Micca Electronics might not be the first name we think of when considering speakers for home use. Micca is a brand name of Highland Technologies who are based in Kowloon, Hong Kong. However, they do have a business presence in the US, where some of their products are designed.
They build other electronic equipment as well as speakers, including Media Players. And tend to design and manufacture speakers for the budget end of the market. They are suitable for home music systems and home cinema, and the range includes various sizes and with a range of performance levels.
In this Micca MB42X Review, we will be looking at the MB42X Bookshelf speakers, so let’s get to it…
There is an attractive plain simplicity about the design of these speakers. There is nothing particularly ambitious about the styling, and they have a classic look about them. The rounded corners are a nice touch that helps this simplistic design.
For bookshelf speakers, they are a good size and weight. Measuring 9.5 inches high and only 6.5 inches deep, they are a perfect size. Weighing only 8 pounds, they will fit the average bookshelf perfectly.
They are well built and sturdy. Made from MDF fiberboard with a laminated wood grain design and are very neutral in style. They will be able to fit into just about any environment that is needed.
The MB42X is an upgrade to Micca’s previously released MB42 range. Little has changed in the outward design. There is though one major change in performance.
The cabinets are well manufactured, and they have a front speaker grille. This can be removed by those who prefer to see the inner workings in use. With these particular speakers, we prefer them on as they add to the stylish lines. The grille is magnetic, and so if you prefer them off, there are no fixing holes in the baffle.
To conclude, the build quality is good and solid with decent materials. They have a minimalist feel that will appeal to many people, which allows them to be unobtrusive in any environment. For a budget set of speakers, they are good value in this department.
Your first impression of these speakers when you have them in position is, are they going to be powerful enough? They are physically quite small; after all, bookshelf speakers should be. When you fire them up, your concerns will disappear. At a rating of 75 watts per speaker, they have plenty of power to fill an average size room.
The driving force behind the sound is a 4-inch woofer. Made from woven carbon fiber, it sits in the cabinet in a rubber surround. The tweeter is a quite basic three-quarter inch silk dome design. The production of the sound is completed by a rear-facing ported enclosure. This adds to the depth and richness of the bass sound.
Together they achieve a frequency response of 60Hz to 20kHz — very similar performance levels to its MB42 predecessor. However, there is one important difference in the performance level of these speakers, which we referred to earlier.
The MB42 was devoid of an effective crossover to separate the frequencies. This has been rectified with this model, and the specially designed 18dB/octave crossover takes center stage. There is a significant improvement in performance. You might even think they were not a related speaker to the previous model at all.
This highly effective crossover features nine elements that create a sound that is wide and balanced. It is, though, dynamic and powerful. The inclusion of this system has raised the performance of these speakers to a higher level. This has produced a greater response across the frequency ranges.
The performance of these speakers is not earth-shattering by any stretch of the imagination. But for the price point, they perform very well.
They are best placed in our view, about six inches from the wall. Any closer and the bass sound will be affected by blocking off the airwaves produced by the rear-facing port. This obviously limits the positioning options in a number of listening environments.
The sound, of course, is the all-important element, so let’s see how they perform. We have touched on sound quality already when considering performance.
One very impressive thing about these speakers is the width of the sound they produce. Often budget speakers have a limited soundstage. This is only to be expected. It is usually only the expensive models that can produce such a defined sound. The MB42X is an exception to that rule. The sound is not so much loud as big and wide.
At the top end, the high frequencies are bright and crisp without being too piercing. The silk dome tweeter delivering a clearly defined and accurate sound. The treble is smooth and not harsh and blends very well. It is a balanced sound, and whilst speaker positioning will be important, the highs are clearly heard.
You can argue it does need a little help. The bass sound is not going to blow the neighbor out of bed for sure. But then the reverse argument is that bookshelf speakers can rarely achieve that. The size of the cabinet, for one thing, prevents it. The bass, though, is reasonable. It is not over-prominent, which is a good thing and doesn’t drown out the mids.
The four-inch drivers do their job well, and the sound is quite rich and warm. The rear-facing port offers a little bit of extra depth. But as we have mentioned, it is better six inches or so from the wall to get the best results.
All things considered, the low-end performance is adequate. Not brilliantly exciting, but let’s keep this in context and consider the price point. When you consider that the lows are very good.
Whilst they are acceptable for listening to most genres of music, they might not perform so well in a home cinema system. For that, you may find you need a sub-woofer to give it that extra bottom end. The lower frequency response only going down to 60Hz will give you the idea.
The mids are where the bonus points are really earned. Not having an overpowering bass to deal with they are clear and precise. It is in this section that the vocals usually sit along with so much other important stuff. So often, they are buried in either too much low or high frequency. Here there is none of that; it is a good example of a well-designed crossover doing its job – and doing it well! That is what has really made the difference with these speakers.
Frequencies are separated but meet seamlessly as you would expect to find in speakers costing much more. As we have said previously, the positioning of the cabinets is important. Get that right with a bit of trial and error, and you will have a great soundstage.
We have already mentioned the speakers in a home cinema situation. For a real home cinema sound, you will need an extra bottom end, as these might be considered a little underpowered. One situation trades off against the other, more bass added into the system would have meant crowding of the mids for music.
We can say that for what is set up as a budget set off speakers, these are great value for money. The sound they produce puts them way over the league they are designed to be in. They will be competing with speakers that cost far more and even up there with some of the best bookshelf speakers currently available. But obviously not really comparing to the best bookshelf speakers under 1000 dollars, understandably.
Other than the extra help the bass will need in a home cinema system, there is very little reason to criticize these speakers. There are though a couple of points to make a note off.
Firstly, that there is not any built-in connectivity to WiFi or Bluetooth as some systems have these days. This, to us, is a minor issue. When we go out to buy speakers, we are interested in the sound, not whether they connect to anything else.
But more importantly, our descriptions have deliberately omitted one issue so far. These are not active speakers, and so they are going to need an amplifier. Most will have noticed that, but we thought we should mention it anyway.
With these speakers, you get to a point where you keep referring back to the suggested price point. You need to make sure that you got it right. There are so many good things about these speakers that you think maybe you missed something.
But no, they are just good. Well-made, with good materials. A great understated design that will fit in anywhere. Efficient drivers that produce a very good sound. And a crossover that brings all the sounds and everything to life.
You should always try to find one little thing to look at that maybe you are not happy with. In this case, it is the rear-facing port. We understand why they include them and the benefits when a bass port fires back. We just don’t know if it’s a good design feature for what is supposed to be a bookshelf speaker.
The nature of a bookshelf speaker means it is likely to be very near a wall. That is unless you keep your bookshelf in the middle of the room. Unless your shelves are very wide, above about 18 inches, there will be a problem. Rear firing ports need space to push out the air. When that is restricted by space, then the sound will alter. That is not how the manufacturers designed them to sound.
If you can place these speakers in a room where the port can work properly, then these are a gem!
Great performance at a great price. What more do you need? Good job, Micca.