be placed at a fixed point, that’ll be fine, but definitely not for a portable unit. Quality sound does come at a cost, but it would be wise if Marshall can modernise its approach to these speakers. This brings us to another concern - are they wireless friendly?
And that’s my biggest issue with these Marshall speakers. Yes, they support Bluetooth, but the pairing process isn’t the most intuitive and the features are heavily reliant on the user manually tweaking the settings. It doesn’t come with a remote either and in 2018, where even the Fire Stick from Amazon gets a remote, Marshall has somehow missed it.
It’s easy to see that Marshall is still hungover on its glory days and products like Acton and Stanmore are a proof of that. You also have to keep them plugged in all the time, but hopefully that’ll change when the new variants come out later this year.
It does support Wi-Fi via a mobile app that’s supposed to make lives easier. However, it does anything but that. Also, a voice assistant (either Alexa or Google Assistant) needs to be added in the upgraded versions.
Also, I have found it hard to understand the reason behind giving a micro USB 2.0 port. Is that meant for charging a phone?
It is quite clear that Marshall has tried its best with these speakers, but honestly, for a modern-day speaker, you’re getting robbed with the Acton and Stanmore. Make no mistake, they sound every bit worth the buck. However, Bose and Sony offer you that X-factor, which a true-blue wireless speaker ought to have.
If these issues don’t concern you and you’re happy with a plugged-in speaker then you’ve got the right products on your buying list.