on 12 February 2015
I love this speaker!!!
After being a member of speakerplans [DIY Forum] for a long time, I noticed a lot of talk about the Minirig. My girlfriend was struggling to find something for my birthday and suggest she get me a Minirig, after all I would love to help a fellow speakerplans member stay in business doing what he loves the most.
What can I say about this speaker... Don't hesitate to buy one! The speaker comes with a 3.5mm jack to jack connector, charging cable, a zippable carry bag [with space for your supplied leads] and a sticker. My sticker found it's way onto my laptop. The Minirig comes with around 50% charge already in the battery so you can get ready to annoy your neighbours straight away [That is an understatement]. You notice straight out the box that the Minirig feels solid and looks having sex good, pictures do not do it justice.
The sound is amazing for such a small speaker, all but the lowest notes are produced [que Minirig subwoofer] faithfully with no harsh top end or midrange which seems to be the case with other speakers of similar size.
The battery is absolutely phenomenal, I have been playing mine at around medium volume for the last 3 days at roughly 12 hours a day for three days and it still has around 50% to go, so it's perfect for outdoor activity where you will be away from a socket for a while. Even then you can charge it from a portable battery bank or portable solar panel.
This thing is amazing, I really can't recommend one enough. If you have been searching for the ultimate portable speaker for camping/barbeques and the like, this really is it!
Next I think I'm going to get another Minirig and a Minirig subwoofer, If the Minirig subwoofer is anything like the Minirig I might even just do away with my hi-fi and use this. It goes everywhere I go, doubt that will change.
Well done PASCE! Absolutely amazing!!!
UPDATE: SUB ADDED!!!
Holy shizzzazzle. How the heck did they pack that much bass into such a small package. My god, my main system in my house is no longer needed... unreal!!!
on 25 December 2012
I've had this thing 2 years now and use it almost daily - battery life is still impressive and, whilst I was never a believer in the whole 'burn in' thing, the sound does seem to have opened up with age (and hammering!). I stand by my initial feeling - unbeatble sound for size format and largely industrutable but light on bass and gets very confused with low dynamic range material i.e. recent/remastered rock and any current club/dance stuff. That said it can really surprise you with older, pre loudness wars material. It is a fantastic companion for spoken podcasts and sounds very akin to the Ruark DAB, and also works really wwell with a pico/pocket projector. It is however now overpriced at £150 (for a lithium battery, digital amp, 3" driver and bit of alloy tube). Half a grand for the full 2.1 system (e.g. stereo plus the sub)? Really??!!!
This is my second attempt at a review for the Minirig. The first one I posted on Xmas day with a one star rating as the MR didn't work out of the box - turned out to be an open circuit on the shield of the supplied cable. I wasn't impressed by the company's response. If you're remotely interested it's all explained at the end of this review.
You'll notice that there are an incredible amount of 5 star ratings for the MR and some contain some really impressive claims about what it's capable of. This review is intended to give a REALISTIC view of what to expect - what it can do and what it can't.
So firstly, unboxing. The MR is stylishly presented in a black tube - kind of like a Cheeselets tub if it was designed by Bang and Olufsen. Pop the black Beo-cheeselets lid and two clear bags are revealed - one with the (infamous) audio cable and the other a usb charging cable. Don't lose the charging cable as it's unique in its use of a round DC jack to connect to the MR. The audio cable also looks distinctly designer with alloy jack housings and the MR logo printed along it's cable length. Now we pull out the MR itself - it's housed in a padded black cloth gig bag with double zipped top. The stylish presentation continues with grey MR logos on the side and top with matching grey zip. The fabric feels tough and rugged and you get the impression it will withstand a bit of abuse. Unzip the lid and beneath the black tissue paper padding you'll find a little net pocket for storing the cables in the bag lid. There's a lot of thought gone into this.
