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Sunfire CRM-2 Cinema Ribbon: The biggest sounding tiny speaker you can buy

Great sounding little speakers are rare, but the Audiohiliac went nuts over Sunfire's CRM2 satellites.

Nowadays it seems like everybody wants tiny speakers. Catch is, most small speakers sound small--they squash dynamic range, can't play at all loud, and produce a lot more distortion than large speakers. I've always been frustrated by the sound of really tiny speakers--until I reviewed Sunfire's CRM-2 satellite ($800 each) in the May, 2007 issue of Home Theater magazine .

The Audiophiliac and the CRM-2 Home Theater magazine/Steve Guttenberg

With its grille removed you notice something unusual: the CRM-2's front baffle is almost completely covered by a 6-inch "ribbon" tweeter (essentially a lightweight aluminum foil, suspended between neodymium magnets). The ribbon's ultra-low moving mass allows it reproduce treble detail, up to 40 kilohertz, with a realism no conventional dome tweeter can match. The speaker's sides are each fitted with an all-new 4.5-inch driver with two very unusual design features--an over-sized, four-layer copper voice coil, and a suspension that allows a 1-inch, back and forth excursion that's more typical of a 12-inch woofer. The cabinet's purposeful shape was designed to enhance sound--sides are parallel, but the top panel slopes back to meet the rakishly canted rear baffle. The ribbon tweeter is responsible for the speaker's pinpoint imaging while side-mounted woofers project spectacularly wide soundstages. You've never heard anything quite like the CRM-2. The 8.25-inch tall speaker is finished with seven coats of high gloss Ebonized Lacquer over Rosewood. In all but the brightest light the Sunfire speakers appear black.

Read my full review on Home Theater magazine's website to get the full scoop, but I'll tell you here the sound defies the limitations of its trim size. The CRM-2 can play really loud without duress, and the speaker projects an enormous soundstage, with remarkable width, depth and height. Please understand, I'm not claiming the CRM-2 are the equal of four foot tall, hundred and twenty pound tower speakers, just that the wee Sunfire satellites trump every other mini speaker I've heard. It's a breakthrough design.