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Cambridge Audio Minx S215 5.1 Channel Speaker System - Product Review

Introduction to the Cambridge Audio Minx S215 5.1 Channel Speaker System

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Cambridge Audio Minx S215 5.1 Channel Speaker System - Full View

Cambridge Audio Minx S215 5.1 Channel Speaker System - Full View

Photo (c) Robert Silva - Licensed to About.com
One reason consumers shy away from home theater is all the speakers, and the space they take up. As a result, consumers get seduced by speaker systems that tout great sounding "tiny" speakers. Some of these systems are cheaply priced and sound cheap, and some are very expensive, but still don't deliver. How do you strike a balance? I have reviewed several good sounding compact speaker systems, but the Minx S215 5.1 channel speaker system perked my ears up. After reading this review, for additional perspective and closer look, also check out my supplementary Photo Profile.

Product Overview - Minx Min10 Satellite Speakers

1. Driver: 1 x 2.25-inches BMR (Balanced Mode Radiator)

2. Frequency Response: 140Hz-20kHz.

3. Sensitivity: 85db, Impedance: 8 ohms.

4. Power Handling: 15-50 Watts Recommended (A HREF="http://hometheater.about.com/od/hometheaterglossary/g/continuousdef.htm">RMS)

5. Weight: 0.95lbs (0.43kg), Dimensions (H x W x D): 3.1 x 3.1 x 3.3-inches (78 x 78 x 85mm)

6. Mounting options: Counter/Shelf/Table or On Wall.

7. Finish Options: Black or White

Product Overview - Minx X200 Powered Subwoofer

1. Driver: Front Firing 6.5-inch main driver supported by 2 side mounted 6.5-inch passive radiators. The Passive radiators extend the low frequency extension of the subwoofer by adding additional surface area for the sound to disperse.

2. Frequency Response: 39Hz (-6dB) to 200Hz, Power Output: 200 watts RMS

3. Phase: 0 to 180 degrees (continuously adjustable).

4. Crossover: Active Adjustable - 50Hz-200Hz

5. Connections: RCA Line input (LFE), AC power receptacle, Power On/Off: Two-way toggle.

6. Dimensions: (H x W x D) 8.6 x 8.3 x 8.7-inches (219 x 210 x 222mm).

7. Weight: 11.0lbs (5.0K)

8. Available in Black or White

When picking up or moving the subwoofer, be careful not to damage the side mounted passive radiators.

For a look at the speakers, subwoofer, and their connections and control options, check out my supplementary Cambridge Audio Minx S215 5.1 Channel Speaker System Photo Profile.

Minx BMR Technology

Cambridge Audio's Minx series speakers are more than just compact, they also house an innovative speaker design, referred to as a Balanced Mode Radiator.

Cambridge Audio Minx S215 5.1 Channel Speaker System - Min10 Satellite Speaker - Front Grill Off

Cambridge Audio Minx S215 5.1 Channel Speaker System - Min10 Satellite Speaker - Front Grill Off

Photo (c) Robert Silva - Licensed to About.com
Instead of a traditional speaker cone, BMR technology combines a flat panel radiating surface with the piston motion of a traditional loudspeaker. This results in extended frequency response and very wide sound dispersion. As a result, the Minx series speakers produces room filling sound from a very small physical footprint.

Also, unlike most traditional cone speakers, BMR technology not only facilitates wide dispersion in the horizontal plane, but also in the vertical plane. What this means to the listener is that the Min10s project sound well beyond the confines of its small physical footprint.

So how did the Minx S215 system perform? First, take a look at the additional components I used to test the system and then proceed through the rest of the review.

Additional Hardware Used in This Review

Home Theater Receivers Harman Kardon AVR147, Anthem MRX700 (on review loan). NOTE: Both receivers were used in 5.1 channel operating mode for this review.

Source Components:

Blu-ray Disc Player: OPPO BDP-93 used to play Blu-ray, CD, SACD, and DVD-Audio Discs.

CD-only Player sources included: Technics SL-PD888 and Denon DCM-370 5-disc CD Changers.

