Whether a rock ‘n roll regular, a jazz aficionado, or a hip-hop enthusiast, every person has his or her favorite jams. Each of us wants those songs to sound fantastic. I have spent the last 25 years enjoying my favorites on vinyl, cassette tape, CDs, and digital. Throughout all those changes, I have always pursued the finest sound quality. Technology advances but nostalgia remains strong.
The market demands that tech companies combine the innovations of today with the aesthetics of yesterday. As a result, there are a plethora of options for a Bluetooth speaker with aux input. As someone who is willing to invest hard-earned money into hearing every nuance of Mark Knopfler’s guitar solo on ‘Sultan of Swing’, I have thoroughly researched the current offerings and whittled down the best Bluetooth speaker with aux input.
The Winner Bluetooth Speaker with Aux Input:
In the past 60 years, no other producer of speakers, amps, and headphones has cultivated the niche prestige that Marshall has. The carries this proud tradition of excellence from the stage to your coffee table. Combining superior sound quality with ease and versatility of use, the packs all the volume and precision you could want from a Bluetooth speaker with aux input into a handsome vintage package. This carefully concocted combination pays tribute to the singers and musicians whose sound has come out of Marshall Speakers for over half a century.
The is a mid-sized personal amplifier and speaker set capable of handling multiple sources. It has an operational ease that is encouraging to the avid music connoisseur with a layperson’s understanding of equipment. Marshall also makes two other speakers in the same line: the substantial Woburn and the highly-portable Kilburn.
The houses two ¾” Tweeters and a single large 5 ¼” Woofer. The Stanmore is capable of generating a large range of pitches without impairing the sound quality or compromising the physical integrity of the speakers.
The contains THREE Class D Amplifiers. One 40 Watt amplifier drives the woofer and a separate 20 Watt amplifier drives each of the two tweeters. This tri-amplification allows the Stanmore to be much more efficient than standard linear amplifiers. The combination of these components allows the to remain relatively lightweight compared to traditional analogue amplifiers.
Easy to use and stylish Bass and Treble control knobs on the top of the device allow extensive listener control of the sound substance. The combination of these components allows the speaker to deliver an accurate response throughout the entire range of frequencies.
Nothing must surpass sound quality when comparing amplifiers and speakers. However, for music history enthusiasts, one of the most appealing attributes of the is its aesthetic – a housing of thick textured vinyl encases a classically styled fret grille cloth. The signature gold script Marshall logo completes the front-facing look.
The top of the device is a very attractive gold and black instrument panel. The volume/bass/treble knobs resemble traditional amplifying equipment. Four solid rubber feet support the base of the speaker, eliminating the chance of marring a shelf or table. Marshall has meticulously and solidly constructed every component of the .
The has two standby modes: regular and power saver. This helps to minimize environmental impact and save you money.
The has One Bluetooth (Apt X) and two auxiliary inputs: a 3.5 mm (mini-jack) and an RCA cable receiver. This allows the listener to keep three different sources linked to the speaker at all times and switch between them seamlessly using the ‘source’ key on the top of the device.
In keeping with the retro theme of the , the RCA input is specifically included to allow you to hook up turntables and other analogue devices. Personally, I keep my turntable hooked into the RCA inputs, my TV connected with the mini-jack, and my phone/tablet paired with the Bluetooth.
The comes with a stylish male to male mini-jack. This tightly wound, phone-style cable is intentionally reminiscent of the golden days of rock ‘n roll.
Upgrade in the Marshall Family
For roughly $100 more, you can upgrade from the to the .
The advantages here are all in the increased audio performance. In place of the Stanmore’s Two ¾” Dome Tweeters, The Woburn boasts Two 1” Tweeters. The real add is on the low end. The Marshall Woburn Bluetooth Speaker has TWO 5 ¼“ Woofers. To handle that increased output at lower frequencies, the Woburn has a 50 Watt Amp (compared to the Stanmore’s 40W).
I can personally attest that the has enough gusto to fill a 4 room apartment, but if you want your sound to fill a larger space, you might consider this larger Bluetooth speaker with aux input.
Flaws But Not Dealbreakers for the
- Size. At 12.39 pounds and 11.14in x 16.54 in x 9.25 in, the is not the smallest or lightest Bluetooth speaker with aux input when compared to similar products. While one could easily pick up the Stanmore and move it from room to room or pack it in a car, it is not intended to be easily portable. Marshall designed this elegant speaker to be a permanent complement to a bedroom, study, or lounge. Marshall makes a smaller speaker, The Kilburn, if the Stanmore is more speaker than the listener needs.
