Keyboard Speakers Hit The `Sweet Spot'

ONE OF THE ANNOYANCES OF MULTIMEDIA PERSONAL computers is finding space for the stereo speakers. Good sound usually entails placing them close to the listener, which means crowding them near the monitor, or worse, cramming them on the desktop with the keyboard and mouse. SC&T2 International Inc. thinks it has found a sound solution.

At the first Electronic Entertainment Expo in Los Angeles, the Phoenix-based company plans to display its Platinum Sound keyboards. Both the MAK-100 and MSK-200 are oversize QWERTY keyboards that feature built-in 16-watt stereo speakers, an omnidirectional microphone, volume controls, and inputs for headphones. The MSK-200 keyboard also adds a 13-watt stereo amplifier, a volume-level display, and additional bass, treble, and balance controls.

The company figures that the speaker/keyboard integration can create the so-called near-field experience, or "sweet spot," that delivers the best sound performance. What's more, with all the audio controls on the keyboard, owners won't have to fiddle with complicated software commands or stretch for the hard to reach control to adjust the sound quality. The $100 MAK-100 is available now at retail outlets. The $175 MSK-200 will be available by July.