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Single-Box Home Theater Unveiled

Soundmatters, an OEM engineering company headed by a/d/s/ founder Godehard Guenther, has begun marketing a single-box home theater system called MAINstage with a $299 suggested retail.

The TV-top system is the first branded product for Guenther’s company, which designs audio products for consumer electronics and computer companies. The product is targeted for use with TVs in bedrooms, kitchens, dorms and other small rooms where wiring up six speakers isn’t practical. It’s also touted as a game-system enhancement and a higher fidelity alternative to PC speakers. The system has been available on the Web site and through its toll-free number (800-698-SOMA) for several months, but Soundmatters marketing and sales executive Lee Adams is shopping the product to A/V specialty dealers, promoting specialists and high-end catalogs.

The product is only the first Soundmatters-branded product, said Adams, a former executive with Nirotek America, Soundstream and Nakamichi.

The 4.85-pound, 16.7-inch by 2.5-inch by 9-inch unit incorporates speakers, digital amplifier, Zoran DSP and Zoran surround algorithms to extract and reproduce spatial information from mono, stereo, Dolby Surround and Dolby Digital sources. The system doesn’t create a virtual 5.1-channel experience from DVDs, but it creates “a pretty convincing ambient surround effect” that “fully envelops you in a great sounding hi-fi surround experience,” with no rear speakers, company literature said.

Adams called it more profitable than multispeaker home-theater-in-a-box (HTiB) systems, with the $299 suggested retail delivering a standard audio margin of 40 points.

The device features two front-firing 2.5-inch drivers, a 4-inch woofer that fires up, 2-by-10+1-by-20-watt RMS digital amplifier from Texas Instruments, and Zoran processor. Other features include a subwoofer output for attaching an add-on subwoofer, digital and analog inputs, universal power supply and a five-button remote whose commands can be programmed into any learning remote. A leveling system lets it sit on a TV and angled toward listeners.