Loudspeaker technology has long dictated that to make decent levels of sound you basically need big boxes and drive units. All that changed a little while back when a collection of clever audio techs invented a new form of flat panel driver system. It goes by a couple of names — NXT, or what we have here, BMR.
BMR, or Balanced Mode Radiator to use its full title, are advanced single driver speakers with small dimensions but full bandwidth and wide dispersion characteristics. The basic idea is small speakers, big sound.
Seriously compact cubes, the Minx family comprises two different satellites and there are three subwoofers to match. We put together this system using the smallest — five Min10 sats and X200 sub. Measuring a mere respective 78mm and 203mm square, the satellites take up hardly any space plus there are a variety of mounting options so room placement is very flexible.
Cambridge Audio has done a great job on the build and finish and the scratch-resistant white or black high-gloss lacquer looks suitably stylish.
The Minx is not the first of its kind; Mission's M-Cubes impressed us a couple of years ago when first released. The Cambridge Audio system is very similar in design and operation, but offers greater choice and is quite a bit more affordable. In its most basic form the Minx can be used as a 2.1-channel configuration, which is fine for stereo use. As such, the sub/sat combo produces some eminently listenable tunes combining fine imaging and stereo separation with depth of soundstage and genuine substance from the X200 subwoofer. It packs a particularly hefty punch for one so small — thanks to the nifty active/passive sub-radiator configuration. This means a trio of 140mm woofers dish out the bass with 200 watts of power to the active driver. We found it better reinforced the lower frequencies by placing it in a room corner, but even free-standing, the X200 is never short on lower hertz.
Adding the additional three Min10 satellites, the system really comes into its own as a full surround configuration. If you've a 7.1-channel AV receiver, adding another couple of sats is always another option. Running in 5.1 and hooked up to a Blu-ray source and an Onkyo AV receiver the tiny Cambridge Audios are capable of producing quite a home theatre din. It's far from an unpleasant noise though with more than their fair share of surround sound finesse and aptitude. This was plain to hear with more subtle effects from movie soundtracks such as Babel. Speech and dialogue is locked centrally and the remaining satellites steer effects, such as that long-range gunshot, with tremendous accuracy and dexterity.
As the pace hots up, so too does the Minx collective delivering action sequences with ample drive and impact. Still one of the loudest and most dynamic movie sequences, the depth charge explosions of U-571 can have most AV speaker systems in a flap. Admittedly, the Minx can only be pushed so far, but we were impressed just how composed the system remained even when cranked up to quite anti-social volume levels. We didn't dare try and push them up to Reference Level — the system's not been designed to achieve such lofty sound pressure levels. To its credit, our reasonably large 7x 4m listening room was no problem to fill with involving, powerful and wholly convincing surround soundfields.
Small, perfectly formed and capable of sound as big as Ben Hur, Cambridge Audio's Minx package is a tasty little number. It's as happy delivering music as it is the latest movie blockbuster and taking up so little space, it'll no doubt be a hit with "the partner" indoors also. Great design, slick looks (albeit a dust magnet) and true home theatre performance with all manner of material makes this a sure-fired winner.