Review Price £149.95
Manufacturer: Cambridge Audio
Each of the satellites weigh just 435g, making them light enough to reposition, but have just enough weight to keep them rooted to a table surface.
The active subwoofer with built-in amplifier measures in at 200mm high, 200mm wide and weighs 4.4kg so it's a heavy little thing. The same glossy theme runs through the design adding a cabinet-style finish to make it look and feel like a system you'd expect to pay a lot more for. In subwoofer terms, it's compact enough to hide underneath a computer desk but it's equally quite nice to have it on show.
On the back of the sub you’ll find the Control input, speaker outputs, power adaptor port and a bass level knob. All the cables are in the box including USB and 35mm connections so there's no need to make an extra investment to start hooking it up.
Completing the M5 setup is the small coaster-sized control pod similar to the one featured with the Bose Companion PC speakers. This one has a much squarer look and also has the benefit of extra connection ports. You can adjust volume via the dial in the middle and at the back there's connections for USB, and MP3 player support. Round front, you'll find the dedicated headphone socket.
The volume control and base of the pod both have a sticky surface which no doubt adds grip but also attracts dirt and dust at the same time. On the whole, the M5 is a real looker and, speaker stands aside, feels sturdy and well built.
One of the most interesting features is the inclusion of Cambridge Audio’s DAC technology. The benefit of building this into the system is that the M5 can process digital audio and replace the same (less impressive) digital audio processing from your PC or laptop soundcard.
Hooking it up is really easy. The satellite speaker cables plug into the sub using proprietary cables along with the control pod and the power adaptor. Connecting it up to a Chromebook via USB, the connection was instant and it doesn't take long to appreciate how good it sounds.
The sub does its job as well in tandem with the satellites delivering powerful bass to add depth and warmth to the overall sound.The soundstage is particularly grand for such a small setup. The M5 feels better optimized for watching movies, but that's not to say it's bad for music. You get the same, powerful, well-balanced sound although when you turn the volume up really loud there is a slight wobble in the detail. It's a very minor difference though and doesn't detract from what is overall a gorgeous-sounding system.
Compared to similar setups from the likes of Bose and Harman Kardon Soundsticks III PC speaker setups it's significantly cheaper and the built-in Cambridge Audio DAC really shows its class for watching films and listening to music.
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