Mirage Nanosat Home Theater System review:

Mirage Nanosat Home Theater System

Mirage also offers a higher-quality version of the speaker, the Nanosat Prestige, for $175 a speaker. The slightly larger Omnisat, now in its second incarnation, sells for $250 each and works with a wide variety of Mirage subwoofers, including the $500 Omni S10. The older--but still excellent--original incarnation of the Omnisat remains available from some retailers for $150 per speaker.

Some small speakers aren't suitable for larger rooms, but this system has no trouble filling moderately spacious rooms, and the subwoofer maintained its composure when the going got rough on special-effects-heavy DVDs such as the Star Wars discs. When the bass was at its most intense, we could actually feel gusts of air blowing out from the sub's front-mounted port, even though we were sitting about 10 feet away.

The speakers aren't without a couple of shortcomings, however. While the soundstage for DVDs was big and spacious, male voices sounded a little thin, lacking a sense of a body. That's not unusual for speakers this small, and even Mirage's advanced technology can't work miracles. It's also worth noting that the Nanosat's treble range seemed overly prominent and bright, though some listeners may appreciate the extra detail and air.

Turning from movies to music, Cream's Royal Albert Hall reunion DVD sounded especially powerful over the Nanosat system. The eerily convincing portrayal of the depth and space of a large concert hall let us forget the speakers' size. Jack Bruce's meaty bass lines had plenty of weight, Ginger Baker's drum kit crackled with energy, and Eric Clapton's guitar flash wasn't reigned in by the Nanosats.

Moving onto CD, we gave the new Dixie Chicks' Taking the Long Way a spin. Everything was nice and clear, but the Nanosats sounded a little disconnected from the subwoofer, so the Chicks' vocals, fiddles, and guitars sounded tonally anemic. Once again, we weren't all that surprised--with speakers as small as these, that's bound to happen. Still, it's a minor gripe, considering many listeners won't even notice the satellite-subwoofer discontinuity. And for those who do, we strongly recommend moving up to either Mirage's Nanosat Prestige or the larger Omnisat satellites and S10 subwoofer.

Nitpicks aside, the Nanosats projected a huge sound--something akin to what you'd expect from larger speakers--and the sound sometimes appeared to come from places further apart and higher than the actual locations of the speakers. The illusion was so perfect, it was hard to reconcile that all the sound was coming from five 5.8-inch-tall satellites and a baby subwoofer. For anybody looking for superior sound quality from an all but invisible speaker system, the Mirage Nanosats are an easy recommendation.

What you'll pay

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