Last month the Marshall Wooburn II Bluetooth Speaker hit the market as a high-end model with iconic styling and a hefty price tag. The $499 speaker promised booming sound in a package that any audio enthusiast is sure to love. But with an MSRP that’s sure to turn some shoppers away, is it worth the extra cash when Sonos, HomePod and others are available for less?
Marshall Wooburn II Bluetooth Speaker: vintage meets wireless
Marshall has been cranking out pro-grade audio for years now. It’s one of the iconic brands that’s recognizable simply from its visuals. But in recent years, Marshall has made a shift to offer more consumer-focused audio gear. It started with a growing lineup of headphones and now includes plenty of wireless speakers as well, some that even include Alexa. It’s a natural move for a brand that’s enjoyed success with musicians and has the cache to bring in the consumer market at a lower-price point.
The Marshall Wooburn II sits in a unique place within the crowded Bluetooth speaker market. It’s not entry-level by any means with a $499 price tag. It’s also well past multi-room setups that cost less, including HomePod and even the high-end Sonos PLAY:5. That high cost of entry is for a few reasons, however.
Primarily, this speaker can bang. And I mean, it’s loud. This is probably the loudest speaker I’ve had in my house, pound for pound. Marshall really leans on its expertise at the pro level to deliver an incredible amount of volume from a relatively small package.
It’s the two 15W class D tweeter amps and a pair of 50W woofer amps that really deliver the volume while also upping the price. But specs aside, the premium design also plays a major role here. It’s wrapped in gorgeous leather with that iconic Marshall styling that’s so easy to love. These aren’t low-grade materials. Marshall really puts the extra effort in here.
Premium price, premium sound
I’ve admittedly become pretty turned off by the Bluetooth speaker market. It’s so flooded with low-quality options and throw-away features that it’s hard to even make a solid recommendation these days. When I covered the Marshall Wooburn II Bluetooth Speaker announcement last month, I was surprised by how my interest had piqued. I could wax poetic about the design for hours. We have a mid-century modern home, and the Marshall Wooburn II Bluetooth Speaker fits right in. The colors are warm and there’s something that’s just fun about a speaker that looks like it’s meant to be on stage at a concert.
The styling really stands out on top where (fake) gold-laden control panel offers illuminated knobs and switches. I honestly felt a bit like a rock star when cranking up the tunes. For visuals, I give the Marshall Wooburn II Bluetooth Speaker a 5/5 star rating.
That’s not to say the sound is a lightweight either. And at $499, you sure would hope it isn’t. Unlike HomePod, which has been noted as a bass-heavy speaker, and others on the market, there isn’t a notable sound that catches your ear like the Wooburn II. That’s a compliment. It shines with smooth mellow songs from John Mayer, but can also hang on the latest from Lil’ Wayne. In my testing, I found it to be a versatile speaker that was able to handle any tune thrown at it.
Who is the Marshall Wooburn II Bluetooth Speaker for?
That’s the ultimate question. It’s high-end and pricey. While the Wooburn II is a beautiful speaker, it has a very limited market. If you’re someone who loves vintage styling, or just isn’t into a multi-room setup, it’s hard to go wrong here. Those who can afford it won’t be disappointed. The Marshall Wooburn II shines in a refreshing way that makes it stand out from a crowded, and rather dull, Bluetooth speaker market.