If your home is your castle and you rule with an iron fist, you may want to stop reading right here. But if your queen is like most others, she has a powerful influence when it comes to decorating your palace. If your taste in electronic devices is on a grand scale but your queen disagrees, a treaty must be signed and consumer electronic purchases are usually scaled back.
For example, I have a penchant for large obtrusive floor-standing speakers with enough power to rip my clothes, all the while being accurate enough to hear a triangle playing during an orchestral movement. But finding space in my modest home or, more importantly, justifying three months salary on my dream ensemble, doesn't fly well with my wife. So, as others before me, I have learned to compromise to keep my queen happy. This has meant shopping for more modest sized speakers with value pricing such as the OMNISAT MICRO system from Mirage Speakers.
Unique Features - Mirage has taken their successful OMNISAT Omnipolar speaker design and made it smaller. Weighing less than three pounds each, OMNISAT MICRO satellite speakers are built to achieve a 30% direct and 70% reflective sound for a 360-degree omni-directional listening environment, just as with their nearly two-year old big brother, the OMNISAT. The benefit of reflecting sound is greater depth than with direct sound, similar to a concert setting. Instead of having a cone shaped sweet spot directed at one or two seating positions in a room, OMNISAT MICRO speakers with their Omnipolar technology reflect a great deal of sound for better dispersion to envelop listeners in every part of the room.
Each of the five odd shaped satellite speaker casings houses a one-inch pure titanium hybrid tweeter and a three-inch titanium deposit driver. The tweeter is mounted in a coaxial configuration above the polypropylene woofer. The drivers are angled using a patented technology called Omniguide, which provides the 360- degree imagery Mirage was seeking from a variety of mounting surfaces within the listening plane.
The speaker casings are unique unto themselves. Mirage uses injection molded reinforced plastic for a very durable, yet lightweight, cabinet that can be placed on a shelf, mounted to a wall or ceiling, or attached to an optional floor stand. Two-way chrome binding posts are situated in a hidden cavity on the back of each satellite to secure speaker wires.
The MICRO system comes complete with a diminutive subwoofer, the LF-100. This vented design is a front firing, front ported enclosure with an 8-inch titanium-deposit woofer. The total output from the sub is 100 watts of continuous power.
Click to Page 2 for Installation, Listening, and the Final Take.
Installation/Setup/Ease of Use - On the rear of each satellite
speaker is a specially designed key-way that allows for a variety of
mounting options. The screw and anchor setup can be mounted easily to a
wall or ceiling if bookshelves are not available. For a more
conventional mounting solution, Mirage offers optional stands in both
platinum black and white colors that position the satellites
approximately three feet above the ground. I chose to use the stands for
a more refined look and easy placement in the room. The optional set of
steel stands are sold in pairs, since the center channel should be
located near the video screen.
The key-way system on the back of each speaker is specifically
designed to couple the stands to the speakers almost seamlessly. Speaker
wires are directed through the columns to the floor for a clean
installation. The base of each stand can lie on vibration dampening pads
or on floor spikes. The LF-100 subwoofer also has vibration dampening
pads and is small enough to be tucked out of view. The frequency
response of the satellites is from 90Hz-20kHz, augmented by bass
frequencies of the sub- woofer from 27Hz-120Hz.
The subwoofer cabinet has controls to make adjustments to the phase,
volume and frequency of the sub. The upper roll-off frequency can be
adjusted between 40Hz and 120Hz, and a phase switch toggles between 0
and 180 degrees. It's a smart design that places these controls high on
the front panel of the sub box for easier access.
For the test, the OMNISAT MICRO speakers were powered by my NAD T752
receiver, which was connected to the rest of my home theater that
temporarily includes a borrowed Apex DRX-9000 DVD+RW. I have first-hand
knowledge of the appeal Mirage has in their larger OMNISAT speaker
ensemble because I've used the set for almost a year now. The MICRO
system differs with a smaller midrange driver, subwoofer, and a
simplified design. But the technology behind the Omnipolar design kept
my optimism up in the face of testing an ensemble that comes in at
roughly half the price of its bigger brother.
The OMNISAT MICRO system provided a powerfully pleasing wave of sound
that is not indicative of its size. The well balanced frequency range
produced a realistic sound that had an airy soundstage. The imagery was
warm and pleasant, but lacked a pinpoint accuracy. The same reflective
properties that deliver a large soundstage in every part of the room
sometimes have difficulty with isolating certain sounds. Vocals were
especially natural sounding, with good treble tones that were only a tad
bit bright. Listening to rock songs, the OMNISAT MICRO speakers play
hard and relentless without sounding too harsh. Guitars and raspy vocals
were in my face as if I was sitting too close to the stage. When
transitioning to a softer sound, the fidelity was good, but not
overwhelming. Brass instruments seemed spot-on true and stringed
instruments had a sweet melodic gentleness.
The ensemble does a terrific job overall, with reflected and direct
sounds producing a very pleasant balance. The weakest link in the system
is the LF-100 subwoofer. Bass roll-off is at times edgy with imprecise
tones. I was able to correct some of the shortcomings by tuning the
roll-off frequency and volume of the sub, but performance can only be
characterized as effective, not powerful. In the context of the micro
speaker world, the small subwoofer is adequate at giving oomph to
movies, and it achieves decent compatibility with such terrific
ground-breaking Ornnipolar technology.
Final Take - Mirage had a huge hit with their lifestyle oriented
OMNISAT speaker ensemble. But despite their revolutionary design and
excellent performance, the cost was prohibitive to many looking for an
alternative to big box systems. The slightly smaller OMNISAT MICRO
system is approximately half the price with the same great technology.
If you feel compromising the size and cost of speakers means you also
compromise performance, you need to listen to the OMNISAT MICRO
ensemble. This package could make both a king and queen happy, without
spending a royal fortune.
Mirage OMNISAT MICRO
Impedence: 4 ohm minimum / 8 ohm nominal
Satellite Frequency Response: 90-20,000 Hz
Subwoofer Frequency Response: 27-120 Hz
10-100 watts RMS per channel
Crossover Point: 2.2 kHz
Tweeter: 1-inch pure titanium hybrid
Woofers: 3-inch polypropylene
titanium deposit hybrid
Subwoofer: 8-inch polypropylene woofer with
6 7/16" H x 51/8" W x 6 9/16" D (satellites)
9 5/8" H x 15 5/8" W x 10 7/8" D (subwoofer)
2.3 5 lbs. (satellites)
29.9 lbs. (subwoofer)
Warranty: 5 year limited