For most installations the SUBstage will probably be hidden in the corner or under a piece of furniture. It's small enough to fit under a typical recliner. With the grilled removed it will fit in tighter spaces. We tested it in a corner for maximum bass response and underneath a recliner near the corner. It was positioned along the same wall as two bookshelf speakers. We didn't need to adjust the phase for any bass canceling effects and in both scenarios we preferred to have the unit near its maximum volume setting.

Adjusting the settings can be a bit of a hassle because the controls are recessed under the bottom of the unit. It's not a convenient setup but we understand the necessity of the design. A remote would really put this unit over the top. Put the SUBstage where you want it, go to the optimal listening position and tweak to your heart's content. For now, you might enlist the help of a friend to get it right, especially with any phase cancellation issues.

The SUBstage delivers when it comes to good clean sound. The SUBstage 100 provided the extra body and depth our bookshelf speakers needed. The sound is tight and controlled. It's a good match for a moderate system and will help fill your typical family room with plenty of clean bass. For example, an Onkyo or Yamaha receiver with decent headroom in the $300 - $500 range paired with the appropriate front and surround speakers and a SUBstage 100 would make many consumers very happy.

Founded in 1998, soundmatters, prides itself on being primarily an R+D company. The company says its customers are mostly automotive and consumer electronics giants. We hope to see more stealth and stylish products from soundmatters in the coming years. For now, the SUBstage 100 earns our respect as a funkyfresh essential element.

Visit soundmatters for more information on the Substage 100 and other space saving sound systems.