Micro Lab iH 11 2.0 Speaker System Review

OVERVIEW:
Established in 1998, Microlab began with a group of audio enthusiasts.
Based out of San Jose, California, they are still producing some excellent speaker systems and different price points to meet every consumer's needs. This is their top-tier beast, the iH 11 2.0 Speaker System.DESIGN:
These are some of the most solid speakers we have seen. They are not too busy, just simple rectangular shape with strong wooden outside and a faux-leather covering. A brushed gunmetal plate at the bottom of each speaker face adds additional style points.

The speaker covering mesh in the front will protect the cones only so much. It is enough to protect from soft contact, but anything with some force will penetrate. Not a huge deal, its much like any other speakers out there.

As for the dock, its a good looking little thing. Its not overly huge and because its separated from the speakers, it will look really nice on a desk or entertainment unit. The volume knob glows blue and adds a nice touch.

The biggest design flaw is in the remote. Its awkwardly shaped, decides to go wide rather than the traditional long. It just doesn't seem to fit in with the quality of the other parts of the system, being made from a cheaper looking and feeling plastic.

This system isn't going to win any design awards, but they are speakers and are meant to be heard, not necessarily seen.
HOW DOES IT SOUND/WORK?:
Well for the size, this is one mighty powerful system. Bass holds under pressure and the independent tweeters on each satellite really keep the sound from getting muddy. One word describes the output, full.

This is a 2.0 system, meaning that their are two independent channels of sound. A lot of people have 2.1 sound systems for computers and gaming. The .1 part indicates that there is a subwoofer involved.

Not here, two speakers with a tweeter and mid-range driver. The website says its a bass driver, but there is not an over powering bass presence. Which is good. Thats where that strong and full sound comes from. Its not over powered with bass and gives the mids a chance to pull the majority of the weight. And because of that, you can turn these up really loud without any distortion or what we call "bass bombing," or the point where the bass takes over and is so loud you can't even breathe.

The sound is room filling and that is thanks to the work of those tweeter and drivers together. You won't need to (or be able to) do any EQ tweeking on the speakers. The source or device will be in charge of that, but in all honesty, these are a true and literal "plug-and-play" system.

We highly recommend this as a nice outdoor set. Its not weather proof, but the setup with independent satellite speakers is ideal for outdoors and big spaces. Because of the size of the speakers, this is not a bed side unit. Because it allows for a 3.5mm stereo plug to also be introduced along with the dock for iPods/iPhones, the Micro Lab iH 11 will work great with your TV, computer, gaming and home theater setup.

The dock also charges the iPod/iPhone so the music won't stop. When connected to power with its own wall adapter, the dock, called the iDock 100, lights up its plastic volume knob with a blue ring to let you know that the system’s turned on.

You can only turn it off with the included remote control. Flipping a power switch on the back of the connected speakers only turns off the speakers, not the dock.

Video output from the iDock is clean, and even works with iPhones. It sends your video files and movies straight to a monitor or TV so you can enjoy movies through the iH 11 providing the surround sound. We wish that a music playlist would have been reproduced on the TV for easier navigation through menus, but the video is a cool feature.

There is an infrared receiver bar along the front of the dock for the remote to talk to. And this is where we noticed the first and only flaw. The remote is a little slow in its response. It is not over bearing, but we found ourselves skipping past songs because the remote initially didn't register, and then all of the sudden it did.

An all-encompassing menu button will get you through the menus of the iPod/iPhone with the enter button being the "trigger." Up and down arrows make sense and will scroll through your artists and songs. The only problem with the scrolling and selecting is that the screen on the iPod/iPhone is so small that it is tough to read the artist or song list if you are too far away. And at that point, just walk to the device and make the selection yourself. This makes the remote really only good for volume and track control. A screen on the remote is a lot to ask for, but of course would be nice. The price would be a little higher than.

WHATS IN THE BOX?:

- H11 stereo speakers x 2
- iDock 100 system

- Speaker interconnect cable

- Audio RCA cable

- Video RCA cable

- 3.5mm stereo cable
- Remote control
- AAA batteries x 2
- User manual

SPECS:

- Output power: 40 Watts RMS

- Power distribution: 20 Watt x 2

- Harmonic distortion: <>
- Frequency response: 60Hz - 40kHz

- Signal/Noise ration: > 80dB - Separation: > 50dB
- Input sensitivity: 360mV
- Nominal impedance: 6 ohm

SPEAKERS
:
- Tweeter driver type: 1"
- Tweeter rated power: 10 Watt
- Bass driver type: 4"

- Bass rated power: 30 Watt
INTERFACE:

- Output: 2 sets of terminal binding posts, 3.5mm stereo
- Input: 2RCA, 3.5mm stereo jack

- Power
- Speaker power supply: AC 100V - 240V, 50/60Hz (localized options available)
- iDock power supply: AC 100V - 240V, 50/60Hz


FEATURES:
- 40 Watts of total pure acoustic power
- iPod and iPhone docking system with charging function
- High quality wooden cabinet subwoofer with X-bass technology
- Full range 2.1 speaker system with remote control
- Unique satellite designs with magnetic shields

WARRANTY:
One year

MSRP:

$139.99

GRADE:
You won't find anything that incorporates a dock and has sound as good as this one. Have trouble getting past the fact that its a company that you may have never heard of? Why, they specialize in this stuff!

For the size and functionality, the price is spot on and can even be considered a value when you compare it to others in this specialized family. We say specialized because there are not many 2.0 systems that have larger speakers like this. Some don't even dock an iPod/iPhone. But the ones that do are mostly small speakers that can't produce this power for the price.

If you are a bass fanatic, these may not be up your alley. But the clear and powerful sound is really something to be heard.

Only problem we had was with the remote. It works, but it seemed to be unresponsive at times with a little bit of a delay. Could have been environmental factors or sheer distance.

We highly recommend this system for the audiophile in your life.

PROS:
+ The setup will really fulfill the audiophile in you
+ Full sound with great low and high coverage
+ Multiple input choices for both audio and video
+ A great backyard or large space system because of satellite speakers and independent dock
+ Great quality build of speakers and dock

CONS:
- Remote was not as responsive as we would have wanted
- Remote could also be a little more stylish
- Expensive if you are just looking for something simple
- System can take up some space
9.0/10
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