Surround Sound Speaker Systems

Phase Technology CineMicro One 5.1 Speaker System

ARTICLE INDEX

Design and Setup

I always get nervous when multiple speakers are shipped in the same box, I have a few horror stories I could share with you. Why am I talking about speaker packaging? Well, it brings me back to that "attention to detail" thing. Speakers that sound good are useless to you if they arrive in a million pieces. While the shipping box is compact there's plenty of separation and thick Styrofoam that your speakers should arrive in one piece. 5.1 pieces to be exact.

The CineMicro system consists of 4 identical satellites, a matching center channel speaker and an 8" vented subwoofer. I'm not a fan of black gloss speakers or black gloss anything for that matter. While this is purely preference they tend to be finger print magnets and in my case, my daughters fingerprints. That aside, these speakers are beautifully crafted. The cabinets are all wood polished to a high gloss. Home theaters in a box, eat your heart out. Although you wouldn't typically carry speakers around, they feel good in hand, clearly a high quality design. Each satellite consists of a 3" cone woofer and ¾" dome tweeter. The center channel is similar in design adding an additional 3" woofer. The subwoofer rounds out the system featuring an 8" down firing woofer.

I appreciate the removable grilles; I always like taking a peak under the hood. Around the back you'll find standard spring clip speaker connectors. With the rest of the speaker being so well made I almost expected to see gold-plated binding posts, I've always preferred the ease of banana clips. Each satellite is wall mountable; speakers of this size afford an abundance of mounting options. The subwoofer also offers a welcome amount of flexibility. Some manufacturers offer speaker packages that force you to route each speaker through the subwoofer. The CineMicro One system features a powered subwoofer that allows you to run each speaker independently to your receiver or amplifier giving you the ability to fine-tune to your hearts content. This also gives you the option of adding an additional sub and/or speakers depending on your setup.

I usually obsess over setup and implementation. I'm generally a fan of the Audyssey EQ system my reference receiver utilizes but for me it never stops there. I still break out the SPL meter and crawl around the floor when setting up a subwoofer (I know, I know). I would like to tell you that things were different this time around, but it wasn't. Part of this is simply what I'm used to. The other is the size of my listening space in comparison to the size of the CineMicro speaker system. Setting the crossover point took patience; the manual suggests starting high, around 150 Hz. While the CineMicro satellites aren't designed to play low frequencies with any real impact I was able to find a nice equilibrium at 120 Hz. The subwoofer doesn't have the ability to completely bypass the internal crossover so keep this in mind when trying to find the right balance. This was a bit of a disappointment considering the price point and quality of the system, an easy fix nevertheless.