Odd but charming design; impressive sound quality
Price makes them suitable for audiophiles only
$149 per speaker
You might expect speakers that look like the Scandyna Micropod SE Active to be all style over substance. After all, anything crafted this cute and, well, crazy must be all about visual attention rather than sonic excellence.
The surprise is that there are sound acoustic reasons for making a speaker that looks like an undersized alien from a 50s B-movie.
Square cabinets are much easier to mass manufacture, but the regular parallel sides exaggerate standing wave resonances – and that can impinge on sound quality. Curvier models such as these shouldn’t face such issues. And indeed, with our expectations managed by the tiny size of cabinet, main driver and class-D 10W amplifier, we found these speakers sounded remarkably detailed.
Playing uncompressed audio files through an ADL GT40 USB DAC, they showed great reproduction of voices and lead instruments. Female vocals especially could soar clear of the confines of the speakers, to just hang in the air. Similarly, acoustic guitar benefitted from the crisp and lean balance of the Micropod.
Chamber music, jazz and pop all work a treat. As does the speaker’s other forté: Video and film playback. With an eye on the volume knob, they work wonders at bringing out the dialogue in television and films.
Standing just 200mm high on their tripod feet, the speakers are available in conventional passive form for connection to a stereo amplifier, or as we tested them, with built-in amplification for connection directly to a PC, laptop or iPod.
Macworld Australia’s buying advice
A speaker this small is never going to be a full-range dambuster, yet it excels as a small-scale monitor. If you like the looks, you’re halfway to appreciating its delicate and insightful sound.