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Pasce Minirig review

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Reviewed:

Awards

  • Recommended by TR
Pasce Minirig 4

Summary

Our Score:

9

Pros

  • Stylish and well built
  • Long battery life
  • Incredibly loud
  • Surprisingly small

Cons

  • No wireless or stereo
  • Sound can get a bit muddled a high volume
  • No standard USB port for charging

Key Features

  • Single 3in driver
  • 100 - 20,000Hz frequency range
  • 9 - 60 hour battery life
  • Low and high gain inputs
  • Can string multiple speakers together for more power
  • Manufacturer: Pasce
  • Review Price: £85.00

Portable speakers tend to be inherently compromised. Sound quality, volume, battery life, portability and adaptability are all traits desirable in such a product, yet they often work against each other. You want good sound quality and high volume? Well then the speaker must be big - too big to chuck in a suitcase. Want portability and adaptability? Well then make it small, too small to really fill a hotel room with satisfying sound. What's the solution? Buy a Pasce Minirig.

Pasce is a tiny British company started by one man with (so far) one great idea. That idea is the Minirig, a portable speaker that pumps out 15W of power, lasts for an average of 50hrs and yet, is little bigger than a roll of parcel tape.

Pasce Minirig 3

How does this little gem achieve all this? Well, it helps that Pasce had the idea to fit the shape of the device as closely as possible to that of a speaker. One flat face of the cylinder is entirely taken up by a 3in driver, while all the rest of the electronics are packed into the 72mm-deep space behind.

This makes it small enough even for camping trips and plenty compact enough to pop in a suitcase. One thing worth noting when it comes to camping is that this isn't officially a ruggedised device. We've been told Minirigs have survived the odd rain shower but a full submersion won't do it much good, and while it's well built, a life in the bottom of a camping bag will soon mar its beautiful aluminium chassis - you could perhaps cut down the cardboard tube that it's delivered in to make a protective case. Pasce says a neoprene case will soon be included to give that final level of bump protection but these aren't yet shipping.

Pasce Minirig 1

It's this style and build quality that is the second remarkable thing about the Minirig. Sure, for £80 you'd expect something of a certain quality but the premium materials and craftsmanship on show here are nonetheless impressive. The bulk of the chassis consists of a sturdy machined aluminium cylinder, with a lovely sand blasted finish. This is then capped by tough polycarbonate rings, inset into which are the hex bolts that hold the whole thing together. Over the driver there's a thick grille made from yet more aluminium, and finishing the lot off are four clear rubber feet on the bottom that keep the whole lot securely sat.

There's a particular minimalist aesthetic and attention to detail that really sets the whole thing off as well. All the ports are lined up on one side, and none are labelled (don't worry, it's easy to tell what's what), so as little as possible breaks the symmetry. Pasce has even gone so far as to use a 5.5/2.1mm barrel power connection, rather than say a USB port. Actually, this is rather annoying as we would've thought a miniUSB or microUSB connection would've been more useful, in case you loose the single included USB-to-barrel cable provided in the box. At least charging time is relatively modest at around 6-8 hours for a full load.

You may have already noted that there are two 3.5mm jack sockets, set above and below the power input. No, one of these isn't for headphones or adding a second stereo speaker. Instead you get a choice of high or low gain inputs, respectively. The choice allows you to get the most volume from low power outputs such as phones and MP3 players using the high gain input yet remain distortion free when using high-power outputs such as from laptops. The reason for needing this arrangement is that the Minirig doesn't have a volume control but instead relies on you controlling the volume using your device – yet more minimalism.

Pasce MinirigPasce Minirig

You can also use the low gain input to string two Minirigs together. However this doesn't create a stereo arrangement - which would be very cool - but rather just increases the maximum volume. In fact you can add multiple Minirigs together in this way, so if you and all your mates have invested in Minirigs you can really crank out the tunes. If you do want a stereo effect you can use a splitter cable to feed each Minirig just one channel, and again Pasce may be including these in the future but they're not here yet.

As well as lacking a volume control, the Minirig also does without a power switch. Just plug in a sound source to one of the jack sockets and it automatically powers up.

This will illuminate the battery indicator light, which further shows Pasce's attention to detail. It doesn't just light up but does so in different colours depending on how much battery power is left. If the device is fully charged (90-100 per cent) it glows green, 25-100 per cent it will be green/blue, 25-30 per cent just blue, 0-25 per cent purple and if there's not enough power to keep the amplifier going it'll glow red.

Clearly the large variance in the width of each band of colour means it isn't quite as useful as if it had an even 25/50/75/100 per cent split but it's still really useful to know at a glance if you've got a reasonable reserve of power. And as for those claims about the longevity of the battery life, they're entirely true. It officially varies from around 9 hours to 60hours depending on volume but that average of 50 hours is achievable at a more than adequate volume for contented listening. We've been using a Minirig on and off for two weeks now and it's still showing green/blue.

