Minx Air 100
Manufacturer: Cambridge Audio
Inputs: AirPlay, Bluetooth, RCA, 3.5mm jack, internet radio Power 100W
Wireless speakers usually have either AirPlay or Bluetooth; both do the same basic job, but AirPlay lets you stream to multiple speakers at once from iTunes (though broadly speaking it’s limited to iTunes and iOS devices), while Bluetooth streams to one device at a time but is compatible with most things.
Happily, though, this unassuming little speaker from Cambridge Audio packs both. And we really like it.
Adding it to your home network for AirPlay is a little fiddly, but once done, you shouldn’t need to do it again; it appears as an AirPlay speaker in iTunes, on iOS, and as a system-wide audio output on OS X 10.8. Pairing for Bluetooth is easy too, and it supports aptX for high-quality streaming.
There are wired inputs too: a 3.5mm minijack and a pair of RCA phono inputs. There’s no way to dock or physically tether your iOS devices to it for charging, mind you.
The sound quality is very good. As usual with such compact speakers, there’s essentially no stereo sound stage – by design, in part, thanks to Cambridge Audio’s Balanced Mode Radiator drivers – and as there are only two cones here we do miss the mid/top-end brightness of proper tweeters, but most would love what comes out of the Minx Air 100. Cambridge Audio’s hi-fi pedigree is shown by the addition of a bass adjustment dial on the rear; bass is at least good however you set this (we just nudged it a bit past mid-way).
But there’s one other feature that we love – it can act as a stand-alone internet radio. This isn’t unique, but the Minx Air 100’s implementation is calm and easy to use. Using the companion app, you can browse and search internet radio streams from all over the world and then assign them to the five preset buttons at the left of the top surface. Press a button, and it instantly ‘tunes’ to that station, no other device required.
We know it’s expensive, but we love it for its sumptuous audio, multiple inputs including both AirPlay and Bluetooth, and those simple one-press radio presets.
This unassuming white box packs in some great tech, and it sounds just lovely too. A MacFormat favourite.