The thought of physically plugging my phone or tablet into a dock or speakers is now as foreign to me as popping in a VHS tape to watch a movie. Bluetooth speakers have gotten so much better with improved sound and performance that I may never have to attach my device to my sound source again. Yet, even with improved power, fidelity and acoustics, there’s been one nagging issue with Bluetooth speakers: stereo. There’s no way around it. A single speaker can emulate, pretend, and make-believe that it is giving you great separation, sound stage and true stereo results but the laws of physics dictate otherwise. There’s an absolute limit to the “stereo” and room filling sound that a single speaker can give regardless of its price or quality. There’s been no stereo Bluetooth speakers. Until now.
The Disco Twin by Supertooth, [$199] is a powerful pair of wireless speakers offering a massive 32 Watts of true stereo output. The two speakers have integrated A2DP controls, can be placed up to 30′ apart to cover even the most generously sized rooms and can run for 10 hours or so on a charge. There’s a lot to like about these speakers including the gorgeous sound, the portability and battery life. Read on to learn more about these wireless wonders.
[Supertooth Disco Twin Speakers]
Overview Like any Bluetooth speaker, this device can be paired with mobile phones, tablets, laptops, portable music players and other such devices. Not only do they offer wireless sound, but also wireless power affording up to 10 hours of completely unplugged play. Each speaker has two drivers on the front and a bass reflex system with a total of 32 watts of power. Not simply two redundant units, they are actually a stereo pair offering distinct Left and Right channels.
Use & Bluetooth Charge them up or use them on AC power and pair them with your device. There’s a “master” unit (Left) that you pair first. Once you power up the Right speaker, a very pleasant voice from each speaker indicates “Left” and “Right.” The speakers remain paired with each other and each one has A2DP controls on top that you can use for volume and playback control. One of the major annoyances of many Bluetooth speakers is, as Mr. Trey Anastasio puts it, that they can be awfully persnickety – constantly having to be re-paired, losing connections, stuttering or controls not working properly. Fortunately, the Disco Twin is rock solid in this regard. I’ve been using them for a week and every device, tablet, phone and laptop, stays paired and instantly connects. I haven’t had any issues at all with skips or stutters and the controls work instantly and effectively.
[Disco Twin on tabletop by a Sonos Play:3 for size comparison. Controls for volume and playback on top]
Sound These things are impressive with more than enough power to fill a reasonably big room. And again, the true difference maker in these is the stereo separation that they provide offering a massive sound stage over competing single speaker units. Regardless of how powerful a single speaker is, you’ll always be left with the sensation that your music is coming from a single point. The Disco Twins allow you to place the speakers on each side of your room (or patio or car!) offering room filling sound with surprisingly loud volumes. Bluetooth keeps improving with better data transfer speeds and higher quality audio with the 3.0 standards. Keep in mind these speakers are only slightly over a pound each so they can’t possibly match up with full-sized speakers, but they are certainly the next best thing.
Drawbacks With great battery life (10 hours at medium volume and 1,500 hours of stand-by), quick charge time, stylish looks and most importantly great sound quality, it is tough to find too many things to knock with these speakers. However, there’s a few that are worth pointing out. First, $100 is about market price for a decent Bluetooth speaker. Understandably, you are getting a pair but the price is likely a bit high for many to consider for Bluetooth speakers. Volume can’t be individually controlled per channel: if you boost the left, you’ll also boost the right. Also, if you use the line-in feature you’ll only get output from one speaker – you lose out on the second. Another bummer is no battery indicator. Despite reasonably long battery life (10 hours at medium volume), it would be nice to have a visual indication of how much juice is left. Finally, while it is good that they provide two separate charging cords for each speaker, it would have been nice to figure out a way to daisy chain them together and charge off of one AC cord.
Bottom Line Portable Bluetooth speakers are ubiquitous now and hardly something to get excited about. Yet a stereo pair with true two channel sound is a welcome addition to Bluetooth offerings. Supertooth’s Disco Twin have a great build quality, powerful volume and terrific sound quality. They are versatile enough with battery power and portable size to use in a variety of settings from desktop, to living room or bedroom, to patio, to tailgate. Integrated controls on each speaker make music playback from mobile phones or tablets a breeze and the Bluetooth connection has great range and is very stable.
Hidden Track Technology Tuesday
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