Despite adopting a 'Surround Console' moniker, the SLIMstage 40 is from a category better known as soundbars – slimline speaker/ amplifier combinations that are positioned just below, or above a TV.

They're becoming a popular choice now that flatscreen TVs are often toting cramped, under-achieving internal speakers and amplifiers.

Soundmatters' SLIMstage is a one-piece three-channel system with 13 internal speakers, but you can add external surround speakers using the internal amplifiers, and a subwoofer. You also get a 'virtual ' surround feature called Euphony HD – but forget the HD bit.

The unit is well-built and nicely-styled. It has an LCD display, RS232 port for system control and comes with a remote handset.

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