- Wear & Tear on the Instrument Labels. After over a year of daily use, the lettering and tick marks labeling the metal instrument panel at the top of the device have started to wear. Although one can easily make out the uses of the various knobs and switches, the overall aesthetic is somewhat weakened.
The Runner-Up Bluetooth Speaker with Aux Input:
is an extremely sleek and heavily stylized Bluetooth speaker with aux input made by Klipsch Audio Technologies, a Midwestern loudspeaker company operating since the 1940s. Since the company’s inception, the founder Paul Klipsch has advocated for the use of horn-loaded speakers, which are exactly what they sound like: speakers that use an acoustic horn to enhance the sound. Interestingly, Paul Klipsch’s vision directly influenced the design, development, and engineering of every product in the ‘Heritage’ series.
Like the , the is designed to be an affordable and approachable tribute to the humble origins of its creator. The classical design encloses modern technology so that the listener can enjoy both the visual and audio refinement simultaneously.
Like the , the has two high-frequency drivers (tweeters) and one woofer. However, the dimensions of these components is quite different. The two high-frequency drivers contained in Klipsch, The One are 2 ¼“ (vs. ¾“ in the Stanmore) and the woofer is 4 ½“ (vs. 5 ¼“ in the Stanmore). As one might suspect, this supports a cleaner sound at the upper registers but less support of the lower range.
The two larger bi-amplified tweeters of the provide exceptional accuracy and clarity. However, the smaller woofer is prone to some levels of distortion. To a certain extent, you can clean up this issue. Sync the volume control on the Klipsch with the volume on the inputting device (phone, tablet, etc).
Based on appearance alone, the would probably come out on top of our showdown for the best Bluetooth Speaker with aux input. The box is extremely sleek and comes in a real wood veneer of either Walnut or Ebony. The front speaker cover is a beautifully textured cloth and features the traditional Klipsch logo. Klipsch designers and fabricators finished the design off with fixtures made of beautiful spun copper.
At 8.5 pounds and 12.67in x 6.13 in x 5.25 in, The Klipsch Heritage Wireless, The One is slightly smaller than the . It is also slightly more subtle. With a little ingenuity and the eye for design, one could hide it in plain sight in a den or office.
Unlike the other units featured in this review, the comes with a required rechargeable lithium-ion battery. The manufacturer boasts an 8-hour life. Reviews suggest that is dependent on several factors including whether the audio source is auxiliary from the mini-jack or from the Bluetooth.
Like the , the has Bluetooth compatibility. The method of pairing is simple: depress the ‘Pair’ button on the and select the from the list of eligible devices on your smartphone or other transmitting device.
The also has a 3.5 mm (mini-jack) input and comes with a male to male mini-jack cable for easy connection to TVs, CD players, and other input sources requiring a hard line. To change between sources, the has an easy-to-use and stylish knob next to the volume knob.
Unlike the Stanmore, the does NOT have an RCA jack. The lack of this 2nd auxiliary line-in limits both the type and number of inputs that it can manage.
Flaws But Not Dealbreakers for the
- Battery Life. Obviously having a battery has advantages. You can take the from room to room or even outside if its in range of a Bluetooth signal. However, reviews suggest that a certain percentage of the batteries are undependable. Operation of the unit depends on the battery, so if it is defective, you cannot simply remove it and plug in the device. The battery will also gradually lose capacity and need to be replaced.
- Underperforms at Low Registers. With the two bi-amplified 2 ¼“ drivers the treble in the is clean and resonate. However the 4 ½“ woofer (vs. 5 ¼“ in the Stanmore) can sound muddy and distorted at higher volumes.
Upgrade in the Klipsch Family
For roughly $200 more, you can upgrade from the to the .
Along with the RCA jack, this model has connections for WiFi, Phono Pre-Amp and USB Type B Audio. It also boasts a 5 ¼“ Woofer (the same size as the ). Finally, the has a plug-in power supply.
The Honorable Mention Bluetooth Speaker with Aux Input:
Audioengine, an innovative company that pairs modern tech with classic style, produces the . Like the the is designed to appeal to the nostalgia of a true music lover.
The contains two 15-watt RMS amplifiers, a type preferred by street performers because speakers can remain very lightweight. Like the , the Audioengine has two ¾”silk dome tweeters, but unlike the Stanmore, this speaker has two 2 ¾” Kevlar woofers. The dual slot ports on the front panel are designed to enhance the bass.
Compared to the Stanmore, the is capable of producing smooth and clear sound at high, mid, and low pitches, but will not be capable of the same decibels. Also, without Treble and Bass knobs, the listener has less control over the sound quality.
