Mirage MX 5.1 review:

Mirage MX 5.1

The MX system handled "The Rocker" Blu-ray with sure-footed control, even as drummer Robert "Fish" Fishman (Rainn Wilson) pummels his kit with everything he had. Dynamic range wasn't inhibited by the system's size, and during an early scene where his band plays a high school prom, the MX speakers put us on the gym stage along with the band.

Moving up to the "Dave Matthews and Tim Reynolds Live at Radio City" Blu-ray, we were struck by the sound of the guitars. Big and rich, far beyond what we would have expected from speakers as tiny as these. The Dolby TrueHD soundtrack was simply gorgeous.

Next up was Bruce Springsteen's new CD, "Working on a Dream." Even in stereo, two MX satellites sounded big--resulting in a sound both deep and wide. We did note one problem, however: the phantom center image carrying Bruce's vocals was hard to localize. Stereo imaging-wise, Springsteen's vocal was rather diffused and vague. We easily fixed that situation by listening in Dolby Pro Logic IIx, which placed the Boss' vocals in the center MX speaker channel. The orchestral strings that accompany Springsteen on a number of tunes sounded clear and natural.

As we played a variety of CDs we were amazed by the MM-6 subwoofer. Small subwoofers too often sound muddy and bloated, but the tiny Mirage was clean and clear.

We didn't have the Energy RC-Micro on hand to put that system head to head with the MX 5.1. But that package, along with Mirage's own Nanosat series, are the only other supertiny speakers that we'd consider in the same league as the MX 5.1--and the MX speakers are smaller than both.

Summing up, the Mirage MX 5.1 Home Theater System offers top-notch performance from the smallest satellite speakers and sub we've ever tested. With that said, don't expect any miracles. The little system won't truly fill a large room with high volume sound as it's best suited to accommodate a small or midsize rooms (less than 300 square feet).

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