on 13 March 2012
I took a bit of a punt when I bought these, they were new out - and at the time I could only find a couple of enthusiastic video demos, which are self-defeating for AV products. I bought them to replace a fairly decent 2.1 speaker set which I paid more for (but which had really poor magnetic shielding) and these are in a completely different class. I had given myself a modest budget and my expectations were proportionate but I was in for a real surprise...
These speakers are truly incredible. If heavy bass is your thing then you can whack up the sub-woofer and enjoy the sensation as doors and windows shake and your rib-cage is tickled in time with the music, with no distortion; my son is in to "dubstep" (whatever that is) and he loves them. Alternatively set the bass at a more civilised level and enjoy crystal-clear, full range sound in a room of any size. What is so impressive is that these speakers sound just as good at really low levels as they do at full blast. I don't know how they can do it.
I have now become quite evangelical about them and everyone I have shown them to has been astonished to learn that they only cost £40 (including a close friend who is a professional sound engineer.) In my opinion the sound reproduction is as good as the Bose 2.1s which cost £250 but the Microlabs are less than one sixth of the cost and much more beautiful too.
Another close friend of mine recently bought a set of these on my recommendation and without listening to mine at all. He was speechless. I can't recommend these speakers enough, you will be so pleased you bought them.
If I have one minor criticism it is that the cables could be longer. They will comfortably sit either side of a widescreen monitor but I have quite a wide desk and I have to place the (big) sub-woofer at the side which didn't allow me to place the satellite speakers quite as far apart as I wanted. I had to buy an extension (cheap as chips) in order to achieve this. Having said this - it would be the same for any other 2.1 speaker set too.
If you are looking for a decent 2.1 speaker set and don't want to break the bank then you must buy these. They are simply stunning..
on 16 October 2014
I've had these speakers since the 3rd Sept. and I'm really happy with them. They're not perfect, but for for a sum just shy of 42 quid, I'm very impressed and think they represent great value.
I bought them to replace a set of budget Logitech X-120's which had an annoying hum when powered and they're used as computer speakers attached to a 2011 iMac via the supplied cable (phono to 3.5mm stereo jack).
I've been using them most days and have had no problem with them thus far. They have a somewhat retro-ish appearance and I think they're nice a looking set, unassuming and perfect for my bookshelf placement.
As for the sound, I'm no audiophile (most of my CD's are ripped to iTunes at a measly 128kbps - 192kbps AAC) but these are much better sounding than the admittedly cheap speakers I'd previously been using. I've found myself noticing things and elements in songs I wasn't aware of previously. The sound is really nice to my ears; good in the mid range, clear but not too tinny or harsh in the trebles and thankfully lacking the distracting overly boomy bass you get from some speakers. There seems to be a decent separation of sounds and the subwoofer is something of a revelation to me. I've never had one before, never thought I'd ever need one, but once dialed up (or down) to a level where it doesn't sound like a totally separate speaker, it adds a lovely extra depth and warmth to my music without being overpowering. It also adds suitable heft to shotgun shots in games and the usual explosive type things in films.
My musical tastes seem to be handled pretty well. I've tried some Classical, Soundtrack, Ambient, Electronica and some sometimes heavily dynamic range compressed Metal and they seem to handle them pretty well all things considered (I'm braving a Death Magnetic induced headache as I type this though).
As for the negatives, just a few really.
Firstly, the power and bass controls are located on the rear of the subwoofer. Whilst this allows for a simple design with just the volume on the front, it also means that switching the unit on/off or adjusting the relative bass volume means getting down on your hands and knees which can be irksome or peasant-like (assuming the sub is on the floor or under a desk), maybe even difficult if placed awkwardly or if your servant's mobility is compromised in some way.
Secondly, is the length of the speaker cables which is probably only suited to desktop/floor/around a TV type use. They're just too short in my opinion, especially if the subwoofer is on the floor and you intend on raising or separating the satellites somewhat. Thankfully this is easily remedied with an inexpensive RCA Phono extension cable (male connectors one end, female the other).
Lastly, the speaker covers are tight fitting swines. Upon risking taking one off out of curiosity, one of the plastic pegs moulded into the cover (that pushes into the speaker housing) snapped off leading me to think the materials used (in the cover at least) are pretty cheap/flimsy. I glued the peg back to the cover and the covers aren't coming off again :)
Overall, I'm really happy with these speakers and with a couple of physical/practical tweaks would be absolutely essential.
on 12 July 2013
I should raise my colours here: I fall somewhere between the audiophiles and the newcomers in the hifi world, having owned a few 2.1 and full-range 2.0 speaker sets but having never spent big money on it. I still didn't want to spend big money, because I know that it's possible to get a good enough sound for my type of usage (small rooms, moderate volume, mixed music, films and games) without spending a lot. Huge £500 setups are wasted if you're sat five feet away from them playing Battlefield half the time, never turning them to more than 1/8th gain.
