Published on November 26th,2012 at 11:05 PM
By >Ike

[REVIEW] The new X-mini Capsule Speakers UNO and MAX on ceramics.

Introduction

Last year we reviewed XMI’s whole range of portable speakers and were very impressed by the sheer sound quality coming from their little orbs. Today we were pleased to receive the latest batch of the X-mini factory. 2 of their best selling products, the mono X-mini II Capsule Speaker and the stereo X-mini MAX II Capsule Speakers got an update, now called the “UNO” and MAX respectively..

 

What’s new?

In essence, both UNO and new MAX speakers got upgraded with a new ceramic tweeter. The move from neodymium speakers to neodymium driver with ceramic tweeter significantly improves the sound quality, especially filing off the high peaks and reducing distortion as the volume goes up. Equally a new amplifier ameliorating the BXS (Bass Expansion System, in essence a virtual subwoofer system) got a place.

In the MAX series XMI decided to ditch the larger 40mm (4 Ohm) angled drivers for horizontal 36mm (3.3 Ohm) ones based on the closed resonator principle. The UNO kept the 40mm size but decreased from 4Ohm to 3.6 Ohm impedance. Note that decreasing the Ohm number whilst retaining the 5V current is beneficial for the overall Amp, or easy put: you get more punch for the same voltage.

 

Technical specifications

UNO

Dimensions                             : 60.0mm x 47.5mm (closed resonator)
Net Weight                               : 112g
Speaker                                    : Magnetically Shielded 40mm (3.3Ω)
Loudspeaker Output              : 2.5W
Frequency Response            : 150 Hz – 20 kHz
Signal-to-Noise                       : ≥82dB
Distortion                                : ≤1.0%
Playback Time                        : From 8 to 20 hours
Battery Capacity                     : 500mAh
Battery Charging Voltage     : 5V
Battery Charge Time             : Minimum of 2.5 hours

 

MAX

Dimension                               : 54mm x 82mm (closed resonator)
Net Weight                               : 160g
Speaker                                    : Magnetically Shielded 36mm (3.3Ω)
Loudspeaker Output              : 2W X 2
Frequency Response            : 60 Hz – 20 kHz
Signal-to-Noise                       : ≥91dB
Distortion                                : ≤1.0%
Playback Time                        : From 8 to 18 hours
Battery Capacity                     : 400mAh
Battery Charging Voltage     : 5V
Battery Charge Time             : Minimum of 2.5 hours

 

Design and color change

A short word on design changes for the new offspring. The new MAX series comes in Gunmetal grey, green, red, orange, purple and blue, all of them featuring the orange top plate. Weight-wise they had a diet, from 178 to 160Gr. Height-wise they have shrunk from 66mm to 41mm due to the reduced size of new internal components. The shape changed from something that used to look like a goose egg into a gentle shot glass (straight lines with a mushroom shaped top). A flat top 3.5mm stereo jack and new anti-slip rubber grommets for the feet finish the MAX’s description.

The UNO comes in the exact same color palate as the MAX and shares the new stereo jack and feet. Visually however, the UNO has a lot more in common with the previous generation X-mini II capsule speakers. A slightly larger volume wheel and a different logo cutout on top of the speaker are the only visual differences if not for the new color scheme exclusively used on the new UNO and MAX series.

 

Battery improvements

The X-mini Capsule Speakers are known to be able to last for hours and this is no exception with the new UNO and MAX. In fact, the battery life of the UNO has been improved to last up to 20 hours with each charge while the MAX offers a playback time of up to 18 hours (previously 12h for both). The built-in Lithium-ion batteries are charged via USB for about two to three hours.

With the micro USB ports being more popular now, the charging ports of the UNO and MAX have also been updated which means that users will be able to recharge their product with the same cables they charge many of their devices with.

 

Why ceramics over alloy tweeters?

