The Minuet Supreme retains all the sonic strengths of the original model, but adds greater dynamic range to the mix. Although I still wouldn’t recommend the Minuet Supremes for a large or even middle-sized room, in a small room tethered to at least one subwoofer the Minuets can deliver an amazing amount of both detail and musicality. Because I like using gear in its most appropriate setting, most of the time I used the Minuets in my desktop system (see the equipment box) where they delivered high SPLs with no hint of sonic distress. My personal peak SPL levels came long before the Minuet’s.
Even in a desktop setting, less than two feet away, the Minuet Supremes do a superb disappearing act. They rival the Role Kayaks in their ability to produce a complete picture of the soundstage with no hint as to the actual location of the drivers or box. My test for this is simple; I close my eyes, spin around in my chair a couple of times, and then try to pick out where the speakers are. With the Minuet Supremes I failed miserably.
I’m very partial to monitors that deliver all the information a recording has to offer. On difficult to unravel recordings, such as the Punch Brothers’ Punch, the Minuets had no trouble successfully revealing even the subtlest spatial information. Each instrument and each voice occupied a particular location in three-dimensional space. Some speakers can’t quite nail those things; they’re too flat and one-dimensional, or they are too vague. The Minuet Supremes put every instrument exactly where it should be in three-dimensional space. I’ve never heard a speaker in my desktop that does a better job of preserving all the locational cues imbedded in a recording.
Using my iPod Touch and the AudioTools App I was able to test the Minuet’s dispersion. Both pink and white noise proved the listening window on my desktop was larger than any normal human in a sitting position could move out of. Only when I completely stood up did the pink and white noise frequencies begin to shift due to high-frequency roll-off. Within 30 degrees of parallel with the tweeter there were no audible traces of high-frequency shift.
When I talked with Alan Yun about the Minuets he emphasized that getting the midrange right was a primary design goal. I think he succeeded. The Minuets are exceedingly musical speakers due primarily to their midrange character. They remind me of the Spendor SP1s in that they never sound harsh or screechy, unless the music actually is harsh and screechy. The Minuets also have a seductively natural presentation that is the antitheses of hyped-up hi-fi sound. Perhaps this is what designer Yun calls “humanity.”
While the Minuets do provide a remarkable amount of lower-midrange and upper-bass energy for their size, don’t expect them to generate the sort of punch that you’ll feel in your upper diaphragm from a full-range room-sized speaker. On the tune from Lawrence Arabia’s Chant Darling, “Apple Pie Bed,” these little speakers tried hard to keep up in the lower midrange and deliver some punch, but several small speakers in my collection, including the ATC SCM 7, Paradigm S-1, and Aerial Acoustics 5Bs, produced more lower-midrange and upper-bass impact. These all have larger drivers and larger enclosures. Obviously there are limits as to what even the best-designed 3.5” driver in a small ported cabinet can generate in the way of slam.
As you might expect from such a diminutive transducer, the Minuets have truncated bass extension. But since their roll-off is smooth and hump-free, it’s easy to mate them with a subwoofer. With both the Earthquake MK IV 10 and JL f112 subs, I found a 70Hz crossover point worked nicely, letting the Minuets generate the leading edge while the subwoofer delivered the main part of the wave.
As more audiophiles embrace computer-based audio systems the cheesy transparent plastic speakers that populate many desktops will be replaced by transducers that can actually sound like music. The Silverline Minuet Supreme speaker is an ideal candidate for such a position. It is revealing, musical, and, perhaps best of all, human.
Type: Two-way bass-reflex mini-monitor
Driver complement: One 1” silk dome tweeter, one 3.25” pulp paper cone mid/woofer
Frequency response: 60Hz–28kHz
Nominal impedance: 8 ohms
Crossover frequency: 3.7kHz
Recommended power: 10–300 watts RMS
Dimensions: 5.5” x 9” x 7.25”
Weight: 15 lbs./pair