Microlab Pro Series Solo5C Speakers - Mini Review

Discussion in 'PC Audio' started by archibaw, Dec 14, 2010.

  1. archibaw

    archibaw Member

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    I have recently purchased the Microlab Solo5C speakers and thought I would do a review.

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    First of all I am not an audiophile and I am certainly not an audio expert, but neither am I tone deaf. So please bear these in mind as you read the review.
    Apart from the speakers and computer the only instruments used during testing were my ears.

    Purchased from: Greenboxit
    Cost: $83 plus postage to Newcastle costing $19
    When I ordered them they had no stock so they were put on backorder.
    On checking with other online retailers it appeared that very few retailers had them in stock, which made me think that possibly retailers only order them when they themselves receive an order.
    Not really a big problem but it did add a little over a week to the delivery time.
    For those who haven’t heard of Microlab before, and that includes me, they have been around since 1998.
    More info at About Microlab
    Speakers manufactured by Microlab in consultation with acoustic engineer Peter Larsen

    What’s included?
    Speakers
    Remote
    Speaker cable
    Signal cable for computer connection
    Manual

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    Specifications
    Wooden box, actually I think its MDF covered in a dark timber design vinyl covering, but they are well constructed and look great.
    Power distribution: 40 Watt x 2
    Tweeter driver: 1" 10 Watt 6 ohm
    Bass driver: 5.25", 25 Watt 4 ohm
    Input: Auxiliary and PC
    Speaker dimensions: 174 W x 257 D x 309mm H.
    Individual speaker weight: 5kg
    More details on the Microlab Solo5C web page

    How I tested.
    First I used Windows Media Player to rip a variety of CDs to WMA Lossless (best quality).
    (Bon Jovi, Bruce Springsteen, Mozart, Asian Lounge, Michael Crawford and Eric Clapton)
    I use motherboard audio (for speakers) and a PCI Sound card (for headphones).
    I plugged the Microlab Solo5C speakers into the Motherboard audio socket and the Logitech X-530 into the PCI Sound card.
    Although my soundcard is only a Creative Sound Blaster 5.1 VX it does produce better sound than the onboard audio.
    This would of course give the Logitech speakers an immediate advantage.
    Let’s find out if this advantage had a bearing on the results.

    My first test for each set of speakers was to see how well they played the sounds from the Multimedia Speaker Test web page.
    With the Logitech X-530 I was able to hear all but the 15,000 Hz test tone, although the 30 Hz test tone was only just audible.
    With the Microlab Solo5C I was able to hear all but the 15,000 Hz test Tone.
    To my untrained ear the sound from Microlab Solo5C sounded better and clearer.

    The rest of my testing consisted of playing a track and listening carefully for individual instruments, different voices, background sounds and also taking note of the treble and bass sounds.
    I would play the track on one set of speakers and then immediately switch over to the other set of speakers to replay the track.
    I did vary which set of speakers played the track first. Each set of speakers went first about 50% of the time.

    My Results
    Referring back to the notes I made during testing it was apparent that the Microlab Solo5C speakers produced a better sound all-round.
    Observations were as follows:
    The bass sounds from the Microlab Solo5C were much clearer.
    For example I could hear each individual bass guitar note and each beat of the bass drum.
    In comparison, the Logitech X530’s were not nearly as clear, I think the correct term is ‘muddy’.
    The treble sounds from the Microlab Solo5C again were very clear.
    I was able to pick out individual notes from instruments such as guitar, sitar, triangle, violin and many more.
    The sound was much clearer and brighter and I was able to pick out the sounds of individual instruments and voices.
    Although the Logitech X-530s sounded pretty good they paled in comparison to the Microlab Solo5C.

    To sum up the Microlab Solo5C produced a much better quality of sound.
    For me I found the best settings were treble at +3 and bass at +4 or +5. This still left plenty of adjustment if needed.

    The greatest compliment I can make is that I find myself turning up the volume and becoming totally immersed in the music.
    Usually until someone yells at me to turn it down. And boy, are these speakers loud and clear even when cranked up.

    So what are the cons.
    When the speakers are powered off and you turn them back on they reset to default settings i.e. bass and treble set to 0, volume set to 20 and input set to auxiliary.
    However with the remote handy it takes just a moment to adjust the settings.
    One other thing I have noticed, whenever you turn them on you need to adjust the volume either up or down before you can change the input.
    Well as far as I’m concerned at $83 these speakers are totally awesome.
    How they compare to other more expensive brands such as Audioengine I really can’t say as I have not had the pleasure of hearing those other brands.

    To finish off I’d just like to say I can’t believe how much good sound I’ve been missing out on.
    To listen to Michael Crawford singing ‘The music of the night’ with the volume cranked up, hairs standing up on the back of your neck, a tingle down your spine and your body covered in goosebumps is a total joy.

    As we are all individual and our perception can differ your experience with these speakers may differ to mine and in fact probably will.

    Thank you for reading.

