Just as we mentioned in our review of the JBL Boombox, most reviewers do not take the phone they are using into account when judging the sound of Bluetooth speakers. Switching phones does make a huge difference in the perceived sound quality, and many phones now also offer sound quality settings like Dolby Atmos. Changing these settings also have a big impact.
For our tests, we are using a Sony Xperia 1 with Dolby Atmos active. This is important to keep in mind.
Let’s start with the Tufton:
The Tufton is a very capable speaker when it comes to its specs. It is able to produce very low well-defined bass and clear highs even at high volumes. And it can go very loud. But thas does not mean it will actually produce the nice sound you expect it to. Paired with our Xperia 1 with Dolby Atmos in its default settings, it sounded muffled. Bass was too strong, mids were clearly lacking. The knobs for adjusting bass and treble on top of the speaker could never really correct this.
As a party speaker for outdoors, this will do fine. Indoors the sound was just not good for us in this setup. It lacked clarity and was tiring to listen to for long periods of time. However: after switching the Dolby Atmos on our phone to the “movie” setting, things greatly improved, and now it is just fine for us when using this setting or our own sound profile. Not every phone has this possibility, however.
The kind of music you listen to, the phone you are using, and the sound settings on your phone will determine if you will like this speaker or not. Far more so than any other Bluetooth speaker we tested. So make sure you test it with your own music and phone before buying it.
It’s not very good at playing at low volume levels to provide background music. That is where the Stockwell 2 comes in.
The Tufton does not need a separate power brick as most of the JBL speakers, for example, do. That is a nice detail. On the other hand: you can not charge a smartphone from it also, due to the lack of a USB port. As far as we know, there is also no way to update the firmware of the Tufton.
Most people will be happy with it, but we think there are better options out there. It looks a lot better than most other speakers, however, if that is important to you.
On to the star of the show: the Stockwell 2!
We keep being amazed by the sound this little speaker produces when combined with our Xperia 1 with Dolby Atmos. There is a caveat, however: the volume. The maximum volume of the Stockwell 2 is very low. You can only use it to provide some background music. And you can not even use the maximum volume, because the sound changes dramatically once you go over 80% of volume.
So why are we so enthusiastic about the Stockwell 2? Because this speaker produces a sound at these low volumes that we have never heard out of any other speaker. It is a full warm sound full of bass and also full of detail. And it sounds three-dimensional. It really has some depth to it, and it often feels like stereo sound. At low volume, most Bluetooth speakers do not sound very good. The Stockwell 2 is the opposite: it only plays well at low volume. It manages to fill a small room with sound but at a low volume. This sounds contradictory, but somehow this speaker manages to do this. You need to hear it to believe it. And the sound is almost addictive. Keep in mind that this is all when using Dolby Atmos in its default, “Dynamic”, setting. Without Dolby Atmos, the effect is far less pronounced, and the sound is closer to other Bluetooth speakers, but it still sounds wonderful. Again: it’s very important to try this speaker with your own music and phone because if you do not get the wonderful sound that we have with our setup, you will be disappointed by the low volume. A lot of reviewers report the same great sound, however.
The Stockwell 2 is only capable of providing soft background music. No other Bluetooth speaker can do this like the Stockwell 2. If you need anything louder, you need the Tufton which only starts to sound nice at a minimum volume that is higher than the maximum volume of the Stockwell 2. In this regard, they complement each other. The beautiful addictive spacious sound of the Stockwell 2 is, unfortunately, missing from the Tufton.