My first impressions were pretty much spot on. In the MicroBeatMini we have a first class Audiostrobe decoder and the best bicolour display I’ve used.
Bicolour? Yes. The Audiostrobe standard provides two light control channels. The mBm maps these two channels to various combinations of red/green/white and left/right frames – the ten modes providing all possible combinations with bicolour provided by the three Complimentary modes and monocolour left/right provided by the 7 Alternate modes.
The images below show how the LEDs are arranged in the reflector. Good open-eye (ganzfeld) can be created just by placing a piece of white paper over the reflectors.
Battery life ranges from 2.0-2.5 hours at maximum brightness, maximum volume and 100% duty cycle to 3.5-4.0 hours with typical AS encoded content such as that provided on the sample CD. Charge from flat is about 2 hours. Top-up charging is no problem.
Cable tangle is almost eliminated when using the frame-connected in-ear phones, but there still remains the need to be cabled to an audio source. When using the supplied Koss headphones (which are surprisingly good) tangles will, of course, occur, encouraged by the dual cable entry, a pet dislike of mine.
The rubber light shield has straightened up since unpacking and now provides excellent light exclusion.
It’s a shame a standard mini-USB and 3.5mm sockets haven’t been used, as I always have a spare mini-USB cable dangling off my PC for charging my cellphone or connecting my camera and 3.5mm audio cable for all manner of devices. I’m never thrilled by having to keep track of more oddball cables. Fortunately the supplied carry bag improves the likelihood of keeping all the bits together.
It’s always difficult to establish “value” for an AVS product. The nearest equivalent product is the L&S Synergizer, also a pure AS decoder with no integral sessions. The only practical reason to choose the Synergizer over the mBm would be if you wish to use other colours or types of glasses (blue or amber, open-eye, see-thru, etc.). The Procyon still provides the most control over Audiostrobe performance, with its highly customisable analog and digital decoding, however I doubt that most users will ever have need for such tweaks. There’s plenty of cheaper AS devices, most with integral sessions, but the mBm trumps all others with its convenient form.
As I develop most of my AVS content using NP3 or MWS, the mBm is now my device-of-choice. Integration of either Bluetooth or an MP3 player would make the mBm perfect.