The MCi900’s speakers are, if nothing else, certainly a bit contributor to the systems overall visual appeal. The main design feature of these speakers is immediately obvious, but the choice to mount the 1-inch tweeter on a solid aluminium arm isn’t just aesthetic. By freeing the driver from the main enclosure, Philips says, the speaker is also freed from the effects of any standing waves and vibration in the main body; and the positioning also improves projection.
The 1.8-inch thick aluminium cabinet doesn’t do any harm for the rigidity of the speakers either. And as well as looking interesting, the angled design of the cabinets purportedly improves projection of the 5in woofer’s output into a room. Whatever voodoo Philips put into figuring out this speaker design, it’s worked. The MCi900 sounds absolutely fantastic. Music jumps out of the speakers in a way that’s almost disconcerting realistic thanks to the excellent sense of space they create.
We had a little giggle in the office when we heard the MCi900 described as “sharp” on the BBC’s Something for the Weekend, but having spent some time with the system we have to concede that it’s not a bad one-word summation. The isolated placement of the tweeter definitely seems to have had the desired effect as high-end notes have a great sparkle.
Female vocals particularly benefit, as proved by a run through Paramore’s brand new eyes. Whether you like their particular brand of angst-ridden pop punk or not, there’s no denying that Hayley Williams can sing – we defy you to listen to the stripped-back tracks The Only Exception and Misguided Ghosts and disagree. But we digress, the point is this: the high-end clarity exhibited by the MCi900 really works – the sound of fingers sliding down strings for a chord change is enough to send a shiver down your spine.
A play or three of Bowers & Wilkins’ London symphony Orchestra compilation showed the MCi900 has no problem handling big, complex renditions either. There’s a real sense of depth to the system’s output, and while you’re not quite able to close your eyes and imagine you’re ‘really there’ you will feel like you know what it would have sounded like were you present.
It’s worth noting, too, that the Philips MCi900 does a cracking good job of handling almost dangerously loud volumes. You’ll be annoying neighbouring counties, rather than neighbours, before the audio starts to get a little muddied and crowded. To top it all off, although MCi900 is heard at its best in the speakers’ sweet spot, it does a commendable job of filling a room and still sounds pretty good off-axis.