Tweeters: 25mm x 2
Woofers: 75mm x 2
Dedicated Subwoofers: 135mm x 2
Supported Formats: MP3, WMA, AAC,LPCM
Internal Memory: 4GB
Power Output: 40w
Power Source: 10-D batteries/ACadapter
• Battle mode
·Excellent sound quality
·Variety of connectivity options
• Extremely large and heavy
• Not all compatible cables included in package
• Cannot utilize all features without MIXTRAX software
Battle and DJ Mix modes and the capacity to deliver loud and powerful sound make the Pioneer STEEZ Crew the ideal portable sound system for dance troupes that practice, perform, and engage in dance battles in large spaces.
When the Pioneer STEEZ Crew arrived in our office, we didn’t quite know what to do with it. It was billed as a portable music system designed with dancers and dance battles in mind, yet none of us were dancers, and we sure as hell weren’t bodily adept enough to engage in any kind of battle. We were, however, ardent lovers of music, and we liked our tunes loud. I guess that was enough to encourage us to give the big red beast ago.
There are a lot of ultra-light and compact portable sound systems out there, and the STEEZ Crew isn’t one of them. In fact, it took me all the strength I had in my biceps to hoist the monstrous thing out of its box. The STEEZ Crew is about a meter long and roughly Skg in weight, which is why we wouldn’t call it”portable”for the average person. It is the biggest brother in the STEEZ line-up; the other two models are called the Duo and the Solo.
After managing to heave it all the way to our meeting area, we did a quick check of its parts and buttons. As you can imagine, the STEEZ Crew has a long and thick handle on top of its huge, blaster gun-shaped body. Sitting atop the handle are essentially all the controls you need: the power button, the function button that lets you select the music source, the volume and track controls, tempo controls, the DJ Mix button, and the button that launches Battle mode. All the buttons are made of rubber and glow electric blue whenever pressed.
On the lower back of the device, you’ll find a heap of connectivity options. There’s a microphone jack, a mini USB port that lets you connect the STEEZ Crew to your PC, a standard USB port that lets you play music from your portable drive, a headphones jack, and an auxiliary port.
As mentioned, pressing the function button on the handle allows you to select your music source. There are four options: Memory, USB, AUX, and iPod. Selecting Memory gives you access to the tracks that are preloaded into the device. You’ll be able to choose from a roster of songs displayed on the device’s 3.5-inch LED QVGA screen. You can also add more songs, as the STEEZ Crew holds 4GB of internal memory. Selecting USB, meanwhile, lets you play tacks from the flash drive that you plug into the rear panel. Navigation of the tracks takes place on the LED screen as well. Likewise, choosing AUX plays music from the device plugged into the auxiliary port, and selecting iPod plays tracks from the docked iPod or iPhone.
We initially had trouble locating the iPod dock-that is until we unlocked what seemed like an opening of a time capsule. We docked our iPod Nano, closed the lid, and prepared ourselves for massive sound, which the STEEZ Crew most certainly delivered. We were absolutely taken back by the intensity of the audio that was enough to fill our entire office. Heck, the neighbors probably heard the music, too, but we were lucky enough not to have heard the proverbial angry knock on the door. What’s great about the loudness of the speakers is that it doesn’t distort the audio in any way when cranked up at high volume. Whether played at moderate loudness or full blast, the tracks remained well-rounded, with a good mix of bass and treble. The bass is very powerful, thanks to the dedicated subwoofers, but the highs were still resonant. While the tracks loaded in our iPod weren’t really dance-crew material, we enjoyed the richness of the sound and the vigor of the instruments. Why, even a Norah Jones song managed to sound intense.
Pressing the DJ Mix button cues up similar songs by genre or speed. You even get transitions between each track. Battle mode launches a countdown timer, which sets the interval at which two dance crews or individual dancers can outkrump each other.
When you connect the STEEZ Crew to your PC using the provided USB-tominiUSB cable, you’ll be prompted to download software called MIXTRAX, which allows you to make use of all the dance-appropriate features of the speakers, such as determine the beats per minute (BPM) rate of your tracks and set up 8-beat skips and dance cues.
Other feats include being able to change the tempo of the track without altering the pitch. It also comes with a slim, pocketable remote control.
There are two ways to power up the STEEZ Crew. First, you can plug it into an electrical socket via the AC adapter included in the box. Second, you can arm it with 1 0 D batteries. We weren’t able to push the battery life to its limits, but we were able to get a decent five hours of moderatevolume listening.
With the powerful sound it can produce, the STEEZ Crew can fill even the largest of spaces with intense, thumping beats, and with the heap of things it can do, I’m positive that it’ll serve the likes of the Jabbawockeez and The Philippine All-Stars rather well.
First published in Gadgets Magazine, June 2013
Words by Racine Anne Castro