It's the classic conundrum: everybody wants the smallest possible speakers and subwoofer, but nobody wants to give up sound quality. Then reality sets in and you hear the size constraints taking their toll on the sound.
Namely, little speakers don't make bass, and even bolstered by a subwoofer, the bass and oomph limitations become painfully obvious with action packed films like Master & Commander.
Two Canadian speaker companies, Energy and Mirage, believe they have devised effective engineering solutions to the size problem. They were in Manhattan last week to show-off their itsy-bitsy creations, and I have to say I was impressed (full CNET reviews by yours truly are in the works).
First up, Energy's RC-Micro home theater, "designed to combine high style and immense sound in a remarkably compact 5.1 speaker package." Standing just 4.7 inches high and weighing slightly over a pound, each RC-Micro SAT speaker has a .5-inch hyperbolic chambered aluminum dome tweeter and a 2.5-inch high excursion aluminum cone micro-driver.
Bass for the system is supplied by the 240-watt ESW-CS8 compact subwoofer with an 8-inch injection-molded woofer. The sats and sub played well together, so well it was hard to believe all that great sound was coming from this tiny $1,000 system, but it was.
Mirage's new ultra teensy MX home theater sat/system was, in some ways, even more impressive. Each two-way, 4.3-inch tall MX speaker can handle 100 watts. The polycarbon cabinets feel nice and solid, they're finished in high-gloss black.
Where conventional speakers only project sound forward, Mirage speakers have 360 degree dispersion. The MX sats' .63-inch pure titanium hybrid tweeter and 2.5-inch aluminum woofer fire up into "Omniguide" diffusers that create the speaker's omni-directional dispersion.
The gambit works wonders and the wee speakers really did create a room filling sound. Oh, and the subwoofer? It's an 8-inch cube constructed of medium-density fiberboard, with an 800-watt amplifier, dual 6.5-inch black anodized aluminum passive radiators and a 6.5-inch black anodized woofer.
The MX home theater is slated to launch in October with a MSRP of $1,200. The Energy system should be available this month.