Review & Video: Pasce Minirig Portable Subwoofer

Review Summary:

The Pasce Minirig Subwoofer is a portable, rechargeable addition to the Minirig range, designed to be used alongside one or two of the original speakers. It is just as well made, and despite being a little fiddly to set up with all of those wires, completes just about the perfect ultraportable DJ speaker system once it is.

Minirig Subwoofer
  • Minirig Subwoofer
  • Rating: 5
  • From:: Pasce
  • Price: £150
  • Reviewed by:
  • On October 10, 2013
  • Last modified:February 13, 2014
Pasce Minirig Subwoofer

The Pasce Minirig subwoofer is an add-on to the popular Pasce Minirig portable speaker range.

Review: Pasce Minirig Portable Subwoofer

Full Pasce Minirig Portable Subwoofer Review: Those who know Digital DJ Tips well know we are suckers for portable gear of any type. We love DJ programs on tablets and phones, we tend towards small headphones that can fold up into your pocket, we swoon over speakers that punch above their weight. After all, one of the massive advantages of digital DJing is that with the right gear, you can do it anywhere!

So when we first saw the original Minirig speaker (here’s our Minirig review), we fell in love instantly. They are beautifully made 15W speakers, that carefully positioned can outperform systems twice or three times their price. They’re a world apart from cheap, plastic variants on the same basic design. We absolutely adore ours, and it’s been in constant use by me personally in my backyard all summer long, coupled with various DJ apps.

Introduction to the concept

The Minirig concept is basically that of a small speaker, rechargeable from any USB including your phone’s charger, that once full will play for around 20 hours, plugged directly into your mobile device (you could plug a DJ controller into it too with an RCA to TRS cable). An LED tells you how much charge you have left (the colour changes from green through various colours to red) and there are two input sockets, one high gain, one low gain. (Plug into the former for pumpin’ party sets, the latter for lone late-night listening.)

Pasce Minirig

The original Pasce Minirig has been a hit all summer long in my backyard, playing night after night into the small hours.

The only real criticism I had of the original design was that the charging cable is non-standard, so you’d better not lose it. Some would say being wired rather than wireless is a disadvantage, but for DJing, it’s the only way: There’s no such thing as a latency-free wireless speaker (at least I’ve never tested one), so for now, having it wired into your source is essential.

So to the subwoofer. After reading our original “fan’s-eye” review of the Minirig, the Minirig guys (they’re from a boutique UK company called Pasce) got in touch to tell us they’d developed a subwoofer, and it’s just been released as I write. Exactly the same concept (USB-charged battery, two inputs, tubular design etc), but this time about the size of three of the original Minirigs stacked up, the subwoofer is designed to add some “oomph” into a Minirig system, while still being portable. Pasce kindly agreed to loan us a unit, and suggested we try it with a second original Minirig too, to get a full 2.1 system – but one that is of course still highly portable. So here we go…

First impressions and setting up

Like the original Minirig, the unit is packed beautifully (think a posh Scotch Whisky bottle box, or a jumbo Pringles box), and it comes in its own padded fabric case with a zipper too, with room in the top of the case for the cables.Unlike the original, this one is made to stand on its side, on four thankfully well-attached oval feet (the small rubber feet on my original have actually come off, I noticed when writing this review). If you stand it on its end like the original speakers are designed to be used, it rattles in use as we found out, but it’s fine sideways.

It has a bass port in one end, and a speaker grill and housing absolutely identical to that of the original at the other, although of course this time it contains the bass speaker (a 3″ driver) rather than a full-range speaker as with the originals. The frequencies quoted are 48-150Hz, for those who care about these things, and it weighs in at a pretty light but not insubstantial 875g.

You set the unit up by first plugging your sound source into it; this activates it (the light comes on). Next, you have to plug in at least one other Minirig, or else all you hear/feel is bass! If you buy two Minirigs from the company, they provide a splitter cable, which is what we had to test them with; this lets you plug two Minirigs in for full stereo. Otherwise, plug your original speaker in for a “1.1″ system. There’s also a twist, in that the splitter cable can automatically turn all three units on and off; unplug your cable from the subwoofer, and all the speakers power down, so no need to disassemble all the connections every time.

In use

Once we’d worked out that the subwoofer has to go on its side, not upright, we were ready to give it a fair appraisal.

First thing to point out is that correctly positioned, the original Minirig is actually a marvellous speaker for bass, packing far more in that it rightfully should be able to, especially when well positioned. But with the subwoofer attached it’s a different story entirely. Close your eyes (eg go into the next room) and you simply can’t believe that what you’re listening to is two 3″ drivers and a 3″ bass speaker, when the full 2.1 system is set up.

