The Good Incredibly tiny 5.1-channel home theater speaker package; includes matching 800-watt mini-subwoofer; Omnipolar technology produces huge, room-filling sound; extra satellites are available.
The Bad The MX's imaging isn't as precisely focused as that of standard boxy speakers--it may be too diffused for some tastes; these mighty mites are just too small for large listening rooms.
The Bottom Line Innovative engineering solutions propel Mirage's MX 5.1 Home Theater System to the top spot in the small system/big sound sweepstakes.
Mirage MX 5.1
Just when we thought satellite/subwoofer systems couldn't get any smaller, along comes the ultracompact Mirage MX 5.1 retailing for $1,200. (Mirage calls it a "Home Theater System," but it's really just a surround speaker package that requires a separate AV receiver/amplifier.) Just how small is it? Each MX satellite speaker stands just a hair over 4 inches high without its dome grille, but the palm-size speaker actually projects sound in a 360-degree radiation pattern. Surprisingly, the system's five incredibly tiny satellites create a huge, room-filling sound. Small speakers are one thing, but remarkably enough, the MX subwoofer is a miniature, 8-inch cube. While that's considered tiny as far as subwoofers go, the little cube seamlessly blends with the miniature satellites. The Mirage MX not only impressed us with its solid audio performance but its innovative engineering as well. You've never heard a 5.1 system this small sound so good.
Design and features
The Mirage MX 5.1 system comes with five identical speakers and the aforementioned adorable baby subwoofer. While the MX system doesn't come with a dedicated center channel speaker, the system is more likely to produce a better surround experience than a system with different types of speakers.
Conventional box speakers have drivers mounted on their front baffles and project sound forward. With the Mirage MX, the satellites' 2.5-inch aluminum mid-bass driver and 0.63-inch pure titanium hybrid dome tweeter are mounted on the speaker's angled top baffle. Top mounting isn't the only factor responsible for the MX's omnidirectional dispersion--the drivers are also mounted under an Omniguide module which has two deflectors. One tiny curved deflector is positioned over the speaker's tweeter, and the tweeter itself is mounted atop the mid-bass driver's deflector, which is suspended over the mid-bass driver. The deflectors project sound directly toward the listener, all while creating a 360-degree radiation pattern that reflects sound off your room's walls, ceilings, and other surfaces. This indirect radiation is in large part responsible for the Mirage MX's big soundstage.