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  2. spAm^bOy

    spAm^bOy Member

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    Nice detailed review archibaw. Sounds like these speakers are a nice, cost effective option for those wanting reasonable sound quality out of a 2.0 stereo setup.

    Cheers.
     
  3. millsy_c

    millsy_c Member

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    Cheers for the review :thumbup:
     
  4. mtma

    mtma Member

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    At $89 these units seem to present a nice base for mods too.
     
  5. SiX101

    SiX101 Member

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    Nice review, I have the Solo 7C's (which have the extra driver)

    I have the same issues in your "cons" section, can't expect too much for this price.

    They do however feel like quality enclosures and the sound can be quite good once you tweak the treble and base. Initially at 0 Bass 0 Treb they sound a bit dull to me.

    But.... I'm used to listening to music on my HT setup with Paradigm monitor 11's

    hmmm $200 vs $2k :)

    These can be quite punchy at high volume levels with no distortion that I could hear.... surprised my friends they couldn't believe the price.

    Got mine from Auspcmarket
     
  6. bluntelk

    bluntelk Member

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    How do these speakers compare to the M4's from LSK
     
  7. AgentRex

    AgentRex Member

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    Just the review I was looking for, Currently looking at the Solo 6C's, but im pretty sure there aint much difference besides the obvious.

    I do have 1 question, being an active set of speakers, can these be used as passive?
     
  8. SiX101

    SiX101 Member

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    The AMP is built into the rear of the right speaker so no chance of using your own amp with these speakers.
     
  9. ikonz0r

    ikonz0r Member

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    40 rms each? very interesting....
     
  10. OP
    OP
    archibaw

    archibaw Member

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    Thank you everyone for your interest and comments.
    Just a quick response to a couple of queries.
    Have not heard the M4 speakers so I am unable to make a comparison.
    The M4s seem to be a great set of speakers according the M4 Speaker Kit Review at DansData.
    I don't think it would be feasible to connect these speakers to an amp, to do so would mean bypassing the speakers built in amplifier.
    How to do that is an ability I do not possess. Further reading HERE
    Here are 2 other Microlab speaker reviews.
    Review Solo 6C Speakers
    Review Solo 7C Speakers - Warning translated
     
  11. Little Man

    Little Man Member

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    Nice review, got me interested.
    But as always, the "Gamer" tag sort of puts me off. Does anyone know if theres much difference between the 5 vs 6 or 6 vs 7?
     
  12. OP
    OP
    archibaw

    archibaw Member

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    I think the Gamers tag is just marketing hype.
    No where on the Microlab web site do they mention these speakers (Solos’ 5C, 6C, and 7C) as being suitable for gaming.
    Quote from the Solo5C manual ‘Ideal for high fidelity music, movies and digital media playbacks.’ There is no mention of gaming.
    Personally I didn’t buy these for gaming and have not and probably never will use them for gaming.
    I prefer using headphones while gaming.
    I purchased them to listen to music, which is why in my review I didn’t test them during game play.
    If price, power and physical size is any indication of sound quality then I guess you get better sound from the larger and more expensive speakers.
     
  13. Little Man

    Little Man Member

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    True, i might pull the trigger on some 6C speakers as the 7c might be a bit too big on my desk.

    Thanks again for the review, didn't even know these existed until i saw this :D
     
  14. h2oxide

    h2oxide Member

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    Juggling between SOLO6C and AE5 for iPod speakers

    Sort of in the same boat as Six101. Got a relatively expensive setup which is why I'm leaning more toward the AE because of its SQ in comparison to the latter, but the price tag is so tempting, $109.00 for 6C locally.

    The decision would be much easier if I could source some second hand AE5 instead of paying $450 (including freight) from PCCG.
     
  15. Little Man

    Little Man Member

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    Just ordered some SOLO6C from warcom, although not entirely impressed that 'instock' quickly became "We are now in the process of transferring stock to our head office from our supplier and your item will be available for dispatch within 2- 5 business days."

    :tired:
     
  16. OP
    OP
    archibaw

    archibaw Member

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    Had the same problem with GreenboxIT
    Would be interested in hearing (no pun intended) your opinion of the Solo 6C.
    Cheers
     
  17. Little Man

    Little Man Member

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    Will do.

    The only thing ive used in the last year is AD700's so it'll take some getting used to i guess, but speakers wise last thing i had were X-540/Z4 so im sure i'll be easily amazed :D
     
  18. Moarphine

    Moarphine Member

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    Extremely tempted to flip the switch on these Solo6's for Mums ipod dock. They seem decent but for such a low price. If performance matches up they might become the standard entry level 2.0 for the desktop environment, like how the a2's and a5's are for mid tier, before zoning out to proper setups.
     
  19. Little Man

    Little Man Member

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    FFFFUUUUUU pccg just listed the solo6c 2 days after i buy them elsewhere.
    that'd be right. :rolleyes:
     
  20. DeejW

    DeejW Member

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    ordered a pair of 7c from local shop and should be picking them up tomorrow looking forward to testing these price seems too cheap.
     

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