You can alter the overall balance of bass and treble by swapping around the high gain and low gain cable sockets, but we found that having everything set to high gain worked best for us. Pushing the iPhone input up to fully in the red caused a small amount of rattling, but at that volume it really was ear-splittingly loud, and we found two-thirds on iOS music apps to be the right level for really sweet, loud, full-range music and DJing.

Conclusion

Just like the original Minirigs, this is not cheap – but its performance means that for those who care about these things, that won’t be an issue. If you compare it to other speaker systems at this end of the market (just head over to the Apple Store and look at the price of some of the all-in-one speaker sets) it’s comparable, even good value. What it doesn’t have that most of those speaker systems have is wireless. For many people, that would be a disadvantage, and it’s undeniably more fiddly to set up three speakers like this, all wired, than it is a single one. But for DJs, this is – as mentioned above – actually a huge advantage, as there’s no latency.

If you’re a DJ who values portability, and you want a speaker system that will rock a house party and have your peers gawping at how brilliant it is, and if you’re considering spending on a high-end rechargeable all-in-one speaker system, I’d definitely recommend you take a look at this. Go for the subwoofer with one or preferable two of the original Minirigs for an exceptional system.

It’s unique, beautifully made, and sounds amazing. And it’s loud. Plus with 20 hours’ party-time on a five-hour charge (yes, we’ve tested it), it’s going to keep going longer than you’re likely to! Nonetheless, you’re looking at about £340 for the full system I tested, so you have to have the need for it to consider that kind of investment. But having said that, if you’re the owner of a Minirig already, the price is about £150 to add the subwoofer on to your Minirig and I’d imagine that as you already know the quality of these little speakers (it’s hard to explain to non-owners just how good they are) you’re going to be sorely tempted.

Product Summary

Review Summary:

The Pasce Minirig Subwoofer is a portable, rechargeable addition to the Minirig range, designed to be used alongside one or two of the original speakers. It is just as well made, and despite being a little fiddly to set up with all of those wires, completes just about the perfect ultraportable DJ speaker system once it is.

Minirig Subwoofer
  • Minirig Subwoofer
  • Rating: 5
  • From:: Pasce
  • Price: £150
  • Reviewed by:
  • On October 10, 2013
  • Last modified:February 13, 2014

 

Video review

Do you own a Minirig speaker? Would you consider adding the sub-woofer? Or do you think these are crazy prices for portable speakers? Let us know your thoughts and experiences in the comments.

Comments

  1. Strikt Rules says:

    These look perfect for impromptu hotel parties… is the sound quality MUCH better than, say, a Bose SoundLink II (wired into the AUX jack)?

  2. I purchased the minirig speaker a while ago from Chemical records since Amazon wouldn’t ship to Canada. Now the sub is only available on amazon.co.uk? Nooooooo! been waiting on this little baby for soooo long! :(

  3. I bought a Minirig about a year and half ago and have been thoroughly impressed with its quality craftsmanship and superb sound quality and loudness. It’s battery life is very impressive and I’ve been awaiting the subwoofer for a while. I don’t need one immediately but expect it would make a great addition to a holiday party setup.

  4. Been lusting after these for ages, and putting off the order until they release the sub as its going to be quite a hassle to get them in my country and only want to deal with the issues once…

    One thing I’ve always been curious about though is their directionality and hope someone who owns them could comment. Obviously it matters less for the sub, but the originals seem strange to me in that they seem to be designed to point upward, when intuitively I would expect them to be positioned in the same way as the sub is (ie flat side vertical). I guess if you are sitting/dancing around them (with them in the center) it might make sense, but what about if you have them off to one side? It just seems weird to me that there aren’t feet on the sides of the “top end” speakers like on the sub…

    Assuming also that the output on the sub is just a straight “through” jack, with no high-pass crossover?

    • Chuck "DJ Vintage" van Eekelen says:

      Same question here. Except for the low frequencies everything else is (highly) directional. Speakers firing UP instead of AT the audience doesn’t sound right. If you are not standing around the speaker (and I don’t think I’d want it on the floor in the middle of dancing people, especially not wired) you’ll get very little mid/high frequency sound.

      I am sure there is a solution, otherwise Phil would not love these. But really curious as to what that solution is.

      Greetinx,
      C.

