In Marshall's line-up, Woburn II and Stanmore II are the first and second largest bluetooth speakers. Woburn II is more like a living room speaker whereas the Stanmore II is more like a shelf speaker.
Now let's get to their bolts and nuts.
Although the Woburn is louder, Stanmore II is still significantly loud. For most people, at full volume, it's even drunk party level loud.
Whereas that of the Woburn II is at 110 dB.
In their manuals you'll also see that the Stanmore II is equipped with 2 pieces of 15 Watt Class D amplifiers for the tweeters and one piece of 50 Watt Class D amplifier for the woofer.
The tweeters are smaller amplifiers are able to vibrate quicker. They're responsible for producing high frequency sounds.
Whereas the woofers are the larger amplifiers, placed at the bottom of speakers, under the tweeters. They produce lower frequency sounds.
In addition to these exact amplifiers in the Marshall Stanmore II, Woburn II steps up its game and brings in an additional 50 W woofer in the table.
Now this is what I call a huge difference.
Having an equally powerful, extra woofer is a game changer. It's like equipping the same airplane with two more engines.
Now you might think to yourself that the difference in the decibel department doesn't seem to reflect that much of a difference: 110 vs 101 dB.
But there's one part you got wrong there: Decibel scale is logarithmic, not linear.
This means that the difference between them is FAR more than the difference between two speakers at, say, 51 and 60 dB.
Same amount increase in the dB scale, but far different results.
So, in reality, assuming everything else is equal, a 110 dB speaker will almost be twice as loud as a 101 dB speaker.
But loudness isn't the only advantage you get with an extra woofer. There's another advantage, and to most people (including me and probably you), it's even a more important one.
Have you ever noticed that there often tends to be quite the opposite opinions about a speaker?
I can understand this for more "personal taste" kinda products like clothing, for example.
But for engineering products like speakers? Personal tastes and preferences probably still play a role. But shouldn't it be less?
Why is it that we can't set a universal metric for sound quality?
First time I asked this question to myself has been a pivotal day.
Because it turns out that in the mid 90's, Electrical Engineer PhD Floyd Toole came up with a method called Spinorama. This is exactly what he accomplished with this. Turns out that his book Sound Reproduction is like the bible of audiophiles.
Put it simply, Spinorama is a set of measurements that gives a comprehensive overview of a speaker's performance from various angles.
It allows you to compare the performances of different speakers before even laying your ears hands on them.
Isn't that amazing?
This is why Spinorama was apparently groundbreaking news for audio industry. Hence in the mid-late 2010's, most brands and magazines began publishing Spinorama measurements, despite the challenges of making such measurements.
Fortunately, now we have the Spinorama data for a bunch of quite popular speakers. Pierre Aubert put all this untidy data together and put it into https://www.spinorama.org/. This is a stunning source. Pretty valuable stuff from him right there.
All good up to this point.
Now there comes a caveat.
Since the sound speakers propagate are in the form of omnidirectional waves, all measurements are obtained in anechoic or semi-anechoic chambers (a super-quiet room where soundwaves don't bounce back, here's how different that room sounds [a mind blowing time-adjusted video]).
This is a problem because it means that Spinorama alone, unfortunately, won't give us all we need. Placement and reflections play an equally important role there too.
This is why most A-class brands (like SVS, Bang & Olufsen, etc) often come up with room correction features, adjusted either manually or automatically. The EQ adapts itself to the placement (room, corner, center, etc) for a better (deeper and more accurate) sound. Which is great.
Additionally they often emphasize the importance of placement, here is an example: https://www.svsound.com/blogs/subwoofer-setup-and-tuning/75365187-the-art-of-subwoofer-placement
The source code under Pierre Aubert's work is licensed under GPL (General public license). He didn't perform any of the measurements himself, and instead he compiled all of them into one place, so that makes sense.
At this point, I thought that if there was a tool that combined both the Spinorama with the room acoustics data, it'd be extremely useful.
Unfortunately, it turns out that there wasn't any.
This is where I stepped in and partnered with an Acoustics and Audio Engineering PhD in order to achieve this.
We combined Spinorama data with room acoustics and came up with Soundton. A very simple, 2D online tool that allows you to:
- Reveal optimal speaker positions in a room,
- Test with real speakers from real brands,
- Compare different speakers and different positions in the room.
It can be very valuable for the vast majority.
The colormap provides you the locations with the best (green) and worst (red) listening experience.
It works the best with subwoofers since Soundton processes low frequency response waves only.
- Soundton is going to be, say, 80% accurate. Not 100%.
- Because, other parameters such as the age/materials of the building, furniture/windows in place also have an impact on room acoustics.
- If you want absolutely the most detailed room analysis, then what you need is an acoustics consultant. Mind you that's going to require deep pockets and patience though... assuming you find the right person and they get the job done.