I love my music and have something playing pretty much all the time unless I am speaking to someone. For quite a while that meant having some sort of speaker dock in the various room where I spend time. Lately though it has increasingly meant setting up various room so that AirPlay is available. (Yes, I finally understand the power and utility of the AirPort Express!) That does not, however mean there isn’t a place for some of the growing number of Bluetooth enabled speakers on the market. Sure, Bluetooth doesn’t offer the same level of audio quality as streaming over WiFi but, for the most part, I can’t tell the difference and the convenience of not needing to rely on having an available WiFi network is welcome. A short time ago we reviewed the Altec Lansing InMotion Air. I really like it and find myself using it all the time.
Two weeks ago I received a review unit of the SuperTooth DISCO portable stereo speaker. I was skeptical with regard to it due to the name: seriously?? Disco??? In 2011??, but after using it for the last week or so I’ve turned into a believer.
Let’s take a closer look.
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!
The SuperTooth Disco is designed to play music for hours on end. The integrated rechargeable battery ensures three to four hours of non-stop, high-volume music, and up to ten hours of moderately played melodies. Additionally, the SuperTooth Disco is sleek and compact, with a case that easily slides into a purse or bag.
Forget the wires, cables and other connectors; the SuperTooth Disco is compatible with the latest version of 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 advertised as a portable speaker system and while it is not as small at the Jawbone JamBox that Thomas has been raving about in recent weeks it is small enough to take with you on the go. The rectangular system measures in at 4″ by 14″ by 4″ and about 2 1/2 pounds.
The system works on both AC and DC power. When relying on the internal, rechargeable batter the DISCO gets a fairly impressive amount of runtime. At high volume it should last between 3 to 4 hours and if you back off the volume a bit and listen at medium volume you should see up to 10 hours of operation. Standby time is an unbelievable 1500 hours which comes to over 60 days that you can know the DISCO will pump out all the music you want once turned on. I did not do a scientific test of the battery life promises but I can tell you that I have only used it on battery and I’ve been amazed by how rarely it has needed to be recharged. It it EXCEPTIONALLY impressive.
The system has 2 speakers that offer 8 watts of power. There is also a 12 watt internal subwoofer. The system gets quite loud and only introduces distortion at higher volumes. Even then the distortion isn’t bad.
As you might expect the speakers are magnetic shielded so interference from your iPhone won’t be an issue.
I was surprised when I first opened the box and found that the DISCO ships with a soft neoprene-feeling case wrapped around it. When inside the DISCO is 97% protected.
The 3% that is “unprotected” is the small mesh-covered hole in the back.
At first I wasn’t sure what the point of this hole and the covered area next to it was.
I mean, if this is a case for protecting the SuperTooth DISCO, then why would it go almost all the way toward protecting it but then leave a small section vulnerable.
Turns out there is a good reason for this design decision. You see, the case isn’t simply meant to protect the DISCO when lugging it from one place to another. No, this is a case that NEVER needs to come off the speaker.
The front of the case drops down to reveal the speaker and control dial and buttons which the mesh area in the back allows the subwoofer to do its thing unimpeded.
The the “trap-door” area provides access to the DC adapter, Line In connection and charge indicator.
Of course you CAN remove the DISCO from the case and use it but you DON’T HAVE TO!
If you do choose to remove the speaker from the case you will find that it is a long, sleek rectangular box that has only one area of “interest”.
This dial area includes all the controls you need.
Surprisingly the DISCO does NOT include a remote. In addition to A2DP: Advanced Audio Distribution Profile, which provides the ability to stream over Bluetooth however it DOES include AVRCP: Audio/Video Remote Control Profile. AVRCP means you can control basic media playback from remote devices such as your iPhone or iPad. This means that, when streaming from a device such as an iPhone, the DEVICE will function as a basic controller. It works fine and I did not find myself missing the remote.
It is worth noting that the Bluetooth connectivity will show up as part of an iOS device’s AirPlay menu despite it being BT and WiFi/AirPlay.
The dial on the front of the DISCO offers the basic controls you will need. I like having the volume as a dial rather than Louder/Softer buttons. I know that might make me a bit old-school but the dial arrangement lets me increase and decrease the volume with greater speed and accuracy and I just prefer it.
Around the volume dial you will find buttons for Play/Pause, Next/Last and a Bass booster. The Base Booster works fine although I found myself preferring to have it on for some tracks and off for others depending largely on the style and “feel” of the music.
There is also a small indicator that tells you when the Bluetooth connection is active and the battery is low. Personally I found the light a bit annoying at times and wish it were on the top or side of the device.
Here’s a look at the back of the DISCO when it is not surrounded by its case. I would not say it is the most “stylish” speaker I have used but it certainly gets the job done. Personally I like the fact that it fades into the background rather than screaming “LOOK AT ME!!!!!”.
In all the SuperTooth DISCO has impressed me. No, it is not perfect but at an MSRP of under $150 it is priced right and offers great functionality, good sound and amazing battery life.
Would I recommend the DISCO to someone looking for the portable BlueTooth speaker? Absolutely. Unless you need something as small as the Jawbone JamBox or the ability to stream over Bluetooth AND WiFi (via a dongle) the way the Altec Lansing InMotion Air will this is a great choice. This DISCO costs less than those speakers and offers very good sound on the go.
The SuperTooth Disco is available from Amazon [affiliate link] and other retailers.
MSRP: $149.95 (Although you can find a nice discount through the affiliate link here and on our new sister site New Gear Daily)
What I Like: Fairly big sounds from a rather small, portable system; amazing battery life; low profile that fades into the background; real volume dial; comes with case and there is no need to remove it during use; good price with nice discounts already available
What Needs Improvement: No remote included; some distortion at full volume; wish the BT indicator light was on the side