Review: Minirig Speaker
If you’ve ever wished you could listen to music from your iPhone, iPad, laptop or even DJ controller without using headphones but equally without plugging in a pair of full-sized speakers, the Minirig Speaker could be just the ticket.
From a small UK company called Pasce, and beautifully made in metal, this is a pro, portable speaker that packs a surprising punch and is jam-packed with features to make it easy and effective to use. Portable music discovery or iOS DJ monitoring was never so much fun! Interested? Read on for our Minirig speaker review to find out if it’s for you.
What’s in the box
Inside the tubular cardboard box you’ll find a canvas-style zipper bag, a couple of leads (USB charging lead and 1/8″ TRS to 1/8″ TRS minijack lead) and the speaker itself. It’s bigger than I was expecting, but it’s still obviously a small device, measuring just over 4″ (10cm) across.
It has a bit of weight to it, being made in attractive MacBook-style silver metal, with a metal grille bolted down with a dark plastic ring on top. There are four rubber feet, and no controls – just a power input, and two input sockets for your music sources.
Charging and connecting it
You charge it by plugging it in to any USB source, and to turn it on you simply plug an audio lead into it – the small LED on the top then lights to indicate both that it’s turned on, and (by its colour) to show you the state of charge. The makers claim nine to 60 hours of play time on an eight-hour charge.
There are two audio inputs – high and low gain. They’re meant for listening at different volumes, because there is no actual volume control – you’ll be using the built-in volume control on whatever device you choose to use it with.
It sounds great, except when really pushed, when it muddies up a little. Obviously there’s no huge amount of bass, but this design does provide more bass than you might expect. Positioning it near a wall or in a corner helps with the bass immensely.
The sound is fuller than you might expect, and despite having a built-in limiter for when you’re a bit careless with your input source (maybe the source of the muddiness), the Minirig does produce a fair amount of volume. It’s rated at 15W. Overall, the sound quality for such a small device was very good.
The company has engineered it so you can “daisychain” speakers together. Obviously though, if you’re using one speaker on its own the sound is going to be in mono, and if you do the above, you’ll simply have two mono speakers.
If you’re really bothered, you might want to split the audio signal with an adaptor and run left and right to two speakers in that way, giving you stereo. For the purposes this speaker is meant for, though, mono is fine (and I suspect most people will never own more than one, either).
The bag provided with the speaker is useful. It fits it snugly, and has padding in it to protect from knocks – essential if you’re throwing the Minirig in your travel bag along with an iPad for DJing in a hotel room, on a bus, at a beachside bar…
The bag also has a sewn-in mesh pocket in its lid, meaning you can coil the two supplied cables around your fingers before pushing them into the lid for safekeeping. While it’s not as small or portable as some similar designs (I’m thinking particularly of an Altec Lansing model), you gain volume, sound quality and in particular bass by having it slightly bigger – and fitting easily as it does into one hand, you could hardly call it big.
We love small here at Digital DJ Tips (digital is all about small in our view), but we also appreciate the difference between pro and run-of-the-mill. This is a pro, small speaker, so it’s not going to surprise you too much to hear that we love it. The fact that it’s rechargeable saves worrying about batteries (although a standard USB socket might have been more sensible); we like the fact you can’t accidentally leave it “on”; the battery level indicator in the LED is neat; but best of all, the sound quality for such a small device is really very good.
It’s plenty loud enough to fill a small room, and thus it’s the perfect speaker for auditioning music from Beatport on your laptop, for practising DJing using, say, djay or DJ Player on your iPad or iPhone, and even – crazily – as an emergency monitor speaker in very small venues.
(You wouldn’t want to whip it out in Pacha, but in a beachside shack where you’re DJing under the canopy but the speakers are way down the beach, it could be your lifesaver.)
For the travelling, ultra-portable or just time-stretched DJ who’s always looking for new places to fill a room with music – whether for music discovery or an impromptu DJ set – the Minirig is great.
In fact, for any music lover who wants to break their tunes out of their headphones and share them (and let’s face it, at it’s heart that’s what DJing is all about), you could do a lot worse than making this investment. It’ll last you a long time, and turn heads (and delight ears) wherever you use it.
Do you like the look of the Minirig? What do you use as an ultra-portable monitoring solution for your iOS device or laptop? Please share your thoughts in the comments.