The little tube that adds real oomph to speakers system
Minirig subwoofer (€160)
Now that smart speakers such as Amazon's Echo and Apple's HomePod (which isn't yet available in the Irish market) are coming on stream, is there a future for 'dumb' standalone speakers?
Clearly, they will need something more to compete. I'd respectfully submit that Minirig has found something along those lines with its surprisingly impressive portable subwoofer.
If you're not familiar with Minirigs, they're small, hand-made, brushed-aluminium tubular speakers that give far more oomph than you would really expect. The €120 devices are rechargeable (although using a proprietary cable instead of a regular microUSB connection) and work over Bluetooth with your phone or tablet. But they also have a couple of ports that allow them to be tethered together for a combined kit.
This is where the new subwoofer comes in. It can be connected (via cable) to one or two original minirigs. Setting this up with one Minirig is impressive. But going the full hog with two (for stereo) is a little incredible. It's very hard to believe the rich, deep sound that this kit produces.
The subwoofer itself is around three times the size of an individual Minrig and is styled in almost exactly the same way, with a brushed metallic finish. It's designed to be placed horizontally via four small stubs. (Standing it up horizontally just makes it rattle).
The individual pieces also come with their own carry bags.
When connected (via cable), its three-inch driver pumps out a highly accomplished accompaniment to what is already a decent audio level.
There is some control over the balance you want from the kit. This comes via a choice of whether you connect the units through their 'high' or 'low' sockets.
For what I used this for (Spotify from an iPhone), the 'high' gain setting was probably best.
Obviously, this kind of kit is competing with standalone speakers from the likes of Bose and Sony. In my experience, it offers a slightly more complete audio experience than a standalone speaker rival of around the same price. However, it's undoubtedly a little fiddlier. And it would be great if more mainstream stores supported innovative kit like this.
Nevertheless, I thoroughly recommend this setup.