Thrift store find, just a few bucks. It lights up, have not run audio through it yet, very good condition.
The build quality is high, a solid metal box with excellent paint and silkscreened lettering.
Stereo RCA and XLR inputs and outputs, trim pots on front for adjusting gain.
Seems like it might be useful in a home studio but I haven't figured out a purpose. Anybody have ideas, feedback, experience?
Henry Engineering (the owner's name really is Henry, but he goes by Hank) makes a line of products designed to solve problems encountered when building or expanding a broadcast studio, but many are also useful around the recording studio. The Matchbox came about when broadcast studios wanted to start playing CDs on the air, but the only CD players on that market early on were consumer products with RCA outputs at a nominal level of around -20 dBV rather than the professional line level of +4 dBu of the studio console. The Matchbox boosted the CD player output to match the input sensitivity of the console, and also provided a balanced output. The XLR input to RCA output part was essentially free, just an attenuator, so he put that in the box to provide a consumer level output to a cassette recorder or something similar, which, at the time, weren't readily available with balanced +4 dBu inputs that they could get out of the console.
I'm listening to the radio at me "office" desk through a Matchbox right now. I have a receiver that connects to the Internet and plays radio stations that stream their audio programming. It has RCA outputs. It's connected to the line inputs of a cheap USB audio interface which drives a pair of powered speakers. I can go to a web site with the computer and listen to an on-line stream, or, by pressing the "input monitor" button on the interface, switch to the output of the receiver. Although the loudness of on-line streams varies over about a 10 dB range, using the trimmers on the Matchbox, I can get the USB and receiver to play in the same ballpark volume without having to dive for the volume control when switching from one source to another.
These days most small format recording/live consoles have RCA inputs and outputs (though not all are gain-matched to the mic and line levels) there's less need for something like the Matchbox outside of the commercial or broadcast world, but you might, for instance, to connect a turntable through a phono preamp or receiver to your studio gear.
My Matchbox isn't an HD, it's the original model. You can tell its age by the two-prong non-polarized AC power socket on the panel - since the Matchbox needs AC power, you could recover the outlet it uses by plugging the CD player into the power socket on the Matchbox. One minor shortcoming is that it's built with the "early American" audio polarity XLR standard of Pin 3 hot (pin 3 of the XLR goes positive with respect to pin 2 when the tip of the RCA jack goes positive with respect to the shield). If this matters - it's one of those things that's easy to get right so you might as well - it can be corrected by wiring the XLR cables in and out with pins 2 and 3 reversed. The XLR connectors are mounted directly to the circuit board so correcting it internally would require some butchering, which I didn't want to do. For my application (listening to the radio when I'm paying attention to something else) polarity inversion doesn't matter a bit to me, but you should at least be aware of it if you wanted to use it for something like making a digital copy of a cassette, using that old cassette deck in your closet - if it still works.