Xavian Electronics Model MIA

A Second opinion

Clement Perry

December 2003

Specifications:
Type: 2-way mini monitor
Suitable amplifier: 30-120 Watts
Impedance: 8 Ohms
Sensitivity: 2,83 Volts / 1 meter, 85dB
MFR /- 3dB in reference axis /: 60 Hz - 20 kHz
Woofer: Peerless, 130mm, polypropylene
Tweeter: Seas, 27mm, impregnated soft dome
System: Open, Dumped Bass-Reflex
Crossover frequency: 3kHz
Dimension / cm D×W×H: 203 × 170 × 290mm
Weight in kg: 5.5kg each
Finish: wood veneer, walnut or cherry
Tel / Fax: 0042 0312 687 087
Price: 11,700 CZK per pair (Approximately $425.00 USD)
Xavian Electronics,
Wolkerova – areal MTH,
272 01 Kladno, Czech Republic

Price:$590.00
Email: info@xavian.cz.
Website: http://www.xavian.cz



Stereo Times European contributor Milan Cernohorsky reviewed the Xavian MIA loudspeakers back in the spring of 2001 and wrote in part: “This monitor, suitable for all manner of musical genres… reproduces timbre with near-pinpoint accuracy and defines the input signal’s finest details and harmonics….” Milan continued by saying, “In addition to the MIAs’ impressive bass responses are a well articulated midrange and treble, resulting in a tight, well controlled sound without overshoot or flabbiness.” Those types of comments about a mini-monitor moved me to contact Xavian speaker designer, Robert Barletta and request a pair of these little dynamos for this follow-up. I had the MIAs sent to me and have been using them for many months with many assorted amplifiers and cables. After an extended time spent listening, here’s what I’ve concluded.

Robert Barletta resides in Prague and has been building loudspeakers since 1995. He initially offered Stereo Times the opportunity to review his Xavian MIA loudspeakers for two reasons: (1) because he felt it was hard to beat as a mini-monitor at its cost and (2), Xavian wants to be recognized in the US of A and feels we’re an honest no-politics-here run publication. They wanted a clear and honest appraisal of their entry-level product so I stepped up to the plate.

The MIAs are part of Xavian’s affordable “Classic” lineup. Using quality drivers and a simple crossover, the MIA is both an affordable loudspeaker and, at its price point, a statement product. The only other mini-monitor that I’ve listened to at length that offers a similar price/quality ratio was the Audes 111 which retails for $599.00.

The one thing I didn’t on figure was the MIAs’ price. It lists for 11,700 CZK (Czech Republic Koruny), and I don’t know about you but that sounds like a lot of Koruny to me. But after doing the currency exchange thing I realized that the price of the MIA falls just over $425 American Greenbacks! [Publisher's note: As of this notice the cost of the MIA has increased in the US to $590.00.] With that illuminating discovery I was very surprised. You would have been too if you gave it the knuckle rap and found how inert and well built this loudspeaker actually felt. In addition, the MIA’s finish is also first rate. Mine came in a nice light cherry wood adorned with a pair of special made five-way binding posts (single wire hookup only). Had I not been aware, I would not have guessed in a million years that this loudspeaker could cost so little. Momma MIA!


Sound?

Audiophilia 101 teaches; A product is worthy only if you cannot afford it. If one must refinance his home in order to purchase a piece of gear, then, and only then, is this product worthy. The last thing an audiophile wants is something ANYONE else can readily afford— and God forbid with one biweekly paycheck! Xavian considers audiophilia as an illness and has marketed its products as a cure against this dreaded illness. The MIA performs this chore easily by its superior command of the midrange frequencies. This feat properly balanced by a tweeter that is neither pushy nor too laid back and a mid/woofer that is round and full-bodied, yet fast enough to stay out of the way. I have listened to many much more expensive loudspeakers that seem to push their balance either forward or backward to create a sort of character of their own. Not a good thing in my opinion. The MIA possesses very little character of its own, so anyone with a decent set of ears would consider this a Herculean act considering what the pricier alternatives offer.

A variety of electronics were used throughout my evaluation of this tiny tyke. Ironically, I had the MIA resting upon the now defunct Osiris speaker stands that cost as much as the MIA’s. I really like the MIA’s performance through the exquisitely fast and neutral sounding A300S integrated amp from BV Audio as well as how warm and smooth it sounded with the Portal Audio Panache integrated. This might be considered overkill but using the Zanden-modified JubiLaeum CD player with the amazing Zanden Model 7000 amplifier employing the super musical 300B tube really allowed me to hear the possibilities of what the MIA actually could do among higher priced components. It never disappointed. Hooking up the MIA to a $100 JVC DVD player didn’t set the sonics too far back. It was certainly not as three dimensional or warm and fuzzy sounding as the tubed JubiLaeum but it wasn’t cheap sounding either. And when you consider the price of both the MIA and the JVC—it is cheap, but only in terms of cost.

Some years ago, I had the rare opportunity of seeing former Dizzy Gillespie bassist Alex Blake perform live at the Knitting Factory here in downtown Manhattan. His quintet included none other than Pharoah Sanders, one of my favorite musicians, on tenor sax, Chris Hunter on alto, with the legendary John Hicks on piano. Victor Jones was on drums and Neil Clark on percussion rounded out the band. Aside from the fact the date was December 6, 1999, I still haven’t heard the live version of this recording until only weeks ago—compliments of Alex Blake. I absolutely loved the performance and now listen to this well transferred live mix entitled “Now is the Time: Live at the Knit featuring Pharoah Sanders” [Bubble Core 030] with even more amazement at this human rhythm section (I was so taken by Alex Blake’s performance that I’ve followed him ever since and recently attempted to catch him again at a local jazz club. Sadly enough, I got stuck in one of those famous New York famous traffic jams and ended up missing his performance). Fortunately, I had this fabulous CD to go home and listen to. And as good as this CD is track 3’s The Chief is tunefully rhythmic, funky and fast paced in way that makes it my favorite. I remember how good Alex sounded that memorable evening but I found it more amazing how well recorded and musical his string bass sounded on this CD—and via the MIAs.

I repeat, musical.

No, I’m not going to use all the audiophile hyperbole used to define Alex’s string bass. Alex did not step forward and apart from the music with the usual cardboard cut-out edges. Neither did I get the sensation I was on stage with the performers because I wasn’t. I was in the audience. I define the MIAs’ musical attributes simply as being able to enjoy the music like I did at the live performance. Now this doesn’t mean that the MIA’s are capable of sounding like big floor standing loudspeakers. They didn’t sound as transparent as the best (and more expensive) loudspeakers I’ve heard, nor do they desire to be played too loudly. But I’ve listened to my share of loudspeakers with most of them costing many times the MIA’s asking price. And when you take that into consideration, then what you get is what is commonly known (but seldom seen) as a bargain.

There’s not really a lot of loudspeakers out there that I’m aware of that can best the MIA’s musicality and build quality -- at the same price. The MIA loudspeaker is a true audiophile-grade component and should amaze most who sit before it especially when one considers its cost. All things being considered equal, you want to pair this little gem with a very good amplifier and CD player for it to strut its stuff. With the money you save you might want to apply it to a better front-end. The MIA amazed this dyed-in-the-wool audiophile for its sonic capabilities with an assortment of components so it's not a finnicky loudspeaker either. If you’re out there looking for that budget loudspeaker to go into the den or office, you need look no further than the Xavian MIA. Highly recommended!