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CNET First Look
CNET First Look
>>Hi, I'm David Carnoy, Executive Editor for CNET.com and I'm going to give you a quick tour of the B&W MM-1 multimedia speakers. If you haven't heard of B&W it's not the car company but Bowers and Wilkins were the more legendary names in British hi-fi which has been branching out beyond its high end speakers that have long appealed to audio files. Not only does it have a couple of uniquely styled Zeppelin iPod speaker systems but is now offering the $500 MM-1 multimedia speakers you see here. Yes, you heard right, $500. About now I suspect your probably saying to yourself "Wow, David, what do I get for that?" Well, they are slick looking and they do have very nice build quality. As for specs, each speaker has a 3-inch woofer and a 1-inch tweeter and the heavier right speaker houses four 18 watt class D amplifiers.
Here's another thing you get, a USB connection to your computer which is fed to an audio file quality digital to analog converter that incorporates equalization increased the 3-inch woofer's bass output. Around the back of the right speaker you also find an auxiliary input for iPods and other audio devices as well as a headphone input. Both the USB and power cords plugged into the bottom of that speaker and some slots for cable measurement help keep everything aligned and hidden properly. The speakers come with a shiny, black and chrome oval-shaped remote that looks very similar to the one that comes with B&W Zeppelin and Zeppelin Mini iPod speakers.
Okay, now for the sound. What's interesting about these speakers is that they're truly optimized for a near field listening experience and sound their best when you're sitting about 3 feet away from them with the speakers spread about 30 to 36 inches apart. Not coincidentally that distance equates to where you'd be in relation to your computer and your computer speakers when sitting at a desk. At that distance, these are some of the best computer speakers we've listened to with their strength being the amount of clarity they deliver and their punchy bass. But they do lose something when you step away from them and because of their clarity they make lower bit recordings sound worse.
As you can probably tell from our comments, we like the MM-1s a lot but had some misgivings; we tend to think that $500 computer speakers should offer more listening flexibility and shouldn't be so optimized for a near field audio experience. If you're somebody who likes to kick back at your desk chair in your den or home office and listen to music, you are getting a great looking and great sounding set of computer speakers. I'm David Carnoy and those are the B&W MM-1 multimedia speakers.
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