Available in Walnut, Black Ash, and Zebrawood, the ‘s design allows it to be integrated into the aesthetic of the room. The device also has a removable magnetic grill, so the appearance is extremely versatile. The exposed tweeters and woofers draw attention to the mechanisms producing the sound while the covered speaker strives for more of a subtle, source-less sound experience.
Unlike the , the does not promote the designer or fabricator by broadcasting the logo on the exposed portions of the device. Likewise, the instruments, dials, and switches are not stylized and are concealed on the back of the device.
Like the , the has Apt X Bluetooth compatibility. It also has a 3.5 mm (Mini-Jack) input and comes with a mini-jack cable. Unlike the Stanmore, the Audioengine does NOT have an RCA jack. This limits both the type and number of inputs that it can manage.
The also does not have an input switch. The 3.5 mm input will override and disable the Bluetooth when it is plugged in and must be unplugged before the Bluetooth will function.
Flaws But Not Dealbreakers for the
- Bluetooth Cannot be Locked. The Bluetooth capability of the cannot be locked. It will remember previous (and possibly unwanted) devices. If the purchaser has disrespectful neighbors, he or she could be using the Audioengine to play someone else’s music!
- Sound Fails at Lower Pitches. Unlike the , the has two smaller Woofers and therefore underperforms at the lower registers. On some songs this difference will not be profound, but on bass-heavy compositions, the ‘BWOMP BWOMP BWOMP’ will sound like ‘bamp bamp bamp’.
- Magnetic Grill Slips. If not placed precisely, the magnetic grill cover can look sloppy and lopsided. Also, over time, the magnets can weaken causing the grill to slip.
All the Nitty-Gritty
|Tweeters||2x ¾” Dome||2x ¾” Dome||2x 2¼” Dome|
|Woofer(s)||1x 5¼”||2x 2¾”||1x 4 ½”|
|Frequency Range||45-22Hz +-3dB||65-22Hz +-2dB||56-20Hz|
|Item Dimensions||11.14 x 16.54 x 9.25 in||5.91 x 12.2 x 4.13 in||12.67 x 6.13 x 5.25 in|
|Item Weight||12.39 lbs||7.28 lbs||8.50 lbs|
|Power Source||Wired Electric||Wired Electric||Lithium Ion Battery|
|Battery Playing Time||N/A||N/A||8 Hours|
The Bottom Line
There are myriad options for a Bluetooth speaker with aux input. Manufacturers release new models every year. For me, portability and ease of use are important, but they always come after the priority: SOUND.
On this standard, in its weight-class (so to speak), the takes the top prize.
Furthermore, a speaker is a design element in your home or office. Your Bluetooth speaker with aux input should be a visual draw. The says a lot about the owner: that he or she is tough, stylish, and understands music’s role in history. Just as everything coming out of your speaker is a statement of your knowledge and taste, so too should the speaker draw the eye and speak volumes at a glance.
The is my personal pick to be the megaphone for my music library.
How do I control the devices that pair with my Bluetooth Speaker with aux input?
This is a tough question and depends on the type of speaker you own. I will answer it with my favorite Bluetooth speaker with aux input in mind: The .
Once the Stanmore is paired with a device, it locks out other devices from pairing. For example, you won’t be listening to your favorite jazz when all-of-a-sudden you start hearing your neighbor’s audiobook. Also, because the user manually controls the input, it’s impossible for a Bluetooth pairing to take over the speaker from a different kind of input. If the speaker is already paired with the wrong source (your neighbor’s audiobook), simply press the ‘Pair’ button on the top of the device and establish the link with your device.
How do I extend the life of my Bluetooth speaker with aux input?
This is a great question. Use a combination of these tactics to maintain the sound quality and extend the life of your investment.
- Prevent Dust Build-Up. Keep the room and the area around your Bluetooth speaker with aux input generally well-swept and dusted. Periodically vacuum the easily accessible areas of your speakers. Use compressed air (keyboard cleaners) to clear dust from hard-to-reach places. Unless you know what you’re doing or are following detailed instructions, don’t dismantle your speaker to clean it.
- Keep the Bluetooth Speaker with aux input dry. This applies to more than just obvious spills. Avoid putting the Bluetooth speaker with aux input in a humid area. If the device does sustain water damage, allow it to dry completely before attempting to use it.
- Don’t Store the Bluetooth Speaker with aux input on Magnetic Surfaces or Metals Conducive to Magnetism. This can damage the electromagnet in your speaker.
- If the Volume Level is Distorting the Sound, Turn it Down. Just as a car isn’t made to top out its speedometer, speakers can’t generally sustain the max volume on their dials. If it sounds like the vibrations are putting a strain on the speaker, they are damaging it irreparably. The lower portion of the register (bass) can be especially damaging.
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