Microlab Solo 8C Speakers Review
It's been a couple of years since we reviewed the predecessor to the Microlab Solo 8C, the Solo 7C, and back then we absolutely loved them. Providing a wall of excellent sound at a very reasonable price there wasn't much to dislike about them. The next model along in the Microlab Solo range, the 8C being reviewed today, continue that outstanding work.
First impressions are always important. There are few things more disappointing than opening your latest purchase and discovering that it's a damp squib. No such problems with the 8C. A very sturdy box opens to reveal an array of packages containing a cable that suits every input of the 8C, including a RCA to 3.5mm to allow you to plug in your smart device of choice, or at the very least ensure maximum compatibility with your display. Once the speakers themselves are freed from their packaging the build quality is instantly apparent. There are no rough edges, there is plenty of weight to them and everything feels good. It's not only the feeling either, as they're gorgeous to look at. We're so used to black plastic that the dark cherry look of the Solo 8C is very pleasing. It's a classic look and one that is instantly at home in any choice of decor.
Setup is a breeze thanks to a combination of the great build quality and wide selection of provided cables. Everything fits snugly, is well labelled, and has plenty of length so that you can put the 8C wherever you choose. With the display on the front covering the adjustments of the solid-feeling dials this is about as simple as "out of box, plug in, go" gets. That selection of cables is so comprehensive that we couldn't find anything you wouldn't be able to run through the Microlab Solo 8C. From the simplicity of a 3.5mm jack, through RCA and on to an optical, if it is capable of outputting audio then the 8C has got you covered.
The most important element, sound quality, is also the simplest to describe, to wit : outstanding. With two big bass speakers and a ported cabinet it would be easy to assume that bass is the overriding quality, but you couldn't be further from the truth. The bass is strong, punchy but never overpowering. We think that the midrange is rightfully where the 8C absolutely pulverise the competition. Considering that 75% of everything; speech, music, gaming noises, etc, end up in the midrange then it's vital to have high quality there and Microlab have absolutely delivered. Even in complicated soundscapes everything is well defined and easy to recognise which allows you to almost forget about the audio and concentrate on the experience, so immersive are the 8C's. Finally the highs are always a difficult balancing act, you want them obvious without being harsh, and once again the Microlab Solo 8C's are as brilliant as you could hope to find without getting into the Wisdom Audio price bracket.
So right about now you're wondering if the audio quality and size of the Solo 8C are worthy of investment. They surely can't be that much of an improvement over your £20 plastic satellites, and who needs 120W of power anyway? Oh ye of little faith. Just as performance headroom is vital in more regular PC hardware, so headroom in audio is even more useful. There is a wall of glorious audio out of the Solo 8C, but yet you don't need to drive them hard to extract the maximum from them. They're just as happy at average volumes as they are providing the backdrop to a party. Even down at the barely audible end of the volume dial it's still a rich sound. If it was possible for soundwaves to have physical form we'd liken listening to the Microlab Solo 8C to being hosed with honey and cream. It's a very smooth, very rich, very fulfilling experience, and one we highly recommend. A stunning piece of kit and definitely worthy of our OC3D Gold Award.