Cambridge Audio Minx M5 Speakers
Glancing at the back of the satellite speakers, you'll notice that they have a connected cable. If you follow it to the end, you'll find a proprietary connection. Begin groaning noises now. I'm a big proponent of using standard, and preferably removable, cables. With RCA, speaker terminals, and any number of other cable types out there, using a proprietary connection on a non-removable cable just strikes me as either shortsighted or haughty. "We know what you need. What kind of idiot would place their satellite speaker further away than six feet from the bass module?"
What if I'm just that kind of idiot?
Of course, Cambridge Audio is probably right. No one would put their satellite speakers that far away. While the M5 Minx satellite speakers have a stand, there is no provision for wall mounting. While this might be an unusual occurrence for such a speaker, it is not unheard of to have small, cube speakers mounted to a wall next to the computer monitor they are supporting. A keyhole mount at the very least doesn't seem out of place.
Connecting the Minx M5 speakers to the bass module was a bit of a breeze. With the weird, proprietary connection, there was no way to plug it in wrong. All you needed to do was to remember which was the left and right. Each of the satellite speakers have a 2" "full range" drivers that are designed to tackle the high and some of the midrange frequencies. The speakers are tiny, just under 3" cubes and are sealed for easy placement. They weigh next to nothing and they are very easy to place and move about. The stand is just about perfect at aiming the speakers at your shoulders from your desktop if you have good posture, or at your ears when you lean back to think about something. That seems to be a pretty good design choice to me.
Sonically, these may be the only (and I do mean only) speakers I've ever heard that sounded better after a bit of break-in. Usually, I'm a believer of ears not speakers breaking in. 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.
Minx M5 Bass Module
The words "bass module" set my teeth on edge. I like my subs to be subs and my woofers to be in my speakers. But in multimedia speakers, the bass module is not only a standard fixture, but a must. If you had space on your desk for full sized speakers, you would have them, wouldn't you? With space at a premium, offloading the bass to a separate box that can be placed, well, historically on the floor near your feet where it benefits from TONS of boundary reinforcement, is a must.
The front of the Minx M5 bass module is almost entirely covered with the mesh grille. The bass module is just about an 8" cube and has a 5.25" woofer. While each of the speakers have a 15 watt amp, the bass module has a whopping 30 watts. The bass module is also sealed which is a bit unusual for this type of speaker. Usually manufacturers are looking to eke out as much bass as they can from their bass modules. A port is an easy way to do that. The fact that Cambridge Audio didn't go with a port (I even used a flashlight to see through the grille to see if they snuck one back there - they didn't) should tell you that they were more worried about sound quality and a specific frequency response rather than trying to trick you into thinking their offering was good because of bloated bass.
The back of the Minx M5 bass module has a removable power cord, a power switch a voltage selector switch and a bass level volume knob. There is an input from the control unit (proprietary, grr....) which looks like a really big s-video connection and two proprietary outputs to the speakers. Just like every multimedia system on the market, there is no way to send a test tone just to the woofer (though you could try a really low note that the satellites couldn't reproduce but that probably wouldn't work for a number of reasons) so calibration will have to be done by ear. There is no volume adjustment on the satellites other than moving them closer or farther away (or putting something in front of them I suppose) so the bass is the only control you'll have to worry about. I found it fairly easy to dial in the bass but that could be because I've done this a few times before. You may have more problems.
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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.