Ed

December 7, 2011, 9:17 pm

@Pepperrell Not sure why you didn't just post a comment but hey ho.;) The MightyDwarf appears to be a rather different device. It's not a speaker per se but something that turns flat surfaces into speakers. I've a similar device here on my desk, which I will be reviewing soon, and from initial experience I wouldn't hold out much hope for the MightyDwarf. Those devices are too reliant on the surface you're using them on so performance is very inconsistent. I'm reserving full judgement until I've had a proper play though. The Minirig, in contrast, delivers the goods regardless of where it's sat.

Pepperrell

December 7, 2011, 9:59 pm

@Ed 'Cos it wouldn't let me. It will now, and that may be my server, or its software, or your site, but I genuinely don't know which. I've looked at the power outputs since and there is no comparison. A Minirig for me! Hi ho, hi ho, it's off to shop I go...

Andrew_TR

December 8, 2011, 4:18 am

If you're after laptop speakers rather than an all-round portable jobbie, also consider the QSB SoundScience BMR driver speakers. Primarily because they're currently half price at AMP3 (㿝.99) - a real bargain at the price.

Chrisos

March 10, 2012, 5:26 pm

WHat a fantastic product, i wondered if it would justify its £85 price at first, but its simply a beast of a speaker! very pleased :D

Ed

March 10, 2012, 9:02 pm

Glad to hear it. I actually love it more everyday - it is just so perfectly suited to its purpose. Don't be surprised if it appears in our products of the year list.

Jamie Kitson

April 13, 2012, 4:47 pm

It is possible to connect two in stereo, isn't it?

Pepperrell

April 16, 2012, 6:08 pm

@Jamie - yes, it is.

Me to them: "For the Mk2 version could you split the feed so that the second speaker cable feeds the other channel? Then we'd have stereo and I'd buy another one"
Them to me: "Yes I will work on this. But it needs to work in Mono for 3+ minirigs which makes it harder to implement. In the meantime, I supply a simple stereo to 2xmono splitter cable for everyone who buys two Minirigs."

Can't get much clearer than that.

Bugblatter

April 19, 2012, 5:32 am

If you want it wireless you can add one of these: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Samsun...

That give you Apt-X Bluetooth streaming at a pretty reasonable price.

I've got an old Jabra BT3030 that's similar but only supports A2DP. Nevertheless it does a pretty decent job as long as the device on the other end uses a high-enough bitpool (bitrate). Plenty good enough for driving this type of thing; my Shure SE430's reveal the shortcomings of A2Dp so I plug in directly with them but I reckon with Apt-X I probably couldn't tell the difference.

Bugblatter

April 22, 2012, 3:15 am

I've ordered one. You can see a lot of the back-story of the development and prototyping here: http://www.hijackbristol.co.uk...

It'd be interesting to see an interview of the guy; seems like a classic story of a British inventor in his shed, but so far at least he's the one making money from his invention rather than big business.

Pepperrell

May 2, 2012, 5:01 pm

@AndrewTR - but like the Frankenspiel speakers, they only work off USB, they don't have a battery, and you can't plug them into an MPS player.

Have just bought no 2 Minirig, and still chuffed to fuck.

Angel Allimac

December 17, 2012, 2:34 am

Got one of these beauties, am travelling with it. It is amazing and has protective case. Everyone I meet wants one am telling everyone to buy one. No more tinny music. Not got a bad word to say about it. My mate has one too and put together the sound is truly awesome. Clean crisp and decent bass. Oh and they look sleek and no bother in a day pack or back pack. Great sounds on a beach or at hostel. Hurrah!

Benjamin Evans

May 23, 2013, 8:44 pm

Well, I've had my minirig for about a year now and its fantastic....great sound
out of a very portable speaker and outstanding battery life and quality. The one
thing missing from the minirig is Bluetooth capability and I have found a
wonderful workaround. I would imagine that Pasce is working on their own version
of a wireless minirig, but for now this is absolutely amazing ! One item you
must purchase...and that is a Braven portable bluetooth speaker. What's
incredible about it is that it has a an EXTERNAL lineout output that accepts a
standard 3.5mm audio cable. Simply piggyback the minirig thru the Braven and it
is spectacular ! If you want clear, loud and decent bass out of a portable
system....this can not be beat and all of it works seamlessly with your
bluetooth phone or device.

The Braven 600 (the one that I purchased) is
nornally $149.00USD here in the states but, right now a retail here in the US is
clearing out their red Braven 600 for $59.99...that retailer is FRY's
Electronics. This is a simply amazing deal and I just wanted to pass it along.
The Bravens (all of them!) have this external output and many other great
features. Check out their
website.........

http://www.braven.com/braven-6...

Hope some
folks take advantage of this pairing........it will blow you away !!

Greg Houghton

June 22, 2013, 11:24 pm

just got one of these delivered to australia from chemical records uk, awesome product and great service by the chemical folk. thanks guys ... forget about bluetooth/airplay - a 5 gram wire from your phone to your speaker and no worries about drop outs and stuttering sound ... this speaker is gold.

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