Last year Cambridge rolled out its tiny but mighty Minx sat/sub system (click here to ready my The Perfect Vision review of the original Minx system), but for CEDIA 2012 the firm revealed a redesign of the Minx satellites that yields substantial—and quite audible—improvements on the inside while leaving the oh-so-cute exterior of the speakers virtually unchanged. As before, both Minx satellites use BMR-type (balanced mode radiator) drivers, but where the drivers have been revised to provide more radiating area and 50% more throw—differences said to give the Minx satellites purer and more open-sounding mids and much broader dynamic envelopes. One fairly major change is that the two-driver satellite, which previously used dual BMR drivers, now uses just one improved BMR driver plus one conventional driver. In a brief demo session, I noted that the Minx revisions have, as advertised, made a good system better for a sound that is at once more open and more relaxed.
To denote the changes made, the Minx satellites get new nomenclature with the smaller, cube shaped model becoming the Min 11 ($95/each) and the larger two-driver model becoming the Min 21 ($180/each)—prices slightly higher than for the original Minx satellites. 2.1-channel Minx sat/sub systems range from $569 - $929, while 5.1-channel Minx packages ranges form $849 - $1849.
Definitive Technology has been working for quite some time on what I regard as one of the most brilliantly conceived home theater products seen at this year’s CEDIA Expo: the 5.1-channel SoloCinema XTR system ($1999). At first glance, the SoloCinema XTR rig appear to be (ho-hum) yet another soundbar, but—trust us on this one—the genius is in the details.
Here’s the deal. The SoloCinema XT package includes a self-powered five-channel soundbar that is just 2.375 inches thick, plus a slimline wireless subwoofer that is only 6.5-inches deep. The soundbar features a very elaborate array of drivers grouped as follows:
• Left and right front channels each use a 1-inch pure aluminum dome tweeter and a 3.5-inch XTDD anodized aluminum dome mid/bass driver,
• Center channel uses a 1-inch aluminum tweeter and two 3.5 inch mid/bass drivers grouped as an M-T-M (midrange-tweeter-midrange) array, and
• Left and right surround channels each use a single 3.5-inch mid/bass driver.
Accordingly, the power section of the SoloCinema XTR provides nine (!) dedicated Class D amplifiers—one amp for each driver in the soundbar—with a total output of 200 watts. The power section includes three HDMI inputs and one HDMI output, 1 optical digital input, and one stereo analog input, and also provides—get this—full Dolby True HD, Dolby Digital Plus, Dolby ProLogic II, Dolby Volume, and DTS HD-Master Audio decoding support. A cool and very thoughtful detail, Definitive has configured the soundbar with an IR receiver on the front and several IR repeaters on the back so that, if the soundbar happens to be placed in front of the IR receiver on your TV, commands from the TV’s remote will still get through (see what I mean about attention to detail?).
Then, to help ensure a believable surround sound experience, onboard DSP supports an interaural crosstalk cancellation feature (which helps make soundtages sound well focused but also very spacious), active vector response curves, and SRS TruSurround functionality. In short, this is one soundbar that completely eliminates the need for any sort of outboard A/V receiver (because it provides all the essential functions an AVR would normally offer).