So to the MR itself. Not overly weighty nevertheless it feels solid with a low centre of gravity - clearly the Lithium Ion battery and (suspected) T class amplifier are nestled at the bottom of its alloy body. The rig looks sharp - clean, slightly utilitarian, it has a whiff of aircraft engineering about it for some reason. The whole thing is symmetrical being capped each end with MINIRIG embossed black rings. It looks like it could withstand a lot of travel and reasonable impacts. Bizarrely it also looks a bit like an ashtray - watch out for smokers on your travels!
"Fire up the Quatro"
So, assuming your cable works, the first thing you notice is there's no power switch - power is controlled by inserting the cable jack into either low or high gain socket. This is normally accompanied by a)silence b) a pop c)an alarming thud. There is no way of knowing whether you'll get a, b or c. It seems to be affected by how fast you plug the jack in, whether the audio source is already connected to the other end and whether you've just swapped from high to low gain or vice versa. If you get c it tends to make people sat next to it a little nervous. It's a contentious point among a few reviewers including myself. It should have a separate power switch.
"What does it sound like... first impressions"
You'll have seen the word "loud" pretty much in every review and it's justified. For what, a half litre enclosure? and 3 inch driver it's capable of some serious Sound Pressure Levels (SPL). I'll wager the first thing every new owner will do will be to go for high gain at full volume. And they'll be impressed by the sound levels - especially in a confined space it is %^&*ing loud. It's brash and brutal. If there's one thing the MR does exceptionally well for something so small, it's volume.
"As good as/better than an XXX dock..."
Once you get over the "%^&* me that's loud stage" you settle down to listen at reasonable levels. You'll have seen reviews saying that the MR is equal to or better than various docks up to and past £200 such as BOSE etc. etc. and matches/exceeds component HiFi speakers. This is complete crap. Just utter rubbish. Any half decent 2.1 system will outdrag the MR in terms of sound quality - I have a 14 year old Yamaha 2.1 system (YST MS30) that destroys the rig in terms of sound quality and bass extension. OF COURSE IT DOES! It's a totally unfair comparison - but I didn't make it, other reviewers have. The YSTMS30 system is using 3 separate drivers and has access to a much greater supply of power - in short it's got much more under the bonnet. Whilst at maximum volume you'll still hear the MR shouting over the Yamaha - and it is shouting - the quality is a world apart. What some people are claiming of a 3 inch driver in 0.5 litre enclosure is physically impossible. PASCE have tested the MR down to 100hz +-3db against the rest of its frequency response, however, when you're driving it at decent levels with the driver starting to reach maximum excursion and the limiter kicking in, the response is further constricted. Ignoring the graphs for a minute, in reality, at 2/3rds volume and over the lowest you'll perceive is around 150hz. There's a few tracks I've played where it simply can't deliver the bassline - ZZ Tops "Gotsta get paid" is one. BUT let's be clear here, PASCE have NEVER made any claims that it matches high end docks or HiFi speakers - I'm just challenging other Amazon reviewers here - the fact PASCE are about to release an add on MiniRig subwoofer tells you they know full well it doesn't have any pretentions to serious bass extension. In short (ignoring the size restraints of the MR for a minute) the sound quality is good - it's not "hi-fi" and it never could be nor is it intended to be - it's intended to give a decent rendition within physical limits of it's very small cabinet and this it does. Re-introduce the very small footprint factor and the sound it delivers is very impressive keeping this firmly in mind. Some have called it punchy and this is a fair description - it does have a tendency to harshness when driving at max levels but what else could you expect? (assuming you ignore those over-hyping reviews). As others have said the minirig does respond well to placement on the floor in the corner of the a room and this helps project the bottom end a bit.
I've used the minirig a lot with a pocket projector indoors and outdoors and have to say it excels with speech/dialog - very clear and the limiter works to it's advantage levelling some of the ridiculously peaky dynamic range of some film soundtracks. Perfect for cinema on the go then. It actually sounds quite like a Ruark R1 but without the bottom end the Ruark has. If you listen to a lot of podcasts the minirig is an excellent choice irrespective of size.
"It doesn't distort..."
