The $699 XLN-6 speaker system from Cadence offers home theater sound at a very comfortable price. The XT-1 front left/right satellite has a 6 1/2-inch woofer, a 1-inch tweeter, and a bandwidth of 65 Hz to 20 kHz. The XC-1 center speaker and XS-1 surrounds have 4-inch woofers. The XLNS-8 subwoofer, rated down to 35 Hz and measuring 10 x 13 1/2 x 13 3/4 inches, has an 8-inch down-firing driver along with a variable crossover, phase switch, and level control. All of the magnetically shielded satellites have spring-clip connectors and come in black. The sub has spiked feet and is finished in dark woodgrain vinyl. www.cadencesound.com, 800-477-2328
Aragon's Stage One, in either black or silver finish, has it - THX Ultra2 certification, that is. It's the latest thing, and all the cool gear is trying to get it. The preamp/processor can decode Dolby Digital Surround EX and DTS-ES soundtracks into 6.1 channels, plus it's got wideband component-video connections for HDTV signal switching. The crowded back panel has component-, composite-, and S-video jacks along with coaxial and optical digital audio inputs. An AM/FM tuner is onboard. A preprogrammed/learning remote control is supplied, and an RS-232 port allows for future software upgrades. Price: $4,000. www.aragonelectronics.com, 866-781-7284
If you're worried that sound reflections inside your walls may degrade the performance of in-wall speakers, Wood Technology's Sound Chamber wall insert may be the ticket. The 7 1/4 x 12 x 4-inch device, which fits behind and around a 5-, 6-, or 8-inch in-wall speaker, is said to suppress reflections inside the wall cavity. The V-shaped grooves are said to let bass frequencies escape so the entire wall can produce deep bass. Each Sound Chamber disassembles into four pieces to ease fitting it through your wall cutout; it's held between the studs by tension - no installation hardware needed. Price: $70 a pair. www.wood-tech.com, 888-445-5520
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