Overall, the Nanosat system took to film playback like a duck takes to water, largely because its omni-directional satellites promoted unusually smooth blending of sound between channels. With this system you have very little sense of channel isolation (as in, "Attention, listeners; this special effect is brought to you by the RIGHT REAR speaker."). Instead, the system always sounds panoramic, presenting a more or less continuous "ring" of sound that surrounds the listener, not five individual "blobs" of sound clustered close to the speakers. In scenes whose sound designs feature rapid pans from left to right, or front to back, as in the famous Paris car chase scenes from The Bourne Identity [Universal], the added smoothness on transitions is really noticeable. I also found the Nanosats seemed unbound by the dimension of my room, sometimes creating the illusion of a giant acoustic environment, as in some of the open-field battle scenes from King Arthur [Touchstone], where you hear the clash and clamor of combat close at hand juxtaposed against the sounds of warriors approaching the battlefield from afar.
While the Nanosats, like any small system, will eventually run out of dynamic headroom if you try to play them too loudly, they sound much more full-bodied and robust than their small size would suggest. In fact, one of the nicest qualities of the Nanosats is that they consistently sounded appropriately warm and smooth, never thin, edgy, or shrill. I also discovered that the Nanosats were a naturally great fit for surroundchannel applications because—unlike direct radiators—they can present surround channel information clearly, yet without seeming to be its source. This means listeners can sit fairly close to the Nanosat surround speakers without being distracted (or overpowered) by them—a characteristic those seated at the far end of the couch will appreciate.
However, as I listened closely to the Nanosat center channel, I found I missed the more focused sound of a direct radiator, because the little omni sometimes sounded too diffused for its own good. Consider, for example, what happens in scenes featuring tight close-ups with intimate dialog. Normally, you see tightly focused close-ups on screen and expect to hear correspondingly focused sound from the center channel, but the Nanosat disperses dialog so broadly that it seems a little inconsistent with the onscreen image. To compensate for this problem, I sometimes bumped up center-channel levels a dB or two to improve dialog intelligibility. This led me to wonder what would happen if Mirage developed a hybrid surround system that used omnis for its L/R main and surround speakers, but a direct radiator as the center channel. Food for thought, perhaps?
Finally, we come to the Nanosub, which I thought melded beautifully with Nanosat satellites (in spite of it not having adjustable crossover or phase controls). In comparison to the subwoofer that Energy provides in its similarly-priced act6 surround system, the Nanosub sounds somewhat more smoothly integrated with its associated satellites and better controlled, with low-frequency output—down to around 30 Hz—that, like the Energy sub's, is quite vigorous. How vigorous? Well, on large-scale low-frequency effects, the Nanosub's deepbass output was so strong it shook glass shelves in a room adjacent to my home-theater room, making small objects start "dancing" around! Though compact, the Nanosub is no wimp, offering more than enough output to keep up with the Nanosat satellites.
I thoroughly enjoyed the Nanosats for music playback, in particular because their omni-dispersion helped them produce exceptionally wide and deep soundstages. My wife, on first hearing them, said, "They sound so 'big' that they almost make you wonder if there's any need to buy a larger system." On well-recorded multichannel (DVD-Audio and SACD) music material, the Nanosats simply got out of the way and let great surround-sound imaging happen. Some journalists have said Mirage's omni designs leave them wishing, at least to some extent, for the more focused sound of direct radiators—especially in the area of pinpoint imaging. I understand that point of view, but I see (or more accurately, hear) things a little differently. When I go to a live concert and close my eyes, I find the sound of live music more closely resembles the smooth, slightly diffuse sound of omni-directional speakers—not the hyper-vivid presentation you'll hear with some direct radiators. Though omnis give up some of the imaging specificity that's possible with direct radiators, I find their sound arguably comes closer to capturing the overall "feel" of a live event.