Something else claimed in some of the 5 star reviews - it doesn't distort. Yes. It will. There's been a few bass lines that have got the MR in a flap - not on full tilt either btw (a Rush track off "Power Windows" was one) - and it finds fast transients e.g. isolated kick drums particularly challenging. The limiter seems to struggle with these and I wonder if the attack and release rates aren't yet optimised. You'll hear it flapping as either the driver is hitting maximum excursion or it's clipping the top power rail. But, by and large the limiter does a decent job of covering this up although every so often you will hear it, and not necessarily at high volumes. It's by no means all the time and is entirely source dependent - again this is challenging other Amazon reviews, not any claims by PASCE.
"So your point is...?"
My point is... be sure you're buying the MR for the right reasons/usage. Don't be drawn in by some of the over hyped claims of amazing 5 star reviews. If you can, and this will prove difficult I appreciate, audition one first and give it a run at comfortable listening levels for a decent amount of time - don't just do the full volume for 30 seconds "I gotta have one" test. I got suckered in by the reviews when I really should've known better about the claims some are making. It's not audio nirvana... but it will play Nirvana very loud.
"Is it for you?"
If you want the smallest, longest battery life, highest SPL from an exceptionally portable and rugged mono speaker to take on your travels - congratulations, you've found your ultimate gadget! Other travellers you meet will likely want one too after you do the "high gain, max volume" demo. If you listen to a lot of podcasts/spoken word or want a companion for your pico projector again - this is a great choice for you.
If, however, it's rarely going to leave the house, or you're not so worried about space constraints but put outright sound quality (full frequency response) over volume there are other products that will better suit your needs.
So, pound for pound nothing will out punch the MR, BUT if you're happy to carry around more than a pound there is better out there and that's the honest truth.
"A word on the minirig sub"
It is impressive, very impressive - no doubt about it - if you like lots of bass and run loud with high gain you will notice the limiter much more than you ever did with the minirig on it's own but try and remember the sub is about extending the frequency response not necessarily making a massive bass hump so maybe go with the low gain after you've done the "impress your mates" high gain sub setting. In fact the extension is quite incredible for the size of the package - really fantastic bit of design with the folded horn. I hate IT buzzwords but PASCE seem to be practising "agile development" (euch!) - release the product and up date/fix along the way. Prime example of this is the neat access slit in the sub protective case to access the power and input sockets without removing the case which the stock minirig bag would also benefit from. They are also working on a splitter cable to allow single on/off control without removing the cables - again very welcome and a clear sign they are listening to their customers feedback.
Bear in mind a full stereo setup with the minirig sub will cost you £350 and you find yourself in the exceptionally impressive territory of the Arcam cube, Klipsch KMC 3 (for real bassheads) etc. Yes the minirig schtick is it's modular 'take what you need' design but be honest, if you've splashed on the sub and two minirigs you're not going to leave any of them at home are you?
"OK, what was all this about the 1 star review then?"
Well I was ^&%$ed off because it was Christmas day and this is a premium product costing nearly £100 supplied with a duff cable - luckily I'm tech savvy and luckier still, I had another 3.5mm jack to jack cable in the house, other people may have been totally stuffed, some may have even had to go to all the hassle of sending the product back. To my surprise the manufacturer replied to my review almost instantly. On Christmas day. Wow! Did he try to recover the situation by profusely apologising, acknowledging this was especially unfortunate at Xmas but that he really wanted me to enjoy the Minirig so promise to send a replacement out at first opportunity? Nah, he said it was unfair to blame him for a third party supplied cable and I quote "at the end of the day we make the Minirig, NOT the cables, so we don't get to test the cables and they are not made by us". What? You supply the whole package, it's in your name, you control quality processes and choose not to test the cables yet it's not your fault??! That's like Toshiba blaming an obscure chip manufacturer in some remote Chinese proverb when your TV goes wrong - "It wasn't me!". Very unprofessional. In fairness he did offer to send 3 replacement cables if I sent my one back for them to "take a look". That's why they got one star and why I, in turn, got a bit of a mauling from the Pro PASCE lobby from north of the border! The one star was harsh. I have changed that. I look forward to receiving a working cable. Ho-Ho-Ho Merry Christmas! ;-)
on 18 April 2013
...by the time I am writing this, the MINIRIG has been the main (yes!! the main!) speaker in two parties... One with 20+ people (4 hours' playtime, 50%+ battery left), and one with around 50-60 people in a big room (8+ hours, 20% battery left). What a party machine this is... Where do I begin?
