The ingenuity of loudspeaker designers never ceases to amaze me. It seems like a simple enough proposition - mount a speaker in a box, then field as many boxes as you have channels. Simple, but 6.1 = 7 is a lot of boxes, even for the most fanatical audiophile's spouse. Thus, designers have sought ways to integrate more channels into fewer boxes. Example A: The Mirage UNI-Theater speaker system, which crams three channels (left/center/right) into one long, slender cabinet. Though the benefits of such a system are obvious, I wondered: What are the drawbacks?
SETUP The appropriately named UNI-Theater is about a yard wide and a few inches high and deep. Its brushed-aluminum cabinet and punched-metal grille are distinctly modern-looking, providing both nice techno styling and unobtrusiveness. Impressively arrayed across its length are nine cones and three dome tweeters. These comprise three independent channels, each with one active woofer, two passive radiators, and a tweeter, the last placed coaxially over a woofer in a saucer-shaped deflector that aids dispersion. Speakers-galore "wow" factor aside, the UNI-Theater is a fairly simple two-way design. Tech notes: As you might expect, the enclosure's interior is divided into three compartments, one for each channel. And, unlike some fancy all-in-one speakers that use digital signal processing to throw sound around the room, the UNI-Theater is passive, using only deflectors and angled tweeters.
Accompanying the UNI-Theater is enough hardware to start your own Ace franchise. Specifically, you can wall-mount it or place it on a shelf with its very slick glass base. Depending on your mounting choice, you flick a switch to either "wall" or "stand" position; this controls a boundary-compensation circuit that adjusts low-frequency response accordingly. For my tests, I used the speaker in both positions (substituting "close to the wall" for actual wall mounting). Wiring the UNI-Theater is typical, except that six binding posts are all on one cabinet. Mirage recommends 10 to 100 watts per channel; I cautiously pushed the limit to 120 watts with no ill effects.
I suppose that many customers will use a UNI-Theater as an all-in-one home theater solution. But, after a moment's thought (and another one-grand purchasing decision), it's clear that a UNI-Theater can be used in the back for surround channels, too. So, I placed another UNI-Theater directly behind my listening position and about 8 feet back to create, with the aid of a subwoofer, a 6.1-channel system. The front UNI-Theater was below my Samsung DLP, positioned so the tweeters were pointing upward. Following Mirage's suggestion, I mounted the rear UNI-Theater higher (above 6 feet) and flipped it over, with the tweeters pointing down.
Copyright © 2013 Bonnier Corp. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part without permission is prohibited.