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Bowers and Wilkins MM-1 review

These desktop speakers from B and W offer excellent sound quality in a small form

Our Verdict

For

  • Excellent sound quality
  • Well designed
  • USB and analogue inputs

Against

  • Price is high but worth the money

The basic size of the Bowers and Wilkins MM-1 (10cm square by 17cm high) is no great surprise, and the look doesn't give much away.

The first hint that this is something a little clever is the inclusion of a USB cable: yes, this speaker system is computer-oriented to the point of having a USB digital input, plus a single analogue input on a mini-jack connector.

Indeed, it's very heavily digital, having also a digital amplifier and some Digital Signal Processing (DSP) which is claimed, rather vaguely, to keep music 'sounding rich and detail, no matter how loud you play it'. Some sort of unheralded 'loudness control'? We'll come back to that...

The right speaker includes the electronics and connects to the left via a cable, which, if there's slack, can be partly wound out of sight under the left speaker. There's even a remote control, capable of operating as a transport control for suitable computer software.

As luck would have it, this system arrived last of the four, and so had some high standards to live up to when we first plugged it in. Let's just say it opened our eyes to new standards of attainment possible from miniature hi-fi .

We don't even want to know whether that DSP is doing some loudness control: the fact is that at any level setting the sound is just astonishingly clear, well balanced and detailed. The deepest bass isn't really there, but even with such torture tracks as full-on church organ, one only notices that at the start.

Dispersion is stunning, the sound being highly consistent almost anywhere roughly in front of the speakers and the imaging is excellent.

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Tech Specs

Product TypeSpeaker System
Speaker Configuration2.0
USBYes
RMS Output Power72 W
ColourBlack
Brand NameB&W
ManufacturerBowers & Wilkins
Operating Power Consumption12 W
Standby Power Consumption800 mW
Height167.6 mm
Width99.1 mm
Depth99.1 mm
Product ModelMM-1
Product NameMM-1 Speaker System
Frequency Response38 Hz to 22 kHz
Input Voltage220 V AC
Manufacturer Part NumberMM1
Manufacturer Website Addresshttp://www.bowers-wilkins.net
Marketing Information

The MM-1 isn't a normal computer speaker, it's a true hi-f speaker, shrunk to ft on your desktop. So they don't just look great - they sound incredible, transforming your computer into a superb stereo sound system. But then you'd expect nothing less from the makers of the award-winning Zeppelin iPod speaker, not to mention some of the most advanced studio speakers in the world.

Weight (Approximate)816.5 g