I'd try to work on your mask technique so that the halos don't show around the edges, or at least not give such a soft outline around the object. It gives it the appearance that it was shot with a cheap lenses, and the associated halo problems when a cheap lens is at a wide aperture.
One way to get a really white background is to pop a separate flash against a white background. I'm sure there are other (maybe better) techniques for this. It's not something I've worked on much, as I typically shoot environmental portraits.
I'd say your goal, seeing how you like to have plain backgrounds, would be to learn how to shoot it as you want it in-camera, and leave filtering solely for clean-up and effects.
I'm not familiar with Photomatrix off-hand, but it looks to be a sharpening algorithm of some kind. It's definitely an image with extra sharpness (artificial), and that extra contrast really gives it that gritty look.
I like the image. I need to try some of the "gritty" look myself here.
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