The 5.1-channel Cambridge Audio Minx S215 is a compact speaker system that's small enough to hide in a room but doesn't compromise sound quality. Although it can struggle with the lowest of frequencies, highs are crisp, dialogue is distinct and surround effects are placed with accuracy.
Small size, big sound quality. Compact speakers are known to sacrifice performance in order to disappear in a room easily, but the Cambridge Audio Minx S215 offers great sound quality despite its tiny speakers. Its tiny cube-shaped satellites -- they measure just a bit over 3 inches square -- use a flat panel balanced mode radiator (BMR) that produces clear, clean sound. BMR technology -- in lieu of that used in traditional cube speakers or two-way speakers -- produces sound in all directions, eliminating the need to find the "sweet spot" for listening. The 200-watt X200 subwoofer that comes with the system contains two passive radiators that help it to cast low notes across a wider room span and reduce moving-air "noise."
Reviewers praise the sound produced by the pint-sized speakers, but a few drawbacks are noted. Although the Minx S215 provides detailed, clean audio, and handles dialogue and vocals like a champ, it lacks scale and bombast when compared to larger home theater systems. The subwoofer handles bass well, but some experts notice it can struggle with the lowest of low frequencies. Dialogue and special effects come in clear and don't require much tweaking, according to Home Theater magazine. Experts only recommend the Minx S215 for small to average-sized rooms.
Pint-sized speakers. The Cambridge Audio Minx S215 is designed to stay out of sight, but it doesn't hurt that its speakers, which are available in black or white, are aesthetically pleasing. The satellites weigh just over a pound each and are small enough to hide away in nooks across a small room.
Solid in all respects. Home Theater magazine is among the reviewers impressed with the workmanship behind the Cambridge Audio Minx S215 speakers; Mark Fleischmann calls them "tough little speakers," noting, among other things, their scratch-resistant thermopolymer enclosures. The system comes with basic wall-mounts, but table-top and floor stands, as well as pivoting wall-mounts are optional extras. The satellites include ports to accommodate banana plugs and bare speaker wires. The X200 subwoofer hosts stereo line inputs and outputs, a port for a wireless adapter, and basic volume, phase and crossover frequency controls.
The sweet spot between size and sound. Among similarly priced compact speakers, the Cambridge Audio Minx S215 does the best job of being small enough to disappear in a room while preserving sound quality, experts say. Sound quality is excellent, but the laws of physics still apply. That means that these speakers aren't the best choice for larger rooms -- or for those that want to play movies or music at furniture-moving volumes.
For those who are less concerned with having the tiniest speakers, the Energy Take Classic 5.1 (*Est. $400) offers superb performance for half the price; but the Take Classic 5.1 won't disappear nearly as effectively in most listening rooms.
1. Sound & Vision Magazine
Review Credibility: Excellent Brent Butterworth reviews the Cambridge Audio Minx S215 in an in-depth, three page critique that's chock-full of hands-on impressions and hard numbers from benchmarks tests. While he admits that the miniature speakers don't deliver the same punch and scale as larger models, he praises the system's clean, clear sound and gives it a 2011 Certified and Recommended award.
Review: Test Report: Cambridge Audio Minx 215 System, Brent Butterworth, July 13, 2011
2. Home Theater Magazine
Review Credibility: Excellent Mark Fleischmann says that while bulkier home theater speaker systems will generally deliver more bang for the buck, the Cambridge Audio Minx S215 is a very tiny system that doesn't sound the part. Although the subwoofer won't shake pictures off the wall, Fleischmann says it delivers "well-pitched bass reinforcement" for the speakers, which he says provide clean, crisp audio across a "vivid soundfield." He gives the Minx S215 a Top Pick award.
Review: Cambridge Audio Minx S215 Speaker System, Mark Fleischmann, June 6, 2011
Review Credibility: Very Good Robert Silva reviews the Cambridge Audio Minx S215 in a report that's based on hands-on testing. He reports lively, distinct vocals for both movie and music playback, although he says the speakers struggle with low midrange tones, and the subwoofer sometimes drops off during extremely low bass sections. The wide number of mounting options garners positive feedback.
Review: Cambridge Audio Minx S215 5.1 Channel Speaker System - Product Review, Robert Silva, Not dated
4. CNET (Australia)
Review Credibility: Very Good Nic Tatham's review of the Cambridge Audio Minx S215 covers all the necessary bases, albeit briefly. After describing the BMR technology that makes such small speakers possible, he launches into a description of a hands-on testing session. Speech and dialogue both shine, he says, and the system holds up well during the bassy depth-charge scenes in the movie "U-571." Just don't try to push the system too far; Tatham warns that the Minx S215 isn't made for pushing the boundaries of reference benchmarks.
Review: Cambridge Audio Minx S215 Speakers, Nic Tatham, March 1, 2011
5. What Hi-Fi?
Review Credibility: Very Good Britain's What Hi-Fi? doesn't dedicate a lot of space to reviewing the Cambridge Audio Minx S215, but they get their main points across in this limited review. They describe the speakers as being so small that they're almost invisible. Though audio quality is highly regarded, editors and other reviewers note some shortcomings: The mini speakers lack the punch of their larger cousins, and tone sounds brash at the highest frequencies. Even so, these issues don't take much away from the overall value of the system.
Review: Cambridge Audio Minx S215, Editors of What Hi-Fi?, Not dated