[ SOUND QUALITY ]
I was afraid from reading other reviews that the mids would be bright, the highs shrilly, the bass non-existent... Here is the truth about the MINIRIG:
* The bass is 'punchy', but light-weight --for example: the 'analogue' bass in Procol Harum's Whiter Shade Of Pale sounds deep & engaging through the MINIRIG... White Stripe's Seven Nation Army is played back with a controlled & tight bass that gets people moving their heads & tapping their closest solid surface (always a good sign) ...but in Daft Punk's TRON, the ultra-low digitally-created bass is... there, it is... clear, but subdued; it does not have the 'presence' I am used to hear through my Sennheisers. SO!...the MINIRIG does well in all but the lowest-frequency bass tracks.
* The mids are extremely well balanced: they never overshadow the bass, or the highs ...the very pleasant mids are the signature quality of the MINIRIG ...Robbie William's jazzy vocals in Swing When You Are Winning sound smooth, warm and 'natural'.
* The highs are 'clean', another strong point of the MINIRIG: Jean Michel Jarre's multi-layered Oxygen is reproduced transparently; Bob Marley's Exodus is crisp & full of rhythm.
So how does it sound as a whole?
"Loud & clear" are two words that come to mind.. There is also one more element that has nothing to do with the sound quality itself... it draws people, and brings them together (sounds weird, I know). Its unpretentious, THROW-A-PARTY-I-CAN-TAKE-IT character makes it easy for friends & flatmates to plug-in and share their music from their phones, mp3 players, tablets, you name it. Since I bought it, I am discovering so much new music I did not even know existed.
[ BATTERY LIFE ]
Absolutely amazing: the MINIRIG played for 9 hours straight on FULL blast (from 7pm till about 4am) on party#2 (the one with 50+ people) and still had another 20% of its battery left (according to the blue/violet colour of its LED)... I have not had a chance to use it 'normally' yet, but I do believe when they say it can go up to 50 hours, under normal, non-party load.
[ VERSUS the BOSE SOUNDLINK II ]
I was originally considering the Bose Soundlink II, but went with the MINIRIG instead as I could not see myself taking the Bose to the beach... plus one of my flatmates had the Bose, so I did extensive A-B tests on them both: the Bose does have MUCH more impressive bass on LOW volumes, but it is also much 'warmer' (less clear-sounding) than the MINIRIG. Start increasing the volume though, and the bass disappears from the Bose, and its mids become more evident than the rest of the audio spectrum; its highs also become muddier. By comparison, the MINIRIG's sound signature does not deteriorate when you make it play as loud as Bose's top volume; and then you realise the MINIRIG can actually go louder than the SoundLink II, with no distortion (how much louder? if mini rig's top volume is 4/4, the bose goes up to 3/4)...
The BOSE Soundlink II:
* excels in indoor acoustics (its bass is really good at low volumes, when the unit is positioned next to a wall)
* ...but once outside the safety of one's room (...at the beach! or BBQs) all that bass is nowhere to be found; just BEING outdoors kills bass... And if in a party situation, the BOSE stops producing bass as soon as you start increasing the volume, anyway... I also realised I would be scared non-stop of scuffing the Bose, or have someone put a dent on it // drop it by accident.
SO! ...what if they were cars?
* the MINIRIG would be an ICON 4x4: simple in operation; has the capacity for TONS of fun; tough as nails.
* the BOSE SOUNDLINK II would be a sedan Mercedes; regal, good (but evolutionary) design and 'precious'.