That established, these were exactly what I needed and they surpassed my previous setups. They replaced Logitech Z523s, a price-point competitor, but they produce a much richer, more precise and balanced sound; the cheaper Logitech speaker sets seem to make up for a lack of range and balance with heavy bass and harsh, aggressive high frequencies. That's okay for some techno and the odd game session, but it's not good enough for films and music; I was never really satisfied with the Z523s, nor with the Logitech X230s that came before that, which were actually more expensive than either of these.
The Microlabs are simply much better quality; I have to second the top-review observations that they sound like much more expensive speakers than they are. They're versatile and do everything excellently for me - video games, films, various genres of pop music (classical not so much, as you just need much more expensive gear for it to sound right). They look and feel more expensive than they are, too, with real wood panelling and an attractive, understated design. Best of all for me is that they remain balanced, clear and rich at any volume: you don't get the normal cheap-speaker muddy bass, and rhaspy treble distortion.
One thing to know is that burning-in applies more on these than on most. My Z523s seemed to sound fairly balanced out of the box, changing very little over time, but the Microlabs were initially very shrill, flat and lacking mid-range responsiveness. It seemed to smooth out after about a month of infrequent usage (probably around 60 hours). I googled a bit and learned that speaker break-in is a very real thing (search for "Speaker Break-In: Fact or Fiction?" for the most informative article) - most manufacturers just break them in a bit before shipping them out. Presumably Microlabs don't do this as much, and so these need more time at the user's end to reach their ful potential.
Another caveat is that the bass amplification is simply ridiculous; a loose cannon designed to beat Logitech at their own bass-driven game. I have my bass dial turned to about 1/5th; crank it past 1/3rd and it totally overwhelms everything else. Turn it up to full and the windows in your house will visibly wobble, and the mid frequencies will be inaudible. I suppose for certain uses this is a selling point: you could easily fuel any drunken dubstep house party with these, in addition to enjoying crisp, balanced, good-quality audio the rest of the time, so they really are the most versatile speakers I've seen. But you will need to fiddle with the bass (and resist turning it up too far) a bit to get it right.
In short, then, if you give them a little bit of time and fine-tune them, they'll reward you. So why only four stars? That's down to three basic design oversights that are hard to excuse:
- There is no headphone jack on the satellites or on the sub, so you'll have to use the jack on your PC or hifi. For desktop users this might be a problem.
- The volume control is on the sub rather than a satellite, and is tiny (the size of a PC thumbscrew), so you'll have to reach under your desk to adjust it or learn, as I did, to do it using your toes. It's workable but not ideal.
- The power switch, normally a chunky push-switch on the front of the sub, is a tiny rocker-switch located on the rear of the sub beneath a heatsink: it's practically unreachable, so mine just stays on all the time, wasting electricity.
I can live with these oversights; it's just surprising and confusing that, after doing everything from varnishing it to sticking a heatsink on it, Microlabs missed such basic industry norms. But I still heartily recommend them; at this price nothing else even comes close.
on 27 August 2013
I never normally do reviews on products but these things are absolutely incredible. I previously owned some Logitech speakers and decided to upgrade after about 4 years. I received them today and decided to put them on full bass straight away. Bad idea. They shook the house and windows and my pets darted out of the house. I also had unhappy neighbours so I would play with the setting a bit before you do that. The treble and bass are perfectly aligned with the speakers which makes the quality sound even better. I was seriously shocked when I had bought these for £50 as I would expect quality like this to be way over the £200 mark. They sound perfect with all types of music and I would recommend these to anybody. I still haven't gone over half volume since the accident at the start!!
Sound quality is perfect.
Bass is tremendous.
Everything is perfect about these!
Excellent value for money, highly recommended.
on 27 April 2013
I listen to music a lot and have always had a decent hi-fi and my cars have always had upgraded sound systems. I love my music to sound as good as possible.
I have been looking for a decent set of speakers for a long time now for my desk. I had been considering the usual candidates, Creative, Logitech etc etc and then I stumbled across these.
There is quite a few reviews online which praise the FC330's for the incredible sound performance, and they are all 100% spot on!
They look and feel absolutely superb and are extremely well made, not your usual black plastic you get with other speakers in this price range.
