Shrill matatu music gave man idea to make home theatre systems

Samuel Mwangi knows the value of a good sound system. While in a matatu one day, he observed the sound from the speakers was squeaky, shrill and unpleasant.

His keen ears had detected the same trend in churches and restaurants and knew the quality of sound coming out was poor.

Mwangi’s sound systems are cheaper than most in the market. |(PHOTO: COURTESY)

“It was like a snore,” he says.

After doing research, he realised that high swanky speakers with high fidelity and stereo, known as ‘surround’ technology, came at a price many couldn’t afford.

“I decided to do something about it. I researched on the way to make good sound systems,” he says. He closed down his advertising business and registered Samms Audio System that majored in making cheaper yet high quality sound. It entails assembling Hi-Fi sound systems, sometimes installing them at his clients’ premises. “I consciously follow the acoustic mapping of the building to give the desired sound effect,” he says.

He makes Hi-Fi systems using locally-sourced materials like fibre glass, plastics, and clipboards. He sources electronic components for circuitry assembling from China.


The systems comprise normal stereo units of an amplifier with four speakers connected in two ways. A complete unit costs from as low as Sh9,500 to as high as Sh70,000, depending on size, output and specifications.

Commercially produced sound systems in the market come in two colours, black and white.

He offers a variety of colours to match with the theme of a client’s sofa sets, wall units and the interior décor of their homes.

Some customers prefer custom-made speakers with shelves for placing small items and flowers. Others come for the ones with USB ports, memory card slots/portals and even FM radios.

His systems are designed to take auxiliary input from computers, mobile phones, televisions and other external audio sources as well.

To make the system more attractive and add to the general ambience of the room, he customises their casing by adding flashing lights.

He works closely with those in entertainment and hospitality industries in building audio systems: “I closely work with interior designers in calculating where to place the speakers and wiring.”

The wiring is done in such a way that wires are hidden from view and the speakers mounted in places where one doesn’t need to stoop when passing.

Measuring places where speakers are placed helps minimise the spillover noises like the kind churches or halls makes. “

Sadly, many sound systems in public places are installed by quacks with no idea of sound quality and output,” he says.

His systems will definitely make your room a cosy place to relax and soothe yourself with pleasant sound.