When someone first gets into audio, they are often looking for an affordable, small speaker that doesn’t compromise on performance. The Micca MB42X fills that role admirably. If you’re looking to buy a pair of speakers for under $100, these are your best bet. Speakers like these sound much better than any soundbar in the same price range. You really will be getting a big step up in performance versus what you get from a typical soundbar.
These speakers are significantly smaller than the Dayton B652 and Dayton B652 AIR, and also offer a flatter frequency response, but with less bass. All-in-all these speakers are really nice at their price point.
I found these speakers enjoyable to listen to when I tested them. They did a nice job with music and voices. They seem to have been designed to handle the typical movie soundtrack and dialog quite well. It shows a real synergy between the marketing and engineering teams in my opinion. A speaker that costs $90 can only do so much. By focusing on a specific problem: making the speaker sound as good as possible on a typical TV show or non-action film soundtrack, they deliver a speaker which is quite good for most of the population and use cases. This isn’t going to be the centerpiece of an exquisite music listening setup, no $90 pair of speakers would be, and the designers didn’t try to make it for that role, to their credit.
My main complaint while listening to them is they are begging to be paired with a subwoofer to give you something even better. This is hardly surprising. They’ve got 4.5″ drivers so physics dictates they won’t have good bass. That said, if you want to get the most out of these, buy a subwoofer. This one should do the trick.
Even when you upgrade your speakers later, these are the kind of speakers you will always find a place for in your house. You’ll use them in other rooms, for parties, your workshop, even with your computer. They are incredibly flexible, and unless you plan on using them for an outdoor event or in a large hall, they will satisfy your needs.
The biggest marketing point to these speakers is they have a well made crossover circuit inside. The Micca MB42 does not, and costs less than half the price. The circuit is a big deal. Dayton Audio’s B452, B652 and B652-Air have very minimal crossovers. A crossover is a circuit that splits the sound and sends part to the tweeter and part to the woofer. The MB42X properly splits the signal between the two which accounts for much of the cost of the speaker, as well as the reason behind its higher quality sound than the Dayton speakers.
To reiterate, these are fairly small speakers, less than 6 inches wide, so they should find a place wherever they are needed. You can put them on their side and underneath a TV, and that should work pretty well.
As I always mention, measurements are an important part of any speaker. Speakers in the price range usually don’t have measurements done on them, and that’s a shame. It helps to verify what I hear and makes me more confident in my assessment.
The main plot is the speaker’s measured frequency response or Bode plot. As I explained in another review:
The first measurement we look at is the classic Bode Plot. If you’re unfamiliar with what that is, allow me to explain briefly, or just skip to my TL;DR below.
What we hear is sound is the variation in sound pressure in the air. The number of times in a second the sound pressure goes from high to low is called the “frequency” of the sound. Each note on a musical scale has its own special frequency. When a speaker is asked to play a particular note at a particular volume, it creates a slightly (and sometimes not so slightly) different volume for each tone. To create a Bode plot, you play the each note at the same volume from the speaker and record how loud it is on the microphone.
An important aside is that when doing measurements, the Bode plot (as well as others) are influenced by the room the speakers are in. I use special modern techniques of computer-aided measurement which enables me to isolate the speakers. This means my measurements are only useful above 200 Hz. Below that, the effects of the room cannot be reliably separated from the effects of the speaker.
The TL;DR of the past two paragraphs is: in a perfect world, the graph below would be a straight horizontal line and deviations from a straight line help to explain some of the imperfections of the speaker.
Once I looked at the graph, I was able to go back and hear the 7Khz peak on the speaker. It is certainly there, though not a dealbreaker by any means. The lack of bass frequencies stands out to someone who is used to listening to them, but that can all be fixed by a subwoofer.
The next response shows the sound environment as a chip signal is played. The diagonal lines are indicative of things that are happening from the speaker. The main line is the main response of the speaker. The other diagonal lines are distortion products. At low frequencies these actually get quite high. This isn’t unexpected, but that’s just another reason to pair this with a subwoofer.
Overall, this is a great choice for your first set of speakers. They are good enough to be used for music, movies and TV and are also conveniently sized. These speakers will inspire you to seek better and better sound. They are so much better than what most people are used to hearing, it will change the way you listen to media if you haven’t heard decent speakers before. You’ve been warned.