Surround Sound Speaker Systems

Phase Technology CineMicro One 5.1 Speaker System

ARTICLE INDEX

In Use

Man of Fire is one of my all-time favorite movies. I watch it every time it comes on cable, I own it on every format available and I've even tried to orchestrate group watching during dinner parties. So it was obvious that I would look to it when reviewing a speaker system. Right away I noticed that CineMicro system isn't afraid to play loud, I mean really loud with no signs of strain until you reach a volume that your ear drums and neighbors would clearly be unhappy with. The soundstage collapses a bit the higher you go but separation remains respectable and un-fatiguing. Chapter 20 "At the Rave" is the perfect storm for speaker systems as there is non-stop heart pounding bass mixed with gunfire and dialogue. The center channel of the CineMicro One system was an absolute star, it's easy for dialogue to get lost in the background noise but this center speaker would have none of that. Voices were life-like and intelligible, a good mix for a speaker this size.

Another honorable mention goes to the 8" subwoofer. Switching gears to the Lord of the Rings Trilogy the subwoofer has obvious limitations below 30 Hz, it provided a surreal experience when played within its comfort zone. Bass was punchy and tight with no sign of boominess or port chuffing. It was hard to believe that I was listening to an 8" subwoofer. With material after material my eyes continually drifted to the corner of the room in amazement. It blends well and doesn't draw attention to itself but you'll know it's there. It doesn't have the sheer impact of my reference sub but it's clear that wasn't designed to.

Music was also good through the CineMicro One system but not as impressive as its performance with movies. Again there were no signs of brightness or edginess but the sound wasn't as enveloping as I'm accustomed to. Imaging was also average compared to other speakers of its size. Don't get me wrong, the CineMicro produced a respectable musical presentation but it set the bar so high with movies that music was a bit of let down. In a 5.1 format its minor musical limitations were less apparent. The 8" subwoofer delivered tight and well defined bass in both stereo and 5.1.