Thursday, April 30, 2009

Soundmatters Mainstage Home Theatre

Home theatre systems are in the news as we approach the Summer season. Check out the features of the SoundMatters Mainstage Home Theatre System

A revolutionary multi-speaker console with built-in amplifiers and digital processing
Powered by a 20-watt digital amplifier, and a top-mounted 4-inch woofer that can project high-definition sound that fills almost any room
Adaptable audio inputs, Optical (TosLink), Coaxial, RCA, or 3.5mm mini stereo can be integrated easily into your current home theater or PC Media Center set up
Space saving low profile design, and hassle free set up (Audiophiles need not apply)
Perfect for any small to medium-size room where running wires to 6 speakers just isn’t practical
Zoran VMD (Virtual Multichannel Digital) algorithm analyzes the position of sound sources present in two channel audio signals and recreates the sound field existing at the time of the original recording. A single digital speaker powered by Zoran’s VMD technology will produce a high precision, space filling 180 degree sound field when connected to any two channel source
Subwoofer and rear channel outputs for surround sound option

Frequency Response: 60Hz-20kHz ±3dB, 1w/1m (anechoic)
Surround Sound: 5.1 channels, Dolby Digital
DSP Processor: Zoran 38601-50M IPS
Surround Algorithm: Zoran VMD®
Class-D Amplifiers: 2×20WRMS < 0.8%THD into 4 Ohms (satellites) (80W Music); 2×20WRMS < 0.8%THD into 4 Ohms (subwoofer) (80W Music)
Maximum SPL@1m: 104dB
Main Speakers: 2 each 50×70 mm with patented Neo-sandwich magnets
Internal Subwoofer: 1 each Super-4” with patented Neo-sandwich magnet
Power Supply: Digital, 130kHz 95-265Vac 50/85Wdc
Input Source 1 Analog: 150mV-2V variable
Input Source 2 Analog: 2V
Input Source 3 Digital: SP/DIF coaxial
Input Source 4 Digital: Optical / TosLink
Outputs (1) Analog: Sub-subwoofer out, Rear Channel Outputs (normal/default off)
Controls: System Volume (IR and front panel), Subwoofer level (IR only), Dialog+ EQ (IR only), Source select, mute (IR and front panel), Surround/stereo (IR only), Source 1 input sensitivity (back panel knob)
Modes: On, Mute/Sleep, Vacation (Off)
Software Options (user config.): L/R channel reverse, rear channel on/off
Standby Power: Less than 4.5W
Display: Six LEDs
Wall Mounting Capacity: 1/4” x 20 threaded
Weight: Approx. 2.2kg (4.85lbs)
Dimensions (WxHxD): 425×65 x 230 mm (16.7” x 2.5” x 9”)

While not the most powerful system, this is very good bang for your buck.
Noah Kravitz says,
"By now you can probably tell I really like MAINstage, especially as a surround sound solution for movies. I do have a few minor complaints, however. First, when the unit is on one of its front-panel green lights is always lit up - steadily when the speakers are active or blinking when in standby mode. I'm funny like this, but I really wanted the lights to go off when I was done listening (the blinking made it all the worse). Switching the back-panel power switch to off would fix this, but soundmatters recommends leaving the unit "on" in standby mode unless you're going on vacation or otherwise planning not to use it for a few weeks or more. soundmatters did tell me that future products will feature lights that turn all the way off, however.

Second, there's no volume control on the main unit nor is there any sort of volume level indicator on it, either. So if you lose the remote, you won't be able to control the volume, and even with the remote there's no way to tell how loud the sound is going to be until it comes out. The former could be a problem, rendering your MAINstage somewhat useless should you lose the clicker (though many universal remotes will control the device); the latter is more of a once-in-awhile inconvienience than anything else. On a similar note, there's also no way to tell if the unit is in "surround" or "stereo" mode -- you basically have to flip between them with the remote and pick the one you like best. That actually kind of makes sense ...

Also, four inputs can be fewer than you think. Four will serve most people fine, especially if you're considering MAINstage as a secondary system, but consider this: My iPod and cable box ate up the two analog inputs, leaving my VCR all wired up with nowhere to go. Some of you might have fancier cable/sattelite TV boxes with digital audio outputs, but not me -- so either my cable signal or VCR had to be left in the cold ... and I haven't even mentioned the xBox yet. So if you've got designs on connecting all of your a/v equipment to one unit, count up those cables before you spend your money on a MAINstage. Or, at the least, consider how often you actually use that VCR these days."