Cambridge Audio Minx Air 100 review by http://www.theaudiophile.net/
Have been truly impressed by the Cambridge audio minx 100, in the very short span of time that’s its been with me. It’s a pretty compact speaker that enables one to wirelessly stream music via blue tooth or airplay enabled devices & avail of music services such as spotify, without requiring a separate mobile app.
The Air 100 came well packed (double box packing), with all the accessories neatly ensconced in nicely cut out thermocol that holds the Air 100 firmly in place within the box as well as neatly tucking in the accessories in it. The accessories include:
1) Quick start owner’s manual in various languages (separate booklets having info related to hooking up the Air 100 via Wi-Fi networks
2) Three Types of power cords (CU, EU & UK Plug Terminated)
3) One Card type remote with its battery cell
4) Ethernet Cable
Packing Quality: 5 Stars
The Air 100 is a very well put together piece of equipment, nicely finished in curved glossy piano white casing with a matt silver band around the speaker grill. The unit is pretty heavy & feels solid when held in hand, with a conveniently placed slot for ones hand to secure holding it. The speaker grill is a fixed type & is slightly shiny grey in colour which neither looks bland nor flashy, pretty understated & functional. The top side of the unit as 5 rubberised buttons on the left side numbered 1-5 to store the preset internet radio channels. The top right side has another 5 rubberised buttons which operate the following: Bluetooth, Analog Input, Volume – /+ & Power.
The buttons are nicely textured to touch & a breeze to operate. The card remote is a little compact piece with all the features of the buttons on the main unit with the addition of being able to switch between 10 preset channels & an addition of a mute button. Adjusting the bass level is also possible with the presence of -/+ buttons. All the buttons are not back lit like the ones on the main unit. I doubt that the remote would see much use as most end users would use their mobile devices to control the Air 100 or end up using the buttons on the unit itself. The remote build quality though sticks out as a sore thumb in comparison to the main units high build quality.
The back panel of the Air 100 houses the following in a little recessed area of the back:
Power Cord Port
Ethernet Cable Slot
LED which flashes orange/green when in use
Bass Level Knob
A micro USB port for servicing the unit
3.5 mm auxiliary pin slot
Stereo RCA Input
The Air 100 is essentially a ported cab design with the port being cleverly integrated into the hand grab recess.
Overall the look of the Air 100 is simple & understated.
Build Quality: 5 Stars
Bluetooth/Air Play Pairing:
Bluetooth pairing was effortless & quick. One can start playing music pretty much instantly from ones mobile devices, which is always good for one who is wanting a fuss free operation.
When you power on the Minx Air, an LED on the back flashes orange and green. To set up AirPlay, you have to connect to the Minx Air’s temporary Wi-Fi hotspot. Once you do, you type 192.168.1.1 into your browser, select your Wi-Fi network’s SSID from the list, and type in your password and click Apply. The Minx Air will save the configuration, and your own PC will see the Minx Air hotspot disappear, meaning that it should automatically reconnect to your existing home network. If all is well, you’ll be able to select the Minx Air from your iOS device. This setup is functional, Cambridge Audio makes available a free Minx Air iOS app, which I tested using an iPhone 5. The app lets you control the device as if the iPhone were a remote, as well as find and store Internet radio stations from a selection of over 20,000. It also includes something you can’t get via the front panel or hardware remote: 10 DSP presets for modifying the speaker’s frequency response curve.
Connecting via the RCA inputs does take about 30 seconds for the music to play but that’s pretty much acceptable for one to sit back & enjoy the music.
Straight out of the box, one is impressed with the big sound coming from its size. It goes pretty loud as well without distorting itself out of breath. It does get a little uncomfortable to hear at high volumes but is still acceptable when one keeps the size of it in mind. What it does tell you pretty much instantly is that it will show up a poor recording rather tellingly. I played a variety of formats (flac, wav, mp3) & it kept revealing the good, bad & ugly in all the formats pretty consistently.
The feature of adjusting of bass levels is pretty much useless as when preset to centre position of the knob, it gives more than enough bass, infact it can sometimes feel a bit overpowering the mids, so vocals do sound a little recessed in comparison to the lows & highs. The vocals do sound coming from dead centre of the unit, but overall the sound is localized. Having said that, I think it’s a pretty decent performer that one can happily live with if one is looking for A) Convenience, B) Style Quotient & C) Portability (wherever there’s an electricity socket).
Sound Quality: 3.5 Stars
A commendable effort from Cambridge Audio, to make a very well designed product, one that will be useful for many, though if you can spend a little more, then I would whole heartedly recommend its bigger brother, the Minx Air200. Stay tuned for its review being readied shortly.
Retail Price: Rs.29900/-