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Great Sound from Small Packages

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Category: Hardware Published on Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Two Small Speaker Systems from EQD and SuperTooth Deliver Big Sound

I’m obsessed with sound! In fact, putting me in a room filled with woofers, tweeters and a subwoofer delivering pure, delightful music from a high-quality amplifier is the best way to keep me from annoying you.

So, when I’m offered the chance to test two compact speaker/sound systems that deliver “a roomful of sound” from a small package, I’m hooked.

The Auria 5.1 soundbar from EQD Corp. ($199) and the SuperTooth Disco ($149) deliver on their promises, although use of the word “roomful” may be stretching their capabilities a bit.

The Auria soundbar I tested is designed to be used with 42-inch flat-panel TVs. There’s a less-expensive 2.1 version that is made for smaller TV sets.

The soundbar is designed to be mounted under your TV set (hence the size specification) or it can be placed on a counter or tabletop. But, in reality, either unit can be used with any TV if you don’t care about the size differential between the TV and the speaker system.

Basically, units of this type are designed for smaller rooms (dorms, bedrooms, etc.) where mounting a full-scale sound system isn’t practical.

The Auria delivers 105 watts of power to five speakers and a subwoofer, all of which are contained in a slim, hand-crafted wood cabinet. It’s designed to simulate 5.1 surround sound, even though all of the speakers are in front of you.

The sound is crisp and pure without distortion, unless you crank these speakers up to a level that would annoy the neighbors. Truthfully, I haven’t found a speaker system that won’t distort a high volume.

It’s very easy to install. Simply attach two or five audio cables to the soundbar and your TV.

There’s also a small remote designed to separately control the volume from the front, center and rear speakers and the subwoofer. Curiously, the remote lacks a power button, so you have to get up from your seat to turn the system on or off.

The quality of the sound delivered by the Auria soundbar surprised me. I was expecting decent reproduction of highs, lows, etc., but what I got was a high-quality simulation of surround sound that, truthfully, can rival many larger sound systems.

Check out the company’s website at www.eqdcorp.com for more information on the Auria soundbar and technical specs.

The SuperTooth Disco ($149) (also marketed as the BlueAnt M1) is a portable, Bluetooth A2DP enabled speaker system designed to work with any portable device including smartphones, tablet computers or MP3 players. You can also use the audio cable that comes with the unit to attach any device that doesn’t have Bluetooth.

Weighing in at a hair over 2.5 pounds, this portable unit delivers 28 watts of power through two speakers and a subwoofer. This does tax the battery a bit, but it still can deliver up to four hours of playing time between charges.

Most small speaker systems tend to fall short on sound quality, but this is where the Disco really shines. The sound is pure and crisp, even when using a Bluetooth connection.

The instructions specify that all Bluetooth devices be within 32 feet of the speaker system, but I was able to stretch it out a bit further without experiencing a drop in quality.

More information on the SuperTooth Disco can be found on the company’s website at www.supertooth.net.

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