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Cambridge Audio Minx M5 Sound and Conclusion

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MinxM5_inboxThe proof is not how the speakers look or how much I loved the control module. The proof is in how good the Cambridge Audio Minx M5 sounded. With the bass module basically pointed at my face (albeit from behind my monitor) and the satellites on either side I can sum up the Minx M5 sound thusly - Damn good.

For multimedia speakers they held up very well. Cambridge Audio has the Minx M5 rated down to 45Hz which is true. It isn't very loud but something is coming out of the speakers at 45Hz. If you are looking for real, usable output, you'd be better off closer to 70-80Hz. But there was significant output as low as 60Hz in my listening tests. And this is a multimedia speaker system we're talking about. Anything lower than 100Hz is pretty good in my book.

With 2" drivers in the sats, you can't expect them to give you much high end though the Minx M5 satellites do an admirable job. The highest frequencies distort audibly but most of the top end sounded pretty good. The midrange was clear and strong and a quick sweep of the test tones off my Rives Audio test CD didn't reveal any glaring holes in the frequency response. Even as the bass module crossed over into the satellites everything sounded very smooth and even. That may be partially because of how I placed the bass module, but I have to say I was very impressed. The Minx M5 multimedia speakers were obviously designed to provide as good of sound as then could within the design constraints.

I found the dynamic range to be pretty good though detail quickly got lost at lower volume levels. The soundstage was as large as it needed to be (wider than my desk) and imaging was very good. Left right separation, even though the speakers weren't that far apart, was impressively well defined. But, as desks tend to get cluttered, this was highly depended on making sure the speakers were evenly spaced and equidistant from me.

The bass, as I said, was lacking and it was most noticeable in bass heavy tracks from Yello (Junior B) and Seal (Crazy). In Junior B the bass run that I use to test out subwoofers was present in spirit only. It was like the scent of a quickly extinguished candle - you knew it was there but you just couldn't see it. The heavy bass of Seal's Crazy was completely missing though his vocals sounded absolutely stunning. Together the Minx M5 speakers make a very formidable force. A formidable force in dire need of a subwoofer.

And here is where I will get back on my soapbox. If there were some non-proprietary connections on the back of the Minx M5, you might think about adding a subwoofer to the mix to round the whole thing out. The high end deficiencies were minor but the lack of lower bass was really noticeable. Sure, once you started working and not paying so much attention, you didn't mind. I didn't at least. But every once in a while, I'd think about adding one of my subs. It would be nice to have the option.

Conclusion

I can take almost nothing away from the Cambridge Audio Minx M5. This multimedia speaker system sounds like it was designed by people that love good sound and really want to bring it to you. The problems come (for the most part) from the design constraints. You can only do so much with a couple of tiny satellites and a bass module. And Cambridge Audio did a lot with the Minx M5. The higher frequencies and midrange sound fantastic. I mean, REALLY good. Better the harder you listen to them. The bass isn't as deep as you'd like, but what are you going to do with a 5.25" woofer in an 8" cube? The real standout is the control module. Putting volume and power control where you can reach it is one thing. Pairing it with the main USB input, a 3.5mm input, and a headphone output is brilliant. The Cambridge Audio Minx M5 is a speaker system truly deserving of the moniker "Multimedia". This may be the only system you use with more than one device. And it will be so easy you'll wonder how you ever survived without it.

Cambridge Audio Minx M5 Multimedia Speaker System

MSRP $229

MinxM5_group

www.cambridgeaudio.com

The Score Card

The scoring below is based on each piece of equipment doing the duty it is designed for. The numbers are weighed heavily with respect to the individual cost of each unit, thus giving a rating roughly equal to:

Performance × Price Factor/Value = Rating

Audioholics.com note: The ratings indicated below are based on subjective listening and objective testing of the product in question. The rating scale is based on performance/value ratio. If you notice better performing products in future reviews that have lower numbers in certain areas, be aware that the value factor is most likely the culprit. Other Audioholics reviewers may rate products solely based on performance, and each reviewer has his/her own system for ratings.

Audioholics Rating Scale

  • StarStarStarStarStar — Excellent
  • StarStarStarStar — Very Good
  • StarStarStar — Good
  • StarStar — Fair
  • Star — Poor
MetricRating
Build QualityStarStarStarStarStar
AppearanceStarStarStarStarStar
Treble ExtensionStarStarStarStar
Treble SmoothnessStarStarStar
Midrange AccuracyStarStarStarStarStar
Bass ExtensionStarStar
Bass AccuracyStarStarStarStar
ImagingStarStarStarStar
SoundstageStarStarStar
Dynamic RangeStarStarStar
Fit and FinishStarStarStarStarStar
PerformanceStarStarStarStar
ValueStarStarStarStar
About the author:
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As Associate Editor at Audioholics, Tom promises to the best of his ability to give each review the same amount of attention, consideration, and thoughtfulness as possible and keep his writings free from undue bias and preconceptions. Any indication, either internally or from another, that bias has entered into his review will be immediately investigated. Substantiation of mistakes or bias will be immediately corrected regardless of personal stake, feelings, or ego.

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Recent Forum Posts:

theJman posts on February 19, 2014 13:40
The satellites have non-removable (I tried but I didn't want to risk breaking them) fabric grilles and the bass module has a slightly concave wire mesh grille.

If the sat's are like the Min 10's you need to twist the grill to remove it (to the left, if I recall correctly - I haven't listen to the pair I have in a while).


But, when I first turned these on, they sounded very harsh. I played with placement at first but eventually just forgot about it. Later, I thought they sounded better. I left for a week for a vacation and fully expected that they would once again sound harsh as my ears had “unbroken” in. But that wasn't the case. They still sounded pretty good to me.

That's quite true; out of the box the BMR driver sounds awful, and definitely ‘warms up’ after a good 25 or more hours.


The really unique part of the Minx M5 speakers is the control module.

That control modules appearance is virtually identical to the BMR driver itself, which is a brilliant tie-in on CA's part.


I'm very sensitive to subwoofer placement. I found an 80Hz crossover to be too high in most cases

What did you ultimately run the crossover at (assuming it's adjustable, of course)? For the Min 10's anything lower than 120Hz is going to create a massive hole in the crossover region. Realistically, 150Hz is probably better.


BTW… the first paragraph in the Overview sections contains the line "All the speakers were covered with a very thin cotton fabric because AUDIOPHILE!". Not sure what you had intended to publish, but I doubt that was it.
vjsanaiz posts on February 18, 2014 15:08
Have you been able to determine what the specs on the DAC are? I recently was looking a the B&W MM1s, but was slightly turned off by learning that the built in DAC is 16 bit 44.1 Khz. I cannot find the specs for the M5s
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