[ MODDING ]
...here are a couple of bits I chose to add to my MINIRIG. Note that ALL those extra bits fit within the MINIRIG's standard case, in the top pouch... Here they are in case you are interested!
* bluetooth module + mini cable
...The MINIRIG does not have bluetooth, and that greatly helps when it comes to its durability (less things to go wrong) and amazing battery life (100% of its battery is dedicated to driving the speaker)... But that does not mean you cannot add one yourself! The one I have chosen is the very reliable SONY MW600 that charges via USB, streams music for 8 hours and has a 3.5mm headphone output:
...and I also ordered a very short (30cm) cable to connect it to the MINIRIG:
...and attached onto the side of the MINIRIG using double-sided velcro (so I can attach & detach it at will)
* headphone splitter
...I have found that in parties, people might have their own speakers (say, a BIG JAMBOX) so if you wanna help them out (more like... stealing their thunder) by adding your MINIRIG, a headphone splitter is a must:
...this particular model has 5 inputs/outputs, so you can connect the MINIRIG, plus your friend's Jambox, plus the bluetooth module (for wireless input), plus a laptop, plus a... :D
on 1 October 2013
First review, that's a big responsibility...
When I bought my (standard) minirig two years ago, I couldn't find anything to gripe about, apart from the poor bass response. Not really a surprise in a unit the size of a grapefruit. At the time there was talk of a sub, but I learned to love the rig as it was and it has been all over the place with me ever since. Still love it like the first day.
Today I bought the subwoofer and fell in love all over again. Such depth and richness of sound, it complements the minirig perfectly. Surprisingly good on low-gain and at low volumes as well. I am not going to go on, everything that was said in the reviews of the standard minirig on here holds true for the new device. Plus it has an on/off switch, which (when the lead comes) will also turn the minirigs off too. The supplied case zips open at both ends and has a slot to access the connectors. Not sure what else I would have asked for.
A word of warning though. If you don't already have a minirig, probably best not buy this item. It would sound rubbish on its own as it ONLY does bass (although you could probably learn to enjoy sitting on it for kicks) and if you tried to use it with any other speaker on the market you would quickly learn to hate the other speaker, either the sound quality or the legendary battery life would have you shopping for a real minirig to go with this baby (or maybe two).
many of the reviews for minirigs criticised the leads supplied. I have to say that the audio lead that came with the subwoofer doesn't feel the best quality, but I am not going to gripe about something you can pick up in the supermarket for under a fiver. The charging lead looks better than the one that came with my minirig.
on 18 October 2013
Everything I expected. Really pleased. I spent ages reading reviews and watching youtube comparisons etc and decided this was going to be worth the high price, and it is. Will be perfect for taking to dance sessions in large halls as well as using for the kitchen sessions. It does go very loud!
Now I want another one, and the sub woofer. Meanwhile standing it on the ceramic bread bin gives the bass a bit more depth.
on 4 December 2013
I already own two Minirigs so had been waiting for the sub for sometime, i have waited a while to review as i wanted to run the sub for a while before i decided how much i like it.
I have used this Sub & 2 x Minirigs as a small system for my technics, the sound quality is excellent for such a small system and is loud enough to have a small party but not too loud to annoy your neighbours. I agree that it is quite expensive but you pay for what you get which is a british made piece of quality.
I have to add Pasce have fantastic customer service to as i had a problem with one of my minirigs & they fixed it & sent it back very quickly.
on 11 December 2011
The minirig is a game changing portable speaker. It's light weight, superbly designed and is wonderfully focused on what it's supposed to do - that is, play music well and without fuss. About that focus... there's no on/off switch or volume control, you just plug in the supplied 3.5mm jack-to-jack lead to the minirig and your iPhone/pod/phone/pc... and away you go. I use the low-gain (bottom) input for all my sources. The tonal quality of the reproduction is frankly amazing for such a small unit, there's no compromise of any parts of the audible spectrum and as such the minirig doesn't behave as if it's covering up flaws in its response, it's faithful all the way to the practical limits of the size of the speaker. I love the fact that it's monaural too, there's no benefit from having stereo speakers in a compact unit and the fact that you can easily get your friends second minirig _and_ move them apart for good stereo reproduction makes 100% sense. Some people may criticise the lack of airtunes or bluetooth but the fact that the minirig uses a cable means it's compatible with everything and works without dropouts etc. Having used my minirig for a week I'm happy to say I've no longer any hankering for a bose sounddock, this little device will do quite nicely. Finally, I've found that placing the minirig about a foot from the corner of two walls fills a room nicely with luscious sound.
