Canadian-based speaker manufacturer Mirage is one of the largest players in the North American market and has gained much notoriety for its Omnipolar speaker design incorporated into its Omnisat line, which are characterised by the distinctive 'fencing mask' grilles.
The latest addition to this popular line is the diminutive Nanosat surround speaker system, which is the most compact Omnipolar system yet. This is packaged as a 5.1 speaker system although extra satellites can be purchased individually ($249) for 6.1 and 7.1 applications. The attractive half-oval satellite speakers measure only 107 x 149 x 111mm, are magnetically shielded and available in black, white or platinum finishes. The removable grilles use magnetic attachments that keep them firmly in place.
Behind the fencing mask grille of each Nanosat is an angled 70mm titanium deposit polypropylene midrange cone driver with a 19mm pure titanium hybrid tweeter perched atop its own enclosure. The design of these two-way satellites is very unconventional compared to the majority of forward-firing speakers, with upward firing and orientation assisted by a diffuser that sits above the dome tweeter.
The compact subwoofer module has smoothly rounded edges and measures 296 x 342 x 344mm, so it is small enough to hide away with ease. Weighing in at a healthy 9.1kg, the subwoofer is available in black, white and platinum finishes to match the satellites. Our test system was all platinum with silver touches including the cylindrical feet and bass-reflex port of the subwoofer.
The small footprints of the five identical satellites and the compact subwoofer in the Nanosat system will suit those who have limited space yet still require reasonably high sound volume and dispersal.
The small Nanosat speakers have a frequency response of 110-20 000Hz crossed over at 2700Hz, which may appear high but is relatively standard for its size. However, these are rated at an impressive 100 watts maximum input power into 8 ohms, but can be driven by as little as 10 watts, although the low sensitivity of 87dB means they prefer higher input power. Although small, the satellites are quite substantial in weight and are very well crafted, with metal casing and solid plastic bases. The high quality 5-way gold binding posts accept thick speaker wire and are located at the rear end along with swing arm mounting brackets. Somewhat disappointingly, no cabling or stands are included with the package.
The subwoofer module features a downward firing 200mm (8-inch) woofer with a 25mm voice coil and an elliptical rubber surround. Peak to peak excursion is good, rated at over 40mm while the internal amplifier is rated at 75 watts continuous. Frequency response is stated at 30-120Hz and ideally matched to the satellites. The rear panel is well featured with both low level RCA and high level spring terminal inputs, two power switches and volume level control. However, there is no crossover adjustment, so it is imperative that the correct level of 120Hz is selected on the AV receiver to be used.
Setting up the system requires little more than wiring the satellites and subwoofer up to an AC receiver, setting the crossover point and selecting 'small' speakers in the AV receiver menu. The first thing that becomes immediately apparent is the spaciousness and reach of the sound. The satellites truly belie their size and can easily deliver sound in most entertainment environments, with reach that is quite remarkable.
The clarity of the satellites is stark and very clear, although their size dictates a high frequency bias that can be distinctly heard with an emphasis on 'ess' sounds during dialogue. The subwoofer does not disappoint and is the ideal match for the satellites, extending reasonably low with great precision and punch, although it does not quite plumb the depths. However, considering the size of the overall system, the sound produced is remarkably large and extremely well delivered.
Altogether the Nanosat system produces excellent sound reproduction from DVDs and CDs alike, with excellent clarity at both high and low frequencies. As to be expected from such a compact system, midrange punch is slightly lacking. However, little else is and the Nanosat system can handle the 100 watt rated power with ease. The sound truly hits you from all directions with a liveliness that is very impressive. The Mirage Nanosat is one of the better compact sub/sat surround systems available on the market, especially in terms of value.