The sound that they produce can only be described as amazing!! Perfect highs, brilliant mids and thumping bass which does not overpower the highs and mids. The bass can be adjusted on the back of the sub to your personal preference so you dont have to disturb your neighbours.
I have them in a fairly large room and they more than fill the room with clean, crisp warm sound which you would expect from a set of speakers which cost much, much more.
I cant' recommend these enough, they really are superb value for money!
They would be cheap at double the price and I cannot imagine that you could possibly find a better set of 2.1 speakers for this money.
Stop reading about other speakers and buy them!
on 29 February 2012
Fantastic speaker system with hi-fi quality sound,nice clean bass without boom effect you get with cheap plastic speakers that too many other manufactures use .Frequency response very good at 35 Hz - 20 kHz with good hi and midrange sound.All three units are Beautiful wooden cabinet for perfect sound performance,As i do a lot of video editing using professional equipment was looking to upgrade my old sound system that died on me ,Was recommended to take a look at Microlab 330.At first did not think they would be up to the job due to the very low cost,I was looking at other systems £150+,I decided to take a chance at £40.00,Wow these speakers are amazing ,would recommend this system to anyone who is looking for true hi-fi sound without breaking the bank.
on 6 November 2012
I couldn't believe how great these speakers both looked and felt when they arrived. They seemed like they should have been three times the amount and the build quality puts the usual plastic rubbish you get from other companies to shame: a deep, rich darkwood veneer coupled with black plastic with a faux leather effect.
When I switched them on I wasn't disappointed either. The bass is rich and clear and can be easily tweaked to the relevant volume with a knob at the back. The main speakers are of exceptionally high quality for their price point. I tried a number of musical genres at a high volume and they reproduced everything from the rippling high piano of Debussy's Clair De Lune to the syncopated synth of Baba O Riley with a richness and aplomb belying their meagre price tag.
The only complaint I have is that the speaker cables aren't incredibly long. This was easily resolved in both cases though as they connect to the back of the sub woofer with phono connectors. I had an audio/video cable (red, white, yellow) in my blu ray box that I was never going to use. I picked up two phone couplers from a local hardware store for 40p each and everything is now perfect.
on 19 February 2015
Let's get realistic here. There is a lot of unwarranted hype for these speakers in the customer reviews. They are NOT 5 star speakers, they do not sound like a set of speakers that cost four times the price, and they are not an adequate solution for proper home hifi.
Pros: They are decent and they are cheap. For £50 you will have something absolutely solid. If you have been listening to music on your laptop speakers or your tv, these will be a huge upgrade. The build quality seems pretty decent too.
Cons: The sub is a decent size, but the satellite speakers are pretty tiny. As such, your mids are non-existent and trebles sound very tinny. Guitars and drums sound very small and bright. The bass is also pretty muddy and undefined.
As I stated above, for £50 that is really no problem and these speakers perform fine. However, I purchased these based on the miraculous reviews above, and they absolutely do not deserve the ridiculously positive praise that they have received.
on 8 November 2012
I took a chance and bought this system after seeing all the great reviews. It was purchased to go with a small HD TV and it certainly works, for the price I would say you wont get better, it really brings movies to life. Treble is fairly smooth and reasonably detailed and midrange is punchy although you may want to reduce the treble output a little at higher volumes if you are able to control it from your device,. Bass is suprisingly good for a cheap little entry level system but can get boomy at higher volumes however the overall soundstage is pretty reasonable. Nice wood finish which looks classy and way above what you would expect for this money - Solid well built enclosures too.
I have a KEF home theatre system in my main room costing over £3000 and Linn HiFi costing over £8,000 so I know about good sound. You cant go far wrong here at this pricepoint but dont expect the earth.
Overall a great buy considering the price and what it is - It has to be a 5 star score - excellent!
on 27 May 2015
These speakers are truly magnificent for the price. They are as loud as you need for normal home use and the sound quality is seriously impressive. I had a £200 Sony mini system that consisted of two 3 way main speakers and a large dual sub woofer, the system was 460 watts power output and although that speaker system was high quality and seriously loud and powerful, for sheer sound quality the micro labs speakers seem to be much better. The bass is very deep and full and the main speakers so precise it makes the whole set up a very well balanced system. I'm at uni at the moment and two of my friends are studying sound engineering, i showed them the speakers and let them listen to a few songs to get their opinion on them and even they were really impressed at how well this speaker reproduces sound. The build quality is very good as well and the wood effect Finnish and general modest look of the speakers makes nice to look at and fit well in a bedroom or living room. These speakers really are excellent, even without taking price into consideration. The fact they are so cheap makes them an absolute steal.