Microlab SOLO7C Review

👤by Tim Harmer Comments 📅24-05-12
A Closer Look

Standing 56cm tall, the looks of the SOLO7C can be best described as 'classic'. The size alone almost certainly rule them out as a table-top speaker system unless your PC desk is particularly tall, hence the 'floor-standing' designation. The detachable cloth speaker grill softens the appearance somewhat, though they still have something of a monolithic dark tower quality. Although constructed of MDF the 7C's do not by any means look cheap, and have a solid feel to them. The dark wood colouring of the speaker housing is in keeping with a wide range of living room décor's, be they a standard family room or minimalist living room.

The cloth grill has a plastic frame and can be detached to reveal the bass/mid range speakers and small tweeter. Those seeking a more contemporary look for their front room may want to remove the grill and expose the speakers directly, which benefits from a matt surface rather than bare wood. Obviously removing the grill changes the dynamics of the emitted sound somewhat, which we will explore more momentarily, but we should also note that the finish of the front of the speakers isn't so good that it withstands close inspection. A few small manufacturing flaws, slightly spoiling the asthetics, may mean that you choose to keep the grill on - check your own when you receive it.

If the cloth grill is removed care should be taken with long-term storage, the spindles which fix the grill frame to the speaker cabinet are vulnerable to damage.

Here you can see the various connectivity options for the SOLO7C. Most worthy of note is that the secondary speaker only inputs via a speaker interconnect cable, for all intents and purposes reinforcing the idea that these speakers work as a pair. The rear of the main speaker is where the magic happens; the bottom half is dominated by cooling fins and a bank of inputs/outputs.

Power is provided by a through a single AC power input, which utilises a lead integrated to the speaker housing. The SOLO7C's have a true on-off switch rather than relying simply on a mute or soft-off; being energy conscious we always like to see this option, and on speakers it will have the added benefit of cutting any residual noise when the speakers are not in use. It would however have been nice to see the AC power cable as a separate 3-pin plug and socket - the length of the cable is limited and does restrict speaker placement.

The two RCA inputs are labeled 'PC' and AUX, indicating to some extent a potential usage scenario (though the speakers are certainly large for a standard computer desk). As analogue inputs you'll need to ensure that you can provide two-channel analogue audio; Optical SPDIF and HDMI audio won't do without a separate decoder. PC is noted as the preferred input, so whatever device you're connecting should be connected here first. Switching between inputs can only be accomplished via the remote.

The rear volume dial scales volume in an identical way to the remote control, and is also reflected in the LED display. There doesn't appear to be a means of swapping source audio or changing bass/treble balance from the rear of the speakers.

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