      • They are directional, reason they are generally shown facing up is that you get a more of a 360 spread, which is just what you want if sat around with group mates, stick minirig in the middle, everyone’s happy. But it is a just reflex speaker so direct it where you need it. If want more bass, as mentioned in the article above, placement is key, like any other speaker.

        Cant wait to get my hands on a sub

      • Chuck "DJ Vintage" van Eekelen says:

        Got it … but I can’t tell from the pictures (in the original review of the minirig) if it has like a flat side or some other way to place it on a surface directed at the crowd.

  5. @Butter Hey, I’ve got this 2.1 system, and the minirigs work fine on a table on their side, to get a proper forward facing stereo set up. The stereo image is impressive for a portable system, its kind of amazing hearing a stereo image in your garden!

    When they are facing skyward they are probably more appropriate for a party situation where you want omnidirectional sound.

    I think a cradle/stand with a tripod connector on the bottom would be pretty ace. Those mini tripods for desktop use would be sweet.

    I can also confirm it is just a straight through jack. Which seems a downer at first as you may think it could mean the minirigs can focus more on the treble/midrange.
    But this way it simplifies everything, which is important if you are building a massive modular system with all of your friends minirigs too; the sound should remain fairly balanced.

    • Thanks for the reply… no real surprises then, just think its a pity they didn’t think to put some additional feet on the sides of the smaller units to give you the option to run them either way. Figuring out some extra separate stands for them seems to cut down on the portability factor somehow, and at the price, seems a bit silly to be thinking of hacking together my own feet to glue on the sides… without anything I feel like the connectors are eventually going to get damaged as the things roll around.

      I guess I’ve always thought of getting them in pairs anyway, so the single unit on a central picnic table or something hasn’t occurred to me as much, and judging by the raving reviews that these things get, it can’t be that much of an issue – guess they have massive dispersion. Still feel that the majority of the time I’d want to “point” them though.

      This probably isn’t the best place to post design suggestions, but what I’d like to see is some eyelets on the sides that could function as feet one way round, or flip them over and they would allow me to easily hang them from a tree at the lake.

      Glad to confirm that there’s no crossover, at least for a 2.1 system at this scale would probably just have ended up making the tops sound tinny.

      Anyway, still hope that I’ll get chance soon to hear for myself and not just criticize based on guesswork.

  6. Phil, this is really awesome! I can’t wait to put my hands on these Minirig Speakers & SW. I was actually looking for a portable sound system and bang… your review came just in time :)

  7. ForcedHand says:

    At this price, you can buy a few of them and place them wherever you want. My favorite layout is more, smaller speakers because of the coverage those speakers can get. Having only one subwoofer means the bass is only good in that one area. So with more subs, the coverage of “feel” is immensely better.

    I’m not normally a fan of wireless power, but I could be convinced if these performed at the same level (distributed) as a single subwoofer.

    Over-saturate the room(s) with speakers near unity and you’ll achieve a better sound than an overdriven pair of speakers… I presume this is the point for these subwoofers.

  8. @butter the case the minirig comes in makes an excellent stand for using them pointing at you, I do this all the time with ours. Just tuck the lid in and sit the minirig in the top sideways.

  9. “Non-Standard” charging cable comment:

    While the USB-to-barrel connector cable isn’t so standard, a 5.5mm barrel connector itself is pretty standard. USB outputs 5V DC. Minirig’s website states a maximum current draw of 500mA. So get any 5V, 500mA AC wall adapter with a 5.5mm barrel plug and it will work. You may even have one laying around from an old electronic device like an external hard drive/enclosure, iPod dock, etc. Look at the “brick” that plugs into the wall, it will have voltage/current ratings on it. Then you can charge/power your Minirig without using a USB port on your laptop. Throw it in your gig bag and you’ll have a backup in the event you do lose the included cable.

    Remember, chargers rated at more than 500mA are fine, you won’t damage your device. Current is DRAWN BY the device, so even if a charger is capable of 2A (2000mA), it won’t output 2000mA unless the connected device DRAWS that much.

  10. I’ve got the JBL flip,£49 from PC world,how can I connect it to my wego ? Will 3.5 jack to RCA cable work ? Or is that a no no ?

  11. Minirigs are worth every pence. I can’t imagine going to a festival camping or barbecue party anymore without bringing one and will be getting the subwoofer soon. If you ask me, PASCE provides one of the best if not the absolute best portable speakers on the market for a price that might not be cheap, but is totally justifiable because there are no better products for the same price – if at all.

  12. The sub goes down to 48 hz. It would have been nice if it operated from 30 hz to 200 hz +/- 3db , a true subwoofer range.

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