Two Speakers Enough For Surround, Companies Say

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A technology developed by Tokyo-based Mechanical Research Corp. and MartinLogan stuffs six to seven speakers into two enclosures to simplify the set-up of surround-sound systems.

The jointly developed Niroson Cinema technology uses a multidriver front speaker, a multidriver back speaker, and a helping of digital signal processing to deliver a six-channel surround-sound effect. A powered subwoofer is also part of the system.

The companies are licensing the technology and expect the first Niroson-equipped consumer products to be available during the third quarter. The technology is being licensed through MRC's U.S. subsidiary, Nirotek USA, based here.

Designed to reduce speaker clutter in home theater systems, the speakers use patented DSP algorithms and proprietary driver placement to create what the companies called a "broad and detailed" home theater experience and high-fidelity multichannel music from DVD-Audio and SACD players.

Products incorporating Nirosan technology "will establish new standards for increasingly popular theater-in-a-box systems" and "dramatically expand the possibilities for installing home theater," the companies said. The companies contend that fewer than 10 percent of DVD players are used in 5.1-channel surround-sound systems. They blame the difficulty of finding space for six satellite speakers. If space is available, the speakers by necessity might have to be placed in spots that yield a less-than-optimal experience.

Niroson uses two satellite speaker cabinets. Each cabinet features separate left, center and right speaker complements, each powered independently. Two speakers fire off to the side at an angle, while the middle speaker fires forward. The front cabinet can be placed on the top of the TV.

The rear cabinet uses the same topology but is placed behind the listeners, high up on the wall and firing down. Alternately, the rear cabinet can be placed on the floor, firing up.

The technology can be implemented in enclosed speakers, in-wall and in-ceiling speakers, in cars and in large-screen TVs, the companies said.


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