Review: Cambridge Audio Minx Air 200

Cambridge Audio | AirPlay Speaker | $ 499.00

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Last time we looked at Cambridge Audio, we took a detailed look into their portable BT speaker, the Minx Go.  The Minx Go was a power little thing, going up into their upper end of wireless speaker, the Minx Air series offers two speakers, the 100 and 200.  The speaker offers great sound quality in a fairly easy setup through Apple’s AirPlay system. 

Specifications

Drivers: 2 x 2.25” Balanced Mode Radiators + 1 x 6.5” Subwoofer
Dimensions: 18” x 9” x 7”

In the Box

Cambridge Audio Minx Air 200
Power Adapter
Remote Control
Battery (for remote control)
L-R RCA to 3.5 mm Cable

Design

The design of the Minx Air 200 follows the same design patterns that the Minx Go has (the Go was released after the 200).  It features a curved surface with a mesh grill that blankets the 3 speakers within.  Centered at the bottom of the speaker is the Cambridge Audio name that stands clearly in silver.  Around the edges of the speaker grill is a darker, gun-metal bevel that goes around the front of the speakers.  The back angles out like most speaker systems do with black plastic and available ports on the back.  The Minx Air is quite aesthetically pleasing overall and will fit in most areas without looking misplaced.

Design

Design: ★★★★

Audio

Cambridge Audio did quite a bit to ensure that the Minx Air sounds great, including the use of a new driver technology that they pioneered which is like a traditional dynamic driver with ridges on it that are supposed to boost mids and highs.  They also employ digital signal processing to improve sound in music and movies as well.
The sound signature of the Minx Air 200 ranges from a bassy boomy sound all the way down to a sweet sound depending on where the bass knob is placed.  The knob itself will mainly affect the lower spectrums of the bass regions, mainly the sub-to-low bass.

BassKnob

At the max setting, the bass becomes boomy and strong with strong depth.  It doesn’t go out of control though, but can be a bit much, it’s more than sufficient for even the largest bass heads; makes it feel like you have a sub in the room.  The bass lacks tightness and speed while the punch is covered by the low end thump and impact.

In the medium setting, the boomyness goes away entirely while the sub-bass offers good texturing that remains fluid with good solidness to it.  The punch becomes audible and it’s actually offers decent tightness without losing the thump.  This is my preferred setting.
At the lowest setting, the bass becomes a lot more accurate sounding, but loses much of its presence.  Deep texturing is still audible, but doesn’t hold the body it should have while the low bass offers an ample impact.  The mid bass becomes tighter and perceived to be quicker as well.  This would be the most accurate setting.

In the midrange, we find that the speakers like to add a bit of energy to the mix regardless of what bass setting you have.  The lower mids aren’t laid back in terms of presentation, but they also aren’t fully aggressive either, rather they sit in a nice medium offering great detailing and good retrieval.  Upper midrange clarity is strong adding energy and excitement to the system.  Vocals have strong dynamics reaching down low as well as up high.  The mids are very well rendered.

In the upper ranges, we find that the treble doesn’t take the center stage, but is toned down a little to avoid being overly bright.  The lower treble is reproduced very respectfully in my opinion.  It offers great detailing with OK extension.  The upper treble doesn’t seem to extend as far up but remains detailed.  The separation could definitely use some work though as it could smear at times.

Audio: ★★★★½

Build

I have admit that the materials used on the Minx Air 200 are very well thought out.  Although I miss the metal grill that was used on the Minx Go, the Air’s plastic-backed, cloth grill still feels solid and is closer to what larger speakers offer.  The metal bezel sparkles lightly and feels really great on the speaker while the thick plastic housing closes the rest of the system.  Overall, I feel that the speakers are well built and use good materials.  It should be able to last quite a while.

Build: ★★★★★

Reuse

Being an AirPlay speaker has plenty of perks to it, but then again, could have some draw backs.  Although Macs have built-in AirPlay support, PCs generally don’t.  It would require most PCs to use iTunes in order to use the speakers.

On the other hand, the speakers are complete mobile friendly utilizing the Minx app to control them.  The Minx app allows users to stream their music to the speakers system.  Additionally, you can remotely control the bass on the speaker.  An EQ can also be used, although you’re stuck with a set of presets available.  A custom EQ would be preferred though.

The Minx Air is connected to WiFi as a perk of being AirPlay compatible.  WiFi is a great way to send and receive data.  It’s also a great way to stream music.  The Minx app allows users to set 10 preset online radio stations that cover virtually every genre available.  Users can search for a station and then just listen.  The Minx does come with 10 presets already which can be changed.  The first 5 are accessible from the speaker itself while the rest are available through the app or supplied remote control.

RadioButtons

The remote control offers access to the 10 presets, volume control, and a quick switch between a wired and wireless connection.  Obviously, a power button is also supplied on the remote control.  One thing that is devoid from the system (speaker and remote) are controls to play, pause, and skip songs.  Personally, that’s a huge overlooked feature.

Remote

For those that don’t have a fancy AirPlay device, or one that supports the Minx App, standard BT streaming is also available.  The BT streaming works using the standard BT profile as well as the higher-quality APT-X and AAC codecs.  If your device is even older and doesn’t support BT, then a wired connection is also offered.

ControlButtons

On top of all these features you do also get the great sound quality that the speakers offer.  The bass knob is a very nice feature as well since it allows users to customize the bass response to their preferred amount.  Whether it’s booming or tight and fast, the choice is up to the listener.

Reuse: ★★★★½

Value

The Minx Air 200 is priced heavily just under 500 dollars.  That’s quite a bit of cash, though the speaker system is quite large. Regardless, they do cost quite a bit, but you do get quite a bit of technology shoved into one large speaker.  The design, materials, and sound that the speakers are able to produce is very nice while the additional features and flexibility it offers isn’t typically seen in a wireless speaker.  Overall, they do offer a good value overall despite missing a feature or two like media controls.  If 500 is too much to swallow, the Minx Air 100 is 100 dollars less, though it should sound different.

Value: ★★★★

Final Thoughts

I was really impressed with Cambridge Audio’s upper end wireless speaker offering.  The design is very sleek and will fit just about any setting out there.  While the chosen materials are strong but also aesthetically pleasing.  The Minx Air 200 doesn’t only look great, it sounds it too; partly due to all the R&D that was put into it.

Overall Score

★★★★½

Cambridge Audio Minx Air 200

 

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