Earlier this week FoS featured Microlab’s T8 Bluetooth speakers, which delivered quite good results, while still looking good in the process. Today, we showcase Microlab’s M300BT Bluetooth, 2.1 multimedia speakers.
Build and Design
Unlike the T8 speakers, the M300BT offers a more standardised approach in its design and build quality. While still offering Bluetooth connectivity, the speakers are restricted somewhat in its manoeuvrability due to the quite short cables from the two speakers connected to the woofer. Beyond this limitation of spreading the satellite speakers sufficiently to your own choosing, there are quite a few additional connectivity and input options. These include, as already mentioned, Bluetooth, USB, SD card, and even the option of radio.
In terms of its design, each of the satellite speakers are elevated slightly from the base, while slanting backwards at an angle of roughly 10 degrees. These speakers are quite lightweight, with most of the weight residing with the woofer, which, combined, have a net weight of 3KG. The woofer is based on the classic design, with partially transparent mesh front covering allowing you to see the driver. On the right side of the unit there are a few ports and buttons, including the two RCA connectors for the left and right speakers, the main volume control, as well as the bass volume directly below it, with the 3.5mm auxiliary jack further below that. Right at the bottom, you’ll find the power button, alongside the power cable on the right.
On the top left, still on the right side of the woofer, you have the multimedia controls, which include the USB port and SD card slot. Below these inputs you’ll find the controls, including the input switch to cycle between Bluetooth, auxiliary, USB, SD card and radio, the pause/play button, with the skip forward and back buttons on the right of that. To make use of the radio, there’s an antenna on the rear that can be folded away when not in use, or extending, similar to a 1980s boombox.
The M300BT is just as simple to connect and use as with the T8, and doesn’t require the user manual. As already mentioned above, the two satellite speakers connect to the amplifier, housed within the woofer, by means of their respective RCA cables. Once powered on, users can either connect using a 3.5mm auxiliary cable, or by using any of the other input sources available.
In terms of its specifications, the M300BT has output power of 38W, distributed as x2 12W for the satellite speakers, and 14W for the woofer. It has a frequency response of between 40Hz and 20kHz, and signal/noise ratio >80dB. As for the speakers themselves, the two speakers have a 2.5” driver with 4Ω impedance, whereas the woofer has a 5” driver with the same 4Ω impedance. With that out the way, we get to how it actually sounds when it comes down to business. For starters, even at the default, midway volume out the box, the speakers are much louder than anticipated. And they can get even louder if need be. I couldn’t quite keep it at the highest volume for long enough as it became far too difficult for me to contain, which gives quite a good indicator that volume will not be an issue here. Even at these high levels, while I struggled to maintain continuous high volumes, there isn’t much distortion to speak of. At the same time, the speakers also respond well to lower frequencies. Although 40Hz isn’t the lowest to start off with, it is still fairly good.
Being a multimedia combo, it’s essential to touch on that aspect. Using the 3.5mm auxiliary as your default input is almost a given, with the native media controls then residing on the device you’ve connected. The same can be applied to using Bluetooth. But then you have the USB and SD card options, for which users will have to use the onboard controls, which does pose a few concerns. If you’re planning to go this route, it’s best to add all your music into one folder of reasonable size. Switching between folders is non-existent, but translates instead to one continuous playlist in any case. Then there’s the radio option. While it does work, I can’t see many users still opting to use this, perhaps preferring digital radio, which has a much better signal and playback quality.
The Microlab M300BT Bluetooth, 2.1 speakers offer great connectivity options and make a good case for multimedia speakers. The unit fails to excite the senses when it comes to the design and build quality, which looks and feels very plasticky. At an MSRP of R699, prospective buyers may want to do more research as to what they’re getting before settling on the M300BT. Still, the unit isn’t bad by any means, just not as spectacular as the previously reviewed T8.