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Blueroom Loudspeakers Minipod (Carnaby Blue) review: Blueroom Loudspeakers Minipod (Carnaby Blue)

Looking like a prop out of Woody Allen's Sleeper, Blueroom's Minipod distinctive speakers are sure to grab attention, even when your stereo is off. A by-product of the engineering labs at B&W--a prominent British speaker manufacturer--these curvy units have quite a pedigree. The Minipods deliver the sort of stereo performance that we enjoy: detailed highs, realistic vocals, and good stereo imaging. Therefore, they're a nice fit for fashion-conscious shoppers who also want quality sound. Looking like a prop out of Woody Allen's Sleeper, Blueroom's Minipod distinctive speakers are sure to grab attention, even when your stereo is off. A by-product of the engineering labs at B&W--a prominent British speaker manufacturer--these curvy units have quite a pedigree. The Minipods deliver the sort of stereo performance that we enjoy: detailed highs, realistic vocals, and good stereo imaging. Therefore, they're a nice fit for fashion-conscious shoppers who also want quality sound.

7.0

Blueroom Loudspeakers Minipod (Carnaby Blue)

The Good

Futuristic design; small; accurate sound; flexible setup choices.

The Bad

Limited bass output.

The Bottom Line

If you want distinctive-looking speakers for a small to medium-sized room, the Minipod is an excellent choice.

Little, blue snowmen
On its Web site, Blueroom states that it's dedicated to a cyberorganic aesthetic, which goes a long way toward explaining the wild looks of the shiny, blue, plastic review units that we received. Blueroom offers these speakers in a whopping nine color options, including a translucent model. But the fancy, plastic cabinet isn't entirely for cosmetics; its rounded surfaces should help disperse any internal standing waves. And the rounded front is likewise intended to keep interference from the front baffle to a minimum.

Each Minipod includes a 1-inch, silk-dome tweeter and a 5-inch, Kevlar woofer. Since the woofer is very small, there's a port below it to better disperse low frequencies. However, there is no grille cover for the front of the speaker. Large, spring-loaded clips secure the speaker wires or plugs, and although we prefer traditional binding posts, the Blueroom's clips seem sturdy enough to do the job.

The Minipods offer you several mounting possibilities. Cleverly designed, aluminum tripod legs can be attached and allow you to adjust the tilt of the speakers a bit--perfect for shelf mounting. You can even plop the Minipods on speaker stands or remove the legs for storage on a shelf. Blueroom also offers brackets for wall mounting ($100 per pair) and a specialized $50 bag for taking the Minipods on the road.

Sounding out the snowmen
We connected the Minipods to our stereo test system and were initially pretty disappointed. But after a few weeks of breaking them in, the sound really came around, delivering very detailed highs and good stereo imaging. Bjork's "Pagan Poetry" raised goose bumps; her voice seemed to fill the entire center of the room while delicate bells and crunchy synths were audible at the edges. The Minipods are also happy to blast out more rollicking fare such as "Why Did You Do It" by Stretch. In fact, we found that the sound of these speakers improved a great deal when we increased the volume.

It's no surprise that such small speakers can't pump out too much bass. We pushed the Minipods back against the wall in order to eke out a bit more low end, but rockers will want to add a powered sub such as Blueroom's own 10-inch Bass Station. This setup reproduced bass-heavy tracks from Morphine's The Night disc--as well as a wide variety of electronic dance music--with aplomb. Still, we wondered if an 8-inch sub might match up a hair better with these speakers.

For a final round of tests, we moved the Minipods into our home theater, a slightly larger space than our stereo room: 200 square feet vs. 150 square feet. We'd guess that these speakers just aren't big enough to really energize a room that's much larger than 200 square feet. The sound quality was comparable on our battery of surround-sound movies such as Saving Private Ryan, although the Minipods didn't mesh perfectly with the Kenwood speakers that we had in the rest of our system. We'd recommend that you purchase a whole set of these speakers for a 5.1 setup. Blueroom also sells a dedicated center channel, the $350 Cinepod, to complete the package.

For many buyers, the Minipods' limited bass output isn't much of an issue, especially if they will be used them in a smaller room or with a powered sub. But with a retail price of $499 per pair--$479 if you buy direct from the manufacturer--you will be paying a bit more for these speakers' radical looks. Aperion Audio sells a comparable pair of speakers for $360, and the redesigned HTD Level Three speakers go for $219. While the HTDs sound good, they don't look nearly as cool as these Minipods