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Review: MicroLab FC360 Speakers

In this review Peter takes a look at our mid range speaker system the MicroLab FC360

Today we're taking a look at the Microlab FC360 2.1 speaker system, a mid-price range set of PC speakers that clock in a just a little over £50.00, but let's be honest, £50 is still a lot of money by many standards and while there are obviously more expensive options out there, just how much performance, style and general build quality do you get for you money in this price bracket? well there is only one way to find out, test them.

Microlab FC360 - ReviewMicrolab FC360 - Review

The Microlab FC360's come in a neat little box, nothing special but lets be honest, a box is just a box, with a simple white box design and a really nice shot of the speakers on the front, but without further delay its time to crack open the box and see just whats on offer.

Microlab FC360 - ReviewMicrolab FC360 - Review

There isn't much in the way of extras bundles in the box, but in fairness there doesn't need to be, aside from the Microlab amplifier, subwoofer and two speakers you also get a AUX (red and white) to 3.5mm cable and the simple instruction booklet, which you really won't need as it's all straightforward enough.
First impressions of the set though are really good, all the relevant parts have a rock solid feel to them, finished in high quality plastics with a wood body construction, the trim on most of it is high gloss plastic though which as I'm sure many of you will know loves to attract dust at an alarming pace, but so long as you don't mind dusting it every few hours it does often look fantastic in terms of finish.

Microlab FC360 - ReviewMicrolab FC360 - Review

The subwoofer is passive, by which I mean it doesn't come with its own power supply, it's also a lot bigger than I was expecting, measuring in at 25H x 30L x 25W (cm) which for a set of 2.1 PC speakers is pretty hefty and not exactly idea as a desktop solution and something you should keep in mind if you're limited in terms of floor space.

Microlab FC360 - ReviewMicrolab FC360 - Review

The separate amplifier is quite heavy too, for a set of speakers this size I was surprised it required one at all. The amp comes fitted with a rear dial for overall bass level adjustments and all the connection ports required for the speakers and audio input, nothing more, nothing less, although the red and white AUX ports mean this will connect up to almost anything, from a DVD player, games console, TV or MP3 player should you so desire.

The front of the AMP also comes with a nice oversized volume dial, which for some reason has no line on it to indicate how far the dial is turned, so you best make sure you haven't left them turned up to max before you start your song for fear of blowing your head off or worse, blowing your speakers. There is also a subtle white LED hidden in the plastic that give you a soft line of light when the device is powered on, but my camera all but refused to confirm it existed, but the effect it gives off is subtle and very cool.

Microlab FC360 - ReviewMicrolab FC360 - Review

The speakers stand a fraction over 20 cm tall and again are relatively heavy, nothing earth shattering but enough to stop them falling over, sliding around your desk or ratting when you have your music turned up, this is of course a good thing. Just like the subwoofer the speakers come hardwired with the speaker cable, which is long enough for  a fairly large desk, but I think you will need extensions for each should you wish to use the system with a TV in a larger environment.

Setup was really straight forward with this set, given that everything is colour coded on the back of the amp and that there are only enough ports for each cable, so there was no fussing about what goes where, overall it took me longer to get everything out the box than it did to plug it all in and get it working, but still only 5 min overall.

For my first test I decided to fire up one of my favourite games, Battlefield 3. Given that the game has an immense mixture of offensively loud bass tones and high frequency sound effects which makes it a perfect "high volume" test for any gaming sound system. First impressions mean a lot and with this system there was no disappointment, the bass response is crystal clear at high and low volumes alike, a rare thing on low-mid priced system of this size, especially given the subwoofer is passively powered.

When put through my music tests, a rigorous mixture of everything from metal to classical, the most immediate thing I noticed was the power the system can output, it's extremely loud, if you want it to be of course.  Where it really shines through though is at more casual listening levels, where the general mid tones of the speakers give off a really nice warm tone when listening to music, making everything sound like crackle and noise free vinyl, which will sit nicely with many music fans, personally I absolutely love the tone reproduction on these speakers, they have a sound that is rare for a set of speakers in this price range.

Performance was just as robust after  a few more tests too, a few games in Need for Speed Shift 2, some general YouTube browsing and a couple of movie trailers presented no issues with the setup, so I can safely say that if you looking to spend that little extra for a set of PC speakers that pack a punch bigger than their £50 price tag, then you won't be disappointed by what Microlab have to offer with their FC360s.