We’ve seen small, high fidelity audio products before. The most obvious comparison product to the Main Stage HD would be the Bose Wave Radio. Although the Main Stage HD doesn’t have the alarm clock features, it does produce a crisper sound and is far more versatile than the Wave Radio.
There are two small speakers in the front of the unit which deliver deceptively rich sound, coupled with a small, top mounted subwoofer. The unit has a surround simulation mode too, where it emulates a centre channel and throws the stereo soundscape further out to the sides.
There are four inputs on the back and a few outputs too. A 3.5mm headphone jack and a pair of RCAs complete the analogue inputs, and a coaxial and an optical input take care of digital connectivity. Two 3.5mm outputs provide non-amplified subwoofer and rear channel outputs, as the unit decodes Dolby -- but not DTS -- surround internally.
The sound is rich and smooth, and doesn’t gloss over any note or frequency. It has a little trouble reaching down to really low end notes, but the separately available and matching subwoofer, the Sub Stage HD, takes care of that in an equally small footprint. It too is tiny, but adds a lot of depth and presence to the already detailed audio.
The interface is utterly minimalist, and incredibly simple. There are volume up and down buttons and a source button on the facia, along with four green LEDs which represent which source is selected. Above these, two red LEDs display the surround mode status and if the unit is in standby mode. A remote is included for some more advances functions, but in practice you’ll only ever use the volume and source controls.
If it doesn’t detect an input it will put itself into standby mode and monitor the selected input for a signal. This prevents ear-jarring static should you plug in a device while the speaker is on. You can mount it to a wall using a bracket, or use the included riser feet to angle it up or downwards.
While it’s not a replacement for a hardcore surround system, it will give any source you feed into it punch, clarity and volume. If you don’t have any space to spare this will do a good job of giving you remarkably high quality sound in a very small footprint.
By David Field
Nov 10, 2006 2:57PM
Nov 10, 2006 2:57PM