Microlab Solo1C Speakers ReviewManufacturer: Microlab
UK price (as reviewed): £51.00 (inc VAT)
US price (as reviewed):
Despite their label of bookshelf speakers the Solo1C speakers are a reasonably chunky 300x183x212mm. That’s just about small enough to get on to most desks alongside your monitors, but it'll be a bit of a squeeze. The speakers sound best at around ear level, so there's also scope to put them on a low shelf in front of you and the 2.5m replaceable DIN-plug lead that connects them gives you plenty of scope for positioning them as you please. They look the business too with a dark wood-effect finish that means you won't feel the need to hide them away out of sight; no glossy black or blue LEDs here.
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The back of the right speaker bears two pairs of stereo phono inputs, so you can connect two sound sources simultaneously. Or just plug in your PC and leave a phono-to-3.5mm lead connected so you can plug in an MP3 player. A small LED display at the bottom right of the right-hand speaker shows your volume level, but it's hard to see if you leave in place the cloth grilles that the speakers ship with. If you take these off, you'll find each speaker packs a 1in tweeter, rated at 20W, and 5in Kevlar woofer, rated at 30W. The amp built into the right speaker has a signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) of under 75db, a frequency response of 64-20,000Hz.
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At their default settings, with treble and bass both set to 0, the speakers are rather bass-heavy, something which particularly affected the rhythm-heavy country rock tracks from Neil Young & Crazy Horse's Americana, with the mid-range vocals and instruments being noticeably overwhelmed until we dropped the bass level.
For music of all genres, we found that bass reproduction was at its most balanced when we set it to -6 (of a range of +8 to -8), producing a fairly flat-sounding balance which still retained the bass's warmth and richness. There was still plenty of scope for the massively heavy bass drops of our favourite dubstep tracks, too (yes, it's not all rubbish, honest). If you're watching a movie with plenty of juicy explosions, you may want to grab the speakers' bundled IR remote, turn up the bass and feel the vibrations, but that's about the only situation where we'd want to do so.