REVIEW: Circle Arko/Microlabs Solo 6C speakers @ 7K


freshseasons1

Well-Known Member
Adept
Feb 2, 2009
211
10
82
SHORT REVIEW CIRCLE ARKO/MICROLABS SOLO 6C

These are the rebadged Microlabs Solo 6C also sold as circle Arko rated at 100 Watts.

Having owned Computer speakers like Creative T20/T40,Altec Lansing MX5021,Audioengine 2 and Bower & Wilkins MM-1 and auditioned in detailed from friends Audioengine A5,M-Audio AV40 ,writing review of another pc speakers makes for a fun as well as wastage of time especially when the said speakers end at about 7.5K.Well what do you expect at this budget ? Surprised I was and how!

Until these speakers came in the scene ,Rupees 10K side of computer world was, I felt dominated in audio quality by audioengine 2.The best in any computer speakers being Bower and Wilkins MM-1 which I owned but were sadly priced at 25K.

The problem with Audioengine 2 is no sooner you have them you want to upgrade to its bigger brother Audioengine A5.And therein lies the rub, because they cost north of 20K almost intruding dedicated amp/speaker setup.Its a very ambiguous decision which could go any other way, without you ever finding out if the decision you ended up with was right.



@ 7.5K Cricle Arko could just be the day saver.

These speakers were by designed by Danish audio expert Peter Larsen and the quality just shows.

Peter Larsen is the famous world known acoustics engineer, specialized in creation. He is the chief consultant of Microlab Technology. Peter Larsen , a Danish audio specialist, was chief engineer of such a famous audio companies as Vifa, Scan-Speak & Dynaudio for many years.

Since 1993 Peter Larsen employed as a free consultant in different audio corporations all over the world and he is involved in creation many new progressive audio systems. Also he is a founder of Loudsoft LTD – a company which develops software for audio systems producers companies.
Microlab Technology began to collaborate with Peter Larsen since 2003. One of his most important project in Microlab was creation of broadband loudspeaker for Microlab acoustic systems. In result of “The blind test†(Participants didn’t know what speaker was playing) this speaker was admitted one of the best one.

Since year 2006 company mastered new market of Hi-Fi speakers and amplifiers. Peter Larsen supervise this business direction by his own. He worked out loudspeaker, crossover and wooden frame for Pure1 model, loudspeaker V12 and design for FC series. In the list of Peter Larsen’s creations are X series (Models X23, X25, X27), V series (models V3600, V3630 and V3650), Pure series (Pure1, Pure10), H series (H300, H600).
All acoustics that have been performed with Peter Larsen partition are marked with his autograph as a guaranty of the highest quality
.
Lets review them.



Got the speakers from Ebay with the discount and it cost me about 7K.What could I expect from speaker which are cheaper than my sound card.
No sooner than they arrived I was jaw dropped looking at the size of the box.It looked like someone had by mistake send me an CRT 21†TV.And packing was a lot lot heavy to move.
Opening the box revealed marvelous beautiful crafted MDF made and mahogany finished proper solid looking bookshelf speakers heavily weighing 13.7Kg.They are roughly heaving then audioengine 5 by about a kilo.



The Circle Arko are active Speakers rated at about 100 Watts RMS ,came with proper AWG very thick Speaker wire to connect left speaker to its banana plugs at the back,Sleek but very flimsy remote ,RCA to stereo and RCA to RCA cables,besides warranty card booklet with microlabs name making the connection obvious.



The speakers uses 6.5†polypropylene woofer big enough to fill out the large room and then some more and 1†silk dome tweeter.



Listening impressions:-

I used Asus Xonar Essence ST to feed the speakers.The speakers have been a month with me and have been properly burned in.

I fired “ Donald Fagen-The nightfly “and no sooner I turned up the speakers, with its default settings they immediately sounded so neutral.Hell these would make even the laidback netural M-Audio AV40 sound bright. Not good for my taste, I instinctively reached for the remote and upped the treble to 5 from max of 8 available.The bass too was raised to 5 to maintain the harmony.

The speakers sprung to life.The mids and lows were well bodied and the 6.5â€woofer made its presence felt.The bass was very tight and well rounded,though the distinct air was absent but it didn’t boom.Raising the volume didn’t distort the speakers at all.Never ever in this review.The speakers can get loud enough when needed.Setting the equalisation I loved the superbly evenhanded neutrality.

Playing “Adele -Set Fire To The Rain†the guitars had a bit of warmth and sound a bit laid back again but a very minor drawback at the given price point. May be the listening to the more precise, AAD’s and Bowers and Wilkins’s nautilus tweeter my ears felt spoilt.But this takes nothing away from Circle arko.

On Guns 'n Roses - Welcome to the Jungle & Eminem- 18 - 'Till I Collapse, the bass was thumping tight and punchy and there was a sparkle in the treble.Also good thing was, these did not add any colorization to the song.The speakers on any music even if fast paced Rock or classic, didn’t add colour to the sound, a very commendable task.The speakers at all times felt in total control of the sound almost replicated handling it with excess safety. There was no fatigue listening to them.

Playing “Peter Gabriel - Scratch My Back†which was the studio master recording on 24bit/48kHz the highs were detailed and mids compact with no hint of bass overpowering and a pleasant soundstage. It was a pleasure listening on them with a soundstage which only very good speakers are able to replicate.Treble could have been sharp though.

When tasted with Classic hindi/English,the speakers almost find the meaning to their existence.This is where they breadth and excel. Most important even with bad recordings these don’t distort or crack. The bassy voice of Bade Ustad Ghulam Ali Khan felt real listening to “Raga Jaijaivanti - Binati Ka Kaiyeâ€.The same phenomenon was replete with voice of Gulzhar ,Jagit Singh.

