The flagship digital system controller/processors from Lexicon, the MC-12 and MC-12 Balanced, are both 12-channel models with outputs for three independent zones: Main, Zone 2, and Record. They provide decoding for Dolby Digital and DTS 5.1- and 6.1-channel soundtracks, plus Dolby Pro Logic II and Lexicon's own Logic 7 for multichannel playback of stereo programs. There are discrete line-level outputs for left and right subwoofers and two back surrounds as well as the five main channels. An RS-232 port and three expansion slots aim to make them future-proof. The MC-12 Balanced uses multipin XLR connectors for its Main and Zone 2 outputs. Prices: MC-12, $8,995; MC-12 Balanced, $9,995. 781-280-0300, www.lexicon.com
With its soft curves, simple design, and glowing speakers, Aiwa's XR-M313 minisystem has got a look that speaks volumes. The speakers' translucent-purple cabinets light up whenever the CD player or AM/FM tuner is turned on. The tuner has 32 presets, and the built-in graphic equalizer has three factory-set tone-control settings. CD tracks and tuned frequencies are shown on a backlit color LCD. A full-function remote control is supplied. Price: $180. 800-289-2492, www.aiwa.com
The DS7200 Digital Solution from Polk Audio is a home theater in a hefty box - large enough to hold a DVD-Video player (not shown), a tuner/preamp, four identical satellite speakers, a center speaker, an 8-inch subwoofer that contains the six-channel system amplifier (total of 350 watts), a full-function universal learning remote control, and all necessary cables. The tuner/preamp includes Dolby Digital and DTS processing and has three digital audio inputs, five composite/ S-video inputs, and a six-channel analog input - with bass management! - for a DVD-Audio or SACD player. A proprietary six-channel music processing mode provides surround sound from stereo sources. Rated frequency response is 30 Hz to 20 kHz ±3 dB. Price: $2,599. 800-377-7655, www.polkaudio.com
A freshly played CD's default storage position between player and jewel box is generally the nearest horizontal surface. Unfortunately, this intermediary placement exposes the disc to potential smudges, scratches, and predators, like housecats. You can give your discs a proper rest with Contoured Edge's Third Hand CD Hold Buttons. Each self-adhesive plastic knob ensures that the disc's playing side touches nothing but air. They work for DVDs, too, and are available in five colors. Price: $4.95 for a three-pack. 541-434-5727, www.cdhold.com
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