Micca COVO-S Compact 2-Way Bookshelf Speakers

These speaker are very small and very cheap... it's the recipe for a perfect storm.

Components

Tweeter

Yeah, these are coaxial speakers. That part in the middle there is a very tiny 3/4 inch fabric dome tweeter. In this image you can see the problem with putting a tweeter inside of a woofer. The woofer gets physically in the way of the tweeter and it also vibrates around which can make slop out of the tweeters response.

Woofer

Woofer element is a wool cone, like the Silver Flute drivers used in some high end offerings. I have high hopes for the midrange on these, but I'm thinking that the bass is probably going to be lacking in a big way giving the 3 inch diameter.

The back of the coaxial driver shows off a mess. I'm not sure why the foam is on the back of the tweeter, maybe venting for the woofer, but really I have no idea what they are up to here.

Cabinet

The box itself is nothing to write home about other than its small size it's very similar construction to other ultra budget speakers. The real story here is that Micca has finally discovered poly fill, these little boxes are lightly stuffed and the wires are bundled nicely to avoid rattling around.

Crossover and Port

The world's smallest port, 3/4 inch. It's actually smaller than the diameter of my finger. The Crossover is a first order jobby, which uses just a cap on the tweeter and a coil on the woofer. While I normally see comb filtering with first order crossovers there should hopefully be none of that here because of the alignment of the tweeter inside of the woofer.

Grill

The speakers come with tiny grills to fit on the tiny cabinets.. they are nothing special and I think they should only be used when storing the speakers because they are not audibly transparent.

Terminals

The speaker terminals here are too large for the terminal cup, so you can barely get your fingers in there to tighten anything down. It's not really a big deal as you can get a good contact for the wires and once it's done it's done.

Listening impressions

These speakers sound like shit.

"But it's small" you say... well if this is the cost for being small the price is too damn high, even if the speaker is cheap.

I'm missing treble, not just upper roll off, I'm hearing half of cymbals and parts missing from guitar solos.

The lower midrange is bloated like a beached whale, in an attempt to distract you from the lack of actual bass.

The distortion levels are just unnaturally bad even at low volumes, smothering vocals with a haze of unintelligibility.

Uncorrected Verdict

If attempting a quality audio setup these speakers are unusable. They do not play low enough to work alone, and not only that they don't even play low enough to crossover to a separate sub. Getting these for your desktop would not be an upgrade from a cheap computer speaker setup. The idea of getting them for your home theater is just a joke.

Over all I give these speakers two thumbs down, way down.

Measurements

I had to cut the Measurements short of 85Hz because they were causing distortion issues with higher frequencies.

All about that lower midrange, but nothing for the bass. You can see that bass response falls off of a cliff at 120Hz. There is also some cabinet resonance issues around 450Hz and the edge diffraction from the tweeter being placed inside of the woofer is making those three dips in the treble response.

Taking a closer look at the nulls with a tightly windowed measurement. This is not comb filtering, and there is nothing to be done here. The Q of the cuts are just too sharp to try and correct them, almost like it's not doing anything for these frequencies. This is generally what you get when you put a tweeter in a woofer. I've heard that early KEF coaxial speakers had the same issues, but from what I gather they figured out a way to work around the problem.

DSP corrections

Chopped the lower midrange hump, cut some of the bass as well to keep it from trying to do things that it just can't do. Also cleaned up the treble as much as possible, but those nulls are not going anywhere. You can't boost your way out of a null.

Speaker was not very efficient before, and it loses about 6dB by ear after correction.

Still no bass, don't go there.

Corrected Listening Impressions

These speakers sound better and more clear, but trying to play music with them at anything above a whisper still causes distortion issues because the driver is flopping around in an attempt to make bass.

This is a midrange driver, it should not be attempting bass notes because it can't do them without smearing everything.

Biggest improvement was cutting out the nasty stuff going on at 450Hz, you can actually understand most male vocals at this point.

Clarity is improved, the treble and midrange response is passable.

Final Thoughts:

You might say I'm a picky bastard for roasting an ultra cheap speaker for not being perfect, and you would be right. The point of reviewing a product is to look at it on it's own merits and see if it can do the job that it is trying to accomplish. These do not do the job to my minimum standards, so I won't recommend them. No matter how small or cheap.