on 22 February 2014
If you have a couple of minirig speakers then add this to your wishlist or just buy it now!
Amazingly powerful little sub that adds warmth and body to the music. It's a must have. If you buy one make sure you get one of the minirig 2.1 cables that allows the sub to remotely power up/down the minirig speakers without having to unplug the cables.
Quality British design and manufactured product to be proud of.
on 15 June 2012
OK, so I'm a really picky person. Especially when it comes to audio. Just a preface to my review.
I've had this for a week now, and I've put it through the wringer. I've played it almost non stop to check the battery life, tested the high volume, the low, and various music styles. I have played it for my coworkers, friends, and even some strangers who I pass in the hallways. And I have to say, this thing is INCREDIBLE! For it's size, weight, and even cost, you simply will not find a better speaker. It is everything I wanted, and more.
Clean, clear, and full. The highs are not too tinny, like most small speakers, and you can blast it without having to worry about shrill noise. The mids are good, with capable performance. The bass is what is really impressive about this one. For something so small I just would not have expected soo much high quality low-end reproduction. No, it won't knock the books off your shelf, but remember this thing weighs around 1 pound. The anti-clipping circuit works well, and you don't get any distortion no matter how you play it.
Here is a place where most people buy based on quantity, but for the minirig you get one feature in spades - quality. No buttons, knobs, switches, SD card slots, radio tuners, i-pod ports, or any other frivolous junk. Just sound, good sound, and lots of it. But lets face it people, with almost everyone today carrying around an MP3 player built into their smartphones, all you really need is a cable to connect the two and you're in business. The mono sound is a minor setback, but hardly noticeable on most songs.
Simple, robust, attractive, and deceptive. Looking at it you can tell it's not cheap, but it's like a Honda with a Ferrari engine under the hood. No one will see it coming. It comes with every cable you need, and a nice padded carry case which fits the cables and speaker perfectly.
If you want a great speaker, with incredible sound, and are particularly fond of getting what you pay for - buy it. I bought one, thinking that I would test it out first. Having done this, I will now buy another one so that I can listen in stereo bliss. Don't let the price scare you, because the sound is worth it. If you can buy one, do it. If you can buy two, do it. If you can buy more, then I'm jealous of you.
The battery has been going now for three days of regular use and still hasn't died! I travel alot, and the worst compromise I'm forced to make is music - not anymore. I put this thing in the middle of my apartment and it fills the whole place with amazing sound. I am in the process of ordering my second one now. And when the minirig sub comes out (please God soon), then I will buy it too. This company has set a new precedent for quality.
on 25 April 2013
As a classical music enthusiast and struggling instrumentalist, I first bought just one of these, initially to play backing tracks for music practice sessions. It was certainly loud enough for this purpose, but I was also impressed with the clarity of the sound. So later I bought a second one for home stereo listening (matching the first in black - Pasce don't always have these available, so I had to wait).
The small size of these units allows you to place them unobtrusively in the corners of a room, from where they seem to operate best as a stereo pair. On most of the music I played through them, they gave a wide and very sharp stereo image with good clarity and presence. Two drawbacks though. Firstly, as other reviewers have noted, there is a noticeable lack of bass - this can be improved but not fully compensated for by using an equaliser. Secondly, whilst some recordings sound excellent, others sound quite harsh - I suspect because these little units are quite unforgiving to poorly recorded sound. My music collection goes back many years!
So there you have it. Loud and clear, but a bit lacking in bass. But they deserve 5 stars anyway.