Last week at Testfreaks, we had the chance to review the Bluetooth speaker/dock from XtremeMac – the Tango TRX. Today we will look at another Bluetooth speaker – the Disco from a company called Supertooth. While not a dock, it does work with Bluetooth A2DP stereo capable devices including recent iPod Touches, iPhones, iPads, Android models and others. If you wish to connect you Bluetooth enabled laptop or desktop that is a possibility as well
Direct line-in connections are also possible on the SuperTooth Disco. It has a built-in rechargeable battery making it a portable mobile music system; now those summer barbecues can be filled with the sound of music.
The SuperTooth Disco arrives packaged in a white cardboard box with pictures of the device on the front. A list of features in several languages is found on the back.
A cardboard insert protects the SuperTooth Disco and its accompanying contents. Found inside the package is the SuperTooth Disco, a charger, speaker carrying holster, 3.5” connector audio cable and a user manual.
The SuperTooth Disco is an all black speaker measuring 8.9 cm x 31.5 cm x 7.0 cm and weighing 1.15 kg. Inside it houses a NiMH rechargeable battery allowing it to be truly portable. A black metal grill covers up the front of the SuperTooth Disco giving it a retro appearance.
On the bottom left of it face is the SuperTooth logo while off center on the right side is a control knob surrounded with five buttons. This silver knob is labeled with the Bluetooth logo and has two LEDs on it with an additional white backlight.
The surrounding buttons control music playback with rewind/previous, play/pause and forward/next controls on the top section. There is a power button on the lower right and a Bass button on the lower left.
The sides of the SuperTooth Disco are capped by a silver and black plastic.
Looking at the rear of the speaker we see a DC input, charge indicator lights and an audio line in jack. Off to the right side of these connections is a rear firing subwoofer speaker, designed with a Neodyne high efficiency system.
At the bottom of the SuperTooth Disco are three rubber-coated feet to keep the speaker from sliding on whatever surfaces it rests upon.
The unit sits at a slightly upward angle to help project the sound towards the listener’s head. The metallic grill also wraps from the front of the SuperTooth Disco towards the top of the speaker.
SuperTooth includes a carrying holster designed to allow the SuperTooth Disco to play from within this case if desired. The holster is composed of black neoprene material. It opens and closes via a Velcro cover that has padding in the front to protect the STD’s front knob. On the outside of the cover we see the SuperTooth logo in the front left corner.
The back of the holster has access openings for the power and line in connections and a mesh cover for the rear subwoofer.
The SuperTooth DISCO is a portable stereo speaker able to stream music from any Bluetooth A2DP device, including iPhone, iPad – or even iPod Touch. The SuperTooth Disco is equally compatible with all other phones, PCs, and MP3 players that support Bluetooth A2DP.
The SuperTooth Disco is the only portable Bluetooth A2DP stereo speaker on the market able to produce 28 watts of sound. With a 12 watt subwoofer and two 8 watt stereo drivers you’ll be blown away by 28 watts of high quality audio!
Internal Subwoofer amplifier power 12 watts RMS (real)
Internal Left / Right audio power amplifier: 2 x 8 watts RMS (real)
Subwoofer speaker using Neodyne high efficiency system
Left / Right full range speaker with parabolic membrane
All speakers magnetic shielded
Bluetooth version 2.0
Stereo streaming of music files via Bluetooth A2DP profile, from any mobile phone or PC equipped with the same technology
Portable product, listen to your favorite music anywhere thanks to its rechargeable battery
Outstanding audio quality
Operating range: 10 meters
Frequency: 2.4 GHz
High volume: 3 to 4 hours
Medium volume: 10 hours
Stand-by time: 1 500 hours
Charging time: 3 hours
Battery type: NI MH power pack
Size and Weight:
Weight:1 140 grams
The SuperTooth Disco may be used out of the box with the AC adapter. Charging the built in battery takes three hours and according to SuperTooth the battery will last 3-4 hours with high volume playback and around ten hours at medium playback. During testing I found those numbers pretty accurate, although I did not really use the SuperTooth Disco at high volume for extended periods.
For testing the SuperTooth Disco was used with an iPhone 4, iPad and Bluetooth enable Windows 7 desktop machine. Pairing the SuperTooth Disco with those devices was a simple procedure; if you have paired a Bluetooth headset then this should be a familiar task.
The LED to the right of the knob turns blue when connected to a Bluetooth device. This light also functions as the low battery indicator, which flashes red when the battery needs charging.
SuperTooth uses A2DP (Advance Audio Distribution Profile), which means the source machine needs to run this protocol as well. For controlling the SuperTooth Disco remotely the phone/tablet must support the AVRCP (Audio Video Remote Control Profile). Using the SuperTooth Disco’s control panel I was able to control playback on all three of the devices listed above. Although on the PC remote control only worked when the media player was the active window, not when minimized or in the background.
As I noticed during my review of the Xtrememac Tango TRX, when using an Apple mobile device you will need to manually pair the SuperTooth Disco from the Bluetooth settings submenu each time you wish to initially connect to the Disco.
So how does the SuperTooth Disco sound? Well that depends on what you are listening to and at what volume. Some music sounded acceptable but for the most music sounded somewhat flat especially with the Bass button enabled and quite tinny with or without the bass option. At high volumes some songs sounded so distorted that they were unlistenable.
This speaker is definitely not in the audiophile class, which is sad as it is well constructed and looks quite good. I would place it on par with sub $100 PC speakers; but compared to Klipsch, Altec Lansing, even Logitech speakers the SuperTooth Disco definitely comes up short. Even my wife who does not have a discerning ear by any means noted that the speaker sounded bland.
The portability aspect of it is great and the accompanying travel holster is a nice addition. Battery life on the SuperTooth Disco was impressive as it played off one charge for several days with intermittent medium volume playback.
The SuperTooth Disco can get quite loud; moving the volume knob past the 12 o’clock position will most likely lead to speaker blowout with some tunes.
Sometimes good looks can only get you so far especially with a speaker system. The SuperTooth Disco is a well-constructed product that I would be proud to display on my desk or counter top. However, when its job is to reproduce sound and does only a fair job at that it then it is hard to give it a glowing review.
If the SuperTooth Disco came in under $100 then it would be something I could recommend for those who want to fill up a room or backyard with sound during a party. However at its current price it is hard to recommend especially if listening to the SuperTooth Disco in a quiet setting where most of its deficiencies will be easily discerned.
+Retro appearance+Stylish appearance
+Portable+Built in rechargeable battery
-Tinny, flat sound
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