But wait, there's more:

Now, I have reviewed two pretty crapy offerings from Micca recently. One that has nothing to offer but bass response, the Micca Club 3, and now the COVO-S that has a coaxial midrange trying to pass as a standalone speaker. Imagine taking the possibly above average midrange from the COVO-S, and crossing it to the Club-3 for stereo subwoofers. While this would still leave the funky tweeter nulls hanging around from the coaxial, who knows it might just work.

Yeah, so I pulled out one of my little 4 channel amps and MiniDSP to try it out.

Micca Voltron, the epic desktop speaker of retardedness:

Dis gonna be good.

Here is what I'm using to get the job done, a Behringer iNuke NU4-6000 that puts out stupid amounts of power, something like 1500wpc into 4 channels. I got this amp to power the subwoofers on my main rig, but it's not in place yet, and it's 4 channel, small, and light so it got the job. An added benefit of using a few kilowatts of amp is that if this ends up sounding like shit I can just crank to volume knob a hair to self destruct the speakers.

Plugged the tiny ports on the COVO-S's and set the crossover on the MiniDSP to 200Hz with a Linkwitz Riley 4th order lets the COVO-S do everything that they can while keeping the cone movement to a minimum. Also the center to center distance between the COVO-S and Club 3 is 8 inches, and the 1/4 wavelength of 200Hz is about 14 inches so it's still going to couple correctly and sound like it's coming from one place. I would have crossed higher, but the Club 3's have a nasty midbass resonance from the shit box.

After plugging in the DSP correction for the COVO-S and the Club 3 into the MiniDSP I give it a listen, and it seems pretty well volume matched. I end up pulling out 3.6dB from the Club Subs.

If you can imagine a minimonitor made by Wilson Audio this is probably something like it would look. Now it would probably weigh about 300 pounds more, have drivers that don't suck, and in general be more better at everything. But my point is I think these look good as a combo. More amps and drivers can make anything cool.

Even with the Club's propping them up they are not high enough for my short desk and tall chair. Gonna need more stuff to prop them up, put some StarKist Stilpoint stands under the speakers as a tuna helper with some added snake oil improvements.

I can actually hear the COVO-S's now that they are operating without distortion and part of a system that plays full range. With the extremely narrow baffle they sound very wide, omnidirectional early in the frequency band but very directional before that with the tweeter horn loaded in the cone.

Midrange is delivered, the wool cones sound very smooth performing the vocal range.

Here is an RTA shot of Daft Punks Aerodynamic, at the end of that track there is a bass note that is centered at 30Hz, here we can see the Voltron's put it out full force and extend all the way down to 26Hz without cutting the music short.

So many things sound good now, Base 6 by The Chemical Brothers, At The Station by Joe Walsh, Everything Kraftwerk, Shake Fa Ya Hood by Ricky B. It's so nice having bass and a midrange that is not getting fucked up because of it.

Pushing over 110dB near field now. I can hear the right subwoofer voice coil falling apart over the shaking of the walls. I'll just turn it down a hair, I'm sure it will be fine.

This is the first setup I've tested on a desktop that sounds like a hifi. Not a studio monitor, not a computer speaker, not a speaker that needs more space, a real valid hifi sound that you would expect from a good living room setup. They are not perfect, but they put the music out in a very satisfying full range and engaging way.

Sitting nearfield these speakers do not sound big, or small. Instead they shrink me down to thier size, turning my desktop into a doll house I can sit in with a kick ass stereo to rattle the walls.

Further into the room they make room modes come out in force like a larger stereo, but will fill most small/medium sized rooms with fullrange sound as long as you don't expect too much volume.

If you can't tell, I'm very pleased with myself.

Some will balk at spending more on electronics than speakers, and the setup required, but for people that want a full range hifi sound in the smallest footprint available I recommend this setup.

I'll be ordering up a pair of cheap desktop amps to try out and the Micca Voltron will be replacing the DSP Corrected Micca MB42x speakers as my personal desktop speaker of choice. I'll probably tweak on this system quite a bit as there is definately room for improvement here, but right now it's a hell of a starting point.

Click here to buy the Micca COVO-S from Amazon

Click here to buy the Micca Club 3 from Amazon

Click here to buy the MiniDSP from MiniDSP.com (you would want the RevB version)

Click here to download the DSP corrections for the Micca COVO-S speakers

Click here to download the MiniDSP configuration for the Micca Voltron speakers(XML config file)



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