SuperTooth's speaker system offers full stereo sound with the convenience of Bluetooth. (October 14th, 2013)
Product Manufacturer: SuperTooth
- Portable - Offers full stereo sound - Good sound quality
- No battery level indicator - Audio delay when watching video
In 2004 SuperTooth came up with the first Bluetooth speakerphone that could be clipped onto a sun visor in a car. This was revolutionary at the time, and helped to propel the company down a path of creating new devices for the quickly growing Bluetooth market. Today it makes a variety of Bluetooth car kits, speakers and headsets. Earlier this year the SuperTooth Disco Twin was released, which is a set of SuperTooth Disco speakers that are pre-paired to offer stereo sound right out of the box. Electronista spent some time with these speakers to see if two is really any better than one.
Standing at 7.1 inches, with a width and depth of 4.2 x 2.7 inches, these speakers are constructed with sturdy plastic that is wrapped in a black fabric mesh on a metallic grey base. Unlike most boxy speakers, these have an hourglass-like shape that is slightly wider on top than it is on the bottom. Six buttons are placed on top of each, illuminating when they are on and providing controls for power, volume and changing the track forward and back.
Both speakers have a DC input, auxiliary input and an LED light that indicates the status of the Bluetooth connection when pairing. They crank out 32 watts of stereo sound (16 watts each) via dual front speakers and a bass reflex system located on the back of each unit. Included in the box are two chargers, two carrying bags, and two 3.5mm audio cables, along with a generous two-year replacement warranty.
Hit the power button on the left speaker and it greets you with a slightly robotic woman's voice that says "hello". Turn on the right speaker and she springs to life with the same "hello" followed by beeping and a round of "left" and "right" confirming that they are synced. Initially this caught me off guard, and it made my dogs bark, but after re-assuring them (and myself) that we had not been invaded by robot women aliens from space, I got back to business.
There was no trouble connecting the Bluetooth with my Samsung Galaxy, MacBook Pro or iPod touch; the startup guide made the process simple and painless. Sound quality is rich and full from all devices, however I did notice some trouble while using the speakers with the MacBook. The sound seemed to cut out occasionally when using the Bluetooth keyboard and mouse or when opening new Apps and browsing the internet. On all devices the connection remained solid up to, and slightly farther than, the 30 feet that SuperTooth states is the maximum operating range. I was even able to place one speaker on the middle floor in my townhouse and the other in the garage and walk around freely with the tunes playing from my phone, never skipping a beat.
Listening to the full stereo left and right channel sound from these is similar to wearing headphones, which is something distinctly unique about these speakers compared to others in this price range. As I am writing this I have the speakers beside my monitor and the ethereal sounds of a hang drum in Shpongle's track "Nothing Is Something Worth Doing" delicately bounce back and forth from the left to right channel while metallic whirling, bubbles popping and an angelic voice, accompanied by snare drums and bongos, fill out their respective places on the sound stage. Yeah, Shpongle is some weird music, but I dig it.
Volume controls on board go from a scale of zero to 10. When listening at lower volume levels, music sounded the way it should, but crank these puppies up all the way and the audio quality starts to suffer. Not that it's bad, but it certainly isn't quite as clear as it is at lower levels. It might have a hard time competing with a lot of people in a crowded room, but for small groups and listening solo they are more than adequate.
At moderate volume the built-in rechargeable battery is supposed to last up to 10 hours. I'm not sure exactly what they consider moderate volume to be, but I was generally able to get a solid six hours from the speakers before they showed signs of powering down. One thing I would have liked to see is a battery level indicator to gauge the remaining battery life. It's impossible to tell just by looking at these things how much juice is left, which is inconvenient if you thought they were turned off, but they've really been on standby for the last four days. I must say though that standby mode doesn't seem to drain much life out of them, and the power button does flicker red when they are getting low.
In the event that the battery dies, these speakers can still operate off of the charger, and it is possible to connect any non-Bluetooth device with the included auxiliary cable. Using the auxiliary cable does limit playback to left or right monaural sound, however, much like what you would hear when listening to music with a single earbud. Sound quality is acceptable when used this way, but it is most impressive when both speakers are utilized. An additional $20 Y cable can be purchased from SuperTooth separately making it possible to get the full stereo effect when listening to tunes, watching TV, movies or video.
One thing to note is that using the auxiliary cable is the best way to use these speakers to watch movies. There is a small delay when connecting to Bluetooth, which causes the audio and video to become misaligned.
In all, the SuperTooth Disco Twin is highly versatile and portable while providing a very pleasing and enjoyable audio experience. It is like having a set of really good desktop speakers that you can take anywhere without the hassle of cords. While initially the $199 price tag may seem a bit high, it is really a bargain for what these speakers offer and can do.
Until October 25th, 2013, enter to win a set of SuperTooth Disco Twin speakers from Electronista.