Next up I went with Black Swan (20th Century Fox) on Blu-ray. Thanks
to the film's beautifully mastered DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack,
everything from dialog to the film's numerous musical numbers was
presented faithfully through the Minx S325 system. Once again it was the
S325's coherence that struck me, for there was never a "hole" in its
sonic performance, which further added to the illusion that I was there.
Despite their small stature the Mini 20s never sounded small or
restricted, actually quite the opposite - in fact, dialog via the
horizontally placed Mini 20 was decidedly full-bodied and free of boxy
colorations making for a very natural and lifelike sound. I'd even go so
far as to say the Mini 20s sound like loudspeakers three times their
size, and that when paired to the X300 subwoofer are capable of
floorstanding speaker-like performance, though the Minx S325 system is
far easier to live with (according to my wife).
As impressed as I was with the Minx S325's multi-channel performance,
nothing could've prepared me for its two-channel one. Beginning with
Peter Gabriel's "Heroes" from the album Scratch My Back, which I
downloaded in 48Hz/24bit FLAC from Bowers & Wilkins' Society of
Sound, the Minx S325 system proved to be as adept at music as it was on
film. Gabriel's vocals were dynamic and lifelike in their weight and air
and his placement within the soundstage was rock solid. The soundstage
was nicely appointed with tremendous accuracy throughout, allowing me to
close my eyes and easily place every instrument from the orchestra to
the grand piano with ease. Even with only two speakers and the X300
subwoofer active, the sound the trio was capable of producing was
startling, for it simply sounded bigger, richer and better than
I ended my evaluation with Stevie Ray Vaughn's 1991 release, The Sky
is Crying (Sony). On the track "Boot Hill," the Minx S325's midrange
performance was sublime, possessing a smooth, liquid demeanor that had
appropriate air and rhythm without sounding thin or becoming fatiguing
at high volumes. Vaughn's raspy vocals were captured brilliantly and
hung effortlessly in space between the left and right speakers. The
X300's bass response, as heard in the track's kick drum, was dynamic and
clear with good texture. For such a small subwoofer I was often
astonished by just how low and rich the X300 could play without
Overall the Minx S325 never failed to impress and is one of the best
small satellite subwoofer speaker combos I have ever heard, for despite
its diminutive size the performance the Minx system leaves in its wake
is anything but.
Despite their wonderful construction and clean, modern look I find the
Minx S325's finishes of gloss white or black to be a bit limiting. There
are a lot of other satellite subwoofer systems out there that offer a
wider variety of finishes beyond just white and black and I feel for the
Minx S325 to be truly competitive in this arena, they needed to offer a
few more colors.
While the X300 worked wonders in my room, I could see a scenario that
those with larger rooms or a propensity for kick-ass bass could need
more. Apparently I wasn't alone, for Cambridge offers a larger subwoofer
in the X500 for such an occasion. They also make it easy to daisy chain
two X-Series subwoofers together if your AV receiver or preamp doesn't
have multiple subwoofer outs.
Lastly, the entire Minx S325 system does take some time to break in
and sound its best. I say this because it took a lot longer than even I
was expecting. Stick with it and give the Minx S325 time to mature, for
the results are well worth it.
Competition and Comparison
There are a number of fine sounding 5.1 channel systems utilizing small
satellite speakers and a small subwoofer available today. One that
immediately comes to mind is Focal's Dome 5.1 Surround Sound Speaker
System, which at $2,595 does cost more than the Minx S325 but is also larger
and capable of filling larger rooms with ease, not to mention it comes
in more finish options than the Minx system.
Another contender would have to be Orb Audio's Mod1 Speaker System, which at $798 is more affordable than the Minx S325 but also only
features satellite speakers with a single, three-inch driver compared to
the Mini 20's two, two and a quarter inch drivers. Also, the Minx
S325's subwoofer, the X300, is a bit more robust and capable of lower
output compared to the Mod1 subwoofer.
Lastly there's Definitive Technology's ProCinema 1000 system, which at $1,595 is probably the most closely matched in terms of
price and performance to the Minx S325 system, though if looks are at
all important to you the Minx S325 system wins this contest in a
For more information on 5.1 speaker systems including the latest news
and reviews please visit Home Theater Review's Bookshelf Loudspeaker
The Minx S325 5.1 speaker system from Cambridge Audio is one of the
finest satellite subwoofer speaker systems I've ever heard. The
combination of the Mini 20s and X300 subwoofer was a match made in both
audiophile and home theater heaven for their combined sound was spacious
and airy with all the dynamic punch one would expect from a larger
system. The Minx S325 system had electrostatic-like levels of detail and
imaging capabilities I've rarely encountered, all the while never
sounding harsh or bright. If you're looking for speakers with tremendous
form factor that are uber lifestyle and décor friendly, then look no
further than Cambridge Audio's Minx S325 speaker system.
• Read more bookshelf speaker reviews from HomeTheaterReview.com's staff.
• Find audiophile level source components in our Source Component Review section.
• Find an LED HDTV or Plasma HDTV to pair with the Minx S325 system.