Soundmatters Mainstage review:

Soundmatters Mainstage

  • 1
Compare These

CNET Editors' Rating

The Good Powered stereo/virtual surround speaker; easy hookup; just 2.5 inches tall; analog and digital inputs; charcoal or silver finish; comfy remote; two-year warranty for parts and labor.

The Bad Somewhat hissy sound.

The Bottom Line This cool-looking powered speaker converts any computer, DVD player, or portable audio source into a mini home theater.

Visit manufacturer site for details.

6.0 Overall
  • Design 7.0
  • Features 6.0
  • Performance 5.0

<p>Review summary<br><br>Soundmatters' tagline, "One box, two wires, and $300 make any TV a home theater," sums up the Mainstage's appeal. This set-top powered speaker is refreshingly simple to install and use. For big sound anywhere in your home or office, just add the Mainstage to a digital or analog source, such as a DVD player or a TV--you'll have a complete virtual-surround system. We like the $299 Mainstage's trim good looks and hearty audio, but don't expect the unit to deliver surround effects like a true multispeaker ensemble. In cramped quarters, however, where a 5.1 setup is out of the question, the Mainstage will serve with distinction. </p><p class="a2">The Mainstage is sleek, weighing 4.85 pounds and measuring 16.7 inches wide by 2.5 inches tall. It's available with a charcoal or <span data-shortcode="link" data-link-text="silver" data-asset-type="review" data-uuid="b23a7fca-9d89-11e2-853d-0291187978f3" data-slug="soundmatters-mainstage"></span> finish.</p> <p class="a2">A rocker-style power switch is at the rear, but we relied on the automatic on/off feature, which shuts down the Mainstage one minute after the source stops transmitting a signal. The only front-panel control is a button for selecting the input.</p> <div id="incontent-ad-58d400a7167e5" class="ad-incontent-ad" data-ad="incontent-ad" > <script> window.console && console.log && console.log("ADS: queuing incontent-ad-58d400a7167e5 for display"); var cbsiGptDivIds = cbsiGptDivIds || []; cbsiGptDivIds.push("incontent-ad-58d400a7167e5"); </script> </div> <p class="a2">The contoured remote felt extracomfy in our hands, and its five buttons--Volume Up, Volume Down, Surround, Source, and Mute--were easy to see in the dark. Whatever you do, don't misplace the remote. It's the only way to set the volume and the surround mode.</p> <p class="a2">Designed to be a self-contained sound source, the Mainstage has a pair of 2-by-2.75-inch speakers and a top-mounted 4-inch woofer. The unit's amp delivers 10 watts to each speaker and a whopping 20 watts to the woofer. </p> <p class="a2">Considering the Mainstage's size, its connectivity quotient is generous. You get one stereo minijack for computers and portable audio devices; one set of RCA inputs for conventional home-entertainment gear; two digital-audio ins (one optical and one coaxial) for your DVD player, PlayStation 2, or satellite/cable box; and a minijack subwoofer output that will work with any powered sub. A bass-level control is also back there. As we write this review, Soundmatters is adding a free optical digital cable to the package.</p> <p class="a2">Soundmatters' two-year warranty on parts and labor is a darn sight better than the usual 90-day coverage.</p>

Best Speakers of 2017 See All

  • ELAC Uni-Fi UB5

    4.5 stars

    The ELAC Uni-Fi UB5 shattered our expectations for the sound quality we could expect from...

  • LG SH7B

    Starting at: £239.00
    4.5 stars

    The LG SH7B proves how far affordable sound bar/wireless subwoofer systems have come,...

  • ELAC Debut B6

    Starting at: £289.00
    5 stars

    The ELAC Debut B6s offer sound quality that beats speakers that sell for more than double...

  • Pioneer Elite SP-EBS73-LR

    4.5 stars

    The Pioneer Elite SP-EBS73-LR is, hands down, the very best-sounding bookshelf/surround...

 

Discuss: Soundmatters MAINstage (charcoal)

Conversation powered by Livefyre