As if Niro HTIBs' radically innovative single-speaker surround technology weren't cool enough, the company has another new idea: the $199 MovieMouse personal speaker, which does what surround headphones are supposed to do but sounds more natural--like a miniature home theater.
The disclike MovieMouse resembles a tiny flying saucer and is fitted with a total of five 1.5-inch drivers. A pair of drivers are arrayed on the MovieMouse's sides, and the center speaker is on the top panel. Clearly, it's a different type of speaker, one designed for listening for a single person (or two very friendly people).
The silver-plastic MovieMouse is relatively small--11 inches wide, 2.5 inches high, and 7.4 inches deep--so you can stick it on a coffee table right in front of you or even in your lap (it weighs 1.8 pounds). It comes with a 23-foot tail, er, wire, and a special speaker connector that fits Niro's 400, 600, , or 1.1Pro II receivers (it won't work with any other brands of electronics, or with older Niro systems). It's ideal for late-night home theater, music, or games, because the MovieMouse's focused sound won't disturb people in adjacent rooms or on other floors in your house or apartment building.
For our auditions, we had the MovieMouse hooked up to aamplifier, checking out the Man on Fire DVD. Yes, it was a little odd at first, listening to sound from a speaker placed in our lap, but as the opening credits were rolling by, the music score and sound effects seemed to come from way out to the sides. The thing really works!
The traumatic kidnapping scene in the middle of the movie was frightfully realistic, and the little MovieMouse positively roared. Later on, just before a police helicopter flew into view, we heard it coming from what sounded like the extreme left side of our home theater.