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B and W MT30 review

A style system that sounds as good as it looks

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Our Verdict

An anomaly that is a style system that doesn't sacrifice sound quality - one of the finest systems of its type

For

  • Stunning looks with sound performance to match

Against

  • On the expensive side

So-called 'style systems' are always sneered at by audiophiles who assume that their sleek design is only afforded at the expense of overall sound performance. But the designers of the MT30 have silenced these snobs with a new Mini Theatre surround speaker range that sounds as delicious and as de-lovely as it looks.

There are three systems in the range, each sharing the same small but perfectly formed satellite speakers but distinguished by a choice of subwoofers that's reflected in the price. At the head of this hierarchy is the MT30 system, which uses the revolutionary PV-1 spherical subwoofer.

The stunning M1 satellites combine oh-so sexy styling with state-of-the-art acoustic engineering. Each cabinet is hermetically sculpted using only two major parts - a curved aluminium cast, clam-shelled with a glass-loaded plastic-front baffle that's stiffer than an Englishman's upper lip and provides superb vibration dampening. And, internally, high-end drive units feature a 25mm metal dome tweeter with a 100mm mid/bass drive that use the simplest of electronic equalizations in the crossover for greater efficiency and sound purity.

In keeping with the style conscious approach, connections are fed into the stand's base and the audio signal is then cleverly conducted through the supporting metal arm - it's extremely easy to install and without a wire in sight.

And, if you think the satellites are cool, you'll need a change of underwear when you see the sub. The futuristic PV-1 is a compact silver sphere that provides both beauty and the bass. The design encloses a pair of opposing 20cm drives powered by an almighty 500W amplifier. The 'pressure vessel' concept and aluminium construction makes it amazingly rigid to eliminate resonances producing a powerful, cleaner-than-Daz sound.

Despite their diminutive nature the satellites orbit an extraordinary degree of detail that reveals the slightest sonic subtleties from falling shards of glass to expressive vocal nuances. Controlled dynamics extend across the entire frequency range with the sort of relaxed, unstrained demeanour you'd associate with a holidaymaker in a hammock.

But, at the height of its powers is the speaker's seamless integration that evolves into a perfectly balanced, all-encompassing soundstage which places you right in the centre of the surrounding action. Add slamming special effects with distinctive depth that never descends into distortion and you'll be checking for bruises long after the credits have rolled.