on 15 January 2013
I needed some new desktop speakers, as the Creative PlayDock Z500 I was using was giving up the ghost. I originally considered the B&W MM-1s, but What Hi-Fi gave these products a higher rating.
And deservedly so. The Aktimate Micros sound fuller than the MM-1s, because they address bass very well. Some MM-1 owners use a separate subwoofer to get around this; you won't need that here. The Aktimate Micros have meaty woofers with a rear bass port, and on a desk, you will most definitely feel that bass. In fact, What Hi-Fi say that you need to place these speakers carefully to avoid the bass getting unruly, away from a back wall and on stands if possible. I have mine on a desk, within 5cm of a wall behind them, and I haven't encountered any problem yet.
The onboard USB DAC works great. So far I've tried it in OS X with no problem. It should work in Windows, but I haven't tried it yet. Other OSes are available and may very in their support.
The 30-pin iDevice dock is also a welcome feature, so one can plug in their device, charge it up and play music from it. Sadly, no syncing. You may also find it a good idea to order some universal dock inserts for your device to provide a bit of stability; without them, you just have a dock connector with a lot of wiggle room, and manipulating your device will cause even more wiggling.
I held off writing this review so I could test whether or not a Lightning device would work via an adapter. It doesn't. You'll be able to charge your device, but no audio out. This was tested using an iPhone 5 with a Colt adapter. Still, you can plug your device into the line-in port, so it's not a dealbreaker. You get a 3.5mm male to 3.5mm male cable in the box.
Be warned, though, that these speakers are large for desktop units. The name is no lie - they are Micros, as in micro hi-fi speakers. Consider this if you're struggling for desk space. The MM-1s beat them in this aspect, coming in a form factor closer to what you might expect for computer speakers.
However, considering the fact that the sound is more rounded, the units are more powerful, and they come in a good £170 cheaper than the MM-1s, these are an excellent pair of speakers.
on 3 December 2013
I needed a pair of speakers to replace an old Denon mini system I was using for my desktop. I was looking for speakers that were the same small size but still sounded really good. I was also looking at mini systems or bookshelf speakers with amps, so a built in amp was just one option. After reading a lot of reviews I went for these and was instantly very pleased with the sound. Very accurate sound but with a good balance of colour and punch to be able to use for both hi fi listening and studio mixing. A tiny bit top heavy but positioning them near back and corner walls solidified the bass and nicely balanced them up.
Also the addition of using the in built DAC via usb from my Macbook Pro is a definite plus. A/B testing it against the mac's core DAC there is a noticeable improvement in the Aktimates especially in the high end, much smoother. Also much better than the usual mini jack via headphone out option.
For the price these speakers are extremely good value for performance, would highly recommend.
on 6 December 2014
These are great speakers. However, has anyone used the banana plugs that come with them? I can't figure them out at all, and any video tutorials and such I found on the net are for different kinds of banana plugs. These plugs just don't seem to fit in anywhere, either I'm really stupid or they are the wrong kind. The connections work OK using the bare wires, but using banana plugs would be best.