After having owned the Silverline Audio Minuet Supreme Deluxe (herein after referred to as the MSD) for the better part of a year, I thought I would put "pen to paper" and write a review of sorts, and also a partial rebuttal to the previous review of these speakers so here goes...
A "giant killer" is described (according to Google anyhow) as "a person or team that defeats a seemingly much more powerful opponent.". So take out person or team and insert product. While I have read all the reviews of the Silverline MSD, and surprisingly, the audiophile press actually agrees with one another on these speakers, which is rare, I don't recall the audio press calling these "giant killers". I would not be afraid to use the term, however, because in the arena of small monitor speakers, these are giant killers simply because they make music, and do a darn good job of it. The previous reviewer stated that large orchestral pieces shrink when played through these speakers. I have not had that experience. I do partner these speakers with electronics that are probably way above the price point most people would use in the case of the Silverlines. And yet, the better the ancillary equipment (the front end) the better these sound. I seriously doubt that anyone looking to reproduce an orchestra in their listening room would expect it to happen from a $700 pair of mini-monitor speakers. I have heard speakers that cost tens of thousands of dollars that were fed a signal via electronics that cost more than my post college education, and they still fell short of the mark. There is not much in the world of audio that reproduces an orchestra, and does it well. But, and this is the "big but", the Silverlines allow their owner to enjoy the music! And that is why they have been so well received in the audio press, and also by their respective owners. THESE MAKE MUSIC! When I listen to the MSDs, I find myself tapping my toes, conducting the orchestra (yes, I listen to orchestral pieces through these and I love it), and recently, compared these to a custom set of speakers that cost over three times what the Silverlines cost me, and the custom speakers went back to the builder.
So, "giant killer"? I guess that would depend on your definition of the phrase. I consider the price tag of $700 a bargain in the world of audio, and when they (the speakers) are so well received by the audio press, and more importantly, make me smile when the CD or the LP is cued, then yes, they can be. But, feed them well my friends. While one would not associate high dollar amps to be used with $700 speakers, it is exactly that reason why the MSD might be sold short of its abilities. I use a $10,000 pair of monoblock amps to feed the Silverlines (though I did not pay that price for them at the time I bought them). I use a fairly pricey digital front end as well as a very good turntable. The preamp I use is well received and I find it to also be a piece that plays above its price point. Cables are also important, and I find Analysis Plus, Wire World and also Blue Jean Cable (talk about a real giant-killer, get some BJC 10-white speaker cable) contribute to the musical magic of the Silverlines.
So, rather than ramble on "ad nauseam" about the Silverline Minuet Supreme Deluxes, do yourself a favor and give them a listen. Like so many other things in the world of audio, the MSDs are going to be better with a great front end, and also, great stands. Yes, they are small. Yes, there is no way in hell they will sound like the New York Philharmonic at Carnegie. And yet, my wife and I are regulars at the Seattle Symphony as well as other live music venues. And when we listen later on to some of the same music being played through the MSD speakers that we have heard perhaps earlier in the day, evening or week or month, we do not find ourselves feeling disappointed with the music but rather we feel contented. The Silverlines, for their price, do what speakers are supposed to do and that is make one enjoy the music. The previous review is correct in that the MSD speakers do produce a wonderful midrange, are detailed and also have a wonderful top end. I find the soundstaging to be one of their finest attributes. They have limits, as does everything that is built by man. But, these are some of the best speakers one can buy at their asking price that will not disappoint. Buy a pair and be happy with them. I know that I am...
- Naim CD5XS with hi-cap
- Wyred for Sound DAC-1 with femto grade clock
- Rega RP-6
- Rogue Perseus Magnum
- Raymond Lumley Signature monoblocks
-various Wire World, Blue Jean Cable, Analysis Plus interconnects, digital cables, speaker cables
- PS Audio Dectet fed by a dedicated AC line
The Minuet Supreme is an exceptionally fine and balanced-sounding speaker for the money, given its size. Please note the last three words of the first sentence. There are several gushing professional reviews floating around the Web touting the Minuet as some giant killing minature sonic miracle. It is not.
It does have an extremely detailed, clear and transparent midrange; very good high end reproduction and excellent, if shallow, bass response. Bass notes are very clear in tone and pitch, but given the 3.25 inch woofer, there is only so much any speaker can do. Soundstage is pretty good. Depends on how good your amplifier is, I think.
Jazz, jazz and other vocals, most Rock and Roll, and especially acoustic music sound extremely real, not bright and satisfying. Generally, this speaker is quite suprisingly good for its size.
But it can't change the laws of physics. Having a 3.25 inch woofer and a 1 inch tweeter means that only so much music can be handled without becoming compressed and losing detail. I especially refer to orchestral and symphonic music, which can really sound like shrunken through these speakers. Driven at high volume, the Minuet often breaks up, resulting in an unpleasant harshness.
At low to moderate (but still lively) levels, they can handle most music thrown at them with realism and delicacy. But they are far from all-around speakers capable of doing it all. A separate subwoofer would no doubt be an enormous improvement and could change much of what I've written here.