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Soundmatters Slimstage40: Virtual Surround Slims Down

by Paul Strauss
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Soundmatters is best known for their all-in-one surround sound systems which cram an entire 5.1 home theater into a single small box. Up until now, their designs were still a bit too unwieldy for placement anywhere but on a shelf or on top of rear-projection set. But their new system, the Slimstage40, takes the wide and thin approach, measuring in at just 3.4-inches deep.

Soundmatters Slimstage40

This makes the speaker just about the same depth, if not slimmer than most flat screen TVs these days. The entire Slimstage40 measures just 39″ (W) x 3.3″ (H) x 3.4″ (D), making it perfect for widescreens measuring 37-inches and up.

Soundmatters claims that their system can produce pinpoint surround imaging without having to bounce sounds off of walls. In addition, the Slimstage40 doesn’t require a separate subwoofer, and can pump out frequencies as low as 45Hz. I wonder how much rumble they’ll really be able to crank out though. There are certain laws of physics at work here that would seem to me to limit the low-end potential without a separate sub. The good news is that there is a pre-amp output in case you do want some serious bass. (If you’re looking for a stealthy subwoofer companion, check out their Substage 200.)

The system is driven by eight individual amplifiers with a total of 170-watts of power. It can decode both Dolby Digital and DTS signals from analog or digital inputs, and also can crank out simulated surround from stereo sources. The other nice thing is that Soundmatters includes both a wall-mount bracket and adjustable feet for shelf mounting. Most similar speakers charge extra for the wall mount. I also like that it’ll come in a choice of either black or silver finishes, so you can match it to the color scheme of your television.

My past experience with all-in-one boxes like these is that while they don’t sound exactly like a 5.1 setup with separate speakers, they’re more than fine for living rooms and other environments where you don’t want a bunch of speakers and wires running everywhere.

The Slimstage40 arrives this November, with an MSRP of $899.

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