Cambridge Audio Minx Air 100 review
When it comes to Bluetooth and wireless speaker systems, there are countless options on the market, but if you’re looking for something discreet, flexible, and easy to use, Cambridge Audio’s Minx Air 100 aims to tick every box. With Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and wired connectivity all packed into a compact, stylish package, the Minx Air 100 promises hi-fi audio without the clutter.
It makes a great first impression. It’s similar in size to Sonos’ Play:3 wireless speaker, measuring just over 35cm wide, 12cm high and 18cm deep. The body is finished in gloss, white plastic and feels reassuringly weighty and solid. Behind the grey metal grille, there’s a pair of 10cm balanced mode radiator (BMR) drivers attached to 100W of class-D amplification, and around the back there are 3.5mm and RCA stereo inputs, an Ethernet socket, and a connection for the internal power supply.
Bluetooth and 802.11bg Wi-Fi connectivity is included, too, and a tiny remote control adjusts volume, mutes the audio, toggles between the available sources and switches between the preset radio stations.
Given the wealth of connectivity, getting up and running is pretty straightforward. To take advantage of Apple AirPlay, and the Internet Radio streaming features, the Minx needs to be directly connected to a home network. This can be achieved via Ethernet or Wi-Fi, although a wireless connection requires you to first join the Minx Air’s own network, and input your home network’s connection details into a web page on a phone, tablet or PC. Pairing with Bluetooth devices is as simple as pressing the button on the Minx’s top edge and selecting it from the Bluetooth menu on your device.
The apps for iOS and Android devices also make it possible to stream internet radio through the Minx. Cambridge Audio has filled the ten available presets with some popular choices, and the search function allows you to scour the internet for your personal favourites. Handily, you don’t need to run the app or use the remote every time you want to listen to radio: as long as it’s connected to your home network, the first five presets can be played by pressing the corresponding numeric button on the Minx’s top edge.
Regardless of the music source, the Minx Air 100 is capable of making a lot of noise for such a compact device. Everything from dance music to classical was reproduced with a lively, dynamic sound, and speech on Radio 4 was clear and full-bodied. Crank up the volume and the Minx soon reaches deafening levels, even in larger rooms. The sound does harden noticeably as you turn up the wick, but there’s never any ugly, crackly distortion.
It’s no rival to similarly priced active stereo speakers, though, nor as crisp and precise-sounding as Sonos’ Play:3. The warm, rich bass output doesn’t go particularly deep – no matter how you adjust the bass control on the rear, the small drivers can’t stretch to the lowest notes – and unlike the Sonos Play:3, which has a tweeter as well as two mid-range drivers, the Minx Air 100’s BMR drivers sound a little dull and lacking in top-end sparkle by comparison.
For sheer convenience, however, the Minx Air 100 has plenty to recommend it. There’s no facility for multiroom audio in the vein of Sonos’ products, but the added input flexibility means that it’s easy to play music from any phone, tablet, laptop or PC with a Bluetooth connection, or hook it up via a cable to a TV or basic MP3 player with minimal hassle. It isn’t cheap, but if all you want is decent sound quality in a self-contained, easy-to-use package, the Minx Air 100 has a very appealing array of talents.
|Speaker power ouput||100W|
|RCA (phono) inputs||1|
|3.5mm audio input jacks||1|
|Optical S/PDIF inputs||0|
|Electrical S/PDIF inputs||0|
|USB audio inputs||0|
|Wired remote power/volume control||yes|