Loudspeaker/Subwoofer Systems Used for Comparison:

System #1: Klipsch Quintet III in combination with Polk PSW10 Subwoofer.

System #2: Loudspeaker/Subwoofer System 2: EMP Tek E5Ci center channel speaker, four E5Bi compact bookshelf speakers for left and right main and surrounds, and an ES10i 100 watt powered subwoofer.

TV/Monitor: A Westinghouse Digital LVM-37w3 1080p LCD Monitor

Audio/Video connections made with Accell, and AR Interconnect cables. 16 Gauge Speaker Wire used.

Level checks made using a Radio Shack Sound Level Meter

Additional Software Used in This Review

3D Blu-ray Discs: Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs, Despicable Me, Disney's A Christmas Carol, Goldberg Variations Acoustica, and Resident Evil: Afterlife.

2D Blu-ray Discs: Across The Universe, Avatar (2D), Hairspray, Iron Man 1&2, Kick Ass, Percy Jackson and The Olympians: The Lightning Thief, Shakira - Oral Fixation Tour, Sherlock Holmes, Tangled, and The Dark Knight.

Standard DVDs: Hero, House of the Flying Daggers, Kill Bill - Vol 1/2, Kingdom of Heaven (Director's Cut), Lord of Rings Trilogy, Master and Commander, and U571

CDs: Al Stewart - Uncorked, Beatles - LOVE, Blue Man Group - The Complex, Joshua Bell - Bernstein - West Side Story Suite, Eric Kunzel - 1812 Overture, HEART - Dreamboat Annie, Nora Jones - Come Away With Me, Sade - Soldier of Love.

DVD-Audio discs included: Queen - Night At The Opera/The Game, Eagles - Hotel California, and Medeski, Martin, and Wood - Uninvisible, Sheila Nicholls - Wake.

SACD discs used included: Pink Floyd - Dark Side Of The Moon, Steely Dan - Gaucho, The Who - Tommy.

Audio Performance - Min10 Satellite Speakers

Whether listening at low or high volume levels, I found that the Min10's delivered clear sound, that was lively and surprising well dispersed.

For music vocals were distinctive and detailed. I would say the only complaint with that sound was a little thin in the lower midrange, but compared very well with the Klipsch Quintet speaker system used for comparison. In fact, in terms of vertical sound dispersion, the Min10s faired better than the Quintets.

Cambridge Audio Minx S215 5.1 Channel Speaker System - X200 Subwoofer - Front View Grill Off

Cambridge Audio Minx S215 5.1 Channel Speaker System - X200 Subwoofer - Front View Grill Off

Photo (c) Robert Silva - Licensed to About.com
For movies and other video programming, the satellite speaker assigned to the left, right, and surround channels performed very well with the same characteristics as the Min10 assigned to the center channel.

With Dolby and DTS-related movie soundtracks, the satellite speakers not only did a great job reproducing a widely dispersed sound image that filled the room, with very little gap as sounds moved from channel to channel, but Min10's also produced good detail for their small size as well providing a sense of direction. Good examples of this are provided by the "Echo Game" scene in House of the Flying Daggers the "Blue Room" scene in Hero, and the first "Battle Scene" from Master and Commander. Also, another great test for the Min10's was Disney's Tangled, which contained a good cross section of music and surround action sequences.

On music-based material, the system faired better than I was expecting and did well with Queen's Bohemian Rhapsody, Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon, and Dave Matthews/Blue Man Group's Sing Along, and the orchestral sound field in Joshua Bell's performance of the The West Side Story Suite.

On the other hand, I found that the Min10's are somewhat subdued in the lower midrange tones and harmonics produced by pianos and other acoustical musical instruments. This was evident in the Norah Jones album, Come Away With Me. Although on par with the Klispch Quintet's performace in this area, the Min10's couldn't do the job that the much larger EMP system that I also used for this review. However, we are talking apples and oranges, especially in speaker size and power handling capability.

Proceed to Page 2: Subwoofer Performance, Pros/Cons, and Final Take.

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