For over a year now, I have been using various Bluetooth portable speakers in my travels as a presenter – both for background music and occasionally partnered with a wireless microphone. There are several great options, as well as not-so-great possibilities. In my ongoing quest to find the right balance of portability and sound producing, I am finding different speakers have different strengths and challenges. So where does the newly released SuperTooth Disco 2 fit? Read on to find out.
The Disco 2, as its name implies, is a redesign sibling of the original SuperTooth Disco (reviewed here). Compared to the first generation speaker, the Disco 2′s new curved, vertical design has significantly downsized the space the speaker assumes without sacrificing the impressive intensity and sound clarity. By moving the controls to the top of the unit, it’s easier to power up and pair the Disco 2 than with the original. Favoring separate push buttons for increasing and decreasing the volume over a knob is a consistent approach by most speaker makers, though I personally prefer the smooth rotating knob of the first Disco. The separate (+) and (-) volume buttons are not a deal breaker.
SuperTooth’s Disco 2 uses Bluetooth 4.0 to stream audio via Bluetooth A2DP (Advanced Audio Distribution Profile), from any mobile phone or PC (up to 8 devices) equipped with the same. Pairing with my iPhone 4S and 15″ Retina MBP was flawless. Unlike the occasional drop by the first generation Disco, the Disco 2 gave no hints of disconnecting during my time of testing. Like its predecessor, the Disco 2 returns to standby mode (all lights off) after a few seconds of no streaming and easily re-pairs. Additionally, there is no feedback or white noise from interference that I rarely, and intermittently, encounter with the original Disco.
Because the Disco 2 (like the original) supports AVRCP (Audio Video Remote Control Panel), the unit can be used to Play, Pause, Stop, play Previous Track, or play Next Track from its source. So if you’re closer to the speaker than you are your connected device, than the speaker controls the streaming: this is a neat feature that is absent from most of the units I have looked at.
The sound the Disco 2 emits is remarkable for its size – in two words, “It rocks!” By far, the sound exceeded my expectations because it is crisp and clear, even at full volume. The two speakers located at the front and a “bass reflex system” at the back deliver 16 watts RMS. Unlike a recently tested competitor (here), the Disco 2 didn’t wash out sound and it didn’t easily distort. Of mention is the aptX protocol support which maintains the high quality output – as if it were connected by the optional 3.5 mm cable.
By comparison to its older sibling, what I miss is the noticeable oomph from a heavy bass speaker. At first I was disappointed but then decided to more thoroughly compare the Disco 2 to similarly sized speakers and not its 28 watt predecessor. What I discovered was a superior sounding Bluetooth speaker to all its competitors I have reviewed. In other words, the SuperTooth Disco 2 is the new standard to beat in wireless, portable speakers’ sound and design.
Speaking of design, I think SuperTooth has changed the target for what makes a unit both attractive in form and function. As opposed to most boxy, hole-ridden portable speakers, the Disco 2 sports a “sexy” curved design that disguises its impressive purpose: Is it a lamp? Is is a vase? Is it a new odor-eliminator? No, it’s a new speaker that is awe-inspiring for both the ears and eyes. Depending on your decor, the Disco 2 covers appear to come in different colors (blue, green, red, white, fuchsia, black) as well.
At the rear of the unit live the 12V charging input for the included AC cable (something similarly sized speakers often don’t provide – they instead use a USB to mini-USB cord), a charging indicator light, and 3.5mm audio input if you’d prefer a cabled connection. Included in the packaging is also a nice cloth bag to carry the unit and supplies.
According to their website, the NiMH battery recharges in 2 hours and, like the original Disco model, the Disco 2 should last 3 to 4 hours at high volume, 10 hours at medium volume, and a whopping 1500 hours on standby. (If the experiences I’ve had with the Disco are any long term indication, they aren’t too far off.) How do you determine when it’s time for a charge? The Play/Pause on top blinks red.
At a smaller size and half the weight of its predecessor, the SuperTooth Disco 2 boasts a loud, clear, and undistortable sound that trumps the sound of similarly sized wireless speakers. Although the bass doesn’t impress as its 50% more expensive older generation sibling does, the flattering design makes it a top choice as a powerful, portable Bluetooth speaker.
SuperTooth Disco 2 ($99) will be available later this fall at www.SuperToothStore.com
SuperTooth Disco 2 was provided by the MaxBorges Agency and SuperTooth for review at iSource.com. For further information regarding our site’s review policies, see the “About” page.