I think classic and soft music are this speakers forte.Nothing comes close to they way they render these.So goes well with jazz and Pop.

Difference could be felt on Mp3 coded at 320Kbps and 128Kbps.Music from hindi movie Rockstar ,AR Rehman ,etc were used to test the mp3.On 128 the best part I felt was the speakers still retained their signature never cracking or giving away, always in control.If you have pile of low quality mp3 threat your ears with this.

With any music these are the most non-fatigue listening speakers I have come across.There is no woody boxy coloration to add.

Tasting them for movies using,The Avatar ,Rise of the Planet Apes ,the speakers I felt couldn’t justify the hi flying action scenes and skipped on few of the very small low frequency sound. The dialogues were clear but the separation was bit lacking but enjoyable nevertheless.The subwoofer absence was felt.

Gaming with Call of Duty,Crysis 2 the absence of subwoofer was felt again.The sound positioning of the bullet that one gets from headphone was nowhere there.Better off with Logitech Z623,Mx6021 in this department.
One thing is clear by now.Use them for music and be light footed with gaming and movies.

Cons:-

The treble could have been a tad bright but shouldn’t complain at 7K.
The speakers for some reason I don’t understand fail to save the setting of source input,bass treble.
There is no power off/standby switch.As soon as they power off the setting need to be manually reset.

This could be very annoying for someone without Online Power backup.I however took almost a month to notice this.Also the remote looks like one could lose it.Its tiny.Sadly the volume buttons are located back of the right speaker .

There is no option to set the treble or bass without remote.So better save the piece of plastic or you may end up with the most neutral sounding speakers.

Cannot use them without Setting Bass Treble equalisation or you will lose the tonal balance.

Would love to add the frequency of about 3 to 5Khz to its top treble range.

These speakers take a lot of space on desktop.
Then of course there is no headphone using option. To add these are suited more for Music rather than Gaming/Movies.

Summation: Peter Larsen has done a commendable job with these speakers and music quality shows in all genre of music.People seeking party thumping hard rock ,Boom bass fanatic may want to give these speakers a miss.Mind you though these can get loud and the bass can get quite thumpy when we ante the volume but only because I fell this is a bid laid and neutral would I detest suggesting for bass head. Still all in all, a wonderful trump of Ace at 7K.The sound Quality is superb.If you can make a room for them,buy it without hesitation !Worth the upgraditis.
P.S I request the mods to delete the same post in Audio zone made by me and keep this post open. Thanks
 

bottle

Caffeine Addict
Super Mod
Jan 27, 2005
5,367
175
202
Chennai
Nice review! only problem would be the size of the speakers I guess.

How is the soundstage and how good are they for nearfield use?
 

cooleagle

Active Member
Adept
Sep 20, 2011
441
0
26
Nice review buddy !!

Are the speakers(L & R) magnetically shielded ?

:cool2:
 

freshseasons1

Well-Known Member
Adept
Feb 2, 2009
211
10
82
bottle said:
Nice review! only problem would be the size of the speakers I guess.

How is the soundstage and how good are they for nearfield use?
@bottle Thanks !I appreciate that you liked the review.

Soundstage is great! At 6 feet apart and 6 to 8 feet in front,i think there is the sweet spot but it never diminishes beyond 80 % in a mid-large room.This should fill a decent size room about 15X20 ft easily.

NearField exp is good as the vol starts real low so at about 15 Volume all the lows and highs freqs are there to feel.

I think this are exceptional speakers for music buff.

cooleagle said:
Nice review buddy !!

Are the speakers(L & R) magnetically shielded ?



:cool2:
Thanks again for the review.This far it seems they are magnetically shielded.You could see the first image the speakers stands right on the monitor and so far no interference.These makes for great computer speakers.
 

Claycamera

Member
Disciple
Feb 1, 2012
20
7
6
Nice review. Could you say a bit more on how these compare sound quality-wise to Audioengine A2? Which one would you recommend for music only?
 

chiron

Well-Known Member
Veteran
Feb 8, 2006
1,566
436
172
I think the A2 is less fatiguing and much better suited for desktop listening. Arko needs to be placed a fair distance apart and the back should be a few inches away from the wall as well for best sound.
 

Kilroyquasar

4 seconds, inhale; 4 seconds, exhale.
Veteran
Jul 20, 2011
1,161
291
123
I think the A2 is less fatiguing and much better suited for desktop listening. Arko needs to be placed a fair distance apart and the back should be a few inches away from the wall as well for best sound.
plus, i feel the arko are not at all suited for a desktop space! yeah, you could place them around the table on bookshelf-stands, but given their size, not ON the table! the case is different with the A2s however!
 

Claycamera

Member
Disciple
Feb 1, 2012
20
7
6
Thanks for the answers. The size is definitely an issue for my work desk, and speaker stands will cost another 5k+. Am leaning towards the A2 coz of this issue. This may not be an issue if you a large desk though.
 

vantheman5211

Creator of fu*ktron
Adept
Apr 29, 2010
1,621
153
107
30
A very useful review for someone who is planning to buy a 2.1 under 10 k.

Keep them coming.
 

sriharsha_m

Well-Known Member
Adept
Nov 1, 2009
644
119
133
Hyderabad
Sorry for bumping an old thread but I needed to know if anybody knows if these are available any longer on Ebay or anywhere locally in Kolkata?
I picked up the 80W one from landmark, Chennai, in Feb. Many members reported spotting them in Landmark outlets at Bangalore & Hyd as well. Give it a try.

O.T
From what was communicated to me, the Arko 100W from the review ended up with me :p
arko 1.jpg arko2.jpg
 
  • Like
Reactions: Amien