So the Pasce Minirig is clearly a tour de force in terms of ingenious design and engineering but what's ultimately going to matter when you're holed up in a hotel room or looking to accompany your camp fire with some lilting summertime tunes, is how good it sounds. And, the answer is very good. Very good indeed.
What's most striking is just how loud it is. You'll easily fill any sensibly sized house or hotel room, and in fact you'll be splitting ears if you really crank it up - not that you'd want to do that. At such high volumes, while a dampening circuit kicks-in to stop the device damage itself, the audio does deteriorate. But for sensible listening levels it excels.
As well as volume you also get depth with far deeper bass notes than any laptop or most comparable portable speakers can manage. With a frequency range of 100 – 20,000Hz, you're not getting quite the lowest rumblings but for its size, the range is astonishing.
Clarity is also good, though not exceptional with a tendency for instruments to muddle together a little. Again, though, for its size you won't be disappointed.
There are two downsides though; the device's shape and the fact that it's mono. While that round shape allows you to get the most volume from the least volume (so to speak), it isn't conducive to being placed either side of or on top of a laptop (various portable speakers can split into stereo or nestle in the hinge of a laptop). As such you have to place it off to one side making the sound somewhat detached from what's onscreen, which is a little odd when you're watching a video.
It's this same scenario that is the problem with the restriction to mono. While you hardly get a huge amount of stereo separation on any portable or laptop speaker, those that do offer stereo, do immerse you that little bit more when used close up. As such, the Pasce Minirig really excels at simply filling a space with sound, with the best listening being from a distance.
You could argue there's a further downside in that this is a wires-only device with no wireless audio system such as AirPlay, Bluetooth or Kleer onboard. However, while this certainly would've been nice, it would've meant bringing that old word “compromise” back into the equation. Size, price and battery life would all likely have been affected.
For it's size and price, the Pasce Minirig is really without equal though if you're willing to cast your net wider to include larger devices, the choice becomes vast. From the wireless sporting Bose SoundLink Wireless Speaker and Aliph Jawbone Jambox to the iPod dock equipped Philips Fidelio DS300, to the laptop sound bars we were talking about earlier, such as the Edifier Soundbar. For its power and versatility, though, we'd pick the Minirig over the lot.
The Pasce Minirig is a quite brilliant portable speaker. It may lack the wireless and stereo capabilities of some rivals but if you're simply after the loudest, smallest and longest-lasting speaker around, this is the top dog. All this and it's also beautifully built and relatively competitively priced.