Call it conditioning, developed over many years: Tiny speakers always make me think, “Oh boy, is this going to sound tinny.” That’s why I was so pleasantly surprised by the Democracy Revolving Portable Bluetooth Speaker. Made by folks with backgrounds in car audio, Democracy handles deep bass with aplomb and displays no noticeable distortion even when it’s cranked all the way up.
Pairing Democracy with my Samsung Galaxy S4 via Bluetooth 3.0 was a snap. Within less than a minute, I was listening to music on SoundCloud, cranking some Russian Circles (heavy rock) and then some Death Grips (uncategorizable, really, but let’s just say “profane extraterrestrial hip hop”), and I kept feeling the need to turn the speaker down because I thought I was going to disturb people in the adjoining office. I can’t believe I got such big, smooth sound out of a speaker about the size of a squarish baseball. Same happened when I paired Democracy with my Chromebook. The Bluetooth range of Democracy is rated at 33 feet.
What really impressed me was that no matter how loud I turned it up or how bass-heavy the music was, I never heard a hint of distortion from Democracy. Obviously, you’re not getting all of the rich, round, deep bass tones that you would with a bigger system, but just hearing any bottom end at all out of this kind of speaker is impressive.
The calling card feature of Democracy, aside from its awesome sound for its size, is its Revolving Axis System. Essentially, the speaker can be rotated into three different positions. This is especially helpful if the speaker is not directly in front of you or, in Democracy’s words, for “optimal speaker placement and maximum sound dispersion.” Indeed.
Powering the speaker is a 50 mm custom-designed neodymium wide-frequency driver. The company claims this setup “holds a much stronger magnetic field than a traditional ceramic magnet,” and produces “the least possible distortion.” Given what I heard, I have to agree.
Democracy claims the speaker’s built-in rechargeable Lithium-Ion battery provides up to eight hours of playing time, which matched up with my experience. The best part is that it charges via micro USB, so there’s no bulky power adapter to weigh me down, and no need to search for available power outlets, especially when I’m in a hotel room (why do hotel chains skimp so much on power outlets?) or spending time outdoors. An LED provides battery status and indicates when it’s time to recharge.
Want a direct, wired connection from the speaker to your music source? That’s available via the speaker’s clever “imperceivable” built-in 3.5mm audio cable, which subtly and snugly hides under the base of the speaker when not in use.
You can even use Democracy as a speakerphone. I did, and it was easy-peasy and the conversation was clear as day. I stood up to test its range and the person I called could hear me clearly while I was standing across the room from both the phone and Democracy.
Recommended for those who want big sound from a small package.