Marshall does a better job than most speaker companies when it comes to making its product lineups logical and easy-to-understand.
The Home Line III series contains Marshall’s bluetooth speakers which require a constant power source — hence the “Home” label. Among the Home Line 3, you can choose from a small (Acton 3), medium (Stanmore 3), and large (Woburn 3).
The Acton 3 MSRPs for nearly $300. For another hundred bucks, you can jump up to the Stanmore 3. And then for another two hundred, you can get the top-of-the-line Woburn 3. For the additional price, you get 60 watts on the Acton, 80 watts on the Stanmore, and 150 watts on the Woburn.
Because every speaker in the lineup has a beautiful design and great sound quality, you are really just paying for the extra horsepower when you choose a larger speaker in the lineup.
And since none of these speakers would be considered “cheap,” it’s important to be sure that you aren’t overpaying for more power than you need.
Here, we will compare the Woburn 3 and the Stanmore 3 in every category to see how they stack up. But most importantly, we answer the question that really matters — “Is the Woburn 3 worth an extra $200 over the Stanmore 3?”
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When trying to compare speakers, we of course begin with the most important factor — sound.
Because both speakers are quality offerings from Marshall, there are a number of similarities.
The sound profile is similar between the two products, with a balanced profile that isn’t as bass-heavy as some competitors. Neither is a hi-fi speaker, but the sound is crisp, pleasant, and balanced in a “high fidelity-ish” way.
If the above description doesn’t make much sense, the important thing to know is that the out-of-the-box sound isn’t extremely thumping, cheap, or overdone on bass. Although you can adjust the bass (more on this later), it doesn’t have the “party speaker” profile that many speaker users have come to expect.
Another similarity is that both products have EQ knobs on top of the device. This is an uncommon feature on a bluetooth speaker, but we give Marshall high marks for including it. Right from the speaker itself, you can adjust bass or treble (no control for mids).
Where the two speakers differ is that the Woburn 3 provides 150 watts of total output, whereas the Stanmore 3 provides just 80 watts. While we don’t recommend using wattage to compare speakers, in this case the numbers really do tell the story.
Woburn 3 gets much louder and simply provides a lot more power.
The other key difference is that Woburn 3 sounds clearer, sharper, and just all around more pleasant than Stanmore 3. This is probably due to the addition of two 15 watt mids in addition to the woofer and tweeters (whereas the Stanmore has a woofer and tweeters only).
Sound Winner: Woburn 3 (quite a bit more volume, plus better sound quality overall)
The design of the two speakers is nearly identical, except for differences in shape and size.
Both products have a timeless, amplifier-style appearance that — if it isn’t the most beautiful bluetooth speaker on the market, it’s pretty darn close.
In addition to the excellent esthetics, Marshall also advertises that the speakers are made from recycled plastic, contain no PVC, and are vegan-friendly (so, the leather exterior probably isn’t real leather…).
The Stanmore 3 has a rectangular appearance, while the Woburn 3 is closer to square shaped due to the added height.
If the exact sizes matter to you, the Stanmore is ~14″ x 8″ x 7″, while the Woburn is ~16″ x 12″ x 8″. The Woburn 3 is also more substantial when it comes to weight, tipping the scales at over 16 pounds (versus just over 9 pounds for the Stanmore 3).
From a functional standpoint, the only real difference between the two speakers is that Woburn 3 has an HDMI input whereas Stanmore 3 does not. This HDMI input allows the speaker to be easily connected to a TV and used as you would use a soundbar or external speaker.
Both speakers have a 3.5 mm aux input and RCA inputs.
Both Woburn and Stanmore have knobs and controls on the top of the speaker which provide a second-to-none tactile feel. The knobs and switches are entirely opposite of the simple, plastic buttons that you get with most bluetooth speakers.
Each speaker also gains a track skip button which wasn’t present on the previous iterations (Woburn 2 and Stanmore 2).
Design Winner: Woburn 3 if you need an HDMI port, but it’s a tie if you don’t care about this port
Since both speakers are brand new to the market, it is challenging to compare durability.
What we know, for sure, is that Marshall typically makes long-lasting speakers, and that both Stanmore 2 and Woburn 2 scored high marks for durability.
Additionally, the absence of a built-in battery (more on this below) actually increases the predicted longevity of both devices. Without a battery that inevitably fails, there is no reason that a bluetooth speaker can’t last for many years.
Because build quality and design of both speakers is identical except for size and weight, the durability of Woburn 3 and Stanmore 3 is expected to be nearly equal.
Both speakers are well-built and sturdy, and the fake leather exterior holds up well to wear and tear. Because the speakers aren’t “portable,” it is less likely that damage will occur during trips to the beach or on the boat. This is good, since the exposed knobs and the speaker cover are both likely weak points.
Durability Winner: Tie (less durable than a typical bluetooth speaker due to no waterproofing and the vulnerable knobs and grille — however, this isn’t a speaker that is designed for on-the-go use, anyway)
Important note: neither the Stanmore 3 near the Woburn 3 has a built-in battery.
Most people assume that “bluetooth speaker” means it has a battery, but this isn’t the case for the Marshall Home Line series (which includes Stanmore, Woburn, and the smaller Acton).
If you need a portable speaker but want the Marshall design and quality, the Marshall Kilburn and Tufton are the two closest comparisons that also feature a built-in battery.
Because Stanmore 3 and Woburn 3 lack a rechargeable battery, you lose a lot of portability.
However, both of these speakers are still small enough and light enough that you can easily transport them to a friend’s house or between home and the office. You just need to be sure that you can find a power outlet at your destination.
The advantage of lacking a battery is that you won’t have to worry about battery degradation, which is a tremendously common failure point of portable speakers. With the Woburn and Stanmore, you should be able to plug them in and use them for years and years.
Battery Winner: Tie, of course, since neither has a battery
Both devices feature nearly identical software.
Bluetooth 5.2 has been added to both speakers, which allows for over-the-air updates in the future. Marshall has also advertised that Multistream (basically just a party mode) is “on its way,” as is a “Broadcast” function that allows you to broadcast audio from the speaker to other devices.
Generally, there isn’t much point in getting excited about features that are “coming soon.”
The Stanmore 3 and Woburn 3 each feature a simple adjustable EQ, with bass and treble adjustments only.
In addition to some features that are standard on companion apps, Marshall also adds a “Placement Compensation” tab. This allows the speaker to “auto” adjust its settings based on the room environment. However, rather than being truly automated, you have to give the speaker details about its positioning in order for this feature to work (for example, you have to tell the speaker if it is sitting next to an obstruction).
Neither speaker has WiFi or a built-in microphone. But frankly, neither of these features are particularly important for most users.
Software Winner: Tie (simple apps, simple EQ, but reliable function)
Marshall Woburn 3 is much larger than Stanmore 3, and the price difference of $200 is quite significant.
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However, Woburn justifies the price tag by providing a lot more volume and much better sound quality. If your budget allows you to spend $500+ on a bluetooth speaker, the Woburn 3 is pretty hard to beat. You just need to recognize that this device is large, heavy, and doesn’t have a built-in battery.
For anybody that demands a rechargeable battery, the Tufton series is worthy of consideration. And for anybody that is budget-conscious, the