Previous series used neodymium drivers, who did a great job on the low and mid frequencies, but had a slight imperfection in distorted high frequency when the volume was turned up to the maximum.
To combat the tradeoff of a regular neodymium driver, this time XMI’s sound engineers put in a ceramic (ferrite) tweeter on the neodymium base speaker. The advantages this brings to the capsule speakers are vast due to the fact that the ceramic tweeter is incredibly corrosion resistant and have a higher resistance to demagnetization.

 

Obviously the ceramic tweeters have the disadvantage to be heavier than neodymium alloy/aluminum tweeters, yet the overall production cost gets reduced due to the lower price of the ferrites used to manufacture them. They also don’t require additional corrosion resistant coatings.

The advantages of the ceramic tweeters weigh out to the disadvantages; the fuller “bokeh” in voice replication is possibly one of the first things users will experience once playing the new UNO or MAX speakers.

 

Improved BXS

The Bass Xpansion System, or short for virtual subwoofer, is equally one of the big noticeable advantages for the new UNO and MAX speakers. Whilst XMI now has the ceramic tweeter to take care of crystal clear high frequencies, they had to tune the neodymium core of the speaker.

To make sure the low-end frequencies, also called the subwoofer/bass zone, get better intensity it was important for the sound engineers to improve the overall depth of the bass. This might sound simple as is, but the real difficulty here was to create a perfect marriage of a high-grade tweeter that didn’t get blown away by improving the low frequency’s depth, thus retaining the smooth deep natural sounding instruments and keep the clear voice tones sparkling.

 

Conclusion

XMI showed us last year they were capable to deliver excellent portable speaker solutions. Last year they were the best selling portable speaker manufacturer with products covered in design awards from the most reputable sources worldwide. So how can one make an excellent product even better?

First off you put in a ceramic tweeter to get the crisp smooth tones in the high range. Then you revise the BXS system to get more depth and dimension in the low range. Squeeze in a more potent battery to increase playback time, enlarge the volume wheel. You end up with a smaller MAX series put on a diet and a UNO series that kept its dimensional proportions but got heavier on the inside.  And still XMI managed to convert their musical orb from “sounds good” into “audio aromatherapy”.

 

All credits go out to the X-mini engineering team for developing the new UNO and MAX series; they went beyond a sound quality level they thought was imaginable to achieve for already world’s most famous portable speakers.

The official retail price for the UNO is US$39.90 and the MAX will retail at US$59.90. We expect them to be up for purchase before Christmas.

 

Via X-mini
Category Review Speakers
              
[REVIEW] The new X-mini Capsule Speakers UNO and MAX on ceramics.[REVIEW] The new X-mini Capsule Speakers UNO and MAX on ceramics.[REVIEW] The new X-mini Capsule Speakers UNO and MAX on ceramics.[REVIEW] The new X-mini Capsule Speakers UNO and MAX on ceramics.[REVIEW] The new X-mini Capsule Speakers UNO and MAX on ceramics.[REVIEW] The new X-mini Capsule Speakers UNO and MAX on ceramics.
[REVIEW] The new X-mini Capsule Speakers UNO and MAX on ceramics.[REVIEW] The new X-mini Capsule Speakers UNO and MAX on ceramics.[REVIEW] The new X-mini Capsule Speakers UNO and MAX on ceramics.[REVIEW] The new X-mini Capsule Speakers UNO and MAX on ceramics.[REVIEW] The new X-mini Capsule Speakers UNO and MAX on ceramics.[REVIEW] The new X-mini Capsule Speakers UNO and MAX on ceramics.
[REVIEW] The new X-mini Capsule Speakers UNO and MAX on ceramics.[REVIEW] The new X-mini Capsule Speakers UNO and MAX on ceramics.[REVIEW] The new X-mini Capsule Speakers UNO and MAX on ceramics.[REVIEW] The new X-mini Capsule Speakers UNO and MAX on ceramics.[REVIEW] The new X-mini Capsule Speakers UNO and MAX on ceramics.[REVIEW] The new X-mini Capsule Speakers UNO and MAX on ceramics.
[REVIEW] The new X-mini Capsule Speakers UNO and MAX on ceramics.[REVIEW] The new X-mini Capsule Speakers UNO and MAX on ceramics.
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