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Cambridge Audio Minx S215 review

Seth Barton
27 Aug 2013
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
500
inc VAT

Looking for tiny home cinema speakers for a small living room? Then look no further

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For decades Cambridge Audio has developed its Hi-Fi and speaker products in the UK and sold them through the legendary Richer Sounds chain. Now you might argue that those two facts are incidental, but it actually makes a significant difference both to the design of the Cambridge Audio Minx S215 speaker package, and the way you buy it.

The UK is cursed with small living spaces, with some of the most compact front rooms of anywhere in the western world. Cambridge Audio has certainly recognised that here with an incredibly-compact 5.1 system designed to shine in such small spaces.

As its only on sale at Richer Sounds there's no browsing around for the cheapest price. Aside from a little possible bargaining in the shop, you pay the price asked. That might sound like a bad thing but it does mean you can buy them in confidence today, knowing that you won't see them for a £100 less next week elsewhere; and Cambridge Audio argue that it helps them keep prices down as there's no distributor in the chain and more efficient stock management.

SATELLITES

Back to the speakers themselves, the key component here is the Min 11 speaker (updated earlier this year from the original 2011 Min 10), with five in the package. Each is a 78x78x85mm near-cube, available in black and white/silver (pictured) to fit most decors and tastes, these tiny speakers practically disappear once you've got them installed. On the rear are binding posts which slide out if you want to use banana plugs instead.

Cambridge Audio Minx S215

A screw in the rear can be used to attach a basic supplied right-angle wall mount. However, you also have the option of adding desk stands, pivoting wall mounts or suitably slender floor mounts if that suits your space better (£10 each, £15 or £80 per pair respectively).

Cambridge Audio Minx S215

Each satellite contains a single 2.25in driver. However, these aren't standard drivers, but instead a hybrid design incorporating technology from flat-panel loudspeakers. Such Balanced Mode Radiator (BMR) drivers blend the piston-like action of regular drivers with the surface vibrations of flat-panel speakers. This gives the speaker a broader range than you'd expect for such a tiny, single driver, running from 120Hz upwards.

SUBWOOFER

The X200 subwoofer is also compact at 210x219x222mm and again a near-cube shape. It also shares the gloss-finish of the satellites. This 200W powered subwoofer has a single 6.5in forward-firing driver, so you can place the speaker pretty much anywhere. There are two passive radiators, which give a nice clean-sounding bass down to a respectable 39Hz. You're not getting a room-shaking kind of bass here, but turn it up and there's plenty of rumble for most tastes, and certainly enough to balance out the output of those tiny speakers.

Cambridge Audio Minx S215

There's automatic power control, so it doesn't stay on when not in use. The dials for volume, phase and crossover have a nice firm feel and click incrementally as you adjust them. Cambridge Audio have marked the suggested settings for the Min 11 satellite and its larger sibling the Min 21. There are phono inputs and outputs for passing through stereo sources too.

Cambridge Audio Minx S215

AUDIO QUALITY

Despite the clever technology at work here, such a small speaker package is never going to be really suitable for larger rooms, but it's fine for the living rooms of small terrace houses - which are hardly uncommon here in the UK. In such a room the speakers fill it admirably with a complete soundstage and effects which shift smoothly around the room.

Dialogue is clear, gunshots zing across the room and orchestral soundtracks seem to fill the room, with strings singing over the brass sections. The satellites dig deep enough too, with the lower mid-range admirably catered for.

The crossover to the subwoofer is still relatively high though at 120Hz, and so you'll want to position the subwoofer sensibly in order to reduce any sense of direction from the highest frequencies it's being asked to reproduce. With it sat directly behind us though, we had no such problems but you may need to play with its position and angle. The subwoofer reacts quickly, with the bass keeping pace with fast-moving content.

Overall, the system sounds clear and composed, in comparison to slightly larger, dual-driver speakers it compares very well, though if your neighbours aren't an issue you won't be blowing the roof of with these speakers. For music it's a little less impressive, especially in stereo. The lack of upper bass frequencies from the speakers was more noticeable, compared to our usual bookshelf speakers, but then there's bound to be some downside to such tiny satellites.

CONCLUSION

If you're looking for a truly tiny and stylish 5.1 speaker package then it's hard to fault the Cambridge Audio Minx S215. If you're happy to spend more and want a slightly more rounded sound and more raw power then the Q Acoustics 7000 Cinema package is a great step up and is still our Best Buy. If the Minx S215 package suits your needs however, and it will suit many people we think, then it's a great buy.

Specifications

Rating*****
Speaker configuration5.1
RMS power output450W
Power consumption standbyN/A
Power consumption onN/A
Analogue inputssatellites: stereo binding posts, subwoofer: phono
Digital inputsnone
Dock connectorN/A
Headphone outputN/A
Satellite cable lengthsN/A
Cable typeN/A
Controls locatedN/A
Digital processingN/A
Tone controlsN/A
Price£500
Supplierhttp://www.richersounds.com
Detailswww.cambridgeaudio.com

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