|Mirage AVS-Series MicroSystem|
|Home Theater Loudspeakers Speaker Systems|
|Written by Tony Kaklamanos|
|Tuesday, 01 February 2000|
There's a new contender on the mini-home theater block, the Mirage AVS-Series MicroSystem. This young, up-and-coming lightweight delivers a great combination and has the wherewithal to go the distance for a mere $500 for the five-piece system. Throw in an extra $300 for the active subwoofer and you're in the 5.1 game for $800.
And now for the introductions. The AVS-200 is the loudspeaker used to cover the front and rear of your listening arena. A total of four AVS-200s are included on this fight card. The tale of the tape is as follows: Two-way high-performance acoustic suspension enclosure including a 1 inch textile dome tweeter and a 3+1/2 inch woofer with polypropylene cone. The physical dimensions are 7 inch (h) x 4 1/8 inch (w) x 5 inch (d). The enclosure utilizes a revolutionary crosscutting and crimping technique allowing a single piece of wood to be molded seamlessly, greatly reducing resonance and defraction. The AVS-100 is the timbre match center channel speaker. Magnetically shielded, this enclosure sports a 1 inch textile dome tweeter (the same as the 200s) and doubles up on matching 3+1/2 inch long throw woofers. Also included is built-in low frequency overload protection, for high power handling. On the bottom end is the FRx-S8 front-firing active subwoofer. In addition to the 100W MOSFET amplifier that powers itself up once a signal is detected, this enclosure houses a heavyweight 8 inch woofer. Mirage has also included a level control for adjusting the output level and an LP Filter that controls the high-frequency roll-off continuously from 50Hz to 100Hz. In addition, there are two pairs of high-level inputs for the satellite 200s.
Before we get too far ahead of ourselves, a quick description of my listening environment is in order. The area is fairly small, about six by 11 feet. The room is also very "live," due to the plaster walls and wood floors. For reference, I used the Sherwood Newcastle R-725 A/V receiver; for Dolby Digital processing, I employed the Vantas DPA-P87 and Yamaha’s DVD-S700 DVD player as my source
As in the case of most lightweights, one might doubt the strength and durability of the AVS-Series. Do they have a knockout punch or are they just flashy with no real substance? Well, straight out of the box I indeed had my doubts about the AVS-Series MicroSystem. However, these doubts were abruptly swept away when Rocky tattooed Apollo Creed with a left hook in ‘Rocky’ (MGM/UA). The rear surrounds filled the room; I felt as if I was sitting in the crowd cheering for the underdog. I could swear I was able to smell popcorn and beer.
The voice of the AVS-100 center channel is perfectly matched to the front and rear satellites of the system -- delivering a sound that is not only big but also extremely intelligible.
Known for their rocking subwoofers, Mirage hasn't pulled any punches with the FRx-S8. This unassuming black box not only smoothes out rough soundtracks it rocked my world with the thunderous shotgun blasts during ‘L.A. Confidential’ (Warner Bros.).
Musically, the front mains performed brilliantly on everything from ‘The Best of Diana Ross and the Supremes’ (Motown) to Joan Osborne's ‘Relish’ (PolyGram Records), from Charlie Parker's ‘Bird’ (PolyGram Records) to Eric Clapton's ‘From The Cradle’ (Reprise Records). These tiny little guys went toe to toe with all of them. But could they take a power punch?
I rolled up the volume and the AVS-200s held-up just fine with very little distortion (I'm talking ear-bleed levels), nice highs and extended midrange.
First, I wish there were a way to add rear ports to the AVS-200s and release some of that trapped energy. Next, I prefer down-firing subwoofers. However, for those of you who have a carpeted listening environment, the front-firing configuration may be preferable.
For tight spots and budgets, you'd be hard-pressed to beat the value of the AVS-Series MicroSystem.
I suggest you keep your left hand up, train hard and take a long listen to this system before making a purchase. If not, you may find yourself out on the canvas wishing you had. Mirage has a real contender eager to take-on all opponents in its class. The AVS-Series MicroSystem is a knockout.