Today, we’re going to be focusing on the MM-4XP, a miniature self-powered cube speaker from Meyer Sound. While I’ll highlight its use-case at Universal Studios Hollywood, I’m also going to spend a fair amount of time on the product itself to highlight its strengths and weaknesses. Full disclosure: my take will also be included in this product profile, so be forewarned if you’re not a fan of subjective descriptors.
Let’s get started.
A Meyer Sound MM-4XP installed on top of a movie poster on the Studio Tour bridge at Universal Studios Hollywood
For those who are not familiar with the Meyer Sound product line, the MM-4XP is a tiny cube speaker with a built-in amplifier. The product features a small 4″ driver with a frequency range of 120 Hz to 18 kHz, and relies principally on an external power module (or the MM-10ACX subwoofer) for power and signal. Unlike most Meyer products which require a separate signal and AC connection, the MM-4XP is part of Meyer Sound’s Intelligent DC line, which combines DC power and balanced audio into a single cable and connector. Not only does this allow you to run one cable to the loudspeaker, but the product’s reliance on low-voltage DC power allows installers to run long cable lengths without adhering to stringent conduit requirements associated with AC runs. The MM-4XP, being the smallest member of the Intelligent DC and Meyer Sound family, uses a single weather-sealed EN3 connector for power, signal, and RMS if you so desire.
Physically speaking, the MM-4XP is positively tiny, but also very dense, weighing in at 4.2 lbs. Its tiny 4.04 x 4.04 x 5.72 inch aluminum shell makes it perfect for fill applications or distributed systems where size is an important concern. The product features a perforated steel grille with a circular protrusion mimicking the size of the driver in the front, followed by a Class D 220 watt amplifier module on the back with an external heatsink for cooling and a LED indicator light for status monitoring. Finally, the MM-4XP features two side inserts for an optional U-bracket. Like all Meyer Sound products, the product is exceptionally well made, and the built-in amplifier ensures that all MM-4XPs contain the same fundamental processing regardless of its manufacture date or location, ensuring sonic consistency from product to product.
When it comes to specific use-cases, Universal Studios Hollywood features two MM-4XP installations: an outdoor installation on a bridge connecting the Upper Lot to the Studio Tour, and inside a theater that houses the Special Effects Show. For the outdoor bridge, Universal relies on 16 MM-4XPs, 8 MM-10XPs, and 4 UP-4XPs. The MM-4XPs are mounted on posters that flank either side of the bridge, with MM-10XP subwoofers attached to the guardrails. This is perhaps one of the best sounding areas in the park, but the products suffer constantly from misalignment due to wind, amplifier problems due to moisture, and poor weather-proofing not in line with Meyer Sound guidelines. More on this in a bit.
A Meyer Sound MM-10XP miniature subwoofer mounted on the guardrails on the Studio Tour bridge – the MM-10 mates well with the MM-4XP for a full-range system.
A Meyer Sound MM-4XP used as a fill speaker at the Special Effects Show at Universal Studios Hollywood
For the Special Effects Show, Universal uses several MM-4XPs for fills across the main stage to bring the sound image down to the audience. In this application, they work exceedingly well in unison with the M1D line array elements, UPJ-1Ps, UPM-1Ps and 700-HPs that also proliferate the theater. They do go into hard limiting a few times during the show, but the limiters sound graceful, and none of the cubes seem to produce garbage when they do limit.
In terms of product strengths (and here we go with the subjective descriptors), the MM-4XP is incredibly small with a relatively impressive SPL output. No, it’s not going to fill any stadiums or do well in a rock-and-roll concert, but two MM-4XPs do an impressive job at filling a small room with sound. Think of a Bose consumer cube on steroids. However, unlike the Bose product, the MM-4XP is a professional-grade product that has a flat frequency response that’s capable of getting very, very loud. Like most Meyer Sound products (think of the UPA especially), the MM-4XP on its own sounds very dry – it won’t win any shootouts against comparable products like the L-Acoustics 5XT. However, when fitted into a complete system (such as a larger distributed system or simply with the MM-10 subwoofer), the MM-4XPs come alive with everything that I love about Meyer: they’re consistent, relatively loud, and linear with very little coloration or distortion. What you put in is what you get out, and the MM-4XP is no exception. If you’re looking for a tiny fill speaker in a theater, the MM-4XPs seem to fit the bill relatively well.
When it comes to the MM-4XP’s weaknesses, one common complaint that I hear is the brittleness of the EN3 connector. Universal, especially, has had problems with performers and staff kicking, stepping, or knocking objects into the cubes, and while the cubes themselves are fine, their connectors are usually the first thing to snap.
A Meyer Sound MM-4XP knocked over due to wind
Another more serious weakness concerns weather resistance. While Meyer Sound touts the cubes as weather resistant, the MM-4XPs do not like moisture. Like I mentioned in the Studio Tour bridge installation above, the MM-4XPs do not perform well after California rains or even in California fog. In fact, it’s not uncommon to hear several cubes produce a crackling sound that’s uncharacteristic of a Meyer Sound product. While the entire installation is a bit of a mess (Universal not only installed MM-10XP subwoofers with indoor-rated Phoenix 5-pin connectors, but they also purchased the wrong MM-10 rainhood orientation), the MM-4XPs seem to suffer from some sort of common design flaw that makes them vulnerable in moist environments. I’ve heard this complaint from several theater installers that have replaced MM-4XPs in shows featuring heavy fog, so I’m led to believe that this issue isn’t strictly limited to Universal. My best guess is that the cube requires a stronger seal between the enclosure and the amplifier module to keep moisture out, but who knows what is the ultimate cause.
Regardless, when used in a climate controlled environment (or at least indoors), the MM-4XP is a great product from Meyer Sound for when size and sound quality is an especially important consideration. I own a pair mounted on microphone stands with a MM-10ACX for my home, and they sound exceptional. Just keep them out of the rain, and they should be fine…
As always, thanks for reading, and be sure to drop a line if you have a correction or any additional information about the cute little MM-4XP cube.