Sitting Ovation

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Minirigs – Not your average bluetooth speaker

10. April 2017

The low down

Insufferable teens sitting behind you on the number 44. Shameless, drunken late-night subway riders. Those fucking arseholes in the next tent to you at the last festival you went to. That girl you liked at college, who invited you up to her room one night so she could put on The Pixies while you lost your virginity.

What have all of these oblivious specimens got in common? Apart from the fact that they’re drifting through life like a jellyfish caught in a tidal wave.

Shit quality sound.

“Mate, if you put your phone in a cup, it makes the music sound much better” – we all know that guy. The irony of being too cheap to own a decent set of speakers, but more than happy to spunk hundreds of quid on an iPhone.

So it’s no wonder that over the last few years, the positively toxic shopfloors of Dixons (sorry… “Currys Digital”) and the fading facade of HMV have become littered with unsettling amounts of Bluetooth speakers.

If King Bluetooth himself realised what his namesake has been used for when it comes to god-awful portable sound-emitting bits of plastic, he’d be spinning in his burning Viking-longship faster than the wheels on that 44 bus.

For me as an artist, it’s even got to the point where I’ve toyed with writing entire tracks, EPs and albums entirely for phone and laptop speakers, just to make some sort of desperate attempt to highlight how bad it’s got.

Thing is. People don’t really care. “Who needs the bass sounds anyway” they shriek. “It’s all about the tune” they shout, barely audible over the 100% mid-range wail of Ed Sheeran’s latest pop-guff.

And who am I anyway? Someone who probably cares too much about the quality of the sound. Someone who wants to be able to say they’ve enjoyed music the way it was intended to be heard, not just for the tune but for the depth of production or the dynamic range. Someone who you’d probably describe as a “music snob” and perhaps quite rightly so. I’m not going to argue.

If like me, you value decent quality sound, and often find yourself in awe of how people can so carelessly stick music on any old speaker, and perhaps are in fact looking for a small, portable Bluetooth speaker yourself, then rejoice. Unlike Bono, The Edge and those other two, you have finally found what you’re looking for.

I didn’t know I was in the market for a Bluetooth speaker if i’m honest. I have 2 solid sound systems at home, and value a good set of headphones. I don’t do a huge amount of outdoor activity on account of living in Denmark and Scotland, and I’m not one to be referred to as the life of the party. I’m more often found making tracks at my computer, than enjoying them in the company of others.

That said, when I got my hands on a Minirig, I very quickly became something of a convert. The small, but somewhat chunky speaker now sits in my flat and more often than not I jam it on in the mornings before work, instead of faffing with my main system or computer.

Minirigs are a UK-based company based in Bristol and alongside all the somewhat expected audio-engineer sciency research stuff, they cite soundsystem culture and Bristol’s vibrant scene as inspiration for their rather tasty portable Bluetooth speakers.

The actual unit itself is solid. A little weighty without being any hassle to chuck in a bag, and solid enough to withstand a drunken buffoon stumbling over it on a Sunday afternoon after too many Red Stripes.

The battery life is an absolutely riDONKulous 80 hours and you can blast the thing at a really solid volume without worrying about things getting in any way fuzzy. It’s surprising to be honest.

Me, the sceptic, was like “oh yeah… OK… Portable, but good enough for bass music?” – but I’ve given it a pretty serious testing with some of the weightiest tracks I can find, and the thing stands up no bother at all.

Cost-wise it’ll set you back a little over a ton (that’s £100 for all you non-Cockneys) but I’d say it’s well worth a punt, since the value you’re going to get when you can jam on something and not have to worry about whether you’ll hear the low-end or the mere fact that you’re basically never going to need to charge the fucker is worth it alone.

It also comes in a stack of colours, if you need to accessorise properly, so you can match it to your bright pink herb grinder.

Oh and did I mention they can pair 2 together, and you can even spunk your hard-earned on a sub to match?! Just think of all the people you could properly piss-off at the next festival campsite you’re going to be lying around! Joy!

Seriously though – this is a proper decent speaker and I’m really glad I’ve got myself one.

Get yours here.

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Website etc. Alex Cowles