For those of you who are seeking good audio whilst on the move, perhaps check out the Minirig 3.
I just received one a couple of days ago and my jaw has planted firmly on the floor since.
The Minirig 3 is a non-descript cyinder around 100mm dia x 75mm high and has a single 70mm driver and an alleged 40w of RMS power, and 100hrs of battery life if used sparingly. One can also use 2 as a stereo pair and there’s a subwoofer option. It’s quite a hefty price at 140quid a pop.
I’d had my eye on one for a long while and read excellent things about it, but I was sceptical.
My main worry were, could a minirig be “that” good with only 1 small driver and in such a small enclosure? I’d enjoyed a Riva Turbo immensely until a year or so back when the battery fail on my 5 year old unit.
I’m a stickler for good sound as most are on these pages and have a range of home speakers up to a decent level (Adam Audio, Kef, etc), and a range of DACs and decent DAPs and IEM’s and headphones. I’m not averse to a bit of critical listening.
I received the Minirig 3 yesterday and am simply blown away by the sound quality. This review is about the sound.
How to describe the sound of the M3…It’s literally like taking the treble, midrange and upper bass out of a decent full sized speaker and holding it your hand.
Will get another one for Xmas so I can have stereo. An absolute must, although one speaker pumps out the most remarkable sound which is entirely captivating.
Notably, this is a very fast speaker, with little or no overhang or bass bloat. It’s accurate, and very responsive, to sudden changes in dynamics.
Transients are just lighteningly quick, which means that there’s very little congestion in complex music even in mono. Timbre of acoustic instruments is great and the bass goes decidely deep for such a small box. On Tracy Chapman’s Fast Car there’s a bass guitar note at the start which is usually a whisper on bluetooth speakers but the Minirig will play that quite OK, a few DB’s down of course, but it plays it, and with definition. Moreover, generally, bass lines are tuneful as well as defined; it’s not a one-note bass.
Midrange as expected, is the defining feature. Vocals are very impressive as are guitars, acoustic and electric. There’s a definition within the notes which is unexpected. There’s texture to the notes themselves. Well recorded drums are brilliant. There’s a section at the beginning of the 2nd track of Billy Cobham’s Spectrum which has some amazing solo drumming leading into a very rhythmic track and the Minirig handles this as well as anything I’ve heard (on a small scale): timbre, definition, dynamics and rhythm and pace(PRAT) are all there.
Although this little marvel will go loud, it is just fine at low volumes. The sense ability, balance and accuracy are all there at lower levels which makes it a brilliant speaker for more intimate, perhaps late night sessions when you don’t want to raise the roof, or perhaps if you have to keep the volume down for neighbours etc. eg. I’m quite happy listening now at 71/120 on my Fiio M11 playing APTX out to the Minirig on low gain. In fact it can get a bit annoying having all that information firing in your face if you crank it up. Listening at higher volumes, rather like a big speaker setup, needs some space, and the M3 is no exception. The minirig sounds really good at about 10ft (3m) distance at higher volumes. Indeed, if I close my eyes and listen to some well-recorded music, the M3 disappears acoustically as any very good speaker should. It’s that good.
The unit is designed to be upward firing, that’s clear, but I find on-axis is clearer, more “referenence” sounding. The great zip-bag which comes with the unit can act as a speaker-stand for this, which is a nice touch.
Overall, I can’t recommend this enough to anyone who is seeking accuracy and definition. This is definitely NOT the standard boom-box, biggest bang for buck, speaker and some customers will be disillusioned or confused when they hear it, having been weaned on such muddy-sounding devices. People may confuse accuracy with a lean sound. I will add that I think the moniker of loudest small speaker is a bit of a misnomer. I think it detracts from the real strength of the Minirig 3 which is it’s almost audiophile potential. Put it on top of a “real” speaker and compare directly from a distance and the M3 will hold its own quite well which is no mean feat for a thing the size of a coffee cup.
The Minirig 3 is a speaker which has me going through my collection to see how things sound with fresh ears and insight. It’s that sort of speaker.
I just can’t wait to get a 2nd one for stereo
ps…I’ve just set the Minirig 3 up against a single ADAM A5X and the M3, I would say, is comparable, if leaner sounding to the far larger A5X. There is extra bass weight with the A5X That the Minirig can’t compete with, but it’s not an awful difference, and the Minirig, dare I say it, is actually better in the mids? That this comparison is viable at all is just jaw dropping.
This is truly an exceptional device for its size (and price).