digiZoid zo “Personal Subwoofer” Review

“Blow Your Mind.  Not Your Ears” was the tagline that caught my attention.

In the 1980s, I was always seen walking between high school classes wearing my skinny ties and jeans with a portable cassette player.  At one point, in an effort to improve my listening experience, I even had a battery-operated portable 5-band graphic equalizer clipped to my belt.  It was the size of a typical “Walkman” unit and bulky, but it sure sounded good… except for the really high noise floor.  The EQ added a lot of background hiss that you could hear during quiet parts.

Nearly 30 years later, the zo, by digiZoid comes along.  It’s billed as “the first speakerless subwoofer & electronic audio enhancement device”.  Looked like a tiny EQ to me.  Was it?

The zo with a USB charging cable and two audio cables

The zo comes with several cables.  The mini-USB is for charging.  It does not come with a charger.  You must supply your own.  Two audio cables are also included.  One is 4″ long, the other 40″ long.

Here are the tech specs:

Audio

  • Frequency Response (20Hz – 20kHz): ±0.25 dB
  • Dynamic Range: 87.6 dB(A)
  • Total Harmonic Distortion: 0.003%
  • Total Harmonic Distortion + Noise: -80.9 dB(A)
  • Stereo Crosstalk: -89.4 dB(A)

Physical

  • Dimensions: 1.5 x 0.38 x 2.75 in.
  • Weight: 0.94 oz.

Connectivity

  • Audio Input/Output: 3.5mm stereo jack
  • Input Impedance: 15 kohms
  • Output Impedance: 0.2 ohms

Power

  • USB-rechargeable lithium-polymer
  • Rapid Charge Time (80% capacity): 1 hr
  • Full Charge Time: 2 hrs
  • Avg. Play Time: 6-12 hrs. (depends on contour profile)

One included stereo cable is 40" long. The short one is 4" long.

One goes to your music player, the other to your headphones.

The right side preset toggle and power switch

Mini USB charging port

The right side dial pushes in to turn the zo on and off.  Toggling the dial up or down runs you through various presets.  The LED on the front glows from red (more boost) to green (less boost).

Less boost

...and more boost

And what does this boost do?  Well, digiZoid calls it SmartVector.  In layman’s terms, it gives the listener the impression of more “oomph”.  I can’t describe it any further.

The explanation from digiZoid:

digiZoid® SmartVector™ sound contouring technology utilizes a new method of sound enhancement, which is expected to become the foundation for future audio system design. It doesn’t employ standard audio enhancement techniques such as: crossfeed, low-frequency bandwidth extension, common equalization schemes, or digital signal processing algorithms.

Instead, we approached the problem from a different angle, and engineered from the perspective of the human auditory system. Our solution is therefore based on principles of hearing sensitivity, psychoacoustics, and in particular, psophometric filtering. SmartVector technology deviates from many of the established audio industry standards; and as a result, breaks some well-known stereotypes (i.e., you can’t get big bass out of small speakers, because you actually can with SmartVector).

Apple Earbuds, with/without the zo (from digizoid.com)

The zo next to an iPhone 4

And how does it sound, to me?  I don’t claim to have golden ears, but I like robust bass like most people.  I do not enjoy bone-rattling thumping in the car.  I’m outside that demographic!  No matter what headphones I threw at it- from cheapie earbuds to my Sennheiser PX-100ii’s, music sounded richer and fuller.  Yes it did sound like I had a subwoofer in my head.  Not a ginormous one, but quite pleasant.

There are some drawbacks.  As you can see, you now have an added item to lug around, and there’s no real good way to carry it.  A belt clip might have been handy.  At least you have a short and long cable to suit your needs.

The other negative?  I can’t go back to listening to my iPod/iPhone without the zo.  It’s ruined my regular music enjoyment, and I’m hooked.  Is it audiophile quality?  Probably not.  I did detect some very minute background noise when no music was playing, and I’m sure someone will throw this on some pricey bit of test equipment in an anechoic chamber eventually.  But I don’t care.  The zo is just fun!  And no, you can’t have mine.

A naughty iSobot borrows my digiZoid zo, rocks out to Foghat.

 

Product Information

Price:$99
Manufacturer:digiZoid
Cons:
  • If you have golden ears, the lack of customization and audio snobbery may not be for you.
  • A belt clip would have been nice. And, you may not be able to listen to music without it anymore.
Posted in: Audio, Video, TV Gear, iPhone, iPad, iPod, Reviews

{ 10 comments… add one }

  • Andrew Baker July 30, 2010, 1:50 pm

    I’ll be the first to say it.

    “Is that A sub-woofer in your pocket….. or…”

    1
  • Jackie Cheng July 30, 2010, 1:55 pm

    Wonder if it will work with laptops. Headphone jack to subwoofer to line-in playing back out through laptop speakers.

    2
  • Karen Berg July 30, 2010, 3:59 pm

    Jackie,

    Your config would definitely work!

    3
  • fuchikoma-x July 30, 2010, 4:46 pm

    I own one. it makes mediocre headphones into awesome “bass-able” kit. the treble will become distorted at a high setting but you won’t need to crank this up to appreciate the quality of this digital enhancer. problem is you need a NITE IZE “CLIPPER” (SELF ADHESIVE MOUNT THAT MIMICS THE SANSA CLIP ATTACHMENTS SO YOU CAN HANG IT ON THE POCKET, SHIRT, ETC…) btw…it’s an analog adapter. so the question is moot when it comes to “does it work with a PC/laptop?”

    4
  • John July 30, 2010, 9:36 pm

    Was all set to order at your quote of $99 but went to their site and found out it was actually $119 so decided not to.

    5
  • Karen Berg July 30, 2010, 9:52 pm

    John, we’re sorry! Somehow when we were currently updating our site, the price got switched back to $119! But now it has been fixed!

    6
  • John Royse August 1, 2010, 1:31 pm

    THANKS! With the original price restored, I ordered and am looking forward to the results.

    7
  • John August 6, 2010, 1:05 pm

    5 stars for this one. Quick delivery. Easy to set up(2 hr charge time but well worth the wait). Used it both iPhone to earphones and notebook to speakers. And it does indeed spoily you for going back to your music as it was.

    8
  • Bose August 14, 2011, 12:43 am

    What happens if i connect it to a Bose Car Audio system that already has a sub woofer? Does it really add anything to it?

    9
  • Andy Chen August 14, 2011, 12:53 am

    Assuming you mean from the source, like an aux input, yeah. No guarantee on how it would sound, though.

    10

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