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Multiple Channels Packed Into Single Speaker Enclosure

Las Vegas – Multiple surround-sound channels from a single speaker enclosure is the promise that several suppliers are making to décor-conscious consumers.

Definitive Technology incorporates the left, center, and right speakers in one enclosure; Samsung packs all five channels into one enclosure and packages it with a DVD-receiver; and Yamaha incorporates surround processing and DSP to deliver all five channels from one enclosure.

Nirotek, which isn’t exhibiting at CES, launched a pair of single-speaker HTiB systems that delivers 5.1-channel surround at a suggested $599 and $799 in 2003 and followed up with two more in late 2004 at $450 and $600.

Here’s what the three other suppliers plan to show:

Definitive Technology: The plasma-friendly Mythos Solo is a 40-inch by 4.13-inch by 4.25-inch silver- or black-aluminum enclosure that delivers three front channels and mounts on a wall, shelf, or TV top. The projected retail is $699. The left and right channels are each reproduced by two 3.5–inch drivers flanking a tweeter in a curved array that widens dispersion. The center channel is delivered by a tweeter flanked on each side by a 3.5-inch driver and a 3.5-inch passive radiator.

Samsung: The HT-RP HTiB, suggested retail $249, comes with a speaker enclosure containing five speakers that can be detached and deployed in a traditional five-speaker setup. When the speakers are in the unified enclosure, however, angled drivers and DSP deliver 5.1-channel surround through Samsung’s reflecting surround technology.

Yamaha: The YSP-1 Digital Sound Projector is the official name of a single flat, wall-hanging speaker that delivers 5.1-channel surround sound and is designed to cosmetically match plasma displays. The $1,499-suggested speaker, shown a year ago and now scheduled to ship in March, incorporates amplification, steering logic, digital signal processing (DSP), and Dolby Digital/DTS surround processor. It’s 7.7 inches by 44.6 inches by 4.6 inches, matching the width of a 50-inch plasma screen.

When a plasma screen is in split-screen mode, viewers on the left will hear only the left-screen audio, while viewers on the right will hear only the right-screen audio.

It’s equipped with 40 drivers and dual woofers, each with dedicated digital amps. DSP controls the delay times of the individual drivers; select drivers beam sound off the side walls to reflect surround channels toward the listeners; and other features include subwoofer output and RS232C.