Mirage Nanosat Home Theater Speaker System

While the satellite speakers in Mirage's Nanosat system aren't actually made with cutting-edge nanotechnology, they are extremely small by any ordinary standard - less than 6 inches high and just over 4 inches wide and deep. That's even smaller than the Omnisat Micro, previously the most compact speaker using the "omnipolar" technology pioneered in the Omnisat 6 system that won a Sound & Vision Reviewer's Choice Award in 2003.

Fast Facts

DRIVER COMPLEMENT Nanosat (satellite), 3/4 -inch dome tweeter, 2 3/4-inch cone midrange Nano Sub (subwoofer), 8-inch cone ENCLOSURE Nanosat, sealed; Nano Sub, ported SUBWOOFER POWER 75 watts INPUTS and CONTROLS Nanosat, multiway binding posts; Nano Sub, speaker- and line-level inputs, level knob, on/auto/off toggle DIMENSIONS (WxHxD) and WEIGHT Nanosat, 4 1/4 x 5 3/4 x 4 3/8 inches, 2 3/8 pounds; Nano Sub, 11 3/4 x 13 1/2 x 13 1/2 inches, 20 pounds FINISH Nanosat, black and silver, silver, or white; Nano Sub, silver or white PRICE $800; additional Nanosats, $125 each; MS-STB-1 floor stand, $70 a pair MANUFACTURER Mirage, miragespeakers.com, 416-321-1800

Like a megabuck system with bipolar towers or dipole surround speakers, the omnidirectional Nanosats promise to immerse you in a sea of sound from a good DVD movie or multichannel music recording - but for substantially less than a thousand bucks. And unlike most other speakers, the tiny Nanosats fit virtually anywhere: on small shelves, atop a TV with a narrow bezel, on the wall, or on slender optional stands. If you want 6.1 or 7.1 channels, additional satellites are $125 apiece.

Under the removable metal grille, each Nanosat has a tiny titanium-hybrid tweeter mounted in Mirage's proprietary Omni-guide dispersion system. The assembly looks like a Lilliputian flying saucer hovering over the small "woofer," which fires upward at about a 30° angle. The sound is said to radiate in all directions, with roughly 30% directed at the listener and 70% reflected off the walls.

The system includes the Nano Sub subwoofer, barely larger than a cubic foot and downward-firing with a metallic front port. Large, sturdy feet keep it properly spaced from the floor. Mirage also applies some pat-ented technology here. The driver's Elliptical Surround - the flexible ring that binds the 8-inch cone to the outside edge of the frame - has expansion-control ribs designed to reduce distortion and increase output.

Mirage Nanosat backSETUP Mirage provides precious few setup instructions in the multilingual booklet that comes with the Nanosat system. The satellites have gold-plated binding posts and wall-mounting brackets that must be removed to use the optional floor stands.

Since Mirage designed the Nano Sub for the Nanosat system, there's no crossover-frequency control. It's already set with the right crossover frequency, which makes the system a lot easier to set up than the typical six-piece speaker system that comes with a multipurpose sub. (A standalone Nano Sub with crossover and phase controls is available separately.)

I used the floor stands for the left and right front speakers, placing them a few inches to either side of my 42-inch wide-screen TV, and put the center on top of the TV and the surrounds atop bookcases behind me. I